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Sigh. LL/deposit.

(29 Posts)
APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 16:30:33

So, we were evicted from our home with two months notice because the LL couldn't pay the mortgage (although now they have thier daughter in there). LL had left us with no working oven for three months when we moved in, and six months before we moved out. We were only there for two years, so that is quite a lot. There was also lots of minor problems - eg six months with the gas fire not working after it was disconnected for being unsafe, two days with no gas supply at all after it was disconnected (on another occaision) for being unsafe by the emergency gas people, metal chimney vent half coming down and rolling about across ours and the neighbours roof windows for three days, agent ringing me up and shouting at me down the phone for "expecting to live for free" because they thought we hadn't paid the rent, but no apology when DH rang back with the transaction numbers, etc etc. I have detailed these on here before.

Anyhow, we were kind of glad when they evicted us, although it was very inconvenient and cost us a fortune in moving costs. We now have a much nicer and bigger house, with a garden, not very far away, for very little more money.

However, they are now trying to keep our deposit. We moved out at the end of March, so I rang to see what was going on. The agent told me that I wouldn't be getting the deposit back as there was water damage to the kitchen top and something else that they couldn't remember.

I should add that the agent took the keys from us on the Saturday, and told us they would do the inspection on the Monday and contact us about any problems straight away, in case it was something we could put right immediately. The LLs daughter moved in on the Sunday (the ILs live practically next door).

I know what they mean about the kitchen top - it is a wooden top, with a belfast sink, and so no proper draining board. However, they supplied a plastic one, which we used, but when we moved it there was a mark underneath. We didn't think much of it at the time, just assumed it was part and parcel of having one of those wooden tops, and we weren't given any special instructions for dealing with the material, so had just been wiping it with normal kitchen cleaner.

The agent did mention some cleaning issues, but I can't think what they were - we scrubbed the house top to bottom. There was the odd bit, eg scuff marks where DDs bed had been, but it was a light colour paint, so was bound to show up muck after two years of having a two to four year old sleeping next to it, and easily painted over.

Any way, we have asked for the problems in an email, which hasn't come. What do we do now?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 23-May-11 17:04:49

Your deposit must be held by a third party, with whom you can take up the issue. Do you know which agency this is? Find out from LL/agents and set a dispute in motion.

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 17:07:09

OK, hows this for an email to the agent?

Good Afternoon,

I am writing to confirm that we have now requested the details of when we will receive our deposit back from the house we vacacted on the 9th of April 2011 four times. As telephone contact has not so far been adequately responded to, we would like to request further contact be made by email, so that we are given a written record of all communications.

The only details we have been given by phone are that the landlord would like to withold some of the deposit. However we have not been given many details, and are curious as to how any alleged damage could be attributed to us, as a new tenant was in situ on the 10th of April, even though the property inspector told us he would be performing the inspection on the 11th, and would personally contact us in the event of any problem, in order to give us the opportunity to rectify any small issues.

As the property inspector arrived at the property two hours before the allocated time, he informed us that the minor cleaning issues that we made him aware of, namely that the floor needed sweeping and some small marks needed wiping off the windows, would be overlooked as he was in a hurry and could easily perform the tasks himself on his inspection, which he specified would take a long time as he had to take a large quantity of photographs.

Of course, as the tenancy was terminated without any fault on our part, and we had the goodwill not to contest the eviction, and in fact halted processes that we had in place to rectify the concerns that we held over the maintenance of the property, we are sure that you, as the agents, will do your utmost to rectify this problem and maintain communication with us, by email to this address.

We also seem to have never received the deposit ID number that would have allowed us to check that our deposit has indeed been protected, as is legally required. We were not, at the time, aware that this requirement existed, but in the process of taking advice on the problems we have suffered during the tenancy, we discovered that this was the case. Of course, we are sure that this is simply an oversight on your part, and so look forward to receiving this number, by email to this address, within the next 24 hours.

On the subject of communication, we will no longer respond to telephone communication, as all contact will need to be fully recorded. Please also ensure that this email address is used, as we have previously had problems with your replies somehow being redirected to another email address, containing all our correspondance and personal details.

We are looking forward to receiving your reply within the next 24 hours.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 23-May-11 17:25:29

Looks good to me. smile

Do you suspect, as I do, that they haven't protected the deposit?

