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Unfair deductions from deposit

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I need some advice on where to go next. Sorry this is a long one.

 

Basically we moved into a property in 2017 all was fine for a year or so but then the landlord wanted us out and started inventing various things we had apparently done wrong – all of which were false btw and only started when we asked the landlord to fix the faulty boiler.  The boiler was faulty meaning often had no hot water or heating for months nobody was ever sent to this, we had a gas safety check by a different plumber to the one the LL uses and he found the fault and logged it on the certificate, the LL is now denying any issue with the boiler and we do not have a copy of the gsc to prove this.


In May this year we were told that we were being served with s21 2 month notice which states no fault end of tenancy (the property was instantly put back up for rent).


We found a new house very quick and signed up we then gave the landlord 1 months notice so we weren’t tied to her house for 2 months, we paid for an extra month at new house so that we could immediately start moving out, within a few days we were living in the new house. We cleaned the house top to bottom I also cleaned the carpets using a vax carpet cleaner that we own.

 

Final inspection day came and we were told everything was fine I was told that there were no problems with the property and it was in good order and condition was the same or better  than when we moved in (same member of staff did inventory as well as move out inspection) , there were 2 senior members of staff from the letting agent who carried out the move out inspection in my presence, at this point I handed the keys over and left the property. As I was told all was fine I requested deposit back from DPS 


A checkout report was submitted to the Landlord, on page 2 of this document it states “The property has been checked against the inventory, no issues to report and I will attach a copy of the inventory for your records”

 

3 weeks later we had heard nothing so I emailed the agents asking what was happening the stated “the landlord is adamant that she wants the carpets cleaning due to a smell of dogs in the property. She also wants a replacement key for the bedroom window.
The cost of a carpet clean is £185 which we have obtained from one of our contractors and a key
would cost in the region of £3-5.


I will put these figures on the DPS site today”. At move out no mention was made of smells of animals (mainly because we didn’t have any and never have)

We informed the agent that we have never owned a dog in the property for 2 reasons, firstly I am highly allergic to Dogs, this is a medically recognised condition which was discovered as a result of allergy blood tests following breathing. 


I am also Asthmatic and contact with dogs would further exacerbate this, secondly under the terms of our tenancy even if we did want a dog we were not allowed to keep dogs, as well as being tenants we are also landlords of a property we own and is let, we know the importance of adhering to terms of tenancy agreements.


Our tenancy agreement does not require us to have the carpets professionally cleaned, nor is there any evidence on inventory or tenancy agreement that the carpets were professionally cleaned prior to commencement of our tenancy.
During our tenancy routine inspections were carried out by the agent every 6 months, no issues have been raised, no animal smells have ever been mentioned. No animal smells were discovered during the move out inspection. 3 members of staff from the agents have now inspected the property since the end of our tenancy and none have reported any smells or signs of animals being present as there have been none in the property. All this was pointed out to DPS in evidence we submitted.

 

The deposit was disputed so we sent all evidence including tenancy agreement and the report the agents had completed along with medical evidence that show my allergies. The LL didn’t submit evidence until the last minute, we asked for a copy of her submissions from DPS but by time it came the deadline for submission had passed. 


The landlord had produced a very amateur receipt for “professional carpet cleaning” which was apparently carried out prior to our move in, this invoice had no business name, a partial business address and fundamentally it did not contain anywhere any mention of our address. It was a very simple template invoice with cliparts, something I could put together in a few minutes.


The landlord based her claim on this invoice saying that the carpet were cleaned prior to our move in.

 

The DPS allowed in the landlords favour despite our evidence, I have numerous problems with this

As part of the evidence the landlord has quoted the following section from the tenancy agreement in the letter that she submitted as evidence, the landlord has stated this as a fact
"As the tenants signed the tenancy agreement which clearly states that all carpets must be professionally cleaned on exit and this along with the pungent smell of dog in the house means I have had to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned"
This is not the wording of the tenancy agreement, which in fact states


"3 (ii) To clean or pay for the professional cleaning of the property and the fixtures and fittings together with any blankets, curtains, carpets, linen and other items that have been soiled to the same standard as detailed in Schedule B"
I provided a copy of our tenancy agreement as part of my evidence submission which clearly shows the correct wording. The carpets were not soiled as shown in the move out inspection report, and therefore did not require professional cleaning, even had any soiling been present the tenancy agreement says we are to clean OR arrange professional cleaning, we did actually clean all carpets before we left, we did this not from necessity but because it's always nice to hand a property over that has been properly cleaned.

