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Unfair charges when leaving rental property

31 replies

Rhubarbina · 25/05/2023 13:30

Anyone know if there’s still any law firms England offering a free 1-1 session for half an hour (re deposit disputes/landlord legalities etc) 

Tried Shelter (repeatedly couldn’t get through), CAB and Community Law for advice already but need a direct 1-1 with lawyer ideally…in England.

Thanks ☺️

OP posts:
fyn · 25/05/2023 13:38

Have you tried the deposit scheme? They have independent arbitrators who look at both sides of the claim and make a decision.

Eastie77Returns · 25/05/2023 13:42

Bear in mind the deposit scheme can only rule on deposits in a protected scheme.

Rhubarbina · 25/05/2023 16:20

This is more than retrieving the deposit. It’s more along the lines of countering the rental agent’s (landlord’s) demand for the property to be returned to a condition ‘better’ than when it was first let and alleged charges of around £5k+ to return the house to this state (quotes ok are seeking). However the landlord has been terrible throughout, ignored problems even when the bathroom fell into the kitchen it was deemed not urgent and required constant begging for attention for major issues over the course of ten years solid rental payment. Yet when we threatened to go to mediation on the collapsed wall on our driveway we were suddenly evicted. Things along these lines. Unfortunately all our earlier comms with the agent were verbal only (at their insistence). We know they are being ludicrous but it’s proving it that’s going to be hard.

OP posts:
ClaudiaWankleman · 25/05/2023 16:21

Even though your landlord might be seeking a higher amount than your deposit, you can still pursue this via the tenancy deposit scheme OP.

UnplannedPlanner · 25/05/2023 16:26

Some context will help to understand your situation and available options. Are you still living in the property? Do you have somewhere to move to?

TheWitchwithNoName · 25/05/2023 16:26

After 10 years it’s highly unlikely the LL would get much if anything back due to fair wear and tear.

Speermint · 25/05/2023 16:29

You don’t have to pay to return the property to the state it was in when you first rented it. It only has to be in a reasonable state considering it’s had ten years of wear and tear. Just say no - tell them to take you to court, they will lose. And they probably know it, they’re just trying their luck to squeeze you for money they aren’t entitled to!

WoolyMammoth55 · 25/05/2023 16:49

Hi OP, I'm a LL. My understanding is that yours has no leg to stand on.

For him to get money from you, he would have to be able to prove that you have caused damage beyond 10 years reasonable wear and tear.

He'd have to have the photos from before you moved in and photos from when you moved out and show a judge that your tenancy had caused damages costing him £5K to rectify.

Do you think he has that kind of evidence?

If not (it sounds like not!) then you can safely send a polite reply explaining that your rental payments conferred the rights on you to live in the property and cause reasonable wear and tear over 10 years. That you are happy to explain this in court if he wants to take things further.

If he still won't back off then say that you only want to deal with his solicitors going forward as you don't owe him money, and that any further attempts from him to contact you will be documented and reported to the police as harassment.

Wish you all the best.

C4tastrophe · 25/05/2023 17:11

It sounds like they threaten they want 5k, and you’re supposed to be grateful when he only takes all your deposit.
Go via the scheme and get your money back.

Rhubarbina · 25/05/2023 17:58

Thank you for all your suggestions. I’ve asked the agent for photos and funnily enough they haven’t produced them. The house was ‘tired’ when we moved in but I would have expected some allowance for wear and tear in addition. They are now noting things like a small drawing one of my children did on the wall in pencil that we couldn’t rub out, marks on a (note- old and cheap) carpet in addition to other unreasonable things. They want a new oven because the knob fell off the existing one (because they’d installed the cheapest one possible); the toilets apparently need replacing because of use (we left them and the whole house clean). Think they got scared when we threatened action over structural issues and decided to let us go, we have moved in to another rental but feel it’s unfair we’re being blackmailed now we’ve asked for our deposit, never thought they’d threaten us to go to court over normal wear and tear and add 5k as well, even though they don’t consider it ‘normal’ you need to repaint and replace crappy carpets/update bathroom suite after a ten year tenancy. The bathroom has damp issues because it wasn’t installed properly which is why the ceiling collapsed a while back. The agent is ‘in’ with the landlord I reckon. Yes we were a bit messy and cluttered but never had pets, smoked, hung wet clothes up, or had stuff up against the wall to cause mould etc. none of our complaints are evidenced because they didn’t allow emails during the management and I’ll have to see if we can find any photos.

OP posts:
fyn · 25/05/2023 18:53

Some of those things are unreasonable but didn’t you paint over the drawings on the wall!? That isn’t fair wear and tear.

MadeForThis · 25/05/2023 18:58

Request your deposit back from the scheme and tell the landlord you will happily see him in court.

TwoBlueFish · 25/05/2023 19:06

If they don’t have an inventory and photos from when you moved in then they can’t prove any damages. Wear and tear will also be taken into account after 10 years I would expect carpets would need replacing. I would go via the deposit scheme as they are likely to side with you. It sounds like the landlords are trying to scare you out of not claiming your deposit.

hedgehoglurker · 25/05/2023 19:27

TwoBlueFish · 25/05/2023 19:06

If they don’t have an inventory and photos from when you moved in then they can’t prove any damages. Wear and tear will also be taken into account after 10 years I would expect carpets would need replacing. I would go via the deposit scheme as they are likely to side with you. It sounds like the landlords are trying to scare you out of not claiming your deposit.

