To think the Landlord is taking the piss?

(100 Posts)
Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:39:12

We recently moved out of a rented property. We have been in the property for 4 years.

When we moved in, the place was disgusting. The previous tenants smoked, the carpets, furniture, beds, even the walls stank of smoke. There was dirty, mouldy food in the cupboards. The fridge and freezer were filthy. The walls were creamy yellow stained. The rugs were unusable, so dirty and smelled horrific. The kitchen equipment was foul - greasy, dirty, marked/stained, chipped. The mattress was stained, had burn holes in it and was mouldy. Basically the place was not habitable as it was.

We spent £400 on new kitchen goods and a mattress, and spent 3 days airing and cleaning the property before we could stay there. I wasn't happy with the smoke smell and wouldn't let DS stay until it was much less noticeable (it didn't 'go' for months, really).

We put all the mentioned items above in storage. After a few months, the LL came round and we showed her everything, she told us to bin it all, bar the rugs which she wanted back. We arranged this, no problems.

Every 6 months, we had an inspection. Never any problems, in fact the inspectors often commented on how clean and tidy we kept the property. Once they recommended that the property could do with a redecoration as the walls etc were still stained. This never happened.

We moved out a few months ago, after giving our notice as required. We even found a new tenant to move in, and helped the agents out with this process.

We applied for our deposit back, as it was being held with a protection scheme.

We have been told the LL has asked to hold the entire amount, for the following reasons:

End of tenancy clean.
Handyman charge to reinstate the door closers and wardrobe handles. (these handles were not on the wardrobe when we moved in - they were inside it! We never moved them, we never used them).
Missing/damaged items - Cutlery/Utensils/Chopping Boards/Iron/Bedding. (as explained above. Plus, there was an iron there.
Replacement bed due to damaged slats. (two of the slats are damaged. We can't prove this wasn't us, but we don't know of it happening, IYSWIM. Would be happy to pay this if it is our fault.

I am absolutely gutted. We have been great tenants, never missed a rent payment, never caused any damage, repainted the hall ourselves (same colour), really looked after the outside area and never once had a problem.

They've said they have lost the inventory from when we moved in. They've also lost the 6 monthly inspection reports.

They claim to took nine hours to clean the 2 bedroom flat when we moved out. We did a good, thorough cleaning of the flat, the new tenant moved in and was totally happy with it. They've claimed they had to have this done (though didn't do it for us when we moved in)

Incidentally - I asked for the invoices for the cleaning and handyman. Both came from the letting agents 'sister' cleaning and maintenance companies, of the same name hmm

I can't believe the LL is doing this to us. Without this money, we don't have anything available to pay a deposit on a new property.

sad

Well the LL may have "asked" to keep the money but in reality it will be very difficult for them to do so - legally I believe the money is yours and he would have to prove that he is due the money.

The fact that the inventory is lost is in your favour and I don't think the LL has a leg to stand on.

The LL is trying it on, but you will get your money back, it isn't up to him. Thats the reason for this scheme.......to stop unscrupulous LL's keeping deposit money when they shouldn't. I am a LL and have never ever held a penny back.

Feminine Thu 23-Jan-14 12:43:22

I just want to say I'm sorry.

and that they are bastards.

Hopefully someone more helpful and articulate will help you.

sharkey1187 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:44:15

You can dispute this with the company used for the deposit holding scheme. When I was in rented accommodation, shared with a work colleague, we had the same issues when we left. My colleague dealt with the dispute so I don't know the details but we won and got our full deposit back much to the landlord's disgust. We'd left the property in excellent condition and felt keeping the deposit (which was £1500) was unjustified. It can be done but it's not a quick process.

DoJo Thu 23-Jan-14 12:44:51

If they don't have the inventory or inspection reports, then I would have thought that they were on pretty shaky ground with regards to proving that any of the items they have listed weren't in that state when you moved in. Do you have copies? I know that Shelter offer assistance to people with housing queries, although hopefully someone knowledgeable will be along soon to offer more substantial advice. Although, I have to ask - why did you even move in there without getting the landlord to sort some of the issues? It sounds grim!

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 12:45:51

This is terrible. A couple of things you can try

(a) Contact the company who did the inventory - they should have copies on file. If the LL did it themselves and there is no evidence of said inventory then there are no grounds on which they can claim these items even existed in the first place.

(b) Ditto the inspection reports.

(c) Write to the DPS putting forward these issues - they won't automatically be on LL's side. Threaten legal proceedings (that will often get someone to back down even if you're not planning on it)

(d) In your next property, take time stamped photos of everything when you move in so things like the handles can be seen.

I'm sorry, this is really, really horrible.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:47:16

Thanks everyone.

I feel like crying. This is over £1k and we just can't afford to lose it. We've found a new property for us to move in to, the agents for this one can only hold it for another week, and we just don't have the money for a deposit without this money back, so we are going to lose it.

We have appealed with the protection company.

feetheart Thu 23-Jan-14 12:48:49

I am a landlord and I think they are taking the piss.

