Ongoing dispute with ex landlord

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  • Ongoing dispute with ex landlord

    Hi. I'm a tenant not a landlord but didn't get a reply on a tenant forum that I posted on recently. I have an ongoing situation with my landlord that is causing my family a lot of upset and me to feel unwell due to the stress.
    He served us our notice in April and gave us until June to move. We'd lived there six years, gave him no trouble, always paid our rent etc so it was a bit of a surprise. Our youngest child who has additional needs had caused some damage to the house but we were already working on restoring the damage which we started after Christmas. We painted the house throughout including skirting boards , wardrobe doors, window sils ceiling etc. We replaced light fittings like for like that had broke, hired carpets cleaners oven cleaners etc and left the house in a clean and tidy state.

    We couldn't move out by the date the and landlord gave us as our new house was being renovated so the landlord became abusive threatening to change the locks, screaming at us, etc. We moved out a few weeks later and thought that was that. He then notified us that he believes there is over £2000 worth of damage to the house and he intends to take us to court. The damages in my opinion does not exceed the amount of the deposit so I genuinely was expecting some of our deposit back, although if he did keep the entire deposit that was ok with me. I wasn't however expecting him to threaten court. We spent thousands on the house over the years and have always kept it nice and in his own words had been ideal tenants yet suddenly he's turned on us. He's threatened to come round to my new house and called me and husband names.

    He didnt protect our deposit until just before Christmas which I suspect he did as he fully intended to get us out of the house. Despite knowing for months he didn't protect it in time I'd never mentioned it as I had no intention trying to claim compensation from him as I didn't want to cause any trouble. Before I knew the landlord's intentions I also didn't intend to use the Tds to dispute our deposit as I'd had enough stress these last few months and wanted it over and done with but since the landlord threatened court I felt I had no choice but to go down this route and this is what was advised. We are now at the point were the landlord has sent his evidence and they are now aksing for ours. The problem we have is that the landlord did a list of damages with pictures which he gave to my husband and then weeks later told us he'd found more damage to add to it. I've not had any of this provided. The tds emailed me asking for my evidence but only included a brief breakdown of what the landlord is claiming for. What I'd like to know is if he can realistically claim for most of these things as I've been advised it's called betterment what he's trying to do and this isn't allowed. I'll give a bit of a breakdown

    He's trying to charge £800 for decorating despite me and my husband painting the house throughout with good quality paint before we left. He's stated that we shouldn't have done it ourselves and instead should have paid for a decorator, however this is not stated in our tenancy agreement.

    One of the clasps on the oven door broke (totally fixable) but the landlord decided to put in a new oven and then try and charge us the full cost.

    Two carpets had one stain each on them so he ripped them out and replaced both. Both carpets were over ten years old.

    He put on a new internal wooden door and said he paid a joiner £185 to fit it. I was quoted £50.

    He ripped up a 12 month old hall and stair carpet that we paid for ourselves claiming we didn't have persimmon to replace it. We did have permission but verbally.

    He's claiming for door handles saying they don't match the rest of the house. We replaced three as they broke but couldn't get the exact same.

    He's claiming for cleaning despite the fact me and my husband spent two days cleaning and we roped in several family members to help.

    Hes claiming for blinds throughout the house. One of the slats on the dining room blind snapped off, literally in my hand when I opened them one morning. Instead of replacing this one blind he replaced the entire house and is trying to bill us for it.

    There are other things but I'd be here all day. What I'm wanting to know would this be considered as fair? The landlord has no inventory from when we moved in. At least I assume he doesn't as we didn't sign one and when I asked him for a copy of he didn't answer the question and instead gave me a load of verbal abuse. The evidence provided to the Tds doesn't state an inventory was included only photos and invoices for jobs done. I agree there are some things that are our fault and we were quite happy for him to deduct these from our deposit but he's been a nightmare. We have always been good tenants and wouldn't dream of leaving a house dirty or in bad condition yet he's painting such a bad picture of us.

    Ive now got to put our evidence together and I don't know where to start. I only have a few pictures as I lost most of them when my phone broke as they weren't backed up to cloud. I do however have pictures of our paintwork, cleaning, appliances etc and I have pictures of us cleaning carpets etc. I have receipts from carpet cleaners, the oven being cleaned, invoices from carpets being fitted, invoices from plaster work being carried out, plumbing work being done etc. Will this be enough for you think?

  • #2
    First of all, don't panic - this happens a lot and the result is nowhere near as bad as it first seems.

    There are two parts to this, one relating to what he is claiming and the other relating to the threat of court action.

    Starting with the claim.
    Other than anything specifically mentioned in the tenancy agreement (like a full professional carpet clean or similar), the landlord is entitled to compensation for any loss in value of their asset(s) beyond fair wear and tear that occurred during the lease.

    The formula that they should use, and a court (and the protecting company Dispute Resolution process) will use is:

    (Cost of the original item and any installation/fitting (not the cost of a replacement) / expected lifetime) * (expected lifetime - actual lifetime).

    That is compensation for the lost value (life of use) of the item.