The adjudicator has stated in the adjudication decision


"20. The letting agent has provided an invoice for carpet cleaning at the start of the tenancy. As such, I am satisfied that the carpets were cleaned to a professional standard at the start of the tenancy"
Having looked at the submitted evidence I find an invoice which I assume has been provided by the landlord, however this invoice is very amateur in appearance and nowhere on the invoice does it state the address or customer, this invoice could be for absolutely any property or for any customer if indeed it is genuine at all. 


There was no soiling of the carpets when we left, they were in exactly the same condition they were at the start of our tenancy, as the photos on move out report show, the letting agents also confirmed verbally as well as on the move out report that there were no soiled carpets anywhere or smells in the property. The carpets were in the same condition as they were when we moved in. The move out inspection which the agent sent to the LL clearly shows no requirement for the carpets to be cleaned, we submitted this as part of our evidence to the DPS

 

We were not informed at the start of the tenancy nor is it mentioned anywhere in the tenancy agreement or move in inventory that the carpets had been professionally cleaned before we moved in nor do any of these documents mention any requirement to have them professionally cleaned at the end of tenancy, unless as referred to above there is a requirement to clean or have them cleaned professional only if they had been soiled, these 3 words are critical and had the tenancy agreement been fully studied by the adjudicator that would have become evident quickly, and we would not now be unfairly out of pocket by £185.

 

The DPS have basically said get lost, you agreed that the decision of the dispute resolution service was final and not appealable despite them failing in their duty by not studying the documents we provided fully and simply taking a letter from the LL as gospel.

 

The DPS have said the only way to go now is court, the LL now has our money.


We have done absolutely nothing wrong, we are good tenants keep a clean home and if anything minor comes up that needs sorting I just do it myself instead of making the LL pay over the odds for agents contractors, we are also landlords of a property ourselves and know exactly how things work and expectations are. The landlord is a very vindictive woman, she used in her evidence the fact that her previous tenants had apparently done the same so this time she wants money out of it. She has since been going round all the neighbours slating us saying that we trashed the place and were horrible people, unfortunately for her she told people who told us what she was saying.


:madgrin:

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Did you take photographs of the property when you moved in and did you take photographs of the property when you moved out?

Are you able to contact the plumber who discovered the boiler fault and logged it on the safety certificate? You should do so and you should get a written confirmation from him of what you say.

In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, you would only be required to return the property to the landlord in its original condition minus fair wear and tear for a years use.

It certainly seems as if you will have to go to court. By how much money are you out of pocket?


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54 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Did you take photographs of the property when you moved in and did you take photographs of the property when you moved out?

the agent took lots of photos at start and end, we have the start ones on pc but the end ones are built into the report so quite small, I am sure they will give me a copy 

Are you able to contact the plumber who discovered the boiler fault and logged it on the safety certificate? You should do so and you should get a written confirmation from him of what you say.

i can’t remember who it was tbh although that wasn’t part of the dispute I added that to provide some background into what happened :)

In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, you would only be required to return the property to the landlord in its original condition minus fair wear and tear for a years use.
That’s what we thought and expected, the first we knew of the claim the carpets had been “professionally cleaned” before we moved in was when the adjudicator was making decision and we could no longer submit evidence

 
It certainly seems as if you will have to go to court. By how much money are you out of pocket?

she has claimed and been awarded £185 which is money we cannot afford to lose considering we have done nothing wrong 

assume the money has now been returned to the ll so will now be much more difficult getting her to pay up

 

 


:madgrin:

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I think that the report from the plumber is important because it goes to the credibility of the landlord and the fact that he was renting out a property which was not in good condition. I think also a court could draw its own inference as to the reason for giving you notice if it had that evidence.

At the time you left, was the boiler working?

I should set about getting better quality photographs of the property at the end of the tenancy – if you can. If you want to bring a successful action on this then you will have to gather as much information as possible.

 

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I have an hour ago received the following email following a complaint to the dps

Hopefully the contents of the complaint will be used as part of the evidence by the new adjudicator

 

Thank you for your email of 23 September 2019.

I am sorry that you remain unhappy following my previous response.

Having reviewed your comments in this email, along with the tenancy agreement an the adjudicator's decision, I am inclined to agree that the adjudicator has not full considered the terms of the agreement.

I agree that this is important because the check out report did not record any difference in the condition of the carpets.

I apologise for this error. I also apologise that the evidence and the decision was not reviewed in full when responding to your initial query.

In light of this I have referred the evidence to a new adjudicator to complete a new decision.

If any further sums are payable this will be paid by us.

Kind Regards,


:madgrin:

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