Do you have copies of the inventory and inspection reports? Any emails, texts, etc from the landlord or agent?

Which deposit scheme is it? If it was me I would say, 'Fine, take it to the tribunal'.

Given that the inventory and reports are lost I would be very surprised if you don't get your full deposit back sp try not to lose heart...although how long it will take I have no idea.

Makes me mad, it's LL's like that who give us all a shitty name.

Good luck.

SlimJiminy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:49:45

It seems to be common practice, sadly. My DB is having similar problems getting a deposit back - LL has been perfectly reasonable, but the letting agents are trying to get their filthy stealing hands on the deposit - for things as ridiculous as leaves collecting outside the front window!! My advice is to push, push, push back and address each point with a "not acceptable and here's why..." response.

He may shaft you over the bed (which certainly sounds fixable if it's just a case of mending two slats - that's what I'd be doing in my own home). DH had similar issues with the same letting agents when moving out of his flat. He forced the issues relentlessly and eventually got his whole deposit back. You need to dispute the issues and push, push, push and show him you're not prepared to back down on this one.

It's such a shame - for every landlord shafted by tenants who've failed to pay rent/left the place in a state/fled without a trace there seems to be a tenant who's never caused any problems that gets shafted by the LL. I've experienced being shafted as a LL and tenant - and both are horrible and stressful experiences.

Whatnamenext Thu 23-Jan-14 12:49:47

I had great success with deposit holding scheme, but yes it's not quick.

It's not quick but the law is on your side. Good luck.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:49:52

marzipanned it is the lettings company that we are having the problem with!

They claim they don't have the paperwork.

We don't have copies, as we were never given copies. We were given one copy of the inventory, asked to sign it and they took it away. We never got copies of any inspection reports.

Dojo - I know. But we had already paid our money, we were excited to move in (it was a lovely property, despite the mess on moving in) and really, it was just mess and smell, both of which we just dealt with ourselves.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:51:25

Thanks everyone. I actually feel more positive already hearing these stories.

It's just so bloody frustrating.

Any ideas how long this process could take?

HesterShaw Thu 23-Jan-14 12:51:29

Sorry you're in this situation - it absolutely stinks. So many landlords are just greedy bastards with no morals.

I posted a similar thread not long ago OP. The advice I received was, as there is no inventory, they cannot prove anything. And as they cannot prove anything, the LL is obliged to get your deposit back to you. It sounds as though you have been good, responsible tenants and that money is YOURS. Get some advice from the CAB if things carry on being difficult. Good luck.

PirateJelly Thu 23-Jan-14 12:51:39

I dont know the legal stand point of this but didn't want to read and run. What arseholes angry

One point though if they have lost the initial inventory as claimed them how the hell can they prove what items were there in the first place and are now missing? Also they have no proof of what was damaged/wasn't damaged when you moved in without an inventory.

Sounds to me like they're trying it on big time, especially with the no receipts/ sister issue. I'd be taking legal advice if I was you. Do you have a Housing Advice team near you? They are usually excellet at giving free legal advice on these matters, failing that I'd go see the CAB.

So angry on you behalf.

HesterShaw Thu 23-Jan-14 12:52:55

Sorry, substitute LLs in my rant for "lettings agents".

SlimJiminy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:52:55

P.S. I now realised that "shaft you over the bed" was written all wrong!! Oops!!

etoo Thu 23-Jan-14 12:54:38

If the landlord has no inventory they have no case.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:54:59

Actually, I maybe should have clarified...

They do have an inventory - with a whole list of things on it. But they don't have the one we signed.

LoopyLobster Thu 23-Jan-14 12:55:43

Another landlady here.

They don't have a leg to stand on.

PirateJelly Thu 23-Jan-14 12:58:13

Sorry X-posts with 10 people there.

MoreBeta Thu 23-Jan-14 13:00:44

etoo - agreed. No inventory they have no case.

The 'sister cleaning company' is a common one in my experience as a tenant.

The TDS will not allow the agent to get away with this.

PirateJelly Thu 23-Jan-14 13:05:21

Well that's not worth the paper it's written on op. If that works then a ll could just add 52" flatscreen tv, giant fridge freezer, 2 grand corner sofa etc etc. The inventory has to have the tenants signature on it to make it valid as this proves you agree with what it says.

I had a similar problem with the inventory a cowboy landlord/letting agent sent me, all the photos were blurry and missing the areas that were damaged and the list didn't mention half the faults or the condition of the property. I didn't agree with it so never signed it or sent it back to them. 6 months later when I wanted out they tried charging me for damages (that I hadn't caused) by stating these damages weren't on the inventory. I told them to prove I'd agreed to they weren't there originally. Anyway needless to say they couldn't find the copy I'd signed (obviously) and soon backed off. Don't worry OP the law is on your side.

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:07:51

Juno this sounds like a very dodgy shop. Letting agent should have provided you with copies of all of these documents. Speak to the DPS as soon as you can - presumably the letting agent has used the same one for all tenants and if they've acted this way with you then it seems likely that have with others in the past.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:09:17

They are claiming that it took 9 hours at £17 an hour to clean the 2 bedroom flat.

