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Landlord withholding deposit

(22 Posts)
LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 08:03:02

My partner took over a private tenancy 7 months ago. My colleague was living in the house and renting it before he took it over. I heard she was moving out and I contacted the landlord to ask if my partner could take over the the tenancy. It was agreed and he moved in when my colleague moved out. It saved him advertising and losing out on any rent.
My partner is now moving in with me so is moving out of the rented property. He gave plenty of notice and we have cleaned it till it's shining. Whilst he was in the property the landlord did not repair a hole in the wall or two windows which didn't open, even after my partner asking. Apparently my colleague had been asking the landlord for the same repairs.
However, my partner moved out last week, leaving the property cleaner than it was found.
The landlord is now trying to withhold my partner's deposit. He claims the walls should be returned to magnolia. However, the previous tenant, my colleague, had painted a couple of walls (with landlord's consent) and left them that way. So according to the tenancy agreement, my partner has not altered anything and left the walls as he found them. The landlord should have painted them magnolia when my colleague moved out before my partner moving in.
The landlord is withholding the deposit money, when my partner has not broken the tenancy agreement.
Any advice welcome. Thank you in advance.

WombattingFree Tue 07-Feb-17 08:18:45

When he took over, was he added to the tenancy? Has he actually registered your partners deposit. I'm a landlord and can provide my tenants with their deposit reference number. That's the first thing I'd be asking as if he hasn't then he's breaking the law.

If you have proof (written) that there were outstanding repairs and previous permission given to paint (to a previous tenant) then I would fight it. Deposit schemes often go in favour of the tenant so fight it. I'm sure someone will be along to tell you how you can do that smile

pdunne Tue 07-Feb-17 08:28:16

The landlord also can't withhold the whole deposit just because they're disputing some works. They have to return the undisputed portion to you and give you an itemised list of the cost of the repairs that they're holding the remaining amount for. You then start the dispute arbitration process and dispute the list of things they're claiming from you.

If either they won't give you any of it back or they won't tell you what the cost of the works they want is you can still start a dispute, but the order of things is a little different.

LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 08:28:25

Hi Wombat, thanks for your reply.
When my partner moved in he was given a new tenancy agreement. He has registered the deposit through a scheme.
I could ask my colleague to write a statement regards painting of the walls if that would help.
I also have photos of the property I took when he moved in.
The LL did not check the property over when my colleague moved out. If he had, then I presume the responsibility of painting the walls would have been hers?

LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 08:31:24

Thank you pd. The LL didn't mention painting the walls until my partner moved out. If he had, then my partner could have painted them himself, however he didn't think he needed to as he left the property as he found it, and according the the tenancy agreement.

CremeEggThief Tue 07-Feb-17 08:33:47

He'll definitely get all or most of his deposit back. Before I moved into my last private rental, 2 different property maintenance contractors informed the letting agent they needed to repaint the walls. They didn't and ignored my email to tell them I was going to paint anyway. Which I did, but around the furniture. I didn't have time to cover up the gaps when I moved out, but the Deposit Protection Scheme still found in my favour, as the inventory check out person agreed and noted that the walls were in a better condition than when I moved in.grin

Starman16 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:35:44

Contact the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and raise a dispute. PP is correct that the undisputed funds should be returned, and the landlord should have provided details in writing of exactly how much and for what he is retaining of the deposit. You can call the TDS for advice. Shelter also have a helpline offering advice for tenants.

LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 08:46:02

CremeEgg, thanks. That sounds positive. My partner calling LL today again before taking further. I'll update here.
Star man, thanks for the links. I shall definitely give them a call.

Just as an aside, we are in Scotland. I presume the laws of tenancy are the same wherever you live?

contemporaneouscontemps Tue 07-Feb-17 08:53:45

similar laws but we probably have better protection in Scotland regarding renewal charges etc
sounds as though a late request for painting is taking the piss if its never been mentioned before and the last tenant had landlords permission to paint with no clear agreement of what was to happen to the walls before the tenancy changed
Shelter Scotland website and calls will make sure your advice is correct and save you getting bogged down in the differences
scotland.shelter.org.uk

specialsubject Tue 07-Feb-17 09:50:30

Not sure on Scotland but if they have deposit protection, use the dispute process in the scheme. That is what it is there for.

smileyhappypeople Tue 07-Feb-17 09:58:33

I wouldn't hold your breath with the DPS.... the landlord just has to send in receipts and they will get the money! We had the same happen to us. Argued for months over it but the LL just provided pictures (that were actually taken before the tenant before us!) and receipts and he got the money.
One of the things he claimed for was curtain rails (which we did actually forget to put back up). They were stored in the garage though and they were those cheap plastic ikea ones that cost about £3. The LL claimed they weren't there, then he claimed that they weren't the ones that were up... despite nobody having any specific photos of the curtain rails he just provided receipts for £60 rails and the DPS ruled in his favour! I went to the house some months later to collect post and funnily enough the new tenants have never heard anything about new curtain rails and had to put their own up as there were none up!!

smileyhappypeople Tue 07-Feb-17 10:00:17

We also had issues with decorating that we hadn't done!
Again it was all because they used photos that were taken before the previous tenant!

