Check out deposit deductions. Is this fair?

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    Check out deposit deductions. Is this fair?

    Hi there,
    After 2,5 years of tenancy we had to move out from the flat since our landlord decided to sell it. I believe our landlord was happy with us, we never misse/delayed a payment, we took care of the house quite well and we were quite flexible with the visits of potential buyers.

    After the check out inspection he decided to deduct some monies from our deposit for the following reasons;
    • Wallpaper ripped in two places above mirror £79
    • Throughout / picture hooks and screw holes £100
    • Removal of bidet toilet seat £50 (I put the bidet and forgot to remove it)
    • Plus some other things which I have no objections to
    Here is my question;

    In my opinion after 2,5 years of tenancy if the tenants were nice and kept the house in good condition ( this was acknowledged by many people including by couple of people visiting the house to buy who said "I wish we had tenants like you") these minor things can be ignored. I know I can not be objective

    Could you please share your thoughts? Is he fair with his numeration? Does it cost £100 to fix 2 plug holes and 2 picture holes

    Thank you.

    the wall paper above the mirror is damaged while removing the photos there are 2 of them close to each other

    #2
    The landlord is entitled to anything specifically agreed in the tenancy agreement (usually cleaning if anything) and compensation for any loss in value of their property beyond fair wear and tear. Any replacement or repair cost should be calculated so the existing use/value of the item is accounted for.

    The simplest thing to do would be to ask the landlord how they arrived at the figures. £79 sounds like quite a specific figure, but the £100 sounds a bit random and the removal of the toilet seat sounds unnecessary - but I don't have the details.

    Your deposit will have been protected and, if you are unable to agree the values with your landlord, there is a dispute resolution service (which will take ages).
    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
      You had opportunity to make nec repairs before LL was entitled to charge a prof cost.

      jpk a bidet should not be used as a toilet and does not normally come with a seat.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by chameleon81 View Post

        In my opinion after 2,5 years of tenancy if the tenants were nice and kept the house in good condition ( this was acknowledged by many people including by couple of people visiting the house to buy who said "I wish we had tenants like you") these minor things can be ignored. I know I can not be objective

        Could you please share your thoughts? Is he fair with his numeration? Does it cost £100 to fix 2 plug holes and 2 picture holes

        Thank you.
        You're right, after 2.5 years of trouble free renting, you might hope that a landlord would not charge anything for what potentially appear as minor things.

        However, is the landlord using an agent? Perhaps the agent over zealously got their tradesman in after you vacated and charged the landlord, so he has no choice but to pass on the charge?

        Ask for the evidence of costs being proposed.

        If you don't agree, then go to dispute resolution. Might take 2-3 months for you to resolve. But you should receive the undisputed amount of the deposit back straightaway, so you won't be waiting for that at least.

        Or negotiate with the landlord and meet him half way. Or offer to do some of the repairs yourself (although he is under no obligation to let you do that).

        Or just accept the amounts and move on!

        Comment


          #5
          I tried replying with an example, but the posting got auto-rejected. There are products that replace the seat on a normal WC, so it is the WC that is becoming a bidet, not the other way round.

          I think they would require building control approval.

          Comment


            #6
            The bidet is an add-on to the toilet which goes just underneath the toilet seat. I haven't removed anything from the original toilet. I attached a photo of the bidet.

            Comment


              #7
              As a landlord, I have tried to move away from making repairs myself and mostly hire others to do them. It's not always easy. I don't know where you are based but I'm often surprised by the cumulative cost of getting people to do small jobs which I could have easily handled myself. But the tenant didn't want to do them, I don't want to do them, so it only makes sense that if you want someone else to take the hassle off your hands, you have to make it worth their while.

              The landlord is not allowed to enrich themselves through their charges but they have no duty to get you the best price either. That's not to say that you should not challenge things - but be at the same time don't expect best value either. If you want best value, you should arrange these things yourself before the end of the tenancy (of course, no one does!)

