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Disputing losing full deposit on rental flat

(66 Posts)
GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 19:29:50

I recently had to move due to my failing health- I was in my last flat for 3 years, when I moved in I was fit and well and earning around £40k in an active job. So it's an expensive flat and the deposit was £1600.

Over the last couple of years I've become disabled, completely unable to work, finally savings ran out so I've moved 300 miles near my family to a much cheaper place. Very very lucky to find a landlord willing to take someone on disability and HB.

Today I got the check out report from my last place and they are refusing to return any deposit. I'm absolutely flummoxed as I left it in good state, or I thought I did. I paid £240 for a full clean, as the lease stipulated. The list of 'Damage and Unreasonable Wear and Tear' is huge but so minor, I'm so lost here. A bin left in the wrong room (the cleaning company moved this, I know it was in the spare room). 2 table mats left under the recycle bin- as the flats don't get their recycling taken, you take it to a bin yourself, I haven't moved that since I moved in.

A dusty mirror, a mark on a door that needs urgent attention, a shower head left behind (this was in the bin, and something the cleaning company should have taken out). They've listed that the smoke alarm doesn't work but after a year there they sent someone in to check and that person said it was broken, I had a brand new battery in it anyway. they fitted a new one next to it but didn't remove it. A discoloured mark on the floor right in front of the front door that I've never noticed. The front door handle slightly loose although I've never noticed it in any way loose.

It's a long list of minor stuff but apparently adds up to £1600 worth of 'damage'. I'm absolutely gutted, I moved over 300 miles away and am now seriously ill because of it. I'm freaking out. I can't just pop over and do anything, physically or financially no way.

Has anyone fought losing a deposit like this? Anyone have any advice at all? I borrowed money to be able to move and was counting on this deposit to pay back. I'm just beside myself, any advice would be truly appreciated. I'm completely alone, no one to talk this over with, just sitting here in floods of tears.

HomeFree55 Mon 20-Mar-17 19:50:03

I don't have any experience or much knowledge of deposit disputes, but I recently hear about a student letting company I'm Bristol called 'student digs' that were taken to court by Tennant's regarding deposits, and the company lost. It may be an idea to see if there is anything publicised about that verdict that could help you and give you some recent law or precedence that could be useful in approaching your landlord

I hope someone with lots more advice comes along soon

19lottie82 Mon 20-Mar-17 19:50:21

You just need to dispute all the charges online, a lot of them sound quite ridiculous, and TDS won't allow for anything that isn't reasonable, so try to to panic until it's all been finalised.

JoJoSM2 Mon 20-Mar-17 19:50:30

The deposit should be in a deposit scheme and you can challenge it. If it isn't in a scheme, then the LL might be required to pay you double back (I think based on some stuff I read somewhere).

NameNotANumber Mon 20-Mar-17 19:53:48

Dispute it, lots of that is not down to you. DPS usually find in the tenants favour IME (work for an EA, but I'm nice honest, I'm just the Directors secretary).

GinSwigmore Mon 20-Mar-17 19:54:39

Hello OP
Are you dealing with a letting agent or LL directly? Irrespective, your £1600 should have been placed in an official Deposit Scheme, it is illegal if they haven't done that and you then contact the scheme to dispute LL's claim, which sounds dodgy as fuck to me (and I'm a LL).

GardenGeek Mon 20-Mar-17 19:54:42

You need to dispute with them as much as possible then take it straight to your deposit protection services. 3 months from leaving is the max buy they are quite slow so make sure you do it after a month, leaving 2 to go from DPS.

Lie to the agents and say you need to go away abroad etc. so need this sorted in the next month or you are going to DPS.

DPS are great. You will get all your money back, or if you don't they will need to show receipts for corrective work so at least they wont pocket it.

Your not in Sheffield by any chance? There is one agent there who is SHOCKING at doing this.

Google your agent and you will see google reviews to see if overs have had same issues.

Hellmouth Mon 20-Mar-17 19:55:20

You were there for 3 years, some wear and tear is expected!

Definitely dispute it on TDSs website.

Sorry, I've never been in that situation, but I know they can't just keep your deposit like that.

And it is correct that the landlord will have to pay you something if the deposit is not in a scheme, although I don't know how much

Hellmouth Mon 20-Mar-17 19:56:26

I don't know where I got TDS from, sorry :D

Oh and make sure you were originally given an inventory.

Idrinkandiknowstuff Mon 20-Mar-17 19:58:55

Def dispute it, I know several people who had this happen to them. Without exception they all got their full deposits back after disputing.

GinSwigmore Mon 20-Mar-17 19:58:56

Oh and if it hasn't been placed and protected in such a scheme a court can order you get paid triple, so £4800.

GinSwigmore Mon 20-Mar-17 20:00:37

SlothMama Mon 20-Mar-17 20:00:55

First off check that deposit is an a protection scheme if it's not the LL can be forced to repay you.

Did you take pictures of the house when you moved in and before you left to prove lack of damage?

If you have send an email to the LL, if they continue to try and take your money if you have proof you should take them to the small claims court.
Similar happened to me whilst at University and I got all but £200 back doing this. Go see your local CAB they are wonderful and were really helpful.

PonderLand Mon 20-Mar-17 20:07:49

Your LL needs to provide evidence of receipts to show the price it cost him. I'm pretty sure he'd find it impossible to find a receipt to show what he paid to move a small bin to another room for example. Dispute it, if you don't agree then the money stays in DPS until a conclusion is reached. If a conclusion is never reached then the money stays in DPS.
Things like a mark on the floor should be for repair of that one tile/floorboard, it wouldn't include a full floor refurbishment. He's a cheeky fucker and is trying his luck!