Yes, agree. They are trying to scare you. Just claim your full deposit back from the scheme.

FluffyHamster · 25/05/2023 19:36

I'm a LL and have been a tenant who won a dispute with a LL who was trying to withhold deposit for a level of professional cleaning which wasn't consistent with how the flat was when we moved in.
As others have said - is there an inventory with photos that you signed off? They can't claim for reasonable wear and tear - only for unreasonable damage (drawing on walls, perhaps, but would cost little to paint over, and the property will need repainting anyway).

CLaim your deposit back, and if the LL disputes it then challenge it. Keep your responses short and factual, and just about the condition of the property i.e. don't get into a long rant about everything that gone wrong during your tenancy - that's not what the deposit scheme is for.

Rhubarbina · 25/05/2023 20:21

Thank you again everyone, that’s helpful, I’ll see how it goes just through the deposit system in the first instance then, even if they are threatening claiming for more than just our deposit (which we should be owed back). I can’t afford solicitors for this atm and hopefully it won’t be necessary based on what I’ve read, I initially thought the deposit scheme was only for that amount and was resigned to losing it as fell we’ve been strapped over a barrel…but maybe not. Thanks again for input.

OP posts:
rrrrrreatt · 26/05/2023 00:05

The deposit scheme are generally pretty reasonable, don’t worry. Our landlord tried to take most of our deposit and said they wanted us to agree outside of the scheme because they were “worried” about it taking longer for us to get our deposit back and wanted to “help”. They wanted us to pay for a brand new hob and fitting because it had a scratch, £150 to clean a fridge because the cleaner we hired had left a small cleaning product smear, painting the large kitchen living room because of a scuff that was there when we moved in, etc.

We said no and went through the scheme. They got about a 1/3 of the requested money because they can’t have brand new if you’ve lived there for years esp if it’s still perfectly usable, costs have to be proportionate, they had no evidence of the original state of some things, etc. Make sure you reply when asked to respond to their claim though (I think you get 10 days) or it defaults to the landlord’s request!

purpleme12 · 26/05/2023 00:24

OP while mine isn't exactly the situation as yours, my landlord wanted to keep all my deposit.
I was happy with them keeping some but not all, not even half really.
At some point in this, it might have been in the evidence they submitted to the deposit scheme, I can't remember now, they said we want all the deposit and we will be looking to take tenant to court for the rest of the damages.
I took a risk and went ahead with the dispute and in the end they decided he kept some of it but I got some back too (I consider that a win)
But no one took me to court after that.
It was obviously bragging because he wanted me to agree so to him keeping the deposit

Bingbangbongbash · 26/05/2023 00:40

Definitely go through the scheme - everything is done on a sliding scale - so even if they deducted something for the drawing (highly unlikely), the amount would be determined for 10 year old paint, not new paint. Agents & LL like this make me furious. They absolutely cannot claim any money for betterment - so replacing tatty old shit with new stuff isn’t allowed. The oven knob falling off after 10 years is entirely reasonable, so again, you won’t be expected to pay for that.

If I remember right, they have set numbers of years that they expect things to last - so (eg) 6 years for carpets, 4 years for painting etc. It’s all easy to find on the deposit scheme websites.

If for any reason they haven’t properly protected your deposit within 30 days of you handing it over AND given you the information of how it’s being held within the same timeframe, you can claim up to 3 (I think) times your deposit back.

Good luck!

IBetGordonRamsayDoesntHaveTheseProblems · 26/05/2023 10:04

This is more than retrieving the deposit. It’s more along the lines of countering the rental agent’s (landlord’s) demand for the property to be returned to a condition ‘better’ than when it was first let

This is most certainly not how things work, and the LL / LA don't have a leg to stand on.

The rules are that you need to return the property in the same condition minus fair wear and tear. After ten years, a lot of wear and tear is expected.

What they're asking for is known as betterment. A tenants deposit is not a new for old insurance scheme.

After a ten year tenancy, everything you've mentioned would have reached the end of its normal lifespan anyway, and would need replacing. For example, the child's drawing on the wall isn't fair wear and tear, but after ten years it would need repainting anyway so they can't claim for it.

Dispute the lot with the relevant deposit protection scheme. They'd have to take you to the small claims court if they wanted anything over and above the deposit, but they'll get nowhere if they've already been rejected by the deposit protection scheme.

RoseBucket · 26/05/2023 10:23

Did you take photos when you left?

Rhubarbina · 26/05/2023 20:21

We don’t recall taking photos but the estate agent can’t find any either, I cussed for those today

OP posts:
Rhubarbina · 26/05/2023 20:22

Chased not cussed!

OP posts:
Rhubarbina · 26/05/2023 20:25

I’ll update you on this thread as and when we get resolution fingers crossed. This type of greed makes my blood boil especially after ten years of being reliable tenants

OP posts:
Rhubarbina · 26/05/2023 20:27

Thank you again for clarification- I will hold off forking out for solicitors even though the agent told me yesterday the landlord will ‘ Definitely be taking us to court even if we dispute it through the TDS; and because the small courts claim has more significance than the tds our appeal through the TDS will be meaningless’- to quote them on the phone today when I asked about the original photos and inventory. So one sided

OP posts:
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