              Specifically, the bidet thing sounds a lot if you could just lift it off without any tools and pop it in the bin. I would be annoyed at all the hooks and screw holes left behind and would count myself lucky if I could find someone to sort that out as a single decoration issue for £100. Next time use adhesive 3M Command Strips!
              Assume I know nothing.

              Comment


                #8
                The landlord is very much expected to get the best price/value.

                The claim the landlord is making is for compensation for a loss beyond the expected fair wear and tear, which is a contractual claim and requires the loss to be mitigated to the best of the landlord's ability.

                Not easy to prove either way in a lot of instances, though.
                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


                  #9
                  Personally, if that was the only damage after 2.5 years I would say "wooo hooo" and think Christmas had come early !

                  Wouldnt even consider not returning deposit.

                  Maybe I'm soft.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    jpkeates,

                    Where does the landlord's obligation to get best price / value arise from? Surely it is enough that the prices are not obviously unreasonable, taking into account the often short time available for getting cleaning / maintenance done if necessary?

                    For instance, if I shop around I can get get a quote of £130-150 for a 2 bed end of tenancy clean - but my tried and tested cleaners who will turn up at the drop of a hat and do a great job without supervision charge £220. I may be wrong - I've never been challenged on it. But I wouldn't anticipate there being any problems if I were. It certainly makes life easier for me and T has had every opportunity to clean the place - or find someone else to clean it - themselves.

                    I suppose it also depends on how you define best value.
                    Assume I know nothing.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Hooper View Post
                      jpkeates,

                      Where does the landlord's obligation to get best price / value arise from? Surely it is enough that the prices are not obviously unreasonable, taking into account the often short time available for getting cleaning / maintenance done if necessary?.
                      The claim you are making is (legally) for a breach of contract.

                      The contract includes the explicit terms of the agreement and a shared understanding that there is going to be some wear and tear on the property being let. And that this wear and tear should be "fair".

                      If the tenant causes any damage or more than "fair" wear and tear, the landlord may suffer a loss as a consequence, and it's compensation for this loss that the landlord is trying to claim from the tenant.

                      Compensation for a contractual breach has an implied condition that any loss will be mitigated. Which means that, as the cost of the repair or other work is an element of the calculation for the loss, you need to keep it to a minimum.

                      That doesn't mean you have to take the cheapest possible quote, just that you may have to justify any higher value if challenged.
                      Bearing in mind that there's no obligation to actually remedy the loss, the actual cost of the work is (technically) simply supporting the value of the claim in most cases - the cost of the work and the amount of the claim are unlikely ever to be the same.

                      You may elect to pay over the odds to use your regular cleaners where you are assured of the quality, but that's your choice, it doesn't affect the actual value of the loss.

                      In reality, I've found there are two completely different types of dispute:
                      Nothing is owed at all, the claim is completely unfounded and I shouldn't be asked to pay anything at all and,
                      OK, I accept that the place needed x, but I could have got x done for half what you're claiming

                      In the first instance, the dispute is usually settled by some evidence (and a reference to "if the place had looked like that when you first moved in would you have been happy?") - or not if the tenant is just being unreasonable.

                      In the second, the "I wish I could find reliable people who quote that low and then actually turn up and do a good job - if you can find people like that I wish you'd done X before you had left, because I can't".

                      And as my proposed deductions are always worked through and show the basis on which they're worked out, I get remarkable little pushback after the first attempt - which is fair enough, everyone should probably try and get a discount if they can!
                      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


                        #12
                        Sure. Mitigation however is not an exact science. Even if you got the cheapest cleaners in you could have mitigated your costs further by doing it yourself.
                        Assume I know nothing.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The landlord is entitled to deductions that are not fair wear and tear. After 2 1/2 years with a good tenant I probably wouldnt have bothered unless I had to redecorate the ripped wallpaper or it needed a professional to remove the bidet. I've not seen one of those before, any plumbing required?

                          Dispute it with the protection scheme. If you have agreed other deductions are fair (have they allowed for wear and tear?) then I'm surprised they are bothering - and I would start questioning the allowances for wear and tear in any other costs.

                          Comment

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