Claiming full deposit

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    Claiming full deposit

    We have just moved out of a rental property and did the check out with the landlord. At the point of check out, two issues were raised. 1. I pointed out where I had caused a small amount of damage with a cleaning product earlier that same day. 2. A curtain holdback had come loose - we had already filled the holes, sanded, repainted and had the screws and rawl plugs there and then but the landlord said "nah, don't worry, I can do that" so we left it for him, gave him the keys and left the property. It had only come loose because he'd used the wrong size screws in the first place and it was behind a door so when the door opened fully it bashed it, which weakened it over time. The only other thing that was mentioned was about some of his possessions that he had left in the property (ranging from curtains, lampshades, a rug, tools, ornaments, paperwork, DVDs, Christmas decorations etc) which we said we had moved into the attic. He knew that they'd been moved into the attic because he came by a couple of times during the tenancy to get some things and it had never expressed that there was any problem with it. The property was let unfurnished so his belongings shouldn't have been there anyway. We did offer to bring them down from the attic but he said "nah, nah, it's fine".
    We did the check out a full day before the tenancy ended and had booked the next day off work so that we could correct, fix or clean anything he had an issue with but because he said he was happy with the place and took our keys - we didn't come back. He contacted us the next morning because he'd spotted something we'd left behind on the decking, we responded saying we're happy to pick it up but also happy for him to just dispose of it but he never responded to that.
    After moving out, the bank said it takes five working days to cancel a standing order so the next rent payment went through. We contacted him and explained and asked him to return it and he said he would. He then said he doesn't have online banking for that account so was struggling to return it. Then he said he can't get through on the phone lines so we still haven't received the money back. We requested our deposit back too.
    Then he emailed with a list of "damage" to the property - which wasn't mentioned at check out with the total damage at £12,000!! We asked him for receipts, quotes and photos - and he's sent a limited amount through. The invoice is for one company who have supposedly done all the cleaning, fixing and painting in the entire property.
    The invoice payee is the landlord's brother, who lives an hour and a half from the property. He's invoiced for over forty hours of labour, at £30p/h. The next door neighbour said that the landlord did the work himself - not his brother and she knows this because he gained access through her property. She said the work was conducted over two days (there were only two days between our check out and the new tenants moving in - and one of those days, it was still our tenancy as we had paid for an extra day in case he was unhappy with anything) - so, unless he didn't sleep at all, he didn't do over forty hours of work. Even if he did - why would a supposedly independent company be invoicing him for work that he, himself did? The invoice is dodgy (there's a bit where text has been stuck on top of other text as an image in a different font size) and the phone number and email address for the "company" are different from the phone number and email address online.
    The photos he has sent through weren't taken at check out. Around a month before our last day, the landlord did some repairs. These repairs have needed doing for the entire tenancy but he always found an excuse why he was busy, couldn't pay a handy-man and wouldn't let us do it ourselves. He didn't do any repairs or anything due to Covid until he wanted the issues fixed before viewings. The photos were taken during that visit to the property. We can prove that some of the photos were taken then because our possessions are in the background (and they obviously weren't in the property at check out). One image has something of his in it that he wanted to pick up, we had left it in a specific location for him to pick up on that day - and we have a message to him saying "we left X in X location". We can't prove all of these images were taken then though. The images relate to things like there being dog poo in the garden, marks on the walls, grease on the backsplash in the kitchen etc which was all cleaned/painted before we moved out. He is charging us for those repairs, despite the problem being present at the start of our tenancy and him not allowing us to fix it ourselves.
    In his statement to us, he is claiming certain things were new before our tenancy so the condition of the property is not wear and tear - we can prove some of this is not true but not all of it. For example, he is claiming that the front garden fence and gate were new three years ago. But, they are clearly there on the Google street view maps archive in summer 2015 (and are visibly broken then). The neighbour has confirmed it was broken before we moved in as she discussed it with the previous tenant and a piece of it is in her front garden waiting for him to repair it.
