Fair wear and tear and rules re: deposit deductions?

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  • Am1988
    started a topic Fair wear and tear and rules re: deposit deductions?

    Fair wear and tear and rules re: deposit deductions?

    Hi there,

    Not a landlord but rather a tenant but interested in an objective opinion...

    Have recently moved out of a property having lived there for a year, it was brand new when we moved in (though not without issue as things weren’t picked up by quality control).

    The agent/landlord is requesting a deduction from the deposit for two items and has requested £400.

    The items are a small (1 inch) tear to the faux leather bed frame and a small scratch to the flooring in the hall.

    I have asked for a breakdown and justification but it took a month to even get the amount of the deduction and the agent is saying they can’t get hold of the landlord...

    The scratch to the floor is minor (an inch or so and not deep), we didn’t even notice it but it was picked up in the inventory. It may even have been there already as there weren’t photographs of the floor in the original inventory. There were other things they didn’t pick up like a crack to the marble on the bathroom shelf that was there when we moved in despite it being brand new. If it wasn’t already there then the only thing that could have caused it is a sofa delivery, which the landlord organised (the place was furnished).

    I accept the damage to the bed, I am paraplegic and had a leg spasm and my foot kicking it created the tiniest split (a testament to the quality of the faux leather).

    From having to pick a replacement sofa as the first wouldn’t fit through the door and nosing at what the other furniture cost, I know that the faux leather bed frame is £100 new.

    This means they are claiming at least £300 for a small scratch on the floor, which I find crazy...

    All the agent has come back with is that ‘most of it is for the floor’ and that as they aren’t charging for replacement and just for a contribution to replacement in future it is hard to itemise...they’re also acting like they’re doing us a favour by not charging for replacement, though my understanding is that even if something is damaged they can’t charge for full replacement only a portion based on age etc.

    We spent £300 on a professional deep clean (specified in terms of contract) and had a cleaner in every other week for a few hours so it isn’t like we haven’t looked after the place...

    Have been renting for 10 years and usually have no deductions...had a deduction once for a loose toilet seat...

    Does the floor constitute fair wear and tear? What would be reasonable as a deduction?

    Advice much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  • MdeB
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    That's interesting.

    Next time I return a deposit I'll see if I can find how I could do that.
    I don't recall any option to do that onscreen (but, to be honest, I haven't has a dispute for quite some time (or a tenant leave, to be honest).
    iirc it asks LL something like "how much should be returned to the T"
    I imagine that amount is then returned and if the T disputes the remainder only that amount goes through the dispute process.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by MdeB View Post
    (and why is it so difficult to find their Ts and Cs?)
    That's interesting.

    Next time I return a deposit I'll see if I can find how I could do that.
    I don't recall any option to do that onscreen (but, to be honest, I haven't has a dispute for quite some time (or a tenant leave, to be honest).

    Leave a comment:


  • MdeB
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    If it's in a custodial scheme, where the actual money is held by the scheme, I don't think returning any of the funds is possible (at least I've not come across an option).
    DPS custodial scheme S14 (https://www.depositprotection.com/cu...ions-may-2018/):
    e. Repayments can be either:
    i. wholly agreed (all Parties agree on who should receive the Deposit at end of the Tenancy and no disputed amount exists);
    ii. partially agreed (the Parties agree on the repayment of part only of the Deposit and a Dispute exists in relation to the balance); or
    iii. disputed (there is a Dispute as to how the entire Deposit should be repaid).
    f. Any agreed repayment amounts will be repaid within 5 Calendar Days of notification to us of both Parties’ agreement in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

    (and why is it so difficult to find their Ts and Cs?)

    Leave a comment:


  • Am1988
    replied
    I’ve now responded to the dispute with £200 and the agent just needs to accept. She’s out of office today so will accept on Monday (I made an error and said I didn’t want to use dispute resolution expecting there to be an option to counter so had to get that reversed first) but she seems as glad it’s over as we are...

    TDS custodial scheme quote 5 days for return of deposit...can buy my new watch now...