    So:

    He's trying to charge £800 for decorating despite me and my husband painting the house throughout with good quality paint before we left. He's stated that we shouldn't have done it ourselves and instead should have paid for a decorator, however this is not stated in our tenancy agreement.
    There may be something in the tenancy agreement that doesn't allow you to decorate at all, but if there isn't, the landlord has to show that there has been a loss in value that requires compensation. If you had been living there for 6 years, it's almost certain that the redecoration was necessary in any case, so there's unlikely to have been any actual loss - even if the painting had to be done because your's wasn't good enough. Without a check in inventory to show what the original condition was, the landlord is going to have a heck of a time making any claim at all.

    One of the clasps on the oven door broke (totally fixable) but the landlord decided to put in a new oven and then try and charge us the full cost.
    The landlord is obliged to "mitigate his losses", i.e.To keep his losses and costs to a minimum. If the clasp could have been replaced for less than the cost of the oven it should have been replaced. The inventory is less important here, because it's most likely that the clasp was daaged in the tenancy.

    Two carpets had one stain each on them so he ripped them out and replaced both. Both carpets were over ten years old.
    The landlord will have to show that a) the carpets had an expected lifetime beyond the 10 years they survived, and b)could only, as a maximum claim for the lost lifetime beyond 10 years. That proportion of the original cost could be claimed. If only there were an inventory that showed the original condition so the landlord could prove it was you who did the damage. If you're happy to admit it was you who stained the carpet, go ahead - the loss will be small and cosmetice damage is a real pain to evaluate.

    He put on a new internal wooden door and said he paid a joiner £185 to fit it. I was quoted £50.
    This claim might go through, but the door had been there for a while, so there should be some adjustment for the existing use.

    He ripped up a 12 month old hall and stair carpet that we paid for ourselves claiming we didn't have persimmon to replace it. We did have permission but verbally.
    The landlord will have to show why there was a loss. That might be interesting.

    He's claiming for door handles saying they don't match the rest of the house. We replaced three as they broke but couldn't get the exact same.
    That's not going to be successful. Matching doorhandles isn't necessary.

    He's claiming for cleaning despite the fact me and my husband spent two days cleaning and we roped in several family members to help.
    That claim will fail provided you claim that the property was as good or better than when you moved in. The landlord would have to show that it wasn't. Unless the tenancy agreement says that a professional clean is required.

    Hes claiming for blinds throughout the house. One of the slats on the dining room blind snapped off, literally in my hand when I opened them one morning. Instead of replacing this one blind he replaced the entire house and is trying to bill us for it.
    He might be successful with the claim for the broken blind if you admit to the damage, the rest is very unlikely.

    Then the legal claim:
    If the landlord didn't protect your deposit until recently, he has made a huge error.
    Not only was his notice invalid, so you had no reason to leave unless it suited you, he could be forced by a court to return the deposit in full and pay a penalty for the failure to follow the rules.

    I suggest that you have a look at Shelter's website and look at what happens when a landlord doesn't protect a deposit. What you so about that is up to you.

    Next time you are in contact with the landlord, suggest they take some legal advice about the unprotected deposit. They might have a shock.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi. Thanks for the advice I appreciate it. With regards to the decorating our tenancy agreement doesn't say we can't decorate. The landlord said before we moved in that we could decorate as long as we don't use dark colours liked black purple red etc and if we do move we put it back to magnolia which is what we did. The door he had hung we paid for ourselves as the old door got jammed with my son trapped inside so my husband had to just it off. This happened about a week before we moved. We ordered the exact door, fixtures and fittings, got quotes for fitting it but no one we contacted could fit us in to do the job before we moved. The clasp on the oven door just fell off. We'd looked after the oven and it just came away when my husband opedned the door so we didn't break it as such. The Hal and stair carpet we replaced as a few years back there was a flood in the hall, the radiator flooded when we were out. The carpet at the bottom went black and smelly. We asked the landlord if we could replace it and he agreed. He's now saying we didn't have permission and it was shoddily fitted most likely by an unprofessional fitter. Thankfully it was fitted by a national company which I have an invoice for and I have pictures of the carpet and how bad it was. What gets me is that he had seen this carpet when he visited the house over the years and not once did he bring it up. The radiator that flooded was broke and we replaced it ourselves and paid to have it fitted even though he should have done it. We only had the house professionally decorated three years ago and spent a lot on it but this time couldn't afford a decorator so did it all ourselves and did a good job in my opinion.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have advised the landlord about the unprotected deposit. He didn't take it seriously and said he eventually protected it so there's nothing I can do. Clearly he doesn't understand the rules and that he only had 30 days to protect it. If he's willing to drop the claim for damages I'll drop the compensation claim but if he goes ahead then I'll have not choice as if say he is awarded a large amount I can't afford to pay it.

        Comment


        • #5
          You should probably offer to use the deposit protection mediation service, as courts tend to prefer people to try mediation first, so whoever blocks that is likely to be looked on less favourably.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi. Yes we have both agreed to mediation. The landlord has sent in his evidence so it's just a case of me sorting out mine and sending it back.

            Comment


            • #7
              What you've said in your first post plus a bit of my responses in post #2 would be a great defence / evidence.