And this was £17 per hour.

- Window cleaning was £60 (we were never asked to clean the windows, and it was a third floor flat!)
- Deep Clean Upholstery £50 (we had throws for the entire tenancy)
- Rubbish removed £20 (No idea what this refers to. There was nothing left)
- Oven £40

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:10:19

It's a big, well known letting agents.

Joysmum Thu 23-Jan-14 13:10:55

Another LL here.

The onus is on the LL to prove this happened since you moved in. This means they have to have a detailed and signed inventory (and pref photos and vid included as well) without this, there's nothing they can do.

Do the good news is that you'll get your money back, the back news is that they can delay the process and you'll need to wait to get your deposit back.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:10:58

Is the onus on them or us to provide the inventory etc?

And the inspection reports, they claim they don't have these?

Quinteszilla Thu 23-Jan-14 13:13:25

If the deposit were put in a scheme, the deposit scheme would have written to you separately with details of the scheme.

It is illegal not to place deposits in a scheme. They may have to pay YOU damages.

If I were you I would repost this in Legal, as there are people there with knowledge of what to do.

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:14:47

The cleaning charge is completely insane.

Write a letter formally outlining all these points and your responses. Threaten legal and press action (latter relevant if they are big and well known. Naming and shaming on twitter, FB, etc sometimes seems effective, though no personal experience at all. I'm also thinking of those complaints threads you get on here where people have taken grievances to the CEO and got a positive response)

Unfortunately none of this helps you get your money back to secure the next tenancy, but I am sure that you will be able to get it back eventually.

tobiasfunke Thu 23-Jan-14 13:16:50

Loads of landlords try this sort of stuff on. Friend of ours got £600 taken off them for a 'faulty' seal on a fridge door- which meant that the landlord claimed for a new fridge. There was nothing wrong with the door and the fridge had been removed when they enquired. They took the landlord to the small claims and won.
The cleaning thing is usually a scam too. My sister got her deposit taken off her for not window cleaning- which they couldn't do as there was scaffolding outside the building for the full year they lived there.

I also agree if they didn't have a damage report or an inventory before you moved in they can't prove that you did any of these things. I would threaten legal proceedings if they carry on.

Unfortunately you are unlikely to get your money any time soon.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 23-Jan-14 13:18:08

Hahaha fucking chancers! You must only pay against original inventory and as for her sister... Quiet word to hmrc?

PirateJelly Thu 23-Jan-14 13:18:17

They are the ones claiming theres a problem so it's upti them to prove it.

Also regards getting a deposit in time for this new property. Goggle Housing Advice services in your area. I appreciate this may not be the case everywhere and is dependent upon local funds but my local Housing Advice Team does a bond and deposit scheme where they will lend you the money (although they usually pay it direct to the new letting agent/landlord) and then you pay it back at a small amount per week, usually interest free. If you have something like that in your area then they will give you advice on the matter, act on your behalf and also lend you the bond etc. I appreciate not all areas have this but I've lived in 3 different places and all had similar schemes, so definately worth a quick google/asking around.

Good luck smile

tobiasfunke Thu 23-Jan-14 13:18:46

Do you have any emails or texts or letters showing that they have arranged the inspections etc. Are they claiming they didn't do the inspections or just don't have the reports?

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:19:07

The deposit was put in a scheme, though we were halfway through our tenancy when this was done, and the agents had already taken some of it off, I think because the washing machine broke down once and we were liable.

I wondered about the cleaning charge. It seems absurd - is this normal?

My argument is that this didn't happen when we moved in, and also that we did clean the property, but obviously not to a 'professional' standard - we are normal people not professional cleaners!

Joysmum Thu 23-Jan-14 13:20:25

They need to provide the documentary evidence. They need to prove their claim.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:23:39

No, they would normally write to us to let us know when they'd be coming to do an inspection, I never kept the letters.

They have sent me 2 copies of 2 inspection reports. But in total we had 9 done.

Both the ones they have sent say there are no issues and the condition of the property is excellent, but are from 2011.

To clarify the 'sister' thing - it's not the LL sister, its a 'sister' company of the agents.

So, say the agents are called 'Mumsnet Lettings'. The cleaners were called 'Mumnset Cleaning Services' and the handyman was 'Mumsnet Maintenance'.

I queried this, and the email response says:

With regards to the work, the job was passed to our sister company Mumsnet Maintenance who carried out the work and invoiced accordingly.

rallytog1 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:26:41

Call their bluff and take it to arbitration. They can't take any money out of your deposit without your consent, unless arbitration decides otherwise, so it will be protected until the outcome is known.

I'm a LL and also work in an allied profession, and it's frightening how many agents are now trying this sort of thing on with tenants. They're banking on you not knowing your rights, so if you're prepared to let it go to arbitration, then you may well find they back down more easily than you would imagine.

In the meantime, do you have s family member who could lend you the money until you get it back?

