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To be bracing myself for landlord to try and take all our £1,200 deposit back

(106 Posts)
Helpmepleasenow48 Mon 08-Apr-19 08:03:51

We are now the proud FTB/owners of our first home. We were previously renting for 10 years and moved to our new home 2 weeks ago
Now the property we were renting was in a state needing decoration when we moved in. Things went wrong as soon as moved in - only minor things like drawers coming out and hinges going and a mirror frame fell apart when we moved it. The upstairs toilet seat broke but it was an an unusual shape so the landlord had to order a new one and even when it was replaced the hinges weren't and ended up going rusty. The garden bricks started falling apart from frost.
Then the bathroom floor got a hole and the oven stopped working and the boiler made s terrible noise.
We reported all these things to the landlord but only the oven was fixed. Over the years she put the rent up from £750 to £995. She never visited and even left her agreement with the rental agency so they all but collected the rent. Anyway about four years ago we knew we were going to come into some money and we communicated with the landlord that we might buy the property. Basically we had it valued but she wanted more than the value, we also had building work and damp proof costed - which would have cost at least £30k.
So we put in an offer on a property nearby in November and now own it. We did our best to clean the property - we gave her a month's notice, but we think she's peed off because we didn't give her more notice/offer her more for the property. When we told her the bathroom floor was broken she told us she expected us to mend it. She said she was renting and made minor improvemts to her home. We know she's on an interest only mortgage because all her mortgage statements were sent to the address. She paid £500 a month and her mortgage is actually more than our new one! She owes £220k and we have £200k mortgage. This I digress a bit but we are pretty sure this income hasn't been declared to HMRC as I set up a limited company and rang them last week to change address they wanted to know who owned the property. I told them we rented through a letting agent.
So now worried I may have dobbed landlord in and we won't get our deposit back.

palebluewalls Mon 08-Apr-19 08:35:25

@BarrenFieldofFucks

Yes exactly that!

HundredMilesAnHour Mon 08-Apr-19 08:36:12

DH (who has a lot of integrity) opened the mortgage statement letter by mistake - he saw the logo on the envelope and it the same company he uses for some his business stuff. Yes we did look at it because she had just pushed our rent from £750 to £995.

Surely anyone with integrity would immediately stop reading when they realised their mistake. Not continue to read someone's private mail and then use it to make judgements about their financial situation - and then post some of the details on an internet forum!

smallereveryday Mon 08-Apr-19 08:37:37

There is also the the issue of 'fair wear and tear' . LLs cannot rent a property to you in 2009, replace a dodgy cooker and then expect to withhold your deposit due to their lack of ongoing maintenance. Obviously if you take a six month let and the brand knew carpets need replacing- that's quite a different scenario. It's about what is reasonable over that period.

I wouldn't be having any truck with 'poor little me - my rent is more expensive, I'm an accidental Landlord ' (subtext is - don't expect me to stick to the standards required because I don't really want to be one) - it's bollocks. She can sell the house and put the money towards a house somewhere else. Certainly wouldn't feel sorry for her !
Can't afford to be a landlord with all the responsibilities AND the rent ? Don't be one .

If it comes to a fight OP - your length of tenancy works in your favour.

LostInShoebiz Mon 08-Apr-19 08:40:57

Sounds like you haven’t followed up with the agent to get repairs done. Had they been done then you would have prefect bricks, bathroom floor, etc. and there would be no question of the deposit being retained.

What is a swing in the garden to do with anything? Unless you take it with you, any incomers will likely not want it and it will go to landfill.

And no, the landlord at no time made her personal affairs “your business”. She is entirely entitled to put rent up for whatever reason she wishes, you are entitled to push back but that does not justify opening and then reading her private mail. Appalling.

You sound like an absolute nightmare, totally entitled. Lucky landlords that you’re now leaving the rental market.

smallereveryday Mon 08-Apr-19 08:42:51

Fgs the sanctimonious brigade are up early today.

So she read her mortgage statement . Shouldn't have had them sent there then . ! However the thread wasn't about that - but as usual, if you lot don't have anything useful to say - then you look for any aspect of an situation in which to have a pop at the poster ! It's all very pathetic .
Can she change anything about opening the post. ? No
Can she take it back ? No
Does your high horse attitude assist in ANY way ? No.
Then get over yourselves and get back to chewing wasps for breakfast.

