Issues with landlord - late deposit protection/dishwasher/inventory

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    Issues with landlord - late deposit protection/dishwasher/inventory


    Hi all

    Looking for some advice on how to proceed with my landlord and letting agency. A few things to note before I explain the issues:
    • We have an AST which we started in October 2016 and re-newed October 2017
    • After moving in we found out that the flat is owned by the landlord and letting agency where she works, but didn't disclose.

    In November 2017 (13 months after moving in) I discovered that they had only protected two-thirds of my deposit. When we moved in we paid £1275 and they protected £850 and sent me the PI within 30 days. I questioned the amount on the certificate and they said that it was a DPS error and that I should sign this one and they will send another for the remaining £425, which I did as I trusted them. 13 months later I realised I hadn’t received the certificate for the £425 and checked with the DPS who confirmed that only £850 was protected. I instantly questioned it and they finally protected it the day after but still didn’t send me the PI until I chased it 2 months after it was finally protected. The PI they did send me was a HTML link to what I assume is the site they use to fill it in and it didn’t have my partner on it as a tenant (he is on the tenancy agreement as a tenant and was also missing from the PI for the £850).

    When we re-newed in October 2017 they didn’t re-send the PI for the £850. It looks like it was re-protected with the DPS though.

    Can I claim compensation from them if they only protected two-thirds of my deposit initially and made several mistakes with the PI?
    Can they serve us our a Section 21 notice without returning the deposit to us in full?

    I have pointed out to them that they didn’t protect it all / send the PI in time but they claim an admin error and didn't seem worried as I had signed the £850 certificate.


    Also an on-going issue with the dishwasher which stopped working 6 months ago which the landlord is trying to blame us for. Who is responsible to repair or replace as she says is a luxury as long as we have a sink and is threatening to take from our deposit. As this was included in the original letting advert for the flat, are we technically paying a premium in rent for it? I have been told that we are by other landlords but they ignore this when I say it to them.

    Also been chasing for a copy of the signed inventory since May 2017 which the letting agent has finally come back and said they do not have copy of so will carry on chasing the landlord (I don’t see how this has happened as she works at the letting agency!) Does anyone know what can happen regarding deposits if they don’t have a copy?

    I wouldn’t be wanting to take action against her for the deposit if she hadn’t been so useless regarding other issues - she let herself in without permission to fix the radiator with the electrician, does everything she can to try and avoid replacing / fixing anything i.e. asking us to ask the neighbours for help etc and has actually called me one evening about an appointment whilst she was drunk (or so it sounded).

    Any help is much appreciated, hoping to speak with Citizens Advice this week.

    #2
    Regarding repairs etc write (yes, write) to landlord (whoever is named as landlord), copy agent, keep copy, using draft letter on Shelter's "report private repairs" web page. And then follow their further advice.

    The failure to protect deposit properly is to your advantage. You are entitled to sue to 1-3 X deposit penalty (not compo) up to 6 years from when it should have been protected. And any s21 eviction notice will be invalid.

    No inventory that you have seen is to your advantage also - pretty much impossible for this stupid landlord to prove you damaged anything. Do nothing. Hope you took loads of photos when you moved in (do do again when you move out)

    Who or what does Land registry (£3) say owns the place?

    If they won't give sensible notice of visits then change locks (change back when you leave)
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Is it possible the £425 is agents fees, so not part of the deposit? Follow shelter's advice re dishwasher repair.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for your quick reply theartfullodger. I will have a look at the shelter letter but I have a feeling it will fall on death-ears as they seem to think that it is our responsibility. Do you think that as it was in the listing when we moved in we're paying rent for it and it's their responsibility?

        This is what I thought in regards to the deposit but I was a little worried as they had protected two-thirds of the deposit and did protect the rest eventually.

        I will check land registry and see who owns it. We were told by the letting agency that the property is owned by them AND the landlord (who works at the LA) but the tenancy agreement has the landlord details and the PI has the letting agency as the landlord.... will this help us if they don't match?

