Landlord refuses to sign inventory

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    Landlord refuses to sign inventory

    We've recently rented a house that from the very start seemed badly taken care of - there were various problems like a mouldy washing machine/curtains, broken curtain rails, etc. When we arrived to meet the inventory clerk, we signed a 2-page document of handwritten inventory notes (we broadly agreed with them) so that we can get the keys - she mentioned she'd send us the official inventory later. 2 weeks of phone calls later the landlord finally sent us the 65-page inventory (the clerk said that he only wanted it sent to himself). It did note many of the issues but we made a detailed list of amendments with photos and sent it back to the clerk who added it to the original inventory and re-issued it to us, asking us to send it to the landlord, which we did.

    The original inventory did not have his signature on it and when we asked him to countersign the amended inventory, he refused, stating that he wouldn't do it as we are an "interested party" and therefore I'm assuming he doesn't trust our amendments. At the same time he has disputed the condition of many of the items, stating that we had "accepted" them on the inventory despite us not only providing our signature in respect of the original 2 pages of handwritten notes and despite the requirements in the tenancy contract. For example, he did not do a pre-tenancy clean of many of the areas of the house, the garden, the washing machine which is fully mouldy and uncleanable (according to his own cleaner), repair of the broken curtain rails. In fact, he chose to pay a professional cleaning company to go over the mouldy curtains (it made zero difference, which they had warned him about) rather than provide a new set. They're cheap curtains but now he's saying the mould is dead so the black stains on them are no longer an issue. Anyway, we seem to have been fooled into "agreeing" with a whole bunch of disrepair issues that we weren't aware of (we weren't allowed to look at the curtains, which were hidden behind furniture, so we couldn't see the mould, for example).

    Our main issue is that in view of the landlord's "unique" way of dealing with disrepair, we want to protect our deposit and are therefore concerned that he is refusing to provide a signature on either the original or the amended inventory. Does anyone know what the implications are of this if to comes to the deposit/adjudication?


    #2
    There is a difference between an inventory being silent, and containing actual lies.

    For example "the washing machine is spotless and with not a speck of mould" when that is not true versus simply noting the presence of a washing machine.

    So your description isn't really clear. Does it say "No mould at all on curtains"

    Sometimes adding things is pointless, if the inventory is non-specific and could incorporate the sort of stuff you are talking about within its truth.

    Comment


      #3
      The original inventory does list some of the disrepairs but is very light on the detail, generally positive and has no specific photos of things. For example, it lists: "some stains on curtains/good condition", while the reality is that the entire bottom is mouldy and they are therefore unusable (at least in my opinion), which we have listed and photographed. Or that "oven is professionally cleaned and in good condition", while in reality it was covered in burned on grease and the landlord's cleaner said she'd never seen anything as bad as that (and the rubber sealing ring was ripped off). Or that the washing machine "needs a final wipe", while in reality it's 15 years old and the rubber ring and washing powder box are encrusted with limescale and mould (the professional cleaner could not get rid of them) - again, unusable in my opinion. We had no opportunity to see these during the viewings and then were faced with them when we moved in, therefore we felt we needed to amend the original inventory, which we thought was our right. But what is that right worth if the landlord doesn't sign either the original or the amended inventory?

      Comment


        #4
        Inventories have two functions, imo:
        • To identify what is there (to protect LL in case of theft)
        • To identify the condition of what is there (to protect LL in case of damage; to protect T against claims from LL that T caused damage that is already present)
        LL typically does not need to sign the inventory.
        It is LL responsibility to prove that damage/loss has occurred during T's possession, so LL needs copy of inventory signed by T.

        If you have a copy of the inventory on which you have recorded discrepancies and evidence of sending it to LL, then that should be sufficient to counter any unreasonable claims from LL at end of tenancy. Additional support would be submitting what you have written above, and possibly a link to this thread.

        My concern would be the mouldy things that are present in the property. You may want to contact Environmental Health at your local authority abut these.

        Comment


          #5
          This is very helpful, MdeB, thank you. I will try to relax about the inventory now. In regards to the mould - the landlord has a letter from the curtain cleaning company stating that the mould has been "killed" during the cleaning. I actually spoke with the curtain cleaner when he was here and he said that although he does spray them with disinfectant in the process of cleaning, the cleaning wouldn't remove any of the mould and other type of stains - and that's what happened. But now the landlord considers the mould neutralised and the curtains in perfect working order. In regards to mould in the washing machine - I could not bear to look at it during the weeks this has been dragging on and so we got our own machine instead. The landlord still wants his own mouldy one returned at the end of the tenancy, "in the same condition." So now we have to store a 15-year old mouldy washing machine somewhere. There was also lots of mould in the shower - so they simply laid new sealer over the mould (you can still see plenty of it on the sides). We tried to get rid of it but were not entirely successful.

          Comment


            #6
            A 15 year old washing machine has almost zero value (and will have less when you move out).
            The landlord can only legitimately claim for their loss if you bin it.

            A mid range washing machine is about £350 (and they haven't changed much in price recently), and imagining one would have a 20 year life span (which I think is pushing it a bit), the claim your landlord could make for the non-return of their washing machine would be less than £90 and reducing each year you live there.

            It might be worth pointing that out to your landlord to see if he'd rather collect and store it than have you get rid of it.
            Storing a used and next to worthless washing machine isn't worth the hassle.
            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


              #7
              I agree, jpkeates - the machine is in a sorry condition and doesn't have much value despite it being one of the expensive German ones. He has not volunteered to collect it but we could ask as we don't have the space and I'm not sure it'll survive in the shed for a couple of years...

              Comment


                #8
                Keep dated photos of anything you dispute. As above it's the LL that has to prove their case not you.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you, royw - I sent quite a lot of photos to the inventory clerk as part of the amended report, so these would probably be considered property dated. I still have lots of digital (mobile phone) photos left although I understand these might not be considered due to them being digital (i.e. date could have been tampered with).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bumblebee3000 View Post
                    There was also lots of mould in the shower - so they simply laid new sealer over the mould (you can still see plenty of it on the sides). We tried to get rid of it but were not entirely successful.
                    I use a "mould and mildew" remover spray, but Andrew Dod has suggested that these are basically bleach, so bleach may work just as well.

                    I ignore the instruction to wash off after a few minutes; I leave it on for hours and get better results with no adverse effects (that I have noticed).

                    I do not spray it on.
                    I spray it into a glass jar and then apply it with a tooth brush to the grout lines and the silicone. This uses less solution and ensures that adequate solution is applied to the required areas. It also avoids a mist that could get in the eyes and lungs and on clotting,
                    Scrubbing the grout lines with the tooth brush gives a better result than just applying it.
                    I have read, but not tried, that for staining of silicone you can soak a bit of kitchen roll in the solution and place it on the stain, thus keeipng the solution on the stained area longer, rather than gravity taking it away..

                    You might also be able to do something with the curtains by applying a small amount of solution to a black stain with a fine artist's paint brush.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you, MdeB - I also used "mould & mildew" but perhaps the paper towel trick and the painting-on method will work better!

                      Comment

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