Advice please!! Ex tenant with deposit return problems!

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    Advice please!! Ex tenant with deposit return problems!

    Any advice would be so appreciated! Thank you in advance!
    2 year fixed term AST. Landlord managed property, through estate agents.

    We've had a hellish tenancy due to an infestation that went untreated for many months amongst other things. I'll try and keep this short and just share the basics.

    The AST ended, we left the property in good order (aside from the infestation which landlord previously acknowledged predated our tenancy by 2 years. We gave proof of professional clean + carpet clean, everything in good condition, no personal belongings left etc).

    On our last day, after the professional clean and hours before the check out report was supposed to take place, builders let themselves into the property to start major construction works on the property (in every room bar 1 and the hallway) and we were not made aware of this work beforehand and could not reach the landlord. The estate agent advised us to take pictures and video and just vacate hours before we were ready.
    The check out clerk later arrived but was unable to perform the inventory with the construction works happening.

    After a month of us waiting for news on our deposit, our landlord has communicated to us that they are withholding 50% of the deposit but will not tell us what for specifically, and also will not provide a breakdown of quotes or costs for these things. We're prevented from 'disputing' this issue with the deposit scheme holder, because we cannot dispute accurately as we have no idea what we're disputing other than a sum.

    We're certain that we owe absolutely nothing and we have a few questions.........

    1. Is the validity of the check out report affected by the fact that major construction works took place between my vacating the property and the check out happening?

    2. Is it against the law for a landlord to withhold a deposit (or part of) whilst also withholding a check out report/inventory from a tenant? Should the landlord, by law, be sending me a check out report?

    3. Is the landlord also legally obligated to give you a breakdown of costs to justify the sum they are withholding?

    Thank you so much in advance for any advice!!






    #2
    The "legally" concept is a bit of a red herring.
    There aren't many specific laws about deposits, just general principles.

    The landlord can only claim for compensation for an unexpected loss arising from the tenancy.
    And the deposit is your money, regardless of who has actual control of it.

    So the general question is, can the landlord take your money without your agreement.
    To which the answer is no.

    Dispute the deposit claim with the company that holds your deposit.
    The process is fairly mechanical, the landlord will claim the money and you will say no.
    Then you both have the opportunity to put your side of the story to an adjudicator, and your post is pretty much exactly what you need.
    The landlord will have their opportunity to make a claim and someone will decide what's appropriate.

    Alternatively, you can sue the landlord using the small claims process for the return of your deposit.
    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).

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