    The major point of contention relates to the floors/doors. Before we took over the property, the landlord reattached two heavy, wooden, character doors to the hinges using polyfiller and short screws. One of the hinges was cracked. We have photos which show this. Very quickly, the doors began dragging on the floors - we informed the landlord of this and offered to fix it ourselves when he delayed repairs. As a result, the doors slightly damaged the floors and door frame from dragging and scraping. We stopped using them for a lot of the time but eventually one door fully came off the hinges - and stayed off until the landlord came to "fix" it before the viewing. By the time we checked out (just three weeks later, and we hadn't been living there full time), it was already dragging on the floor again because he didn't fix it properly. When we moved in, we pointed out damage to the front door caused by a dog - the landlord acknowledged it (face to face) and said not to worry about it. He came to repair that on the day just before the viewing so the damage was there the full duration of our tenancy but is not there now. The landlord is charging us for the damage to the doors (all three - the two with the dodgy hinges and the other with the dog damage even though he fixed it during our tenancy and it wasn't our fault). He's provided photos which purport to show them at the end of the tenancy but we have our own photos to show it was fixed by then. He's also charging us to sand and re-varnish the floors because of the damage from the doors. He is claiming that it cost over £6000 to do that last time (for two rooms around 4mx4m each) - the neighbour said that last time, did sanded and varnished it himself, which is why it didn't last well all over.
    Our tenancy agreement states that we must get the windows professionally cleaned every two months. Due to Covid, we weren't able to get a professional window cleaner at the end of the tenancy (they were done about three months ago) so we cleaned them as best we could. The landlord is charging us for a professional window cleaning quote (three times what we paid when we've had them professionally cleaned) but said that, due to Covid, he can't get them cleaned either. Surely it's unfair for him to expect us to get something professionally cleaned when he is unable to get them professionally cleaned himself? Also, they were not professionally cleaned prior to us moving in.
    The landlord is also charging us for his time that he spent taking his own possessions out of the attic and removing the dust (from the attic) from them. Can he do this? The property was let unfurnished, it shouldn't have had any of his possessions in it in the first place. The tenancy agreement says we are not permitted to remove fixtures and fittings from the property but a) I don't think his personal possessions constitute fixtures/fittings and b) we didn't remove them from the property, we moved them within the property to somewhere out of our way.
    I'm at a loss for what to do. We took photos when we moved in but I lost my phone and the photos went with it. The only photos we have are where there's damage or dirt in the background of other things we were photographing (like the children or guests) in the first few weeks of our tenancy. From my standpoint, I'm happy to pay for the cleaning damage I caused on the last day and, at a push, for the screwing in of the curtain holdback (even though he said not to worry when we were stood there with a drill ready to do it). He's even charged us for screws and rawl plugs even though we provided those for it when we left! I don't think anything else he's requesting is fair or reasonable. When we checked into the property, we were given a sheet to tick to say the property was clean (not "professionally cleaned", it wasn't professionally cleaned), that the lighting, electricity, gas, plumbing etc were working. We didn't state anything to say about damage to the property or the condition it was in. There was nothing in writing at check out.
    The landlord's photos of before the tenancy were not from the before the tenancy, but again, we can only prove this for some of the photos. For example, some of the photos have pictures of the landlord hanging on the walls (he lived in the property before it was let out, but we were not the first tenants) - so, unless his previous tenants just really, really liked him, these photos were taken when he lived there, not before we moved in. They're also the same photos that he used to advertise the property when we were moving out.

    We can't really adjudicate these things from here - but since there is the deposit scheme ADR I suggest you use that. From what you say you should not have a difficult case to prove.....main bit of advice is to keep it to the point -- paragraphed with bullet points


      If LL has not returned the rent over-payment, then I think you need to go to small claims court.

      But you had a month to cancel the standing order: next time cancel it earlier.

      s or the rest: what AndrewDod says; LL is obviously trying it on .


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