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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.


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 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

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