Quinteszilla Thu 23-Jan-14 13:30:00

If the agency is successful in getting a claim towards the deposit on behalf of the landlords, they will get a commission of the amount. So, if the landlord gets £1000 back, they will get £200 commission. That is what my large green and yellow agent explained to me, regards my own tenants. The agent will therefore be very keen to aid the landlord in this. They also get a cut on maintenance and repairs too, so if the property was managed, they will not only get a fee from the landlord, but they will fleece him for all the repairs. Grr. I am not too keen on lettings agents.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 23-Jan-14 13:30:39

You have had really good advice on this thread. I have experience of this from a LL perspective and I had to show:

Inventory
Leases
Inspection reports
Time stamped photos of damage
All correspondence
Check out form signed by tenant
Invoices for remedial work

Where I didn't have evidence, I couldn't claim.

Just checking - are you absolutely sure they have actually protected your deposit? You should have received full details of the scheme when you moved in.

As Joysmum said, you should be confident of getting your money back if you hold your nerve, but it will take time. Can you take out an overdraft / short loan in the meantime?

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:32:08

Yeah, we do. Both sets of parents are reasonably wealthy, but we loathe asking them for money.

We are, and always have been, self sufficient. DH studied for 6 years at uni, and then couldn't get a job in his field and has had to retrain. We don't earn a huge amount but we earn enough to have a reasonable life, and we don't like asking for help. It's a bit complicated and I won't bore you but suffice to say, it's grudged and judged when it is given.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 23-Jan-14 13:32:09

The deposit was put in a scheme, though we were halfway through our tenancy when this was done, and the agents had already taken some of it off, I think because the washing machine broke down once and we were liable.

I've just seen this - this is illegal - point this out and remind them you could claim for 3 x the deposit because of this.

Quinteszilla Thu 23-Jan-14 13:34:56

We were also recently renting, and the landlord/agent was keen to claim off the deposit.

They were referring to lots of picture hooks on the walls, the walls had been drilled into, the place was not professionally cleaned, etc.

We showed them their own marketing of the property from before we moved in, complete with picture hooks, a flat screen tv mounted on the wall, etc. In addition we had an inventory from the landlord (he wanted to do the check in himself without the agency) and he had scribbled on it "picture hooks on walls, damage to walls, property not professionally cleaned". Clearly he had forgotten.

We sent this piece of paper, along with the estate agents marketing, on to the arbitration, and we got our deposit back in full.

HollyBrrr Thu 23-Jan-14 13:37:02

I really feel for you OP. My parents had similar problems with their landlords a few years ago, but they got the money back eventually - it just takes a bit of a slog which of course is the last thing most people need when they're undergoing the stress of moving.

Have to say, you've been luckier than my DH and I: we have a dog so offered to pay a larger deposit (around £2500 - nearly all our savings) so secure a place. Before we could get proof of the deposit scheme the ll had gone bankrupt and stolen our entire deposit. Now we can't track them down and are now in a really uncomfortable position with the bank that has taken over the flat and is asking about the deposit. Eek!

Wishing you all the best for the fight ahead cake

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:41:01

Unexpected - I don't think the lettings protection scheme existed when we moved in.

When they sent us the letter to say they now had to give the money to the LPS, they wrote the total on it. We paid £1400 deposit when we moved in, and the total given to the LPS was £1050, because of a washing machine repair cost.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:41:58

Quint I wish we had pictures from when we moved in.

The worst thing was, we did take pictures, stored them on our laptop which died a few years ago and we lost everything on it.

Weegiemum Thu 23-Jan-14 13:54:07

It isn't an agency that's found widely over the whole Country by any chance?

We made the mistake of using them and renting via them for just over 5 years. They claimed, at the end (having had NO proper maintenance for most of our tenancy) to have sent the deposit back to the LL who was overseas.

When we got our solicitor to write (letter:£30) a cheque was in the post the following day. Bastards.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:00:24

No, it isn't.

I am trying to think of something equally intelligent... um.. it's a company who might like to go to the bonny bonny banks...

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 23-Jan-14 14:15:59

It's sounds dodgy practice to deduct an amount from the deposit before protecting it.

Have a look at this and see if they have failed to comply with any of it.

3. DATE FOR COMPLYING WITH THE REGULATIONS

When will landlords need to comply with the regulations?

Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011 and tenancy renewed by express agreement or on tacit relocation on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013

Within 30 working days of renewal

4. DUTY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION

What information must a landlord give to a tenant?

Under Regulation 42 of the 2011 Act you must provide your tenant with information about the following:

your landlord registration status
confirmation of receipt of the deposit
confirmation of the date it was paid to an approved scheme
the name and contact details for the scheme holding the deposit
the address to which the deposit relates
the reasons why part or all of the deposit might be withheld at the end of the tenancy, with reference to the tenancy agreement
The information must be provided within the timescales indicated under Section 3 Date for complying with the regulations.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:22:51

We moved in in 2010, so that was before this came into force?

