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Tenant deposit

(35 Posts)
JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 11:15:31

Hi all
Once you have informed a tenant that you intend to retain their deposit and provided them with quotes for work that needs to be done how long do they have to respond/ raise a dispute?

specialsubject Tue 22-Dec-15 11:26:15

depends on the conditions of the deposit scheme you are using. There are three.

wowfudge Tue 22-Dec-15 12:16:19

I had to make deductions from my tenant's deposit and I asked her to sign a letter confirming the deduction, which we each had a copy of. There was no dispute, but I covered myself to an extent just in case.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 15:45:17

Thanks. Anyone with experiences of disputes here? Deposit is with DPS. How long on average does a dispute take to settle?
I am wanting to keep the deposit to do the repainting and cleaning amongst other things. Have a solid check in and check out report by independent company that sets out state of the property. I could do the painting and cleaning myself (which I have done every time my tenants have left after 3-5 years). This time they've been there for 1.5 years and left it in a worse state and not respected the new flooring and furniture I had put in so I feel they should contribute to bringing it to a reasonable state.
I want to get the property back onto the market soon. Do I wait for DPS to make a decision before I start the work, start the work and risk putting my own money towards repairing the property or just do the work myself ( I.e. Tenant gets away with what they've done to my place and I have to spend my Xmas or take time off from work to sort it all out?

specialsubject Tue 22-Dec-15 17:59:52

can't help with disputes -but as I'm sure you know, you don't get it back immaculate - there will be wear and tear deductions. But if there was lots of brand new stuff and they've only been there 18 months, you should get something back.

don't expect respect, I'm afraid. Many people haven't been taught to look after their own stuff or property, they certainly won't bother with someone else's.

Sanchar Tue 22-Dec-15 18:15:05

you can't keep the deposit for painting unless there is damage!!

keeping the deposit for that reason is betterment and is not allowed.

have they damaged the paintwork or are you using their deposit to pay for the between tenant paint?

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:17:45

It's very sad. We were planning to live there but due to circumstances had to move and let it out. Walls were freshly painted, flooring was about a year old property was clean, had a brand new sofa etc. It was described as being in "excellent condition" by pretty much everyone who saw it. In previous years when I have let it out tenants haven't left it in a wonderful condition in terms of cleanliness but I've never taken deposits and just done the cleaning myself. This time I really feel like I have made a loss because of their lack of care. I also don't really have the time to do much myself as I used to before.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:20:02

Yes there are ink marks, hair dye marks, marks from cello tape where they've stuck things up, brown stains etc. It was freshly painted when it was given to them. Only the ceilings in the bedrooms havent been marked or stained so I will not be charging for re painting these.

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 18:24:22

It really depends on the level of "lack of care". Permanent stains on a brand-new sofa/carpet that require replacement = chargeable, scuffs on paintwork = not chargeable I would say, as after 1.5 years you might reasonably expect you'd need to repaint in the next year or so anyway.

Have a look here:

SauvignonPlonker Tue 22-Dec-15 18:25:55

I've recently been through a tenant dispute, using the deposit schemes.

These schemes are very much of the view that the deposit belongs to the tenant & you must provide a watertight case in order to make deductions from it.

Despite my ex-tenant leaving the place filthy & having photographic evidence of this, plus photos at check-in & a signed, dated inventory showing he inherited it in clean condition, the deposit scheme found in his favour.

I had to pay for it to be professionally cleaned at my own expense, which I had receipt for & needed to get done before the new tenants moved in.

The process took about 6 weeks (see timescales on the deposit schemes website).

I wouldn't hold out much hope of getting anything back, as it will be difficult to prove beyond "reasonable wear & tear".

I take it you have close-up photos of the floors & walls, at check in/out, which are embedded in an inventory & date-stamped? And the the tenant has initialled every page of the inventory, as well as signing & dating the final page? These are the technicalities which got my tenant off the hook.

Good luck, but I would think very carefully before proceeding.

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 18:26:28


What does your contract say about sticking things up on the walls? I still think the painting cost may be an issue, although ink marks on the carpet you could claim for a patch repair but probably not a whole carpet unless it's right in the middle of the room?

SauvignonPlonker Tue 22-Dec-15 18:27:12

Ps you have more chance of getting money back if you can provide receipts. It didn't help me though.

