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Hiya,

 

I posted a thread at the beginning of this week but can't find where it went so am trying again. I moved into a house share last August and signed a lodgers agreement and gave the landlord £425 deposit. Originally the owner/landlord said he would be living in the property. However, when I moved in he'd got a 3rd lodger and said he'd decided not to live at the property. This May the 3rd lodger moved out leaving myself and one other person. In July we decided to get a flat together (the land lord used to come and go as he pleased and we got fed up with it). We gave him a months notice via text and left him a letter (we only had our address as a contact for him). A week later he rang and said he'd been away (a lie we're sure) and had only just received our notice. He was extremely annoyed and said we had to give him 2 months notice, we argued this and he said he would get back to us on the issue - he never did.

 

We had a feeling that we may have trouble getting our deposit back from the landlord so we sent him two letters asking if he could advise us when and how he would return our deposit. He did not reply. A week before we moved out I rang him and asked if he could let us know before we vacated if he planned to take any money from our deposit, so we had time to remedy any problems. He agreed. We didn't here from him and moved out leaving the keys to the propery under the bins (as requested by the landlord). The property was spotless when we left, cleaner than when we actually moved in.

 

Despite saying he would send our deposit within a week, we didn't receive it, and he would not answer our phone calls. We wrote 2 letters, and after the 3rd letter which threatened court action he forwarded us our deposit. Between us he'd deducted £310 (£100 for cleaning and £210 for dry cleaning the sofa). The house was cleaner when we moved out than when we moved in. The sofa covers had not been drycleaned when I moved in, in fact, I washed the sofa covers because they were dirty. I do not see how he can charge us £210 to have them dry cleaned. He only deducted £25 from a previous lodger's deposit and that was for a red wine stain she'd left on the carpet.

 

We've written to him saying that we believe his cleaning costs are unfair. He replied, saying he thought he was being more than reasonable, and that he believed the property had been left in a poor state (we took photos of the property the day we left). We sent a further letter saying we were unhappy with the cleaning costs but that we would contribute £26 towards cleaning the oven and £10 towards spot cleaning a small red pen mark on a cushion (I was responsible for it). As yet, we've not had a reply to our last letter.

 

Surely, as lodgers we cannot be expected to pay for the cleaning of a house when we were not the only people living there (especially as it was very clean when we moved out). The landlord works as a property surveyor and would often get work done on his house through his job (they obviously weren't aware of this). We suspect this is the case with the cleaning. It's likely he hasn't even paid for the cleaning which was carried out.

 

My friend works in property and he believes our contract is void as it was a lodgers contract but the landlord did not live on the property. He believes we could actually report him to trading standards. Is this the case? What should we do now? I am more than prepared to take him to court, just out of principle, what are my chances of getting my deposit back?

 

I would really appreciate any advice.

 

Thank you : )

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Just a quick question, did you sign an inventory when you entered the property.

Ex-Retail Manager who is happy to offer helpful advise in many consumer problems based on my retail experience. Any advise I do offer is my opinion and how I understand the law.

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- No inventory, no deductions. There is no base condition of the property upon occupation with which to compare the condition upon vacating, so no damages can be upheld.

 

- It sounds VERY suss to me what they have done with regards lodgers and then full blown tenants. Sounds as if some kind of way to circumvent certain aspects of letting law, as lodgers have fewer rights. As well as potentially trying to avoid capital gains tax. However, I can almost guarantee you people like trading standards will have zero interest, and the people who should have interest(the housing dept of the local authority) almost certainly wont do anything anyway, so I wouldnt waste your time. Was his post still getting delivered to the property?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Hi, thank u so much for your reply. Yes, the landlord was getting all his post sent to the address. This was one of the reasons we decided to move out because we never new when he was coming around to get his mail. The landlord was in financial trouble, and extrememly 'put out' when we said we were moving out. I'm sure this is why he has kept such a large proportion of our deposit. What do you think we should do next?

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Sue him :) simple as.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Hi there

 

I agree that you have a case to sue him but you cant get blood out of a stone. If he is in financial difficulty then will he have the money to pay you. You could end up with having to pay your legal costs.

 

I think I would look into this further. Take all steps before taking legal action. Talk to trading standards and the housing authority and MAKE them listen to you. People should not be allowed to get away with this.

 

It may be that you wont get your deposit back but it will stop him behaving this way in the future.

 

Kind regards

Gemspan

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This is not a matter for trading standards by the way.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I don't want to have to go to court and that is a last resort. However, I am really annoyed because I know he had no right to keep our money. He has recently rented out the entire property for £1200 a month, so hopefully his financial situation has imrpoved since we moved out. Why is this not a matter for trading standards? I am still tempted to 'threaten' him with going to trading standards. I'm sure he was trying to dodge tax. He isn't very clever and it may frighten him to think we will take the issue to trading standards.

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Well to be more exact, why IS it an issue for trading standards? It is not in their jurisdiction. This is what the local housing departments are for.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I really don't know how any of these agencies work. Am desperate and just want my money back. If the landlord was trying to 'fiddle' the system and avoid pay capital gains tax, surely there must be an agency who would be interested. Or should I forget about reporting him and just take him to small claims court? We haven't yet had a reply to our last letter. He has 8 days left to reply.

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kelgre,in reply to your posts and in my view being totally blunt with you:

 

1. You could go to the private tenant's officer employed by your local council.This service is free but I cannot see what you would gain apart from "letting out some steam".

 

2.What is the point of going to the tax authorities? - What do you know about your landlord's tax affairs? And again what has this got to do with resolving your dispute?If you were to go down this route you would be doing it out of malice and it would not benefit your particular case at all.

 

3.In conclusion, cut the chase and sue the b******!

 

Anyway,I hope you find this information useful.

 

If you have any questions,just ask.

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Yes, he has your money and is refusing to give it back, take him to the small claims court... or at least write to him outlining everything you intend to do and your view of the legal position, and how it would be much easier if he just gave you your money back now, and then if he's still keeping your money start the small claims procedure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

well done mate, seems stupid to go through all that hassle but at least you got your money back

Ex-Retail Manager who is happy to offer helpful advise in many consumer problems based on my retail experience. Any advise I do offer is my opinion and how I understand the law.

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