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 21:07:33

Yes - is it that obvious? smile

What happens if they haven't? The agency themselves are very big, one of the biggest in the area, but I'm pretty sure the landlord gets given the deposit to protect, don't they?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 23-May-11 21:45:59

I have a feeling that the landlord is liable not only to repay your deposit, but also a further 200% of it - ie, you get back three times what you put down. I went to google it, and found this, which may help? (Think there are two schemes, that covers only one.)

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 23-May-11 21:49:57

Yup: "The tenant has the right to seek compensation if the landlord does not provide them with information about the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme used. The compensation for the tenant is equivalent to three times that of the deposit."

Seems there are three schemes, link well worth reading. smile

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 22:26:30

Hmm, it's not coming up on that link...maybe I have the deposit amount wrong -I thought it was a months rent plus £100, but I might have remembered it wrong. I have the tenancy agreement somewhere...

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 23-May-11 22:32:26

It's about halfway down:

"*What if a landlord fails to provide the tenant with information on the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme?*

When accepting a deposit the landlord or letting agent is required to ensure:

The deposit is protected by one of the three government backed Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes, see section on Who manages Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes?

They follow the rules of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme which they have registered with.

The tenant is provided with information within fourteen days of the deposit being received.

Failure to comply with any of above may lead to the landlord facing court action and being unable to reposes the property, under Section 21 of the Housing Act.

The tenant has the right to seek compensation if the landlord does not provide them with information about the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme used. The compensation for the tenant is equivalent to three times that of the deposit."

Also,

"*What happens when a landlord doesn’t enter into a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme?*

The tenant has the right to apply for details of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme the landlord has submitted their deposit to. If the landlord has failed to register the tenancy deposit with one of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes, the tenant may apply for a court order.

If the court agrees that the landlord has failed to pay the deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme they may either require the landlord to repay the deposit to the tenant, within fourteen days, or to pay the deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

The court will also order that the landlord pays the tenant (or person who paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant) an amount equal to three times the initial deposit amount, within fourteen days.


What if a tenant moves out of the property and their deposit has not been protected?

It is advised that tenants check at the start of the tenancy to see if their deposit has been protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

If the tenant moves out of the property and realises after that their landlord had not protected their deposit through a Protection Scheme, the tenant can apply for a court order to ensure the landlord repays the deposit."

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 22:53:53

Found it. It is, indeed, registered. Meh, I was quite hoping it would be that simple!

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 22:59:09

Although "The landlord or the agent must tell the tenant within 10 working days of the end of the tenancy if they propose to withhold any of the deposit. The landlord/agent should attempt to resolve the dispute within 10 working days. If they cannot do so, or the tenant remains dissatisfied, the dispute should be referred promptly for resolution by the TDS or the courts. "

So, since it is now 31 working days since the end of the tenancy, and the only information has been given when I have contacted them...where does that leave me?

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 23:03:27

So, basically, I need to get some evidence that I have attempted to contact them several times, then raise a dispute? Or can I just raise a dispute anyway?

TBH I'm spoiling for a fight. They caused my children to be living in a house which had unsafe gas fittings, and when a man came out he said the entire gas system was cheap and had been installed shoddily, and every time something broke they were told that the whole thing needed sorting out and they never did. All the inspections condemmed at least one thing and raised concerns about others (which were never addressed). In a way, it was a blessing that we got evicted, because we kept believing them when they said it would be mended soon. I was just too scared of getting evicted.

QueenOfFeckingEverything Mon 23-May-11 23:08:43

Butterpie - cannot post much right now as am on way to bed with baby. I sucessfully sued for return of deposit plus 3x penalty in v. similar circumstances (criminally negligent landlady etc). PM me if you want details or advice smile

APieOfButter Mon 23-May-11 23:28:56

I should clarify, if something was condemmed, the person comdemming it always shut it off. That is how the oven ended up being shut off, despite the fact that every inspection said it wasn't right, and they should mend it asap, it took a call out from the emergency gas people over a carbon monoxide alrm going off to get it shut off properly. Then we were left for months with no oven.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 24-May-11 00:07:54

Speak to CAB, Shelter or a housing lawyer. They'll be able to tell you how to proceed; but I think you have a good case against your LL.