Laiste Mon 08-Apr-19 08:44:16

One of our contended issues was over the downstairs loo floor. This is a bit rambling:

We were on chatting term with the LL anyway, but after the first 18 months or so we emailed him to say that the pale cream lino in the downstairs loo was becoming discoloured around the base of the loo. Spreading an inch or so out from it. We concluded that it was condensation gathering on the china loo cistern during colder months and dripping off and slowly getting in under the edge of the lino round the loo and darkening it. We invited him to come and see what he thought. The handy man who LL sent round occasionally for other stuff agreed with us about the cause. LL never bothered to address the issue. We tried to re-seal the base of the loo.

At the 3 year mark we told him that despite laying a clean hand towel to catch any drips the dark stain was getting unsightly (now spreading out about 10 inches from the base) and that we would be covering it with a new layer of lino leaving the old one down. (Not ideal - but - not our house what else could we do?) Cost us about 50 quid. Looked much better and stayed looking good for 2 years when we decided to leave.

As we were leaving we accidentally scratched the new layer of lino we put down. His old lino was still in place remember. He tried to charge us £200 to repair the scratch!!

He didn't get any money for it in the end.

lyralalala Mon 08-Apr-19 08:45:47

Make a list of all the issues and all of the dates that you reported them and followed up on them.

Don’t wait for her to dispute the deposit, have it ready so that if she does you can reply straight back with all the dates.

Also regarding the post it’s only illegal to open someone else’s post deliberately to deprive them of it

”A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him.”

A bank statement from your bank isn’t an unusual thing to open.

A LL’s buy to let mortgage statement shouldn’t be going to the tenants address so I’d bet as well as not declaring to the tax people she has a residential mortgage. No sympathy here - LL’s like that give LL’s a bad name

butteryellow Mon 08-Apr-19 08:47:25

after 10 years, loads of that stuff is out of its expected life time, so you would owe nothing (carpets, paintwork for example) - your landlord is not entitled to new for old - just for the percentage of wear expected to be left - so if a carpet should last 20 years, and it was brand new when you moved in, and you've ruined it, then you'd owe 50% of the replacement cost (note that 20 years for a carpet depends on where that carpet is, and the original quality of the carpet - cheap stuff would not be expected to last that long)

Also, if your inventory doesn't note the condition of things, your landlord can't claim anything about it - ie. they can't prove it was brand new if it doesn't say so on the inventory.

In any case, my advice here, as ever is 1) don't make any offers - the TDS will likely just take your offer if it seems fair 2) contest everything, with all your evidence.

I've been on both sides of the TDS, and they've been very fair in my experience.

Witchtower Mon 08-Apr-19 08:47:56

I guess it really depends on whose dealing with the case. My neighbours just lost £200 for mould in the bathroom. They were amazing tenants. I know landlord so this was confirmed.
But as others have said you have had a long lease and have complained about repairs so you may be lucky.

Thehop Mon 08-Apr-19 08:48:05

Is the deposit held in a scheme?

Vertigoo Mon 08-Apr-19 08:48:21

As we were leaving we accidentally scratched the new layer of lino we put down.

“Accidentally” eh?! grin

butteryellow Mon 08-Apr-19 08:48:49

Oh, and did you have gas safety certificates each year for that boiler? I'm guessing not if it was also never serviced/had the noise sorted.

That's very illegal.

And yes, if her statements were going to your house, that was likely a residential mortgage, so another contract she's broken.

buzzbobbly Mon 08-Apr-19 08:49:55

In true AIBU fashion, PP are getting very wound up about the mail issue. It got opened, big deal. They weren't trying to defraud her or do anything criminal (which is the illegal part, not the simple act of opening the envelope hmm )

Landlord shouldn't have her mortgage mail sent to her tenant's address. if it was all above board, she'd have told mortgage co she was living elsewhere anyway.

OP - If deposit is protected, ll needs justifiable cause to deduct from it. If you have evidence of condition before and after moving out, and it's genuinely no more than wear or tear - or problems the ll refused to put right, I'd say you were on pretty safe ground. It might behove you to formalise all the issues you requested fixing in a letter and push the onus on her to deny etc.

BarrenFieldofFucks Mon 08-Apr-19 08:53:14

I wouldn't be massively uptight about it, bar the fact the OP says they then used that information to stop a rent increase. That's the point it gets a bit dodge for me.

