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Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 18:46:35

Hey guys,

Sorry, first time poster here. Need some advice.


Just moved house from a one bed flat I was living in alone, to a two bed with my partner. The flat is in a very old building which is slowly detoriating.

I moved out yesterday.

Up until now, everything was fine with the old place. The Landlords didn't bother me once; they seemed very pleasant in fact. Rent was always paid on time, every month without fail. Deposit & first month rent paid three weeks prior to moving in.

So before I moved out officially, there were a few things I needed to sort out for e.g: the walls had some minor holes in from hanging pictures up, and they had a few stains on from general every day things, so I obviously went ahead, poly filled the holes & painted the walls the same colour they were when I moved in. I deep cleaned all the appliances, and attempted to repair any other minor damage that had been caused.

Ever since I moved in, I had a number of issues which I never brought up and wish I had done now. Three weeks into my tenancy, mould began appearing behind the toilet and around the sink. It was a tiny and I mean literally, a cupboard bathroom. I read my tenancy agreement and because I was a first time renter, I thought it was totally up to me to get rid of any mould & ensure I ventilated the property properly. So I cleaned the mould with some bleach, then got some mould cleaner and it seemed to disappear For the meantime. It returned weeks later after I had opened the window (in the height of winter) and switched the ventilation fan on. So I continued to ventilate the property and tried to shower at my boyfriends as much as possible. The mould was still there after months of trying to get rid, and I was too worried to bring it up to my landlord in case they blamed me for not ventilating it properly.

So two weeks before I move out, I moved the wardrobe that had been in the bedroom there since I moved in. Behind the wardrobe was a horrendous amount of mould growing up the back of the wardrobe with the clean bed sheets I had put on top of it also completely covered.

The walls were extremely thin, and the paint peeled off very easily. The property was rented to me with a broken toilet seat, broken toilet roll holder, a faulty washer-dryer, crap water pressure, massive mould problems, dirty oven and a convector heater that didn't work, so I had no heating during winter. Not to mention the flat was in a very student heavy area which meant continuous weekends of horrendous noise. I could hear neighbours upstairs having sex all the time & downstairs whenever they cooked the smell that filled the flat was unbearable. The reason I didn't bring this up to the landlords was because I am quite a hassle free person and prefer to just get on with things & they were all things I could sort myself in heinsight. I also didn't know what my rights were. (My fault, I know) I paid £550PCM.

I cleaned the mould, oven & fixed the toilet seat & roll holder.

Annnyway, like I said, handed the keys back yesterday and had an inspection with the Landlady. She walked through the property, checked over everything & said she was happy. She made me sign a document which stated she was happy & I would receive my full deposit back. She said she would return it to me on Monday.

So I thought all was well. Today, I get a text from the Landlord's husband (it's her and her husband who manage the property) saying they have a few issues to raise. They listed everything they had found wrong with the property, in quite an aggressive text message demanding me to contact them asap. Clearly, I was very distressed, I started crying & panicking. After I calmed down, I rang them to discuss. I spoke to the Landlady who started yelling at me, telling me there was burn marks on the window sills and seal and they had found evidence of smoking in the property. They told me they had photos.

I was shocked (I don't smoke, only when I drink and any time I have ever smoked or had anyone smoke there was outside) so I said this. They said they had found burn marks and a stubbed out "rollie" as they called it, stuck to the window sill. The only thing I could think of was that I had a friend stay a few weeks before who must have smoked there whilst I was at work. I said this to them but she continued to yell. I then said to them that they can take whatever they like from my deposit to cover the cost of replacing the seal. She also claimed she had been there for SIX hours deep cleaning. Its such a tiny flat it may as well pass as a studio if the bedroom wasn't separated by a very thin wall. (In no way would it take 6 hours to deep clean. I deep cleaned the entire property yesterday and it took me two hours including all appliances.). She said she had to clean the oven and put stainless steel cleaner on the sink. (That took six hours?) she then said she would definitely take something from my deposit. I asked how much, she said "I don't know. Probably at least £100 it depends how much it costs to fix the window seals and our time for cleaning the property." She said she would pass the photos on to the letting agents who will pass them to me if I want them. I was in tears down the phone, apologising profusely but she continued to hammer me with things that were wrong with the place.