They did send us a letter about the fact the deposit would now be held with LPS. The amount they said they were sending was less than we paid, but they said this was due to the repairs carried out prior.

I can't remember if they provided all that information, but nothing stands out as missing...

rallytog1 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:41:25

Do you know why you were held liable for the washing machine repair? Unless it was a brand new machine when you moved in, and it broke down because you misused it, I would expect this to be the landlord's responsibility. If it wasn't brand new when you moved in, they were really trying it on by charging you for the repair, unless they had proof that the previous tenant left it in perfect working order.

Incidentally, the amount they deducted for that repair would also have paid for a brand new machine!

I'm not sure what recourse you have for this, as you may be deemed to have accepted the deduction. However, the deposit protection legislation has been around for at least six years, so if you've been in your property for four, your deposit should have been protected as soon as you moved in.

tobiasfunke Thu 23-Jan-14 14:43:45

The 9 hours cleaning will be calculated so that with the cost of the other things it all adds up nicely to £1000.
When we sold our last house I got a couple of quotes for a cleaning service as we had done that before. They came in at over £600 for a 3 bed semi and that was for the basic service. 8 years previously it had been £75. This was in Edinburgh where there are a lot of rented properties. Apparently most landlords and agents put in a professional cleaning clause in the tenancy agreement- either it has to be cleaned professionally or you have to clean it to a professional standard. If you don't and this may include things like failing to dry clean the curtains or deep cleaning the oven or french polishing the table they will charge you for a professional clean. The agent may get a cut for the cleaning referral or as in your case is the sister company. That is why they charge ludicrous prices. The actual cleaners won't get this - they'll get minimum wage. It is one huge big giant scam to keep your money.

rallytog1 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:44:34

Ah, just clocked something you said op. Are you in Scotland? The rules are different - what I've said re dates applies to England and Wales. Don't think that changes your basic right to get your deposit back though.

rallytog1 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:47:12

Tobias that is technically true. However any contract term that required the tenant to leave a property in a better condition than they found it, would be an unfair term and not legally enforceable. Although obviously the onus is on the tenant to work out that it is an unfair term.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:48:22

rally no, but they have said that a kirby grip broke the fan, which is our fault.

tobias that's what I thought too. Oddly, the total they are claiming for, when itemised, comes to £8 over the deposit amount. Coincidence!

There was nothing in the tenancy about cleaning.

Yes - in Scotland...

Bumblebee333 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:49:01

Perhaps the LL knows nothing about this and it is a dodgy agent trying to steal from both of you. Could you contact the landlord directly?

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 14:50:23

Possibly... though the agents have been fairly honest that it's come from her. In fact, the guy I am dealing with has even said it is ridiculous.

HeadFullofSteam Thu 23-Jan-14 15:10:46

I am in Scotland, and have some experience of the TDS, although never with a dispute so can't speak from direct knowledge of how these go in reality.

You can go to the TDS, and apply to their dispute resolution process. You are supposed to show that you have tried to reach agreement with your landlord re what is to happen to the deposit, but been unable to do so. So, in the first instance, if you haven't already done so, I would write to the ll advising why you do not consider you are liable for the deductions they are seeking (ie either not your fault or unreasonable/excessive charging). But be aware that you have to raise a dispute within 30 days.

Once you register a dispute, the ll is bound to go along with this and an independent adjudicator is appointed to come to a decision (even if they decide against you, there is still scope to ask for a review of the decision)

You don't have to use the dispute resolution scheme, you can go to court (though would cost you and the dispute resolution service is free) The adjudicator has to make a decision within 20 days of you registering the dispute.

I don't know how many cases are going to dispute, and how well/badly they are being dealt with. It is a situation of one word against another. Does the ll have multiple properties? If so, may be known for doing this. Also may be relying on your ignorance of your legal rights.

So far as your new property goes, if I were you, I would grit my teeth and borrow the deposit money from parents/in-laws (whoever is the lesser of the two evils!) in the hope you can pay it back to them in full once the dispute has been dealt with.

You might want to phone the TDS to speak to someone there - in my experience they have been quite helpful. Or look on their website as they set out the legal requirements and obligations quite well. You could also telephone Shelter or CAB for advice.

Good luck and let us know how you are getting on.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 15:40:46

That is really helpful, thank you.

What's the TDS? blush

We have started a dispute with the LPS who have our deposit.

We can't really afford to borrow the money for the deposit anyway, just in case we don't get this money back. We will never be able to repay it.

Katiebeau Thu 23-Jan-14 18:45:44

I just wanted to add I am a LL and they are very out of order.

1) with no inventory they cannot prove any of the claimed dirt, missing items etc and it is down to them to prove it.

2) refuse to accept the lose of you deposit and it will go into a dispute process. They won't win without a video inventory

3) the washing machine. I know my tenants broke mine but I can't proves that they ever used it in 8 weeks so I had to pay.

Trust me, the law is on the side of tenants although I get why when there are such tosspot LAs and LLs about.

Good luck op

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 19:07:15

They have an inventory, it's unsigned.

