Deposit - What amount is reasonable to deduct?

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    #16
    Originally posted by buzzard1994 View Post
    There is a reason new posters are asked to supply this information

    1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?


    Your landlord may claim you are a lodger. Doesnt affect what is reasonable, does affect whether you may have to sue to get a deposit back.

    What colour is the suite and what material (plastic, ceramic?)? I'd be inclined to call his bluff by sourcing a sink, if i hadnt already mended the chip myself. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cramer-Cera.../dp/B001RQ5TMK

    He cant legitmately take money for changing everything and even if the sink needed replacing totally he would have to make a deduction for wear and tear based on the life of the sink. He could charge for fitting the sink, that might cost more than the sink.
    Q1: England.
    Q2: It's an 'assured shorthold tenancy agreement' in my partner's name only and on the TA for the property it simply says the address. But it's a self-contained studio in the landlords house.
    Q3-4: Start date is 08/03/2017 for an original fixed term 6 months to be extended each month upon payment, with a month's notice should we want to move out, and which we gave last month.
    Q5: Rent is paid on the 8th of each month.
    Q6: There was an original £525 deposit which was payed when my partner signed the TA.
    Q7: We're moving away so we simply informed the landlord and his agents that we would move with a months notice.
    Q8: The landlord does live in the same property.

    The TA clearly states tenant and nowhere is it stated we are lodgers, plus we signed an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, so I believe we are indeed tenants and not lodgers.

    The sink is ceramic and almost a light teal-green color.

    Thank you for all your comments. One final question. What are my rights if the landlord did protect the deposit but didn't inform us within the statutory 30 day time limit? Does the law act as if the deposit had not been protected?

    Comment


      #17
      Whether it is actually an AST or not depends on the nature of the arrangement, not the wording of the contract.

      If the property is a "dwelling house", the tenant has exclusive access to it (including the ability to exclude the landlord) and the agreement doesn't include any services with an implied right of access (cleaning or the provision of meals) it's likely to be an AST.
      If access to the flat is via the landlord's house, so that access is controlled by the landlord, it possibly isn't.

      A chip isn't fair wear and tear, and the landlord (whether it's a tenancy or a lodger agreement) is entitled to compensation for any loss in value of their property beyond fair wear and tear.
      The "loss" has to be mitigated (kept to the minimum possible), so replacing the entire bathroom suite isn't going to pass that criterion.
      The loss has to be adjusted to accommodate the previous use of the item (so if it should have lasted 20 years, and it's 10 years old, the loss is cut in half, or limited to the repair cost if it needs to be repaired)

      The landlord can't do anything with the deposit without the tenant's consent (the deposit is the tenant's money and, even if the landlord's claim is legitimate they can't simply use without the tenant's agreement).

      If the landlord protected the deposit but didn't give the tenant the Prescribed Information within the deadline, they haven't complied with the regulations and the tenant can sue the landlord for the return of the deposit and apply to the courts for a penalty (which would probably equal the value of the deposit).

      "You" have no such right, you're not the tenant.

      Although it doesn't really matter, the contractual term sounds invalid (although that could be because it's a summary). The contract continuation can't be dependent on the payment of rent (it will continue anyway).
      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


        #18
        The TA is an AST, I'm pretty certain about that. Would I (and by 'I' I mean my girlfriend who is strictly speaking the tenant) be in my right to ask the landlord for a receipt of the sink to assess the age of the sink, and what should/could I do if he does not have the receipt? What can I also do if the average use of a sink is, for example, 20 years and it is 30 years old?

        Comment


          #19
          Could the landlord or agent turn around and say "we did send you the DPS information, not our fault you didn't receive it"?

          Comment


            #20
            I think you're over-thinking it. I would simply let the deposit scheme decide at the end of your tenancy. You will probably have to pay a small amount. Not a life-changing sum. Stop worrying about it in the meantime.

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by BJHutchison View Post
              The TA is an AST, I'm pretty certain about that. Would I (and by 'I' I mean my girlfriend who is strictly speaking the tenant) be in my right to ask the landlord for a receipt of the sink to assess the age of the sink, and what should/could I do if he does not have the receipt? What can I also do if the average use of a sink is, for example, 20 years and it is 30 years old?
              The landlord probably doesn't have a receipt for the sink, and would be estimating the cost.