              The landlord has to prove his case, you don't really have to prove what you think they're saying isn't true until the ADR process asks you to.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi. I'm currently disputing my deposit with the Dps but so far they've been less than accommodating. They sent me a very brief breakdown of what the landlord is claiming for and told me that he had provided pictures, invoices and correspondence. This again was very vague and I asked if I could be provided with the pictures he'd provided and correspondence but if that wasn't possible could they at least tell me if the landlord had provided them with an inventory from before we moved into the property. They said they can't provide me with this as it isn't policy. Is this correct? I've only ever had one other dispute years ago with our old landlord and it was only over a stain one carpet and he daft we'd painted one wall a different colour. This was with the Tds and they provided me with every bit of evidence the landlord had provided. I'm just wondering how I go about disputing if I don't know specifically what I'm disputing. Also how important is an inventory? I don't believe the landlord did one before we moved in to the property as I asked him for a copy of it and he got all abusive calling me names and when the Dps emailed me saying what evidence the landlord had provided an inventory wasn't on it. The landlord is trying to claim for ridiculous things so I'm interested to know whether he has a chance of a success without a detailed inventory?

                Comment


                • jpkeates
                  jpkeatesVerified Poster commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Have a look at the shelter web site for information and some useful template letters.

                  Receiving a formal letter before action may push the landlord in a more sensible direction.
                  And the dispute resolution service will act professionally even if the landlord won't.

                • Sarah81
                  Sarah81 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Don't get me wrong there was some damage to the house that occurred as my son (he has diagnosed Sen) had high anxiety for over a year and took to throwing things down the stairs, banging doors, kicking walls etc but me and my husband worked tirelessly for months repairing the majority of it. The landlord gave us a good reference and initially told my husband he was happy with the property and was impressed with how clean and tidy it was. Then a few weeks later we got handed his list of damages. We painted the house throughout before we moved yet he's trying to claim over £800 for redecorating. We replaced two carpets (with his permission) as they were filthy and he's saying we didn't have permission and they weren't fitted properly. A catch on the oven broke but instead of replacing the part he decided to put in a brand new oven and then try and charge us for it. One blind broke and he kitted the whole house out with new blinds and again is charging us. The list just goes on. He forced us out of the house that we considered home after living there for six years, we gave him no trouble, never missed a rent payment etc and after considering him to be a decent person and very reasonable he turned into a nasty aggressive idiot sending me abusive texts. I just wanted to be left alone and was happy for him to keep our deposit in the beginning as long as we never had to see him again. I only decided to dispute the deposit after he threatened us with court as we have nothing to lose really.

                • security2
                  security2 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  On the one hand, we're only reading one side of the story here. So don't take any advice given as gospel.

                  However from what you've written, it appears you probably have a strong case.

                  Landlords should expect a property to be returned at the end of a tenancy in the same condition as it was at the start, less fair wear and tear. Betterment is not allowed when costing repairs and replacements. If the landlord wants to improve the condition of the property, then he should bear that cost, not the tenant.

                  ​​As said above, send a formal letter and that may jolt your landlord into acting with some common sense. If not, be prepared for a dispute and maybe court (regarding the lack of deposit protection). Going to court can be daunting but if everything you say it's factual and correct, it would probably be quite financially rewarding for you. Don't use a no win no fee solicitor though, as you'll forsake half of your claim.

              • #9
                Hi. I posted previously about the situation with my landlord. Me and my husband have disputed the return of our deposit after the landlord said we owed him a ridiculous amount. I've kept things amicable, to the point but the landlord wasn't having any of it and contained to text me when I'd asked him to leave me alone. I've provided our evidence to the Dps and asked for copies of the landlord's evidence which they refused to give me st first but then I got copies of everything last week.

                It it all looked pretty standard at first ie the pictures, correspondence between us etc but then the last file they sent me was a three page statement the landlord had made about me, my husband and our children. To say I felt sick reading it was an understatement. He has completely tore us apart and bare faced lied about everything. He accused me of taking drugs and drinking excessively, now not only do I not take drugs I'm also tee total. He accused me of illegally running a business from the house, which is not true. He said we were such bad tenants that one of neighbour's felt she had no choice but to put her house up for sale. Again this isn't true as the house was already up for sale when we moved in. He wrote that my husband admitted to all the damage and that he agreed to pay but my husband did not. He made out that my children are feral, not looked after, that I was heard ranting and swearing at them in the garden, again not true. There is a lot more to add but it was that long I'd be here all day.

                What I'd like to know is will the adjudicator take this into account? Like I said it's completely untrue but how do I prove it? We have never given the landlord any trouble in all the time we lived there and as far as I was aware there were no problems at all. I thought he was a reasonable person and I'm shocked he's stopped to such a level. I've taken legal advice and have been advised that the landlord has most likely realised he doesn't have much of a case and has therefore done this as he's desperate to disparage our character and make us look like slummy tenants. I can't help worrying though and feel it's all out of my control which is a horrible feeling. Any advice is appreciated.

                Comment


              • #10
                Three related threads have been merged.
                I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

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