GinSwigmore Mon 20-Mar-17 20:09:19

Photocopy your invoice from the cleaning company

Dispute whatever "costs" they are laying claim to in terms of dusting one mirror and having to move a couple of items. Charging any more than a fiver for the inconvenience is taking the piss, it really is.

Moving a bin, no charge
Table mats?, unless some missing from inventory, no charge
Shower head left behind, they are taking the piss, it's no biggie
Dusty mirror, no charge
A loose door handle? Lord above

the only items with any weight are marked door and marked floor
Even then, wear and tear comes into play and they need to prove replacement cost/repair. It won't be £1600 that's for sure (unless they have replaced whole door and carpet but you would only be liable for a %)

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 20:16:32

Thankyou all for taking the time to reply, this had helped a lot. I was truly expecting to get comments like my parents, a deposit is essentially a fancy name for another fee and not to expect a penny.

I'm going to attempt to dispute but I'll see how it goes. I'm not good at confrontation and they know it, the agency already has issue with me as I was there for all the viewings as I really struggle to get dressed and go out due to my health.

To answer some questions, according to my lease the deposit was held in a scheme. I'm dealing with the agency that let me the flat but a couple of times when I've tried to sort things out with the move they've been short with me and told me to contact the company doing the inventory but I don't have their details. I wasn't even aware it was a separate company.

I do have the original inventory, it goes into so much detail (door one has 2 small nicks 10cm from the bottom and 32cm from the top, for example) yet this new one mentions things that weren't in that one. A hole filled in and a bracket in a window, whatever that means. I can't dispute as I didn't take pictures that close because this was all stuff that was there when I moved in, I haven't changed anything at all. I have severe arthritis, I had to bribe the moving men to change two lightbulbs as I physically can't do it.

Looking more at the email they are saying items that were there have been left by me- when I moved in there was a bin in the kitchen which they are saying I left. They make the point twice that a loo roll holder was left in a cupboard instead of bathroom- I was there 3 years, I just forgot which room it was in. I think they are being truly literal as each room had a bin which have swapped around over the years so each room has reports of a missing bin and an added one.

This is just insane. I'm not sure who to even go to to dispute all this, the EA or this inventory company. It feels like they've carefully pored over the original inventory and purposefully picked at things that weren't mentioned.

The email came too late today to call anyone so I'm left worrying.

Glitteryunicorn Mon 20-Mar-17 20:16:43

Our landlord tried this, we tried to negotiate a sensible amount to be deducted but they refused. We submitted a complaint to the deposit protection scheme and had the whole amount refunded.
Try not to stress about it they need to prove the deductions to the deposit protection scheme before they can take anything.

GinSwigmore Mon 20-Mar-17 20:21:08

And I'm raging on your behalf OP as twunts like those are what gives every other LL/agent a bad name.
In your paperwork you should have been told which scheme your deposit is in. You lodge an appeal with the scheme if LL has not returned agreed amount back within ten days. So tell your agent/LL you disagree with their complaints and you are lodging an appeal. Do it now. Don't let them steal from you.

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 20:21:11

The issue with the floor is just awful, it was bad when I moved in as there had previously been a leak from the floor above. It's wooden floor which curled up and darkened slightly. Over my time there maybe it is slightly worse but that is only because it was like that when I moved in- if the floor wasn't slightly raised it wouldn't have gotten worse. But this is my second flat, my first flat was my first time living alone and I got every penny back with no dispute no question so I guess I was naive. I didn't take pictures when I moved in. I know the landlady is aware of it as she visited once.

Over my 3 years there I know I paid out over £1000 in fees to this agency. I'm so gutted I'm losing the rest of this too.

Gallavich Mon 20-Mar-17 20:24:24

You go to the company that is hding your deposit. Do you have the paperwork for that?

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 20:24:27

Oh heck I've looked through the last inventory and not a single mention of the floor at all. I have no proof I didn't do that all myself

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 20:25:22

No I don't know what company, my lease just states it will be held in a scheme according to law, no mention of the scheme

GoldilocksAndTheThreePears Mon 20-Mar-17 20:28:03

This is the pic from this inventory, and no pictures at all of the floor on the previous

Redkite10a Mon 20-Mar-17 20:28:13

Which deposit scheme are you with? Look at their rules for disputing claims and follow them. You don't have to get into an argument with the estate agent, or the people who did the inventory - just say you don't agree to any of the deductions and would like to take them all to dispute resolution. Put it in writing and make sure you ask the estate agents to reply to you in writing only and not by phone - that way if they get nasty you have a record you can submit.

The deposit scheme has rules on timelines, it's 2.5 years since we went through it so afraid I can't remember them. You then pull together and submit your evidence to the deposit people - they review your evidence and that of the landlord as a neutral party. Our scheme the landlord had to submit actual receipts for work done, quotes weren't enough. We submitted photos we took when we moved in and got all our money back.

19thJuly2017 Mon 20-Mar-17 20:31:42

I am a letting agent and deal with this all the time. I have attempted to retain tenant's deposits for genuine reasons where they have left the property in a complete state and The Dispute Service (TDS) always give the tenant the benefit of the doubt. You've clearly looked after the property so stand every chance of getting your money back.

If the deposit hasn't been protected in a regulated protection service the landlord can be fined up to three times the deposit, plus the original deposit. You should have received a certificate shortly after you moved in to prove it was registered.

Was a record of condition carried out before you moved in? If not the landlord is unlikely to be able to retain the deposit, even if there were genuine reasons for doing so.

You must raise a dispute, you have every reason to be successful.

Good luck

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