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Unfair deposit witholding - advice please!!


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Hello all, I hope you can help!

 

We rented a flat from an agent (not registered with ARLA, etc) and now the landlord has stated that he is witholding our deposit due to damage to a door frame and picture hooks in the wall.

 

He states that he checked the flat before we moved in and these problems weren't there. We were not given a schedule of condition upon moving in but we completed our own schedule which detailed the picture hooks on the wall. We handed this to the agents with their standard report and we wrote "please refer to attached schedule for condition report".

 

Upon moving out, we were told by the representative of the agency that the flat was in excellent condition and that all we had to do was send in our final utility bills and we'd receive our full deposit back. To confirm, there was no damage to the doorframe other than discolourations, etc, which was listed on the condition report.

 

We signed the agent's report which stated that there were no problems with the flat - "excellent condition" was written!

 

On moving out, there were builders in the house refurbing the other flats (the landlord owns the whole house). They had access to our flat for painting the windows and we've said that if there is any damage, it wasn't there when we moved out and so it must have been done by them or other people (the agent left the back window unlocked upon checkout to let the builders in).

 

We have sent a letter saying that if we don't get our full deposit back in 14 days we'll take them to court. With the experiences and knowledge of the other posters/readers of this forum, does this seem like an obvious case for us to win? Also, would it be necessary to get legal representation/advice?

Thanks

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Do you have a signed inventory?

If not then the landlord cannot with hold any of the deposit.

How long ago did you move out, when the 14 days has expired you will need to send an LBA (Letter before action) before going to small claims. You need to show that you have given the landlord enough time to respond/react before going to court.

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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Thanks for your reply:

 

We haven't signed any inventory other than the one made by us detailing the picture hooks already there, and "marks, discolourations and chips" to the doorframe.

 

It sounds from the agents that there is now genuine damage to the doorframe. We're meeting the agents there to inspect the damage tomorrow but basically it's going to be a case of us saying (truthfully) that "that damage wasn't there when we moved out, and the checkout report that we and your representative signed stated that there were no problems with the condition".

 

If they don't buckle, is it 14 days from when we have sent our request for our deposit back that we send an LBA? Even if they are arguing with us in the meantime? Would you reckon them to be acting unlawfully from the info i've given?

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Seems they are trying to charge you for the damage caused by someone else.

Just send the LBA when the time expires, even though they are arguing with you.

The fact there is no inventory is very good for you as there is nothing to compare the property with on entry.

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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