Only issue I have now is that the same letting agents are the ones I went through to get the new Flat I'm in now. This flat is gorgeous, two bedrooms, it's the size of a house, new build, in the middle of the city centre (but tucked away from student district and noisy areas) with great transport links. Its £750PCM which is fine as I'm with my partner here, &a worth every penny. Also a different landlord. I'm just worried that the old landlord will pass these images on, which may raise concerns to the letting agents about this place. They may start doing loads of inspections (which is fine, I would actually be happy for them to come and see the new Place as it is completely spotless). This has left a bitter taste in my mouth not to mention overwhelming anxiety about what to expect next.

I'm at a loss of what to think. This isn't a plea for legal advice but I don't know what I can do! AIBU here is is the landlord? Do they have the right to deduct money from my deposit without showing me an invoice for the work carried out to remove these burn marks? Can this have any affect on my new tenancy seeing as it's the same agents? So sorry for the long post. Just need someone to vent to!!

raspberryblue Sun 09-Apr-17 18:50:45

Ask the letting agency for copies of the photos. The landlord may be trying to pull a fast one. You need to see their so called evidence before you allow them to take any money from the deposit. It's amazing how many landlords take the absolute proverbial.

Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 18:55:08

I'm just so upset &I can't stop thinking about it. She's really got to me. She even said I was an "ideal tenant" when I emailed my notice to her. It seems they want to squeeze every penny from me but I'm a bit young and niave and have no idea what legal rights I have. If they have photos, how did I know they didn't cause this damage whilst they've had 24 hours possession of the property to try and get money out of me. I know I'm just being cynical and I was aware I caused some minimal damage but Ive been made to feel like I left a dead body in the wardrobe or something!

lostatsea1 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:05:17

I have a number of family members who have rented and had to move several times. We have found it is very rare to get your deposit back.

We have deep cleaned, repaired picture holes even replaced carpet and they still found so much to complain about they kept the deposit - apparently we should have jet washed the driveway at one. We no longer bother doing any work on houses - not even cleaning. We have spent loads of money and still been charged for ridiculous 'made up' issues

No matter what you do you rarely get your deposit back so don't bother. It has never been an issue with letting agents.

Don't sweat it

ThouShallNotPass Sun 09-Apr-17 19:07:32

Annnyway, like I said, handed the keys back yesterday and had an inspection with the Landlady. She walked through the property, checked over everything & said she was happy. She made me sign a document which stated she was happy & I would receive my full deposit back. She said she would return it to me on Monday*

Did she give you a copy of this?

WoopWoop200 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:08:00

I am sure there is some sort of ombudsman for these kind of issues. Who has the deposit? Landlord or agents? There should be some sort of scheme that protects your deposit incase there is a dispute. Don't let them keep anything until you've looked up your rights.....Good luck

Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:08:58

Thanks for your replies guys.

No she didn't give me a copy so I guess no legal leg to stand on.

raspberryblue Sun 09-Apr-17 19:09:12

Unfortunately there are bad landlords and ones who will always try to grab back something from the deposit. It is worth getting the photos just to see if they exist & as a way of negotiating down any "supposed damage cost". if it is a £100 you may just have to chalk it up to a bad experience. If more then it's worth fighting. I remember being charged for carpet cleaning on my flat stairs - the mud was brought in by the agency post leave check confused that flat was immaculate when I left it - still lost £250 on the deposit. It isn't right, but unfortunately it does happen a lot. The first time it happened to me I was mortified, as it is upsetting - it feels like a character assassination - when in reality it's just a bloody shitty landlord pulling a "I've got to find something and I'm not paying the full deposit back". I feel for you, as it's not nice. I learnt for the next time, I took my own photos of everything, date and timed stamped just before I left.

19lottie82 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:10:09

1 - Is the deposit protected?

2 - Was an inventory taken when you moved in, and did you sign it?

ThouShallNotPass Sun 09-Apr-17 19:10:49

Also worth mentioning, it's not as easy as it used to be to keep a tenant's deposit unfairly as it must by law be kept in the rent deposit scheme. They will decide if your landlord has a right to anything or not. You can speak to the organisation that holds your deposit. If by any chance your landlords didn't put it in the scheme you can be awarded up to three times the amount of deposit.

opinionatedfreak Sun 09-Apr-17 19:12:24

Is your deposit in a protection scheme?

If so open a dispute.

If not act now landlords owe you 3x deposit if they don't use a recognised scheme.

Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:12:49

I believe it is held in a protected scheme. But from the sounds of things, they have enough evidence by photos to deduct £100 from it. I can accept £100 but not more. I'm more worried it will affect my new tenancy as its the same letting agents.

19lottie82 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:17:19

Hi OP, call round the deposit protection companies in the morning and check.

Again, did you sign an invertory detailing the flats condion when you moved in? Please answer this as it is important .

Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:23:10

I did sign an inventory yeah. It stated the damaged toilet roll holder, and other minor issues but nothing regarding mould etc. I did mention the mould on the phone, but the Landlady just said "we know there's an issue but these flats are very small & hard to contain." And then rapidly changed the subject.

19lottie82 Sun 09-Apr-17 19:29:27

Hi OP - it's important you get confirmation that your deposit has been protected.

When claiming against your deposit the LL will need to show the photos and compare them to the inventory. If you don't agree with them or feel they are fair wear and tear then you must dispute the deductions.

This must be done online. I don't see how they can claim for a window seal, I'd assume this was down to wear and tear and also I don't think they can charge for "their time" for cleaning, they will have to provide receipts for any work done.

fourteenlittleducks Sun 09-Apr-17 20:05:31

I rented for years and never got my full deposit back, but always asked them to deduct cleaning fee (no way would I deep-clean on moving day or clean appliances!) For a 1-bed the cleaning fee was usually around £75 including dishwasher, oven, fridge clean, and repair to scuff marks on walls etc. It's quite normal to ask landlord to arrange cleaning, they know you're busy with moving and removal teams often leave a mess. Nothing to be ashamed of.

In a new place always take photos with digital dates and a copy of the inventory.

You should have reported the mould problem straight away, to cover yourself.

Good luck in your new place!

TupperwareTat Sun 09-Apr-17 20:11:27

I have aways got my deposit back.
There was £550, £660 & £1000. So large amounts to me.
That was when I had 2 cats & 1 very large dog.

There are some good landlords out there.

But this one sounds like she is trying it on. Ignore anymore abusive calls. See if its proctected. Dont apologise anymore to her.

JustMuddlingOn Sun 09-Apr-17 20:12:19

This absolutely.wont affect your new tenancy, only problem you may have had is with referencing but that tends to go on rent being.paid etc and will have been done already anyway.
They should have contacted you with figures for cleaning and fixing etc before carrying out the works and gained your agreement and also will ha e to be able to provide receipts for these things to provide to deduct your deposit.
Do you have an official outgoing inventory matched up with the incoming one from when you moved in as that's how they usually sort deposit discrepancies certainly if you went through an agency.
Renting is shit almost all of the time, hopefully your new place works out better but I always write off at least half my deposit as lost when I move in somewhere.

carbuncleonapigsposterior Sun 09-Apr-17 20:19:29

I own a flat which is let. The inventory should be carried out by an independent firm who the letting agents appoint and as such do not have an axe to grind. In your case, I'm wondering if the landlords compiled their own inventory, did you get it countersigned by the managing agent if there was one. The independent firms who compiled our inventories have always made a note and photograph any little imperfection, the report is very detailed some 40 or so pages, the tenants sign it and I get a copy. My tenants' deposit is lodged in a tenancy deposit scheme arranged by the managing agents. I have owned my flat coming up for 3 years. The first set of tenants I had were very good, a couple who moved on after just over a year. I deducted the cost of a carpet in one of the bedrooms, it had a burn mark in the shape of an iron, they admitted liability but the rest of the deposit was returned. Second tenants two single girls early 20s, made quite a lot of noise, parties etc. upset some of the other residents, quite often late with the rent, I exercised the break clause, they didn't manage the condensation very well, I provided a large humidifier and advised on turning the heating on and leaving windows ajar, 1st floor flat so they could go out and do that. However, they made a fairly botched repair job on the paintwork before they moved out but left the flat in a good state apart from that. We returned their deposit in full. Next tenants my son and a friend, didn't take any deposit from them, son subsequently moved in with girlfriend pretty soon after taking the flat on, although he continued to pay me his share of "mates rates" his friend managed to put marks on the living room carpet plus a small burn mark. I now have new tenants through letting agency, I didn't charge friend anything for the marks on carpet should have done. I have been on both sides of the fence Cherrypie, your ex landlord sounds unscrupulous. I try not to keep any of the tenants' deposit for wear and tear, sometimes we know we will have to touch up paint work where condensation hasn't been managed very well. Damage such as an iron shaped burn mark I felt justified in recovering the cost of a new carpet. My children have rented flats at university etc., one landlord who was really vindictive woman told me my son had left a couple of essential things behind such as a passport and asked whether she could deduct from the deposit to be forwarded on we said yes and the package arrived with the passport, plastic hangers and a multitude of crisp packets, she didn't have to do that she was already deducting for a professional clean. I am sympathetic to your predicament your ex landlords sound unscrupulous, I have experienced this when my children were renting. Did you have an independent 3 rd party with you when the exit inventory was being carried out.? I wish you luck in recovering your deposit, as a landlord you are required by law to lodge a tenant's deposit in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and you can take your dispute to arbitration.

