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Spitting teeth - French landlord keeping €1100 deposit anyone know how I can get it back?

(10 Posts)
lifeisfuckinggreat Mon 24-Sep-12 16:05:05

Just that really.
Moved house within France at end of May, moved because the house was in such a poor state of repair.
Landlord has kept €1100 for painting a wall (€300) cleaning a window €250) cleaning the fireplace (despite it having been professionally cleaned three times already this year) and other assorted charges that are unidentified that are listed but with no explanation.

He has provided us with receipts but the charges are ridiculously high, especially as they gutted and renovated the house after we left.

Any idea how we can appeal or try and get our money back. I'm bloody fuming..

unobtanium Mon 24-Sep-12 18:11:10

This happened to us; I feel your fury. Did you have an "état des lieux" done when you moved in?

Our landlord was similarly devious if not worse. We let it go as we continued living in the same town and didn't want the hassle.

Nobody in France pays their last month's rent because of this dishonest carry-on from some landlords. Which is in itself dishonest... but you will be told by anyone you'd care to consult: just tell the landlord you're leaving and instruct him to keep your deposit in lieu of the last month's rent.

... because keep your deposit he will, most likely, whether or not he has grounds.

I hope you get some advice on what you can do next -- I still kinda wish I'd fought our old landlord.

Best of luck

CoteDAzur Mon 24-Sep-12 18:16:40

Why don't you contact a lawyer? Many are not as expensive as you might think.

You will probably get a free consultation where you can ask if you have grounds to take him to court.

Next time you move, make sure you do it at least a week before the lease is up, invite your landlord in and go over the état des lieux together. And get your cheque for the deposit when you hand him the keys.

lifeisfuckinggreat Mon 24-Sep-12 18:20:51

Yep, got an etat des lieux done. Bullying and threatening letting agent, combined with a landlord who was determined to use our money to renovate his house. I feel totally manipulated and naive
<howl> I wish I'd known to keep the last months rent beforehand..
Do you know if there is anywhere we could go to appeal it?

CoteDAzur Mon 24-Sep-12 18:28:11

Yes, you go to a lawyer and take him to court.

Before you start the court procedure, I would go back to him with what you have learned from the lawyer and tell him that you are about to sue him if he doesn't cough up your money.

lifeisfuckinggreat Mon 24-Sep-12 19:15:46

Thanks CoteDAzur.
The way it's done here is for the landlord to give back what's left of your deposit 3 months after you've left so they have time to find out if there are any issues with the house.
We did go over the etat des lieux together and agreed to paying for a wall to be repainted and a window to be cleaned. they added on without our consent a service of the boiler and a chimney sweep, even though it had been done twice already this year. We thought a generous estimate of €300 would be taken off, not €1100, they saw us coming sad
Landlord was an utter waste of space. When we moved in we found him cleaning our house with his dirty underpants, says it all really doesn't it!?

lifeisfuckinggreat Mon 24-Sep-12 19:18:10

I'll go to a lawyer and sue the fucker.

Will also bad mouth the letting agent to anyone who will listen grin

unobtanium Tue 25-Sep-12 10:32:50

I'm so sorry, your experience is typical. Next time you'll be tempted to withold your last month's rent, like so many others do, and this practice leaves the honest landlords up the creek, paying for the unscrupulousness of others.

The Agent is being true to form if he pulls one over anyone with an accent.

I think the solicitors is good advice -- I have found people remember their manners very quickly after that first envelope arrives stamped "Maitre x"

Best of luck!

tb Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:15

It happened to us 4 years ago, we lost 2 months rent. The agent later went bust. Apparently, at the préfecture there were loads of complaints against his carte professionelle, but it wasn't withdrawn.

We found out later, when the owner of the property came to see us that he had never paid the deposit over the the owner, nor our last 2 months rent.

Does your contents/house insurance contain help with legal disputes? This may be of some help.

Is it worth trying the assistante sociale at your Mairie? They may have some ideas.

Good luck

AuldAlliance Thu 27-Sep-12 12:45:17

It's 2 months, not 3, maximum for them to keep your deposit. If you have bills & receipts proving you had chimney swept & boiler serviced recently, those items are clearly unjustifiable; the rest may be less easy to fight over.

You can write a letter, stating the facts and asking for them to refund what they owe you. There are models online one here, but you'll need to adapt it to your specific case, stating what work you had done in the last 12mths and what they are billing you for, and what you contest.

But yes, you do need a lawyer, really. Most barreaux have open sessions for the public, where lawyers give free advice.
Google Barreaux de X, and its website should give dates & times of weekly open sessions.
Your case seems fairly straightforward, so it'd be quick for a lawyer to tell you how best to proceed.

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