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When is it ok for a landlord to retain deposit?

(16 Posts)
MRSflamesparrow Wed 01-Jun-05 19:45:08

Was just reading on DHW flat flooding thread, and it got me thinking... when is it, and isn't it ok for a landlord to retain a deposit?

We had £200 retained in our first flat for carpet cleaning... the carpets were terrible before we even moved in, but apparantly they "had" to be cleaned after us because of our rats (you know, the CAGED animals that they agreed to). But, we went with it.

We lost £10 because we accidentally melted the measuring jug in one place, and our replacement one wasn't up to their specifications.

The last landlord, who is meant to be the roughest in the area was the best ever! I think that because we had left the place with wallpaper and carpets (gotta be a rarity for him), and had even decorated several of the rooms so they were better than when we came, we got to keep all our deposit.

This place... I was thorough. They paid us to arrange carpet cleaning when we moved in, so I know how much it costs, and have set aside so that we can have them redone when we move out (and at some point during this summer when we are done potty training ). I went through the inventory with a magnifying glass to make sure everything was noted and as it should be. Providing we don't start knockin huge holes in the walls, I can't see why some would be held back (not planning to move for a while yet anyway, unless they kick us out or sell).

Sooooooo - when and why have your been retained, and landlords, when do you choose to do it?

No reason for wanting to know, just nosey

Pruni Wed 01-Jun-05 19:50:44

Message withdrawn

SenoraPostrophe Wed 01-Jun-05 19:55:52

Many landlords take as much as they can for very flimsy reasons. I've had money docked several times for things like clearing gardens (that had needed clearing since we moved in), moving furniture that they told us it was OK to leave and repainting following the bursting of next door's pipes. In the worst case, we took them to court and won, but that is quite a hassle. You've done all you can - but don't rely on getting the money back quickly.

lapsedrunner Wed 01-Jun-05 19:59:24

As a landlord who lives abroad and therefore uses a manageing agent I'm am always surprised at just how detailed (over the top?) some check-out reports are. Agent often "suggests" I charge for items on inventory that I would not consider necesary i.e I know how old and worn carpet it etc. Having said that we have had a "difficult" tenant recently and when you are abroad and paying someone else to manage for you it surprising how detached you can become i.e."out of sight, out of mind". You wanted an honest answer, oh yes, and by the way we are tenants here abroad so it works both ways...

jessicasmummy Wed 01-Jun-05 20:01:17

one landlord - no deposit refunded.

£450 for a tiny pane of glass in the front door because on removal day, ex-partner locked us out and landlord was on holiday.

Ok so i did with-hold a months rent because of a damp issue he refused to acknowledge and was tbh a health risk.

LIZS Wed 01-Jun-05 20:03:33

We had to put up with quite a bit of wear and tear on our house when we rented it out. However very little was we felt unusual enough to warrant a deduction, not helped by MIL doing the inventories and check outs (we were abroad) and not being the most vigilant so a few bits and pieces have disappeared or are in disrepair and odd pieces of, not particularly useful, furniture left behind. Our last tenants had the oven professionally cleaned but didn't clean behind or under the cooker itself or delint the tumble drier which had been used with the garage door blowing closed onto the hose rather than fixed back , so it is torn.

The only time we have made a retention was when one of our first sharer tenants dropped a hot iron onto the carpet in the hall, burning a hole - for that we deducted £50 which was the cost of patching it, as accidental damage was not insured and would have been a £50 excess anyway, but we now need to replace it (and it goes up stairs and onto landing too) at our own cost. We had various repairs done to the bathroom but it still leaked somehow and a bathroom carpet rotted away from new within 18 months due to poor use of shower curtain, leaving it constantly wet.

Our understanding was that if it was not professionally cleaned when the tenancy began the landlord cannot demand it to be of that standard at the end.

btw in Switzerland the tenant is liable for a proportion repairs, including those due to basic wear and tear, and has to pay for any redecoration and full professional cleaning before handing the property back over in the condition it was originally accepted.