They claim this is THE inventory. I claim it isn't, I've never seen it before and the one I signed is different.

They don't have a copy of the signed one, they say.

MellowAutumn Thu 23-Jan-14 19:40:13

Then they are up shit creek ;)

HeadFullofSteam Thu 23-Jan-14 19:51:00

Sorry - Tenant Deposit Scheme, whom you have been in contact with already.

Are you actually about to rent another property? You say you moved out a few months ago, so not clear where you are staying/what your plans are. If you are could you see if your new landlords would take their deposit by instalments? Perhaps you could provide a Guarantor ie someone who undertakes to make payment of any sums not paid by you (usually done re your rent, but possibly would agree to it re your deposit. You could maybe show your new landlord correspondence and undertake to keep them fully in the loop about your dispute. Some landlords are quite prepared to be flexible for the security of getting a good tenant.

There is a council scheme in some areas where the council will guarantee the deposit and the tenant has one year to pay it (the Bond Scheme). Not sure though what the current criteria is or whether you would qualify, also not all local authorities may do this.

JupiterGentlefly Thu 23-Jan-14 20:05:53

Hi, have a good read. this should make you feel a whole lot better

www.depositprotection.com/documents/a-guide-to-tenancy-deposits-disputes-and-damages.pdf

JupiterGentlefly Thu 23-Jan-14 20:15:18

That particular link helped some tenants I worked for. The agents cleaners were in house. They tried to charge £180 for cleaning. It was spotless, I know because I had cleaned it.

Joysmum Thu 23-Jan-14 20:24:35

Just one thing to add though about the clean, many tenancy agreements have it written into them that the tenant needs to have a professional clean done at the end of the tenancy, if this is the case and you can't prove you did, they could claim for that but this would be nowhere near 9 hours and claiming for 9 hours a relative is easily disputed.

superstaary Thu 23-Jan-14 20:32:36

Op it might be a good Idea to speak directly to LL if you haven't already. Previous dealings I have had with a lettings agency showed that the LL was unaware of excess and irregular end bill. The agency had kept every penny and hadn't told the owner about any charges.

JetSetWilly Thu 23-Jan-14 20:36:39

Also with the window cleaning part do they mean outside windows? If so surely they're the responsibility of the agents who manage the flat? Not the individual tenants?

JupiterGentlefly Thu 23-Jan-14 20:44:40

OP this set up is exactly like the agents my clients had a trouble with,
A well established City Centre agent, with, the maintenance and cleaning all owned in house... I don't know how its legal.

inabeautifulplace Thu 23-Jan-14 20:47:31

"Just one thing to add though about the clean, many tenancy agreements have it written into them that the tenant needs to have a professional clean done at the end of the tenancy, if this is the case and you can't prove you did, they could claim for that but this would be nowhere near 9 hours and claiming for 9 hours a relative is easily disputed."

That's a great example of an unfair contract clause and one which can rightly be challenged.

Juno77 Thu 23-Jan-14 22:15:03

jupiter that link is fantastic. Thank you so much, that will really help me from my argument.

jetset I can only assume it was, as the inside of the windows were spotless. I cleaned them.

We are about to (hopefully) rent another property, but it's through another agency not a private landlord and there is no negotiation on the rent payment. We've actually paid the deposit (£1500), but we can't move in until we pay the first months rent as well which is another £1k and we don't have it, as we were expecting this deposit money back.

tobiasfunke Fri 24-Jan-14 08:57:20

Often a tenant will be expected to get the outside of the windows cleaned. However it is usually set out in the terms of the lease.
As I said his is what did for my sister's deposit in her flat- the outside of the windows weren't cleaned despite the fact there was scaffolding in the way and they couldn't tilt and turn. That was a big Edinburgh agent but it was 15 years ago.

Juno77 Fri 24-Jan-14 09:10:08

We'll, there are three issues with the external side of the windows:

They never gave us keys to open the windows fully
They are three floors up so we couldn't physically do it
They never asked us to have them cleaned

traininthedistance Fri 24-Jan-14 11:17:56

Take them to arbitration and you should get your money back - do you have a friend who is a solicitor or accountant and would be willing to write a stiff letter threatening legal action?

So sorry OP, I've had experience of dealing with rubbish landlords and it's incredibly frustrating. Just read the other landlord thread ongoing ATM for a glimpse of how LLs hold tenants in complaint!

Just a quick note on how to avoid this in the future in case it helps anyone - on your moving day take an hour or so to take a lot of high res time-stamped photos of every room, appliance and piece of furniture in the property. When you hand your keys back, email the agent/LL including the photos as an email attachment and asking for confirmation of receipt. Reference the inventory (if there is one) and tenancy agreement (also attach as an electronic file or scan if possible) and request and an acknowledgement of your right to receive back the full deposit. Copy yourself in and save the email. It doesn't matter if you receive an acknowledgment or not, what's important is to show you sent it if the LL tries it on. This usually scares them off any funny business. Even better is to get the agent or LL to meet you at the property at handover and present them with this email and photos and ask them to agree the photos are an accurate representation there and then - you can then send a following email saying "as you agreed at handover

traininthedistance Fri 24-Jan-14 11:20:20

Sorry!

