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To tell the landlord where to go.......

(50 Posts)
susan123 Thu 06-Oct-11 00:39:24

Bit of background.......

We rented an apartment for 2 months as the house we were buying needed serious work and we did not want to live through it with a toddler and 4year old. The landlord knew we had a small dog and agreed to have him living there. We moved out last Friday into our new house/building site, and my husband went to the check out with the landlord who said everything was fine. We thought that the landlord might be a problem as I saw him a week before moving out and he said that some people he had shown round had complained about the dog smell, so we hired a cleaner and made sure there was no trace of dog smell, and despite doing a comedy sniff in ever room he agreed that everything was fine and there would be no deductions.

However, at 5ish this evening I was in chaos sorting out tea, and instructing builders when the landlord turned up on my doorstep under the guise of handing over a piece of junk mail which hadn't been forwarded. He then went on to say that unfortunately he was unable to rent out the apartment again as everyone (when questioned 2 people), said it smelt of dog, and he had now found dog hairs on the carpet.

I pointed out to him that he had agreed that he would be returning the entire deposit last Friday, but he is now adamant that he wants us to pay for the carpets to be cleaned, and handed me the card of a company so I could sort it out. He didn't give my husband anything in writing, it was just a verbal agreement ( yes, I have pointed out how stupid that was).

There's no way I wan to pay for carpet cleaning now, especially as he has admitted to having people look round, and after having he keys back since Friday we have no idea what's gone on in there.

Also, we are pretty sure he has not protected the deposit, and it says in the contract he uses my deposits, who have no record of it, and we never received the certificate.

We don't want to cause ill feeling, as we have just moved to start a new life in a small town, where the landlord is well known and liked, and know that we risk being badmouthed to everyone, however I feel that he has gone about this all wrong, and is taking out on us the fact that he can't rent out his ridiculously overpriced apartment ( we only took it as he would give us a 2 month contract, and everywhere else was 1year)

Sorry for the novel, but would appreciate an advice, as was already up to my ears in builder problems and sick kids and really didn't need this today!

aldiwhore Thu 06-Oct-11 00:49:10

Crikey I don't really know where you stand legally, or morally (having not sniffed the house or seen the carpet) but depending on how much of the deposit he's intending to retainI'd be sorely tempted to let him have the carpets clean even though he's gone about this all wrong... but I'm a wuss and you want a good start to life in a small town.

However, whatever you do, you can't stop someone bad mouthing you, so even if you do roll over and clean the carpets, he may well still bad mouthe you to some people... if that happens, and if you've done everything in your power and everything you're obliged to do, yu can quash such bollocks.

Not sure what you should do. Because the more I'm thinking, the more I'm thinking you have little to lose by telling him you won't pay for carpet cleaning and that he's already checked the apartment and cleared it, and you expect your deposit back immediatley or you will consider legal action? (Check with legal minded people first though).

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 00:57:40

FIrst of all get legal advice.

If he hasnt protected the deposit, and it sounds like he hasnt, then he is in the wrong. Regardless of what you did or didnt do to the flat, he HAS to protect it by law and you can take him to court to get it back. He wont want that as the court will go heavy on him for breaking the law by not protecting it.

Shelter have some information about it, but a solicitor will be more able to help.

I would be inclined to write to him in the first instance saying that further to his verbal agreement of X date to return your deposit, and his subsequent refusal to do that, you are taking legal advice and either you or your solicitor will contact him in writing within (say) 14 days.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 01:00:58

As Aldiwhore said, he could bad mouth you whatever happens, and atleast this way you know did the right thing both for yourselves and any other tenants he has. He cant just ignore the law and expect to get away with it!

TiredMUMMYno1 Thu 06-Oct-11 01:01:19

The deposit should have been put in a scheme, you could actually get him in alot of trouble, and he would have to pay back 3 times the amount back i think

TiredMUMMYno1 Thu 06-Oct-11 01:03:10

Whoops i put an extra back in there blush

susan123 Thu 06-Oct-11 01:06:51

Thanks everyone. My husband is being a wuss and saying let's just pay for an easy life, but the more I think about it if he is going to badmouth us he will do it anyway.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 01:06:56

Tired, that is only true about the 3 times the amount, if she was still a tenant when the case gets to court. Which I think is crap because very often tenants, esepcially inexperienced ones, dont realise that their deposit wasnt protected until they want it back.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 01:08:22

And Susan, who is to say that he doesnt pull this trick with every tenant? Finding some little "issue" that allows him to keep some of the money?

Dont let him get away with it! Apart from anything else, could you live with yourself if you knew that he was doing this to someone who really couldnt afford to lose the money and has done nothing wrong, when you could have prevented it?

aldiwhore Thu 06-Oct-11 01:12:41

The thing I've found in villages where someone is assumed to be well known and liked is that usually, though they're well known, they're not always well liked. He may just be a wanker, and people false smile at him, pretend they think he's wonderful because he's a trouble maker.

We have one of those in our village. Its rather disappointing to see so many people turn into sychophants around this rather vulgar man (vulgar in the sense he's a status chaser who is always banging on about his assets) but its a kind of peace that's formed in the community... privately, when you get to know people, what they actually think is that this man is a knob of the higest order. They won't tell you that until the trust you won't tell him though.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 01:22:46

Aldi, I agree.

There is someone in the next village to us, where I used to work, who is infamous. He plays the squire and flashes the cash but everyone knows he is dodgy as fuck and he isnt well thought of at all. To hear him tell it, and omg how often have I heard it as I worked in his local pub, he is Mr Popular, generous, kind etc. To hear everyone else tell it, he is a dodgy wide boy who does nothing unless it lines his pockets and is barely tolerated.