Needmoresleep Tue 07-Feb-17 11:01:22

smileyhappypeople, your experience is unusual. I had a tenant do a flit a month after arriving. I suspect he failed his probation on his new job. Within that month he somehow got great lumps of candle wax stuck into the middle of the living room carpet, plus left me to clean out his stuff. He did not leave a forwarding address so I also had to speak to utility suppliers to ensure the address was not blacklisted.

The Agent warned me that TDS can be strange and assume that any monies belong to the tenant unless clearly proven otherwise, and even then can be quite unpredictable. TDS took months and though I had everything, including independent inventory, and photos - bizarrely taken by the tenant himself, I was only awarded a third of a month's rent in lieu of notice, and none of the commission I had already paid the agent. Through their report they mentioned giving the tenant the benefit of the doubt. The Agent commented that the decision was unusually disappointing.

You must have been unlucky. The main thing is that TDS take ages, and involves sitting down and setting everything out in writing, so it may be better to first threaten to launch a dispute and see if this causes the landlord to have a change of heart.

MoreProseccoNow Tue 07-Feb-17 14:02:34

It's the same process in Scotland as in England.

Does your DP have a separate tenancy agreement, deposit & inventory of his check in, separate from his flat mate & the other one who left?

And what about anything in writing to the tenants about painting? It is common to have clauses that request tenants return painting to the inventory colour if they have repainted during the tenancy. But whether it can be deducted from a deposit is a different matter - it will depend on the inventory & deposit & how that was set up.

MoreProseccoNow Tue 07-Feb-17 14:04:55

PS needmoresleep I think we had the same tenant! Mine had a thing about candle wax & failing probationary periods, plus not cleaning or paying utilities. Was glad to get rid of him.

Introvertedbuthappy Tue 07-Feb-17 14:10:59

If you have written evidence of requests for repairs/colleague's permission to paint walls then submit that to the dispute resolution service. They are really good (I have used this before and live in Scotland). Just proceed as normal and request your deposit back from the holding scheme in full. The LL will then have to submit evidence against this, for which you can then submit your own evidence against. A decision will then be made and they tend to err on the side of the tenant in my experience. Good luck.

LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 15:54:42

Contempt - Thank you for the link and good to know we are protected.
Specialsubject - yes, my partner going to go down this route if no joy today. Thanks.
Smiley - sorry to hear of your experience and how shifty people can be. Thanks for sharing.
More sleep - sorry to hear your experience. I'm sure LL have trouble too. Awful you only got a third back! My partner threatening a dispute today. Hope this works. Thanks for replying.
Moreprosecco - yes, his tenancy agreement is separate. I just found out today from my colleague that the LL did visit the house before my partner moved in. He didn't request she returned walls to magnolia and she was given back deposit. I'll let you know what happens. Thanks
Introverted - thanks for advice. This is the route we shall take if today's conversation isn't very fruitful! I'll let you know

Thanks everyone. Will update later when I speak to my partner after work.

Introvertedbuthappy Tue 07-Feb-17 16:15:16

Good luck Little, if possible follow up conversation in writing by email so you have a record of trying to reach a good resolution amicably. This can also be submitted as evidence.

wowfudge Tue 07-Feb-17 19:56:43

Hi OP - I'm not sure you've picked up on the distinction, but aside from your DP having a separate tenancy for the place, he should also have had a separate inventory provided when he took on the tenancy. The previous tenant is irrelevant. If no inventory was provided to your DP the LL can claim all he likes about the state of the place, but he cannot prove anything and cannot expect to deduct anything from the deposit.

LittleLadyFooFoo Tue 07-Feb-17 20:52:59

Hi everyone - thankfully after some assertiveness from my partner, the LL is releasing the deposit. Thank you for all your advice. It certainly helped my partner be informed and able to tackle this with appropriate information. Again, I can't thank you enough.

CremeEggThief Tue 07-Feb-17 20:59:42

Great to hear that, LittleLady. Well done to you both.

Introvertedbuthappy Wed 08-Feb-17 06:00:29

Great news!

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