-- Handover of keys, property is left in a clean and acceptable condition according to terms of tenancy agreement".

Sounds a bit OTT, but so many LLs try it on, this really stops them in their tracks. And never assume that a LL will be a decent person about this, esp. if they are an amateur landlord - cover yourself anyway.

Good luck OP!!

traininthedistance Fri 24-Jan-14 11:22:43

*contempt not complaint! Bloody phone, sorry!

ophelia275 Fri 24-Jan-14 11:47:22

Phone Shelter asap for advice 0808 800 4444.

ophelia275 Fri 24-Jan-14 11:50:11

Don't worry you will get your money back. They have broken so many rules and not done things according to the rules. There is a procedure you need to follow to get your deposit back. Phone Shelter and they will explain it to you in detail. Do everything in WRITING and send it all recorded delivery. Good luck!

hooochycoo Fri 24-Jan-14 12:09:43

we had pretty much the exact same happen to us. i've copy and pasted an edited version of the letter we sent that got us our deposit back. the CAB helped us write it. You'll obviously need to edit in your specific details.



Dear

Re: Deposit for xxxxxxx

We are writing concerning the deposit we paid for xxxxxxxx, as we are not happy that our deposit of xxxxxx has not been returned to us.

You will be aware, as we are, of the leglislation around the return of security deposits that states that deposit deductions are for property damages caused by a tenant's abuse or neglect (but not fair wear and tear). You will also be aware that an inventory should be shared between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy, stating clearly what fixtures, fittings and furnishings are in the property at the beginning of the tenancy and their condition. Further to this, you will doubtless know that it is also necessary that any proposed retention of deposit be accompanied by itemised billing and receipts.

Bearing this in mind, I am therefore not prepared to accept any of the points made in your correspondance of xxx.

-End of tenancy clean.

We dispute this excessive charge as the property was clean and tidy when we left the tenancy.

-Handyman charge to reinstate the door closers and wardrobe handles. We dispute this, these handles were not on the wardrobe when we moved in - they were inside it. We never moved them, we never used them.

-Missing/damaged items - Cutlery/Utensils/Chopping Boards/Iron/Bedding.

add in explanation

-Replacement bed due to damaged slats.

We dispute this, as the bed was already damaged at commencement of our tenancy

In addition to all of the above points, we ask you to note that as there was never any inventory given to us with our contract for us to refer to at the end of our tenancy. Therefore we strongly dispute any alleged damage or neglect to any alledged property, fittings or fixtures, as we have strong concerns that there is no objective legal way to adjudicate whether the alledged damage occured during our tenancy.

We would also like to remind you that you carried out a check out inspection on xxxxx dates and reported the condition of the property was good. We would ask that you provide us of copies of these inspection reports.

We’d like to take this opportunity to state that we are also deeply disappointed at this dispute, as we took time and care to look after the property and considerable effort to clean and return it in good condition at the end of the tenancy.

Therefore we'd be most grateful if you could return all xxxx of our deposit as soon as possible, or provide independent itemised and receipted documentation of any portion of it you still wish to contest.

If it is not returned within 14 days, we will unfortunately be forced to take further action to retrieve it.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

xxxxxxx

hooochycoo Fri 24-Jan-14 15:05:09

The tenancy afterwards I took photos when I moved in, boxed up everything I could from the inventory and stored it in the top of the cupboard, and took photos when I left. I would never rent a flat without doing that again.

Juno, the company I think you are referring to is well known for their 'in house maintenance team' charging the earth.
Are you dealing with the east, central or west branch? A friend works in a service that provides advice and they hear a lot about the central (west end) one.

Juno77 Fri 24-Jan-14 18:24:23

hoochyhoo That is absolutely amazing. I have basically cut and pasted that for my dispute. I am SO appreciative.

flowers

Oh, and I will definitely be following everyones advice re photos and inventory etc for the next tenancy!

Ican - It is the east branch (I assume - Edinburgh). They are quite new for us, as we were with another company but they bought them over during our tenancy.

I will, of course, update you on what happens.

Pumpkinette Fri 24-Jan-14 18:43:15

If OP is in Scotland the deposit scheme has a different start date and set of rules.

hooochycoo Fri 24-Jan-14 19:05:40

No problem , glad it helps. make sure you send it recorded delivery. We had the same problem with needing the deposit for our new flat quicker than we got it back, so we got an interest free credit card and then paid it back and closed the account.
I'm in edinburgh too, I wonder if it's the same letting agency?

Juno77 Fri 24-Jan-14 19:25:17

I wonder. Or, all they all the same really. Thieving bastards.

I don't suppose yours would have the initials LL? Formerly, AR?

hooochycoo Fri 24-Jan-14 19:34:23

Nope. Yes I think they are all gits.

Best of luck. CAB can walk you through the small claim's court proceedings if need be . Stressful though.