              If the average lifetime of a sink is 20 years and it's 30 years old, no loss has occurred and no claim for compensation would be valid.

              Originally posted by BJHutchison View Post
              Could the landlord or agent turn around and say "we did send you the DPS information, not our fault you didn't receive it"?
              Yes - you can imagine how many such claims are made in court.
              The judge decides such an issue on "the balance of the probabilities" based on the evidence and their experience.

              It's a peculiar one, though, the less professional the landlord, the more likely (in my view) it is that they are going to be believed if they did something without evidence. The more knowledgable the tenant, the more the issue of why you didn't raise the issue earlier calls your own account into question.

              It's more an issue of where the judge's opinion takes them - the incidence of post not being delivered is so small as to be negligible, nowadays.

              And DPT57 is probably right - now you have some supporting facts, I'd try not to worry about it, providing the sink is still usable.
              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


                #22
                I agree, although my partner has been in the property for roughly 10 months and I only found out a couple of days ago that she has no information on the DPS, which therefore, leads me to deduce that either it's not protected, or is protected but she was never sent the information. I've made her go through all correspondence from both the agency and the landlord to make sure we're not making a mistake and do have the information, but we don't.

                Yes, the sink is in perfect working condition.

                Thank you everybody for your input, it's been very productive and helpful!

                Comment


                  #23
                  You can find out if it's protected here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...t_is_protected

                  There are three organisations who are allowed to protect deposits, so it's worth checking all of them.
                  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


                    #24
                    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post

                    If the average lifetime of a sink is 20 years and it's 30 years old, no loss has occurred and no claim for compensation would be valid.
                    Sorry to go off on a tangent but the OP's question has now been answered and this got me thinking;
                    Isn't it the average fair wear and tear lifetime of a sink, not the average lifetime per se?

                    i.e people replace sinks on average for fashion reasons or because some silly bugger has smashed it, but porcelain sinks last 100+ years if they are only subjected to fair wear and tear. (I've got a Belfast sink that age).

                    Same with a single glazed window. Tenant smashes window, does the landlord charge for full amount of replacement or because it has outlived the average lifespan of a window they are therefore not entitled to claim anything?

                    I think the answer is that the adjudicator only has to take average lifespan into consideration but that doesn't mean the items are worthless and a claim won't be awarded anything.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      boletus,

                      I completely agree with you. It goes along with mitigating losses. Average lifespan must be taken into account, but that's exactly it, "taken into account". Therefore, the fair wear and tear based on the lifespan should be taken into account but should not be the only factor to consider when looking at replacing items and charging for repairs/changes.

                      Thank you everybody for your posts!

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Average lifetime is a useful concept, but (as noted) does have some issues.
                        For a robust item, almost no single one will last the average - which makes something of a mockery of the notion for practical (if not legal) purposes.

                        By the way, I was simply using those periods as an example, I don't really have a clue about the average lifetime of a sink.
                        And, to add more complication, if the sink was the one present when the property was first built, I imagine it's "cost" was close to zero - new properties not being sold at cost.
                        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


                          #27
                          To be fair, to the manufacturer of the sink, a ceramic sink will last Forever, unless subject to accidental damage. You could apply abrasive chemicals to them on a daily basis and the finish doesn't seem to be damaged.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Thanks for the help! We have the inspection of the property on Saturday with the agent, so we'll have a discussion then! If anything else comes to mind, I'm all ears! Thanks again!

                            Comment


                              #29
                              One final question, which may be a silly one, but I appreciate the confirmation: am I right in saying that the landlord can still deduct money from our deposit even if he has no intention of changing the sink (knowing the sink is fixed, and works perfectly fine)?

                              Comment


                                #30
                                The landlord can't do anything with the deposit that a) you don't agree to and b) until the end of the tenancy.

                                The landlord is claiming compensation for their loss, they don't have to fix the damage or replace anything.
                                The loss has happened whatever the landlord does or doesn't do.

                                The amount of the claim is usually much less than the repair/replacement cost, because the "loss" isn't usually the same as the cost of a replacement.
                                That's usually a bit of a surprise for the landlord, as many simply think they're entitled for a new for old swap.
                                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

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