Rental deposit and inventory(19 Posts)
Moved out of a shared rental house (on shared contract with housemates) and just received the move-out inspection report from the inventory company.
The inspection report lists various items found in the house not listed on the original inventory. (The company emailed us a copy of the original inventory before we moved out).
The estate agent and inventory company is now asking what we are planning to do to get rid of these items/furniture.
For context, my bedroom was not listed at all on the original inventory. My housemates and I noticed this quickly after seeing the original inventory and notified the inventory company and estate agent. However, we never heard back from them on this, even though we sent several follow-up emails.
My main query is: as my bedroom wasn’t listed on the original moving-in inventory at all (no photos or description at all) and we notified the estate agent of this but didn’t hear back from them, do we have any grounds to tell the estate agents/inventory company they never gave us an inventory for one of the bedrooms?
What you want to do is say the items left behind belonged to the bedroom that didn't appear on the original inventory right?
I honestly think you should just take your stuff with you when you leave somewhere.
Bill I took all of my things out of the room (and house) when I left. However, as I mentioned above, my bedroom wasn’t listed on the original inventory. So there were things in my room like a chest of drawers, a desk and a bin that were already when I moved in.
I think it’s unfair that I should be charged part of my deposit so the agency can get rid of things that were already there when I moved in and which I didn’t know were there (because my room wasn’t listed on the inventory).
If my room had been listed on the original inventory, I would’ve known to get rid of that furniture or not, but as it wasn’t listed, I didn’t know what to get rid of or keep.
I’m guessing you had many months if not years to get this sorted whilst you still lived at the property and you would have been in a much stronger position then. Do you have any evidence of what was in your room? Did you notify them electronically and detail what should be on the inventory? Usually you have the inventory to make sure you agree and you add or remove anything that should or shouldn’t be there, sign and return.
For context, I lived in the property for 6 months before moving out last week.
The longest-staying tenant in the group of housemates I lived with had lived there for 5 years (my housemates and I all moved out at the same time, as mentioned above).
I have evidence of what was in my room when I moved in as I took pictures when moving in.
I didn’t sign an inventory when moving in or at any point while living there.
As I was on a shared tenancy contract with my housemates, I heard from the housemate who’s lived there for 5 years (mentioned above) that the estate agent told her it’s our responsibility to make sure everything on the original inventory was in the house when we moved out.
However, the last inventory had been done 8 years ago and housemates had switched in and out of the tenancy contract during that time.
None of us were aware that we should do a check-in and check-out inspection when new housemates are added to the contract.
My housemate who’d lived there for 5 years told the estate agents and inventory company before I moved in (in an email I saw after moving in) that they were using an outdated inventory and should use a new one, however they refused.
I realise it’s a confusing situation and I now realise the importance of doing a check-in and check-our inspection when moving into a shared house.
My understanding is that, because I didn’t sign an inventory, I’m not liable for it. But I’m not sure how true that is.
Also, as mentioned above, my bedroom wasn’t listed on the inventory, despite repeated attempts to ask the agency (all in writing, by email) for them to add it to the inventory. So it doesn’t seem fair or professional of the agency to ask me to prove why I didn’t get rid of the furniture when I didn’t have a written record of what furniture was in my room in the first place.
From past experience, if an inventory wasn't signed by both tenant and landlord on check in, then the tenant is in a very strong position to claim the whole deposit back from TDS. The landlord needs to be able to prove via an inventory signed by both parties the condition of a property on check in and check out if they intend to make a claim.
Agree with Stef - by default the deposit belongs to you. If the landlord wants some of it then the burden is upon him to provide evidence that he's entitled. An incomplete moving-in inventory makes it impossible for the landlord to establish what was in your room, or whether you damaged anything in there. That's his own fault.
Thanks so much for your posts, everyone.
Do you know - Stefoscope or Proclivities - if there is anything I can use as evidence to show it is up to the landlord to prove his entitlement to the deposit?
The whole point is that you don't need any evidence. The onus is on him to show whichever organisation is holding your deposit that he's entitled to some of it. In other words he needs to produce before-and-after evidence showing that he is out of pocket in some way.
I’m planning on emailing this to the estate agent, potentially also copying in the inventory company, as evidence supporting my viewpoint (will include attached emails and photos in the below email) although I’ll need to run this past housemates first:
What do you think?
Email points below:
- My bedroom was not listed on the inventory emailed to my housemates and I from [inventory company] and [estate agent] (on the inventory, there were no photos or description of what was in the room). (Please see attached email showing photos of furniture in my room when I moved in).
- My housemates and I alerted [estate agent] and [inventory company] several times that the inventory was incorrect. No action was taken from the agency to rectify this (please see attached emails from Jan 2020).
- Additionally, my housemate emailed [estate agent] (please see attached email) to notify them that the inventory that the agency had emailed us was not the same inventory that he had agreed with them to use. No action was taken by [estate agent] to rectify this.
- Additionally, none of my housemates and I had signed an inventory when we moved in.
Oh I see, Proclivities - that’s really helpful. Thank you!
Just to check if you think the points I’ve jotted down in my post above will hold water with the estate agents and inventory company? Thanks!
Just to check as well, the estate agent has said to this to one of the housemates (no written proof of this as it was verbal rather than in an email):
‘If no inventory is conducted in even 25 years, but the contract keeps rolling, this is the responsibility of the person signing the contract.’
Is there anyone here who can vouch to say this is true/not true?
So, if you sign a tenancy agreement, are you liable for the contents of the house as listed on a previous inventory even if you didn’t physically sign an inventory or agree to one?
Would really appreciate it anyone could help with this!
Hi, all I can do is to repeat what I said above. The agent is not on your side, and what they say is often just not true. I don't want to be rude about your particular agent, but they don't have a reputation for being (or much incentive to be) honest. That's why deposit-protection schemes were introduced, to hold the deposit on your behalf and to be independent. There's not much point arguing with the agent - I wouldn't bother. What happens to your deposit is not their decision. Save your arguments for the deposit protection scheme.
And this isn't the best place for advice. Register with landlordzone. They're pretty good at giving advice to tenants.
Is the deposit protected? All of this should be going through the deposit scheme, not between you and the agent.
NoWord - yes, I have proof that the deposit is protected.
I’ve emailed an organisation called Justice for Tenants for advice on this and am waiting to hear back.
Thanks very much everyone for your help! I really appreciate your advice.
All of this should be done via the deposit protection company then. It's not something you should work out between you.
I would keep it simple and write a letter before action stating the landlord must return the deposit in full or provide the signed copy of the (non existent inventory) detailing any deductions, proof of receipts of work they've had to do which doesn't fall under the remit of 'fair wear and tear'. Read up on the timescales for your particular TDS they'll be a clause which says something like the deposit must be return with 14 days of check out or the landlord must detail any deductions. Send a copy via recorded delivery to both landlord and agent.
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