Cherrypie2330 Sun 09-Apr-17 20:24:48

Thanks for all your supportive messages guys smile Me & DP are very happy in the new place!

I totally planned for not getting my deposit back & ruled it out of our budget. But when I had fixed the minor damage & redecorated, I truly thought I had returned the property back to the way it was when I found it and was hopeful I would get it back because I could then put it towards a car which would help us so much.

The most ridiculous thing was "our time for cleaning the property." You have got to be fucking kidding me? A bit of paint, bleach and some detol wipes along the surfaces and down the sink and it took you 6 hours? Unless you move at the pace of a snail, surely it can't have taken SIX fucking hours. Its a blatant lie and that's why I'm so mad!

My upset has now turned to anger, and the more I think about it, the more I think its because I'm young & they've taken advantage of me because they don't think I'll go through the hassle of disputing it. I just think that they knew all along about the problems and decided not to disclose it because again I'm young & niave & hassle free. Now they're just taking the piss.

She ruined my Sunday afternoon, and she's gonna ruin my evening too.

I'm off work tomorrow so I think it might be time for wine & cake

Feckerlino Sun 09-Apr-17 21:22:44

I have every sympathy, and my experience as a landlord tells me that unless the LL has before and after photos showing the supposed damage, they wouldnt win if you appealed. However, if your 'friend' did smoke in the flat whilst you were out, that is your responsibility.

However, it can take a long time to clean, and people have different standards. I rented out a small 2 bed mid terrace (very small). My letting agent did the final check, they said it was fine. I went in and in my eyes and standards, it was filthy (nit saying your flat was by the way!). I spent 1 weeks SOLID 9am- 5pm) cleaning it, then a further 1.5 weeks of evenings to finish it to my standards.

peachgreen Sun 09-Apr-17 21:26:30

In future always take your own photos after you've cleaned. That way you have your own proof of the state it was in. (Not trying to be helpy, just a genuine tip for next time!) Hope you enjoy your new place OP - sounds lovely.

grenhild Sun 09-Apr-17 22:45:57

Dpn't panic OP.

I think you will find the deposit schemes require lots of evidence of any so called damage and also examine the quality of the inventory made going in, and also of any invoices the LL can produce so don't be afraid to fight this.

If you read previous decisions published on the deposit scheme websites, you will see that it doesn't go well for landlords who let their properties out with obvious faults that appear on the inventory. It really does cast doubt on their character and standards and they are often required to produse evidence of past work eg for the paint at least if they painted the property themselves.

LLs cannot claim for any betterment so look up this term see if this applies to anything in your case.

Conduct any further discussions by email or letter. Do not answer phone calls but write to them to say that you will communicate by letter or email only for clarity.

Get all your paperwork toegther and raise a dispute. They may well be trying to intimidate you and hoping you will just back down.

Good luck against the bullies OP. Also try your local CAB a for support if you need it.

grenhild Sun 09-Apr-17 22:52:47

Feckerlino - can I be your next tenant please!?! I'm so fed up of moving into filthy, smelly rented places - especially where the inventory says good clean condition and the I go round to take what feels like a hundred photos of grime, mould and damage. Yuck sad

And the smells... makes me sick

Cherrysoup Sun 09-Apr-17 22:56:45

Letting agent should have original inventory photos. Deposit should be in the protected scheme. It is not up to the landlord what you get back, that is decided by an independent person. Tell the letting agents about the mould and your deep clean, plus the repairs you made to toilet roll holder/seat.

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