Tissy Wed 01-Jun-05 20:22:40

when I was a student (admittedly 20 years ago) we had our deposits withheld for "damage". We had decorated (in plain neutral colours) kept the place spotless, tiled the bathroom, and carpeted the boxroom, so we could use it as a sitting room, as there wasn't one. All the above was done with the landlord's written permission. Luckily my uncle was a solicitor, and wrote a "letter", and we got it all back, but it was a lesson we didn't forget.

expatinscotland Wed 01-Jun-05 20:25:52

Don't get me started! I have lost THOUSANDS on deposits! I now videotape every flat I move into - with dates and when I leave. I send the landlord a copy when I move out. If I don't see a deposit in 8 weeks, I let them know I'm going to small claims court.

I've been ripped off WAY too many times.

pixel Wed 01-Jun-05 21:18:13

We are currently renting for the first time and on the advice of a friend who is a letting agent we filmed the whole place before we moved in to it. We gave a copy cd to the agents and asked them to keep it in the file so that they knew from the start that we wouldn't be taking the blame for anything that wasn't our fault.

Mind you, from things our new neighbours have said in conversation, I wouldn't be surprised if the landlord finds SOME reason to keep our deposit. Apparently his own daughter had to leave because she couldn't afford the rent he was charging her!

Prufrock Wed 01-Jun-05 21:48:25

Ooh timely. We are moving out of a rented house in 4 weeks and I'm getting concerned about deposit retention. It's a top end rental - 5 bed family house. We have been here for 16 months and whilst the place is looking OK, you can tell that 2 kids have been living in it - some marks on paintwork on the stairway walls, water splashes on the loo walss etc. And it could probably do with a lick of paint, but as the place hadn't been decorated for 3 years before we moved in, I don't really think the cost of repainting should be down to me. I am having it professionally cleaned and carpets cleaned by the same people the agents use when we move out, and I am prepared to pay for stuff like sanding/revarnishing the desk where dd (bless her) wrote all over it with biro, but I am not prepared to pay for what I consider to be general weaa and tear.

LIZS Thu 02-Jun-05 08:23:10

Prufrock that all sounds perfectly reasonable to me, having been on the other end. Normal wear and tear, such as would have happened had the property been used in the same way by the landlord, should not be a reason to withhold deposot monies. The tax allowances against the income for property maintenance etc is designed to offset this. Have a feeling professional landlords may lose sight of this though.

Prufrock Thu 02-Jun-05 08:41:34

Thank you LIZS (I was hoping you'd reply ). The property is managed by Savils, so I'm hoping for professionalism from them.

Can I ask another question? We have also left a scorch mark on one of the kitchen work surfaces, and I melted one of the knobs on the hob - mea culpa, and I'm prepared to pay reasonable amounts, but should I get them done myself before we move out of leave it to the landlord to charge me?

flobbleflobble Thu 02-Jun-05 08:43:18

I only retain for missing items/damage over and above normal wear & tear.

Would normally clean carpets between tenants - only charging them if there are stains. We re-paint every 2 years - so minor marks on the wall are fine but chunks gouged out of them would not be!

If the flat was left very dirty I would levy a cleaning charge.

I have charged tenants for damaged light fittings before - accidental damage. I never charge rip off amounts for repairs due to damage, as all our tenants to date have been very good - so it seems unfair to up the charges at the end!

LIZS Thu 02-Jun-05 10:57:18

ooh - I don't have any professional knowledge on this (ie. not legally trained !) just experience from landlord pov.

As to the other bits I think it could be hard for you to sort out the scorch mark, so perhaps ask landlord what he'd prefer you to do, but you should be able to get a replacement cooker knob easily enough if it is a recent-ish model - I remember ordering one for our cooker before we letf and it was over 10 years old ! If you have an instruction manual a spares supplier may be listed in the back. tbh I think if you are upfront about such things you should get treated better than if it is only made known at the last minute.

mancmum Thu 02-Jun-05 11:05:52

when I left last rented place, they withheld £100 for cleaning -- despite fact that place was spotless when I left - and not that clean when we moved in.. I asked for money back 3 times - they refused -- I mentioned writing to local paper -- money turned up the next day...

Chuffed Thu 02-Jun-05 11:19:15

One trick we have learnt with the cleaning is for them to do the walk through with at least a day to spare so that you can get some of the fixes done before the time is out.
Both walk through's we have had even though we thought they were spotless the landlord found things that were'nt good enough. We then had time to reclean these small spots and got 100% back.
We know we won't be getting full amount back this time but will probably look at doing a similar thing so that we can minimise how much they are able to take out of the deposit.

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