Can time be claimed on deposit, and what is normal wear and tear?

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    Can time be claimed on deposit, and what is normal wear and tear?

    Hi all, I'm a student who's recently moved out of a nice flat, where I lived with two friends for just under two years. On moving out day, we cleaned it well with family members and a cleaning lady for over 10 hours, and hired a carpet cleaner machine to clean the carpets. We have found the landlord was looking to take out more than we expected from our deposit, but while some things are fair, some things seem a bit petty to us, and we aren't sure what can and can't be claimed on our deposit. It is worth noting that the place was newly done up when we moved in, with clean carpets and walls. Could anyone give us a bit of advice on the following things that we aren't sure about:

    - A cheap bin where the push button broke after ~18 months of use. Landlord wants to replace it (no problem) but claims £35. We have found the exact bin online for £11.99, the landlord has now acknowledged this and claims the rest is for 'her time sourcing another and the cost of her being available for the delivery' [of the replacement] (she lives downstairs).

    - There are some marks on the walls in one of the bedrooms which I think are residue from tape on cardboard boxes I stored against the wall for a while (see wall photos). We didn't notice them when cleaning, but I'm sure they can just be wiped off. Are they more than normal wear and tear, and do they justify a £230 repainting of the whole room?

    - There is a remaining small mark on the carpet in a room (see photo, this is the only mark noted on the carpet). Landlord is charging us £18 to clean the carpet. Is this justified as beyond normal wear/tear?

    - The landlord is claiming a further £30 to 'get multiple quotes, organise builders, carpet cleaners, source items etc.'

    Obviously, most of these things are pretty small, but things like the bin just leave a bit of bad taste in our mouths. Any advice much appreciated, many thanks!

    #2
    That sounds ludicrous to me...you can’t charge for your time and she can’t even charge for an entire bin, things like the age of the bin have to be taken into account, it may well have been beyond its useful life anyway...she’s taking the pee...

    Marks to walls id consider wear and tear personally and charging to paint the whole room is again taking the pee and beyond the rules...

    Looking at the pictures I see nothing...

    I’d even argue the bin button breaking is normal wear and tear, that’s what BMW told me when the slot for my car key broke with the car still in warranty...it doesn’t cover wear and tear...

    Others will be along shortly with more knowledge than me but if you have a read of TDS guidelines and case studies you’ll see this is ridiculous...

    Also see my thread below for the kind of advice I have been given.

    It sounds as though your landlord doesn’t know the rules and is unlikwly to relent so personally I’d dispute it through the protection scheme...

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    Comment


      #3
      Fair wear and tear is “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”.

      The landlord is not able to charge for tasks that are basically just a normal part of being a landlord (because that's included in what you have paid rent for). So they can charge for their time fixing something that you broke (instead of calling out a tradesman) but they can't charge for doing some admin, waiting or organising things.

      And the landlord is obliged to mitigate their losses, to keep it to a minimum, and they're clearly not doing that.

      If the landlord can justify painting the entire room - which isn't going to be easy, they then have to adjust any claim for the use that they had of the item.

      The formula that they should 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 if the original decoration was £200 and would normally last 5 years, and because you've marked the wall it only lasted 2 (let's assume it was painted just before you moved in.) Your landlord has lost 3/5ths of the value, so the compensation would be £120.

      Same formula applies to anything else being claimed, even the £11.99 bin. I can't imagine that bins have gone up much since it was bought.

      After 2 years, there's going to be some tiny issues - so I'd disagree with everything but £11.99 for the bin and make an offer for the marks, even if they can't be wiped off, they could be painted over without doing the whole room - worst case it would be one wall.
      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


        #4
        Just raise a Dispute with deposit ADR.
        Domestic consumables can fail, even during Warranty period, so bin button may be classed as 'T damage'..

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the replies, they’ve been very useful. It’s good to know we’re not the only ones finding their claims excessive. I think we will go through the Deposit Protection Service dispute system and see what happens. Best of luck with your situations!

          Comment


            #6
            Just re-read your post and realise you’re a student...in my experience landlords always try it on with students...and most just give in so definitely fight it...

            Comment


              #7
              my only word of caution would be that the dispute system with the DPS is ridiculous. I raised a dispute in December and was still awaiting the adjudicators decision up until last week. In the end I re-engaged with the LL and sought resolution because I had no confidence in the DPS managing to do it.

              I would suggest that you give the LL one last chance to reconsider their position, state the reasons that you believe their deductions are over inflated (jpkeates raised all the pertinent points there). Make a final offer that you're happy with and see if they see sense. Positively engaging with the LL will also reflect well on you should you then need to raise a dispute.

              Comment

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