Hissy Fri 24-Jan-14 19:38:00

The only way they can insist on professional cleaning by you, is if they can prove it was cleaned professionally FOR you.

You only need return the property in the condition you received it in.

Get legal advice, go to the CAB or equivalent, and relax, they genuinely don't have a leg to stand on, and you might wnd up with 3x your deposit back.

Was the safety certificate stuff up to date too? If not, that's a potential criminal matter.

RandomMess Fri 24-Jan-14 19:42:55

Juno I hope you get back your money in full, they are being complete gits.

babiesmakemecrazy Fri 24-Jan-14 19:56:03

Me and my partner had a similar problem. When we moved out of our flat, I deep cleaned it and even painted fresh to make sure we got our bond back. He then text me saying he was keeping 300 due to mess, cleaning etc. I was convinced he was doing this because we were a young couple. I looked into our rights etc and I found that if you go on the Deposit Protection Scheme website enter your log in details etc and request the money back if the landlord disagrees it automatically goes into a case where the LL has to pay fees etc so then the LL generally gives it back. If it goes to court he pay fees and could end up paying you up to 3x the cost of your bond, so it's not worth it for the LL. They'll just be trying their luck with you. We got our bond back after requesting it off the DPS site, we let him keep 50 to clean carpets as we had a cat and didn't mind paying that.
GOOD LUCK!

specialsubject Fri 24-Jan-14 20:51:59

BTW all those whining that ' all landlords are thieving bastards' might want to find the other thread, where tenants have stopped paying rent and are removing carpets and flooring before running away. The OP there is the landlord and is stressed beyond imagining and may even lose her own home.

she isn't saying 'all tenants are thieving bastards'.

most people aren't crooks. Some are but they come in all occupations.

HesterShaw Fri 24-Jan-14 21:15:01

special, you can't blame someone for thinking that way, if they are treated as a second class citizen, simply because they don't have the money for a house deposit. An old friend of DH's parents who we saw at a family function cornered us and was moaning about being a LL, and his attitude was that anyone who has to rent is a low life. I said something about a rented property, and he said"Oh you're a landlord too are you?". "No, a tenant," I answered. He looked very surprised.

Applefallingfromthetree2 Fri 24-Jan-14 21:21:51

Write to the landlord and threaten to take him to the small claims court, this is easy to do and from what you have told us you will win. Then the LL will also have to pay the court costs.

Hopefully a strongly worded letter will be enough to make him pay up. Don't lose your nerve-stand up and fight!

Juno77 Fri 24-Jan-14 22:01:02

Just to update/clarify:

The dispute is with a letting agent, a big, well known one. Not the LL personally.

I have applied for the deposit back and we were told that the agents have applied for the same amount. So we raised a dispute.

I have to give my 'evidence' and my side of the story, basically, (which I have written largely using the very helpful post above from hoochy.

The independent agency who hold the deposit will act as arbitrator and decide who gets the money.

I guess if we lose I could consider court but I don't know if this dispute would prejudice the outcome.

Anyway, I will submit my defence and let you all know.

Joysmum Fri 24-Jan-14 22:02:25

Hissy that's actually not true.

eggsandwich Fri 24-Jan-14 23:21:31

WHY! would you move into a property that was obviously so bad in the first place I would of thought that if it was that disgusting and smelt of smoke when you went to view the property then you would of rejected it. The LL obviously does n't care about his property or prosective tenants to lease it out like that.

CelticPromise Fri 24-Jan-14 23:30:48

This happened to my parents. They disputed and Erin the whole amount. Landlord was a changer. I'm sure you'll get it back, good luck.

HaroldLloyd Fri 24-Jan-14 23:32:59

It's unlikely they can make this stick without an inventory, I don't think. Trying it on.

I am a landlord and a tenant. Therefore a thieving scum AND lowlife! grin

BrianTheMole Fri 24-Jan-14 23:40:20

Don't worry op. Their inventory is unsigned by you. So it means nothing. I don't think you have a problem here in terms of getting your money back. Explain what you have here to the TDS. But it will be fine. The agency haven't covered themselves and they are trying to bluff you.

FinallyGotAnIPhone Fri 24-Jan-14 23:48:49

I've noticed a few references to the small claims courts on the thread. We had a similar situation over 10 years ago now the ll withheld 1000 of our 1500 deposit - though it was before the deposit protection days... This was non returning of a cheque.

Anyway we took her to the small claims court which was a stressful process to be honest and dragged out over a few months and involved writing letters (think we too took caB advice) and going to the small claims court twice (can't remember why we went once and had to go back a second time) but in the end we got the majority of the money back. Not the full grand but 800 quid or so. Good luck OP.

Juno77 Sat 25-Jan-14 08:53:13

egg because when we viewed it, they assured us it would be fully cleaned before we moved in.

The property itself was actually a beautiful property, perfect for us and really near DS school. In an area that is 90% big, detached houses and this was in a very rare (new build) block of flats. So we took it, partly because they said they'd clean it and partly because we could afford it.

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