Helpmepleasenow48 Mon 08-Apr-19 08:53:23

All those having a go at me for being a nightmare tenant! We paid our rent on time and early most of the time. We had visits from debt collectors from Barclaycard, HSBC and Next - whom she all owed money. Coming to our door when I had small children to look after... we even spent hundreds trying to fix the garden...

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 08-Apr-19 08:53:49

It's easy enough to open a letter by mistake, especially when it looks like one you'd receive yourself, so I wouldn't feel too bad about that. The LL should not in any case be having her personal mail delivered to a property she's renting out - it should have been redirected, and she should have informed banks etc. of her new address. The fact that she hasn't makes me think she hadn't informed her mortgage provider that she was renting the property out. If they found out, she could be in a heap of trouble.

If she didn't register the deposit with one of the official schemes, and give you a copy of the certificate within a month, you could legally claim back 3 months' rent - she wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

To be frank, she sounds like a bad, greedy LL and as a LL myself I have no sympathy for such people.

mydogisthebest Mon 08-Apr-19 08:56:23

I know you are not meant to open another person's post but why was the landlord still having post sent to a rented house after 10 years?

My ex-landlord also had post coming to the house we rented (we rented for 14 years and it had been rented out for at least 4 years prior to us moving in). All his mortgage statements came to the address.

We told the landlord his post was coming to the house but he did nothing. I would sometimes just tear them up and throw them away.

When we moved out (not on good terms) I reported him to his mortgage lender (for not declaring he was renting) and to HMRC.

We didn't get our deposit back. It was not in a scheme and we could not be bothered to fight for it just relieved to get out. He did not spend a penny on the house in 14 years

Laiste Mon 08-Apr-19 08:56:34

Vertigoo grin

Genuinely.

At that point the LL hadn't revealed his full wankeryness so we had no reason to be horrible.
(we were forgiving of the fact that for 5 years he hadn't bothered with the lino stain, the mould from the rising damp due to a long term damp course breach, or the broken fence at the bottom of the garden)

Vertigoo Mon 08-Apr-19 09:03:02

@Laiste

Been there, done that so you have my full sympathies. In my case the LL actually tried to withhold the deposit due to the garden being unkempt. Erm, what garden? Oh right, he meant the communal one that was shared by 6 other flats. hmm

Vertigoo Mon 08-Apr-19 09:05:35

OP, to be fair though, if the rent went up and you agreed to pay then that’s not really a sufficient argument with regards to the deposit.

As a PP pointed out, when the rent increased, you had the option of negotiating or moving out.

Navy123 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:09:40

Just log in to the scheme and claim the full amount back - if ll wants to make deductions then they do it through there and you disputed it.

Then move on and enjoy your new home!'

cakecakecheese Mon 08-Apr-19 09:15:26

If you don't receive your deposit back you can claim via the website www.tenancydepositscheme.com/

Foxmuffin Mon 08-Apr-19 09:21:34

The deposit scheme are pretty fair. The landlord can’t recover more than your deposit so I don’t see you’ve got anything to worry about.
HMRC aren’t going to be able to join all the dots up on the phone, I can’t see they’d make the link and start investigating based on your conversation.
Can’t believe you’ve been snooping through your landlords post. It’s totally irrelevant to you. BTL mortgages are more expensive than residential anyway, regardless of whether she has a good deal or not.

lyralalala Mon 08-Apr-19 09:23:08

I wouldn't be massively uptight about it, bar the fact the OP says they then used that information to stop a rent increase. That's the point it gets a bit dodge for me.

If the LL has a residential mortgage and no permission to let from their provide, which it sounds like given the statements, then the OP had none of the protections she was paying for as a tenant so I wouldn’t be too upset for the LL.

If the LL had defaulted on that mortgage the OP could have been evicted with no notice, whereas in a proper situation with permission the lender has to go through the proper channels to remove a tenant. LLs like that out tenants in very precarious positions.

RhubarbTea Mon 08-Apr-19 09:49:30

Deposit is protected so you can stop worrying. Fair wear and tear. Even if the LL gets arsey, it all goes through the deposit protection scheme and you can contest stuff, negotiate amounts taken off deposit if there is some dispute. You should be very well protected so don't worry. I have never had any of my deposit taken and I've been renting around 10 years. If you're a good tenant and have reported faults as they arose you are good.

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