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 18:30:44

Remember also that you can only claim a proportion of the replacement cost for something, as you can't be found to be using the deposit for "betterment". i.e. if a carpet is expected to last for 5 years, then you can only claim the proportion of the replacement cost equivalent to 3.5 years, as your tenants were there for 1.5 years. The assumption is that you'd need to replace things eventually, so you can only claim a proportion.

e.g. carpet costs £500 new. Expected to last for 5 years = £100 per year. Tenancy of 1.5 years = you can only claim back from the deposit £350 (because you are replacing the carpet 3.5 years earlier than expected.)

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:32:09

Yeah Sauvignon that's my worry. If it comes down to paying £700 for painting or spending my Xmas doing it myself I would rather give up my own holiday time as much as I just want to relax!
I'm not sure what contract says about sticking stuff up but I would think any sensible person realises when you pull back cello tape it often takes away the paintwork.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:34:40

The only thing that needs "replacing" as such is the sofa which was given to them in brand new condition and now has ink marks, chewing gum stains and is peeling after 1.5 years.

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 18:38:55

Ah, unfortunately I think tenants are not required to use "common sense". Which is a blow!

Sofa definitely sounds like you can claim for it though. The problem with paintwork is that it does need doing on a regular basis anyway, and "wear and tear" is pretty loose so if it's just marks/chipped paint, not damage to plaster etc., or caused by something specifically prohibited in the contract (e.g. nicotine stains in a non-smoking property) then it's so hard to argue.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:49:33

so you can basically never claim for re painting? I've seen what I would consider fair wear and tear to walls where there were a few scuff marks here and there but nothing that's a real eye sore. In its present state where children have drawn all over the walls and there are brown stains (God knows what it is?!) no one would be willing to take it.
With the sofa I guess I have to calculate one year depreciation. Is there a percentage?

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 18:57:42

Drawings all over the walls is not fair wear and tear. It's hard to know without seeing it, though - one person's eyesore is another's expected wear and tear, hence why it's often hard to claim. No harm in trying, though.

How expensive was the sofa and how long would you expect it to last. That will give you the calculation. You need to be seen to be reasonable, above all.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 18:57:47

Is it better to opt out off ADR? I don't have any issues with going through the courts if they are more likely to be fair.

JadeFeather Tue 22-Dec-15 19:00:22

Sofa was 1.5k. I would expect it to last at least 5 years. I know my mum had a similar sofa when we were small kids and it lasted her ten years (but she brought it with her own money!). 1.5 years is pretty poor in my opinion.

NoSquirrels Tue 22-Dec-15 19:01:59

What do you mean "opt out" - of the dispute resolution? I'm not sure you can. The deposit will not be released to anyone whilst it is disputed, afaik. Check the DPS terms.

Sunnyshores Thu 24-Dec-15 11:37:39

You originally asked how long the tenant had to reply to your letter telling them about the deductions you intended to make. I think its 21 days, check the DPS conditions.

But if they disagree at any point in that time, you can contact the DPS and register the dispute. Ive done this a few times and I think it took about 8 weeks before they decided to award me not very much at all!

I had independent check in and check outs too, which I do think helped, but it is very hard to convey the state of a property with photos.

Im not sure how opting out of ADR works, but I doubt the court would be any more lenient. I went to small claims before deposit legislation and the judge basically told me I was wasting his time and should have allowed for much of this damage and theft in my profits!!

Welcome to being a landlord and the general public thinking we've got it easy!

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 24-Dec-15 11:43:45

I don't think it's ever going to be a good idea to let a place with expensive and brand new furniture in place. Would have made more sense to put it in storage or sell it tbh

SauvignonPlonker Thu 24-Dec-15 15:23:35

......Or with the new taxation changes, letting unfurnished. I think this will be increasingly common with the loss of the wear & tear allowance.

I'm not sure if I will replace the furniture currently in my rental property once it has reached that point. Although it increases the rentability of the flat, so I'll consider my options at that point in time.

However, I definitely would not be providing expensive sofa's etc in a rental property.

raisin3cookies Thu 24-Dec-15 15:46:38

As a tenant just about to move house, we have done our very best to bring it back to the state it was in five years ago when we moved in. Fresh paint on walls, woodwork, doors. Patching up holes, fixing loose cupboard doors, etc. I am horrified at the thought of just waltzing out of a property without making an effort to clean up after myself! Is this common??

Unfortunately, our new house the l/l didnt clean anything (walls, carpets, kitchen and bathroom all in a bit of a state). The agents told us flat out that we wouldn't be expected to clean before we vacate, so I guess it swings in roundabouts. Cannot wait to buy our own home...

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