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    With the custodial scheme I use (DPS), you would have to resolve the issue before returning the deposit.
    It isn't possible (as far as I know) to return part of it and dispute a part of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • SE_Renter
    replied
    Surely if you have now mutually agreed an offer then there is no active dispute, therefore you should expect the deposit to be returned less the £200. Unfortunately it can take a while in a custodial scheme for the money to be released (I've been quoted up to 10 business days).

    I would check with the company with whom the deposit is protected, get them to confirm that they are aware of the agreement that has been made and ask for an update as to the status of the return and the amount due.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    The only change in the new legislation relating to tenancy deposits is to limit the maximum value to 5 weeks rent.

    If the deposit is in an insured scheme (where the landlord or agent holds the actual funds), as part of the dispute resolution process, the landlord is told to return any undisputed amount.
    There's not much anyone can do if they don't.

    If it's in a custodial scheme, where the actual money is held by the scheme, I don't think returning any of the funds is possible (at least I've not come across an option).

    Leave a comment:


  • Am1988
    replied
    Ok, so finally got a response from the landlord. He didn’t come back with a breakdown but countered with an offer of £200.

    He also denied that the bed cost £100, which is BS as we had to pick a new sofa from the company he used and every piece of furniture in the flat was on that website...

    But anyway, in the interests of resolving this quickly and avoiding the stress I’ve accepted the offer.

    Is the new legislation doing anything to change the rules around deposits? They should release the undisputed portion of the deposit imo, though I guess then everyone would dispute and landlords/agents would just overstate the disputed amount...but perhaps there could be penalties for severely overstating and disputing without a case...

    Anyway, thanks for all your help!

    Leave a comment:


  • Am1988
    replied
    Those two issues are everything...

    No issues with the tenancy, we had a cleaner in regularly and spent £300 on cleaning (for a 2 bed flat). They inspected the flat every few months and there were no issues, in fact they thanked us for presenting it so well for viewings...

    The first people to view took it, we even agreed to move out early as they made an offer contingent on an earlier move date...we moved out the same day they moved in so didn’t lose out by having the place empty...(we actually moved out a few days before but in terms of official move out date)

    The direction isn’t from the agent though but the landlord...he has nothing to do with the management of the property.

    I know the rental value has gone down, not because the property isn’t in good condition as others in the same building have reduced by the same amount...but because of brexit effecting rents in London...so perhaps it’s motivated by that...

    Leave a comment:


  • boletus
    replied
    Originally posted by Am1988 View Post

    Is it better to make an offer through adjudication
    Bear in mind the landlord may choose not to go through adjudication.

    Leave a comment:


  • boletus
    replied
    OP, is that absolutely everything that the letting agent/landlord has a grievance about?
    Or are they just highlighting those couple of issues as just part of an unsatisfactory tenancy (from their point of view)?
    i.e is this an offer of 400 quid to draw a line under it and move on.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    If you go with adjudication, it will take months.
    If you simply offer nothing, the landlord may simply not do anything, which will take months.

    If you make an offer to the agent, at least there's a dialogue.

    The underlying problem with this kind of dispute is that you're in the right, but the landlord/agent has possession of your money.
    And, if they don't do anything or are very slow, it doesn't cost them anything (because it's your money and they're not allowed to) but it costs you, because you don't have your money.
    Unless you go nuclear and sue them, it can just fester, so it's best to keep talking to sort things out (but don't get frustrated if it takes a few days between updates).

    Leave a comment:


  • Am1988
    replied
    I see...i’ll ask...the agents have been fairly good for most of the tenancy, though they do tend to defer blame to the landlord over any issues...we were sofaless for 2 months, which is less than ideal when you’re paying over £2k a month...

    Is it better to make an offer through adjudication or to go with zero? I’ll be making a lesser offer than £100 as that was in the interests of getting the deposit released right away.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    They should, but it's quite difficult when the deposit isn't actually held by the deposit company.

    Leave a comment:

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