        Comment


          #5
          JK0,

          No I have an email from them stating that the deposit is £1275 (and we paid other amounts for the fees) and the fact that they have now protected this shows that they knew they were meant to / it's our deposit.

          Shelter website isn't very clear re the dishwasher as it's a very grey area it seems.

          Comment


            #6
            theartfullodger I have just done a land registry check and it has the landlords information. Does it matter that on my tenancy agreement it has her info as the landlord but on my PI document(s) it has the letting agency details?

            Thanks all!

            Comment


              #7
              Writing the letter establishes your position: If they take no action you follow Shelter's further advice on that page.

              Yes, white goods are a grey area but unless the tenancy specifically excludes them from repair responsibility my understanding is it's the landlord's problem: He's provided it, it;s for him to provide it working. Put the issue (& any others..) in writing PLEASE!

              As long as tenancy & email etc shows deposit £1275 but less protected then you have a strong case. Different names probably of little impact, might increase penalty awarded by judge. Shelter have advice on how to pursue...
              https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...nsation_claims
              (It's not compo it's a penalty..)
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                thanks very much, I'm going to look into the Shelter letter template etc this week and check the wording in my tenancy. She did replace the broken washing machine though and when I checked there wasn't anything specifically in the TA about a dishwasher, so I'd think if she can replace the washing machine she should the dishwasher!

                I've been careful to have a record (texts/emails) of all issues so we're fine on that front

                Comment


                  #9
                  Dishwashers are not covered by s11 repairing obligations along with other 'white goods'. Its normally the landlords choice whether they repair or not. If the landlord/agent made a point of listing it in the original advert and you have a copy you could take action under consumer protection legislation but I doubt there is much history of such claims for you to draw upon as I think its application to tenancies is relatively new.

                  As others have said you can take action with regard to the failure to protect the deposit if you want, although I have to say it sounds a bit petty. You're basically suing them on a technicality and if you're not the vindictive type you may be better off using it as a bargaining chip to ensure you get your full deposit back when you leave.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi
                    Yes the dishwasher was listed and was one of the reasons we rented the flat, hence why we would like it fixed. I will look into the consumer protection legislation, thank you.

                    I am far from petty and like I said originally, I would not be wanting to use this against them if they hadn't completely failed at being a good landlord and letting agent. I'm not saying I want to sue them, but I want to know my rights so that I can try to bargain with them. They did have £425 of my money sat in their accounts completely unprotected...

                    Thanks

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post

                      No inventory that you have seen is to your advantage also - pretty much impossible for this stupid landlord to prove you damaged anything. Do nothing. Hope you took loads of photos when you moved in (do do again when you move out)

                      Hi, sorry another question! If the landlord does have a copy of the inventory (still not sure if she does) - when we move out does she have to prove to the DPS that we broke the dishwasher and that it didn't just stop working due to its age? She's told me that we would need to prove it wasn't us, but surely she'll need to prove that it was?

                      Would the DPS even listen to her if she protected part of our deposit 13 months late...?

                      Thanks for all your help

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Just forget about the dishwasher. They are unlikely to be able to prove anything. Look after your accommodation and ask for return of full deposit at end otherwise you'll pursue non compliance. If you really need a d/w, buy your own and take it with you/sell then you leave. They're not that expensive compared to the rent!

                        D/w repairs (as already pointed out) do no fall into LL's statutory repairing obligations. Unless your TA states who is responsible, it is said to be "silent" on the matter. Morally a good LL will repair/replace all electrical items in the property whether or not it's referred to in the TA unless told otherwise. It's what a reasonable tenant would expect.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          John Duff,

                          Thanks, it seems my landlord has no morals...

                          I'm just trying to avoid them blaming us for the dishwasher breaking and feel like I am paying some money in rent for it but you're right.

                          Thank you.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            First find a reasonable tenant these days..

                            LL had no need to supply a dishwasher as everyone has one.

                            Comment

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