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Deposit deductions: Is this a lost cause?

(21 Posts)
mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 16:36:35

Our previous LL (we moved out a month ago) wants to deduct 1500 from our deposit. The lettings agent has given us a list of deductions and I disagree with most of them. One of them is 300 for a coffee table which had some faint pen markings on it.

The check-out report states 'Low level wooden occasional table appears to have been varnished and sanded down and has felt tip markings'. We hadn't varnished it or sanded it down, but there were faint pen marks. The landlord has said that to him, the table is ruined. It cost 400 three years ago, so applying the scale for wear and tear for a high-end item, we should pay 300.

Also, the LL brought forward the check-out date and the professional cleaner I had booked couldn't fit the job in. I had the carpets, oven and windows professionally cleaned and my cleaner did 5 hours. However, they found fault with it, and are charging us 435 quid for a full professional clean, (4 bed house). This was the quote I got for everything, including oven, windows and carpets! But apparently I'm not allowed to book a company now that we've moved out.

There are other things, i.e. a kick board in the ancient (like 30 year old) kitchen was loose so that's apparently 60 quid to repair. He's sold the house and is about the exchange!

I just feel so annoyed. We were only there 10 months. angry

I just wondered if anyone had an experience of the arbitration service and whether it's worth bothering.

hejsvejs Thu 31-Mar-16 16:39:18

Yes, definitely contest it!!

Explain to DPS why you are contesting each item and I'm sure they will rule in your favour.

And why is he keeping a £400 table in a property he is renting out??

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 16:45:52

Ooh, thanks Hej!
It's his home, he went away for a year and now decided to sell and he's going to live overseas. Got a buyer straight away. Not surprise he wants to cash in all his furniture eh?

The other thing that annoyed me is that he had an ancient fridge and several of the drawers cracked from our heavy use. Now, I'm not disputing that, but over a hundred quid to 'replace' the drawers. Does anyone actually do that with old fridges?

ToastyMcToastface Thu 31-Mar-16 16:50:09

Hold on a minute, if you were only there 10 months, how has the £300 wear and tear on the table been worked out? You shouldn't be paying to replace his furniture. Paying 3/4 of the value when he's had 2 and a bit years wear out of it and you've only had 10 months doesn't make any sense. Were there any photos taken at the start of your tenancy of the table?

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 16:52:31

The thing is, the independent inventory guy has written that the table looked like it had been varnished and sanded. I suspect this is just where the cleaner tried to remove the pen marks. It is a rough wood, solid table (Bali style, if that makes any sense). I wonder if he has the receipt for the purchase?

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 16:53:08

Toasty, he's saying it was perfect when he left it and we ruined it.

ToastyMcToastface Thu 31-Mar-16 16:54:49

And does he have the photos to prove it was perfect?

ToastyMcToastface Thu 31-Mar-16 16:56:10

We rented for a short time last year and the inventory when we moved in was very extensive with loads of description and photos of everything. Did you have anything like that?

BumbleNova Thu 31-Mar-16 17:00:32

definitely go to the arbitration. it was brilliant for us. We had a batshit landlady who tried to deduct £2700 from our deposit (more than our deposit and sent us an invoice for the difference).

do you know which scheme your deposit is being held in? there are usually good guidelines on how to submit the paperwork. top tip - structure your response really clearly and make it easy for the arbitrator. our landlady submitted 5 sides of handwritten crazy so it was an easy decision in our favour.

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 17:00:45

Yes, I've got it here. There's a photo of the table but it's quite distant so you can't tell much. It just says coffee table, clean condition.

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 17:03:08

bumble what a victory! Did they dismiss her claims completely?

wowfudge Thu 31-Mar-16 17:05:53

Still dispute it - what do you have to lose? The landlord has to release to you the undisputed part of the deposit too. No waiting around. Stick to the facts. The coffee table charge sounds ridiculous.

FiveSixPickUpSticks Thu 31-Mar-16 17:06:32

The thing is, the independent inventory guy has written that the table looked like it had been varnished and sanded. I suspect this is just where the cleaner tried to remove the pen marks.

Then you need to take it up with the cleaner imo.

BumbleNova Thu 31-Mar-16 17:16:02

nearly - we had to hand over about 300 quid but we had removed a built in bunk bed and binned it. so we were guilty on that front. we were lied to by the letting agent about it being removed prior to the tenancy starting and we either had to find another flat or rip it out ourselves. she literally wrote pages about her beloved bed. it would have been funny if it wasnt so stressful at the time.

the arbitrator's comments were quite funny. she tried to charge us for a new fridge because a handle had come off a cabinet . he agreed she was batty.

BumbleNova Thu 31-Mar-16 17:19:23

mamager - make sure you provide evidence and link it to each charge the LLL is trying to take. provide check in and check out photos and use them to dispute the LLLs findings. if its just your word against theirs you will not get far, you need evidence. do you have a receipt for the cleaner for example? my LL tried to pull that one and I produced the receipt I had for the end of tenancy clean and the arbitrator dismissed her claim for cleaning.

lem73 Thu 31-Mar-16 17:21:18

We had a landlord totally screw us over with our deposit too and I didn't have the energy to contest it. I remember the landlord expected us to have the house professionally cleaned and I was quoted over £200 which I just didn't have. I got a cleaner too help me and the place was spotless when we left. Because I wasn't able to produce a receipt they deducted the cost of a professional clean from my deposit. They said it was their right because they had had the house professionally cleaned before we moved in. As my dad angrily pointed out a) the landlord deducts such stuff from his tax and b) they're essentially getting the tenants to pay to get the house ready for the next tenants.
Now I am a landlord and I know this guy had been taking the piss. So much of this stuff is tax deductible. Also I am paying for cleaning etc between tenants as part of maintaining my property. I think the difference between me and my old landlord is that I see it as a business (and therefore plan financially) whereas he was an accidental landlord. He rented out the home because he couldn't sell it.
When we rent out we get a professional inventory with photos and a report. It's essential in case you have disputes like you have.
Definitely fight this. Teach the greedy bastard a lesson!

mamager Thu 31-Mar-16 17:22:14

Good work Bumble grin.

I'm just annoyed I didn't get a professional clean when we moved out. He brought the check-out date forward (we moved out 2 months early) as that was the only date he could do, and it was also massively to our advantage because it meant less time paying double rent. There are lots of cleaning points mentioned on the report, but they are all very minor things of the 'light markings to inside of drawer' variety.

BumbleNova Thu 31-Mar-16 17:32:29

light markings would be "wear and tear" and that shouldnt be deducted as a matter of landlord and tenancy law.

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Thu 31-Mar-16 17:44:39

A LL tried to scam me £400 for a broken lamp. I found an identical one in Argos for £25 hmm so asked proof of which shop it was from. Strangely that deduction became £25.

Allbymyselfagain Thu 31-Mar-16 20:21:36

Last landlord tried to charge me £300 because the tap on the bath had been changed from separate hot and cold to a mixer tap. Unfortunately the landlord had bought that tap HIMSELF and let his dodgy friend into our house when we weren't there to change the tap as it had been leaking. The email he'd sent got that thrown out.
He also tried to charge £500 to repaint the living room as he claimed we had been smoking in there as the walls were all stained. The photos screen grabbed from before we moved in and photos of whilst we were living there showed no pictures hung on the the light patches and that the stains had been there before we moved in...

Toohardtofindaproperusername Thu 31-Mar-16 20:28:35

Shelter have a brilliant service - sometimes you have to try a few times to get thru but it's worth it- and if u have money you could always donate a bit to their organisation to help others in future. Def worth contesting- lots of info online that can help.

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