(I AM NOT A LAWYER, NOR HAVE I ANY RELEVANT EXPERIENCE)

APieOfButter Tue 24-May-11 00:20:46

Ace smile

APieOfButter Tue 24-May-11 00:22:36

For now, thaen, I'll just send a message saying it is to confirm that I have been asking for details about our deposit now since we moved out on the 9th of April, and to please direct all communications to my email address.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 24-May-11 00:26:20

Rather than the email you quoted in your second post? Or as well as?

APieOfButter Tue 24-May-11 00:31:44

Rather than - I've just sent the first paragraph. I'll phone Shelter tomorrow, and don't want to put my foot in it somehow before then. This way, they know to email me (although we have suggested this several times before - our lifestyles mean that email really is the best way of getting hold of us) rather than phone.

Gooseberrybushes Tue 24-May-11 00:38:38

get on to the TDS and they will be marvellous, they are soooo great. Write everything, everything, including the stuff not working and so on.

They are so great. Raise a dispute right away. Any money not claimed by the ll for damages will be returned to you directly nd then you fight for the rest.

Gooseberrybushes Tue 24-May-11 00:43:03

Raise a dispute now, in fact what you need to do is phone the TDS. Their number is on the website and they will give you fantastic advice, very neutral and reliable. They know exactly what's what and there's never any waiting time on the phone.

I've just done a dispute with the TDS as an ll and won and quite right too. You have a very good case. What happens is, you raise the dispute and the money is divided up. You get back straight away whatever isn't claimed. You write down everything that's happened plus any evidence, receipts, photos, inventory, lease agreement, send it all off. Then the ll will respond, then if you ask you can respond to their response. But make sure you get as much as possible down in your first letter/on the first form. Write EVERYTHING, I promise you, the TDS is one of the best things in tenant-landlord law in the last five years.

Gooseberrybushes Tue 24-May-11 00:44:11

They will also be sympathetic if you didn't get the info you should have under the lease. It's a breach of the lease.

HerHissyness Tue 24-May-11 11:25:44

Seconding the TDS. And Shelter and the CAB. they are all awesome!

I won a dispute last year with the TDS.

If you don't have a proper inventory for your check in, then there is no benchmark for them to compare condition today in. Also, there should be no possession of the property by others before full photographic evidence is taken at the very least, as you can easily state that it wasn't like that when you left, and they can't prove that it was.

When writing a dispute, look at it as your ONE chance to stand up and state facts. Don't say things like, witnesses can be provided if required, GET a witness statement and include it.

There have been new guidelines for deposits, have a look on the TDS site, but the use of common sense and fairness is emphasised.

I am an independent inventory clerk, Check outs/Ins is what I do. It's crucial to be fair minded to both sides, and I pride myself on this. did you think to take any pictures of the property before you left?

I don't like the inspector turning up 2 hours early, OF COURSE he's going to catch you on the hop. That was a deliberately planned thing to try to get as much out of your deposit as possible. If I did that to some of my check-outs, I'd fully expect them to complain. I'd also fully expect them to tell me to naff off! It's not your problem that the guy is busy, that is his job to manage HIS diary. You had a time arranged and to simply turn up early is RUDE and I would state that it is designed to catch you out.

If any of my tenants are running behind, I start on the parts of the property that ARE ready, and if there are bits missed, I tell them. It's not a trick, it's a tenant's obligation to return the property in the condition in which they received it, with allowances made for fair wear and tear.

APieOfButter Tue 24-May-11 13:13:39

Should he have done the check with us there?

I've found it on a website, it was protected, but 12 days after the date we moved in, which is pushing it a bit, but within the 14 days I can't remember them sending us the details, but they could have done to be honest

There was a really detailed inventory, but no photos that we know of, but, like i say, he told us he was doing the check out on the Monday, and the new tenants were in before that. Also, we are more than a month after the end of the tenancy and any details about getting back the deposit I have had (ie very vague ones) have been after I chased them up. Nothing in writing whatsoever.

I remember ringing up a few days after we had left to see about the deposit and the woman at the agency told us that the check out hadn't been done as we weren't ready at the allocated time, which is utter rubbish, but how would we prove it?

No reply to my email.

sparks Tue 24-May-11 13:28:10

If the check out wasn't done, that's their problem.
Raise a dispute. It's up to them to provide evidence of the reason(s) for witholding your deposit. Presumably there is no such evidence.

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