You might well find that you become local heroes Susan for being the people that took him down a peg or too grin

Kick2down Thu 06-Oct-11 01:43:48

He should have put your money in a protection scheme. He should not be holding hostage a substantial deposit over carpet cleaning.

On the other hand... you should have expected you'd need to clean the carpets after a dog lived there for two months. A truly unscrupulous landlord would have claimed to have had it done, withheld far more than the cost of carpet cleaning, and returned a pittance. Or colluded with a 'cleaner' to provide a receipt for a service that never took place. (I've had landlords do this to me, before the protection scheme came in.)

He, however, gave you the card and asked you to get it done. Thus he actually wants the carpets cleaned, and isn't just making up any excuse to keep your money. You'll even know the true cost, so he can't lie to you about the expense.

I'd agree to clean the carpets IF he gives you back the full deposit first.

sunnydelight Thu 06-Oct-11 04:19:24

I'm amazed it wasn't in your tenancy agreement that you had to have the carpets cleaned at the end of the tenancy, it's fairly standard. Around here it is also standard to have to fumigate if you have a dog.

CailinDana Thu 06-Oct-11 07:06:06

My landlord tried this on with us. My MIL (bless her heart) worked like a crazywoman helping me to clean my old place top to bottom, including shampooing the carpets and then the shit of a landlord came along and tried to get me to pay for a gardener and professional carpet cleaning because "the place smelled of cats." I pointed out to him that the cats are very rarely indoors and they only were that day as we were moving. When I quizzed him it turned out that he accepted that the place was as in as good a condition as when we moved in (all that is required to get the deposit back) and I stated that it was in fact in better condition, which was true. When pushed he basically admitted that work needed doing to the place and he "didn't want to be out of pocket." I told him I wasn't responsible for financing his business and that I'd be contacting the tenant dispute service. A couple of days later I got a text from him to say I'd be getting all of my deposit back. He knew he didn't have a leg to stand on.

Practically every single person I know who's moved out of rented houses in the last two years has had the landlord try to screw them over in some way. All of them have either gone to or threatened to go to the dispute service and either got all or most of their money back.

By the way if your landlord hasn't put your deposit into a protection scheme he will have to pay you three times the deposit back. Perhaps make him aware of that.

Eve Thu 06-Oct-11 07:11:29

Same as sunnydelight, I'm a landlord and allow dogs but there is a carpet cleaning clause in the contract and extra deposit taken.

It's a fairly standard pets clause.

threeisthemagicnumber Thu 06-Oct-11 07:39:54

Agree with kick that he's obviously keen to have the carpets cleaned rather than fleece you out of money.

The people who rented this house before us had a dog and there was a clause in their contract that they had to have the carpets cleaned, which they did. It still smells a bit like dog!

slavetofilofax Thu 06-Oct-11 08:15:47

The carpets will need to be cleaned properly if there has been a dog living there for two months, so he's not being unreasonable about that. Arrange for it to be done, but tell him you will only be having it done when you have the money from your deposit to pay for it.

NinkyNonker Thu 06-Oct-11 08:26:59

I agree with Slavetofilofax.

toddlerama Thu 06-Oct-11 08:27:30

I have never rented a house which hasn't required professional carpet cleaning in the tenancy and we have no pets! Even the carpet cleaner at the last one asked why on earth I was bothering, but we needed that receipt to get the full deposit. The house I'm in now has no carpet at all, so I'm finally free of the £200 hit at the end of the year. I've just had to do it every time, even though they were without exception yuk when we moved in. Joys of renting!

toddlerama Thu 06-Oct-11 08:28:24

You can ask him to book the cleaner and just take it from the deposit, but he has no motivation to get you a good deal.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 09:13:00

Can I just say that I agree that if the carpets do need doing then they should be done. But I think that the OP should make a fuss about her deposit not being in a scheme. Its disputes like this that the scheme was created to deal with, and every time a LL ignores the law then that is another tenant potentially screwed.

They are in a position to make the point that he broke the law and should be brought to book for it. Unscrupulous LLs shouldnt be allowed to get away with it.

Lizcat Thu 06-Oct-11 09:16:37

Sounds like he has not protected the deposit. I would start innocent and say we would like to appeal this do you have the correct form to provide our statement to your tenancy deposit scheme and see what response you get. I would suspect he may climb down at this point.

Bogeyface Thu 06-Oct-11 09:21:10

By the way if your landlord hasn't put your deposit into a protection scheme he will have to pay you three times the deposit back. Perhaps make him aware of that.

Thats not true. That is only the case if the tenant is still the tenant when the case comes to court. If you have ended the tenancy then you do not get 3 times the deposit back.

Catslikehats Thu 06-Oct-11 09:28:31

If you had a dog in the house you absolutely should have to clean the carpets professionally before you move out and I would be amazed if there wasn't a clause in the contract to this effect.

Dogs do smell and the reality is that dog owners seem to be immune to it so I don't see how the landlord is at fault.

He has been reasonable enough to ask you to sort it rather than simply deduct an (overinflated) bill from your rent.

QueenOfFeckingEverything Thu 06-Oct-11 09:34:31

Bogeyface - I won the 3x deposit penalty in a court case that wasn't heard until 4 months after my tenancy had ended.

I too think you should make a a fuss over the fact he hasn't protected your deposit. Regardless of any lingering dog smalls, he legally can't make deductions from an unprotected deposit.

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