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(Long sorry!) Would really appreciate some legal advice please, re: our LLs, getting deposit back & minor hassle.(8 Posts)
The long version is in a chat thread I started last week but I think I would like to know how expensive any legal options might be please or if there's anything that we can feasibly do to sort this mess out with the least aggro/hassle. This became much longer than intended, I'm sorry.
In a nutshell: following some unpleasantness on their behalf (we were both going for the same house, us to buy to live following them serving notice on us and them to rent out as another investment) our LLs have been increasingly funny with us. They got the house, we have bought another that is going through as fast as possible but we still don't have a forwarding address and post that has come to my second address (I am working away, making this very difficult) has gone missing so I don't want to divert important bills here.
In addition to the details in my previous thread, I found out yesterday that they sent unpleasant texts to DP harassing him for not returning all the keys at once. I am concerned that they know DP is under incredible amounts of stress at the moment and are taking advantage of that. They do not want to communicate with me at all. The final key was returned as soon as DP got their texts (he had genuinely forgotten it existed).
So, I have a text from the male LL stating that he was not around when I called him but would return the post today - I only called as we were dropping off a friend and I saw the lights were on, blinds up and him in the living room.
Legally I think they are on very thin ground as we never received a formal notice to quit, they harassed DP & used emotional stories to make him quit early and they have been ignoring any attempts that I have made to communicate with them (although technically the lease is in my name only, not DP's). They also removed furniture (part of the lease) a fortnight before the end of the first month's notice. I don't know how well this counts but we also have a two year history of taking their post around to their house immediately (at least one item a week) and it has taken them a fortnight to acknowledge whether we had post waiting or not - this includes some very important final bills, which I had to do in a hurry as DP left sooner than I was expecting (I was already working away).
I have four questions please:
1, Can they hold onto our post and what can we do if they don't return it? We have a verbal agreement that they would (due to us leaving early to 'do them a favour' and having no fixed address until the middle of October), plus history of us doing it for them, plus the text from male LL saying he would return the post. We will try to set up a PO Box but I didn't have DP's ID on Friday so couldn't do anything about it. He now has mine and will try to sort it.
2, When we thought they were being vaguely reasonable we asked to leave our mattress in the flat as we had no way of storing it until we moved into our new house. In my mind this made up for losing just over £100 rent - they moved in early (female LL in before DP out) and did not offer a refund. If there is damage to the mattress, which would be very expensive to replace, is there anything we can do please? We are going to get the mattress out this week but DP needs to take time off (he currently is working 18hr days) and I cannot get up there this week as I am also working down south. Mattress will go in spare room of a friend whose lodger moved out yesterday.
3, Due to DP's stress but also due to them moving in early (interrupting my plan of packing when I could take days off to come back up north) DP completed the move and left some things of sentimental value to me in the flat. They are a low priority but again, is there anything I can do to hasten getting them back? I am worried that it has taken nearly a week from me getting involved with texts/calls to get acknowledgement that we will get our post.
4, The deposit is in a protection scheme, as I insisted on when we moved in. I have logged on and can see it (it's in my name and male LL is listed as the LL). What is the procedure for getting it back please? Can I apply and it will go straight into our account? LLs have some severe money probs at the moment (hence asking us to leave - see other thread) and I am concerned they will drag it out as long as possible if the money goes into their account at any point. We sorely need the money back.
I feel very impotent, hundreds of miles away and DP totally unable to help as he tries to keep both his jobs running. Any advice would be much appreciated please.
I have instigated the deposit return process. Not sure what to do should they quibble. We left the flat clean but they also cleaned it themselves. When we collected our final bits and pieces (before the end Sept so before our lease was officially up ) there were bits of carpet and lino everywhere but it was a bit fraught and they clearly didn't want us there so I didn't ask about the condition of the flat. They have said (verbally) that we were great tenants and kept things in perfect condition. Not sure if I have any emails to that effect - I will check.
Bump... can anyone help please?
They didn't return our post yesterday (although say they will today - unprompted by us) and are now refusing to return the deposit as they claim we didn't return all the keys. DP returned them all but didn't get a receipt. I got a snotty email claiming we were "putting the security of the building at risk". They say they will look later for the missing key (DP emailed them back) but how can we prove we handed the keys in? I'm not sure we can
ok i am not entirely sure about the other issues but re deposit, they have to return it unless YOU and they agree to deductions for damage.
It sounds v much like an inventory was not done at either or both check in or check out. This i yjink makes it unlikely that they would be legally able to prove the need for deductions.
In the past, I have found that a letter in legalese making it clear that you know your rights and are prepared to act on them oftenn speeds things up! maybe your local CAB could help. I would also call the tenancy deposit scheme first thing Monday to tell them you are disputing deductions. That way the money should not get anywhere near yr Ll until an agreement has been reached. At least that is my recollection from our recent minor dispute with LL.
If the LL entered your property during yr tenancy without giving notice this is a BIG no no and will not do them any favours. As for not following the contractual notice procedure and taking possession of your home before lease was up......well, they are surely in big schtuck for that.
Hope you get it sorted. sounds stressful. assert yourselves tho. if they have money troubles their other creditors will be getting their legal oars in.
Perhaps you should contact Shelter for advice re your deposit - they have a helpline 0808 800 4444:
With regard to the post, it's not really their problem that you were unable to set up a proper mail redirection, so you are rather at their mercy - with no way of knowing what you haven't received! Did you at least leave some stamped A4 envelopes for them to forward stuff on to you? I guess you will just have to rely on them to fulfil their verbal agreement.
As for the mattress - obviously this is an issue if they refuse to give it back or it is damaged. Do you have any evidence that they agreed to store it for you and return it when you requested it? Such as an email from you to them and their reply?
Take a look at [http://www.depositprotection.com/documents/a-guide-to-tenancy-deposits-disputes-and-damages.pdf this] If your deposit is held in this scheme they have a dispute adjudication service that you can use free of charge. I know someone who has used it recently. They opened the dispute about six weeks ago, both they and the LL had to provide evidence and then it went to an independent solicitor who makes the final and binding decision. It took about 5 weeks or, just over, for the decision to be made (my friend won their case and will be getting the entire deposit returned to them!)
[http://www.depositprotection.com/documents/a-guide-to-tenancy-deposits-disputes-and-damages.pdf hope it works this time]
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