Deposit deduction query

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    Deposit deduction query

    I've just moved out of a rental property that I lived in for the past 3 and a half years. The whole time I lived in the property, there were grey-ish "shadows" on the ceiling in the living room. I've always thought they were due to shoddy painting, but they never really bothered me so I didn't do anything about them. I've attached a photo taken by the landlord for you to see (Just a note to add that this is by far the worst I've ever seen the marks look, usually they're barely noticeable unless you know they're there. I don't know if it's because the photo was taken at night with flash or if the contrast/brightness of the photo has been manipulated in some way).
    Today I've had notification from the letting agent that the LL is going to deduct £250 from my deposit to pay for redecoration due to these marks which he's saying are soot caused by me lighting candles. However, I have bad asthma and I never light candles so I know this isn't possible.​​​ I explained this to the LA, told them that the marks have been there since I moved in and that I don't accept responsibility for them but I've had no response.

    I've been a model tenant for the last 3 and a half years and I've never caused any trouble. I agreed to a mid-pandemic rent increase of 10% while I was on furlough, I had the carpets professionally cleaned twice, only last year I had one of the bedrooms professionally repainted in a neutral colour (the previous tenant had painted it dark grey) and I had the bathroom tiles regrouted because they were all mouldy and discoloured when I moved in. All of this was done at my own expense and I never complained when the LA told me the LL wouldn't pay to have any improvements done. I know that the previous tenant did an unannounced midnight move, and I've always assumed that the LL used her deposit to cover her notice period rather than to fix the place up before I moved in (hence why I wasn't surprised at shoddy ceiling painting).

    To get to the point, is it reasonable for the landlord to expect me to pay so much to have one section of ceiling in one room redecorated? For context, the flat is in a small town in Scotland, £250 is 50% of my deposit and I paid £250 last year to have a whole (small) room repainted. I'm also pretty sure the LL has already gone in and repainted the area by himself rather than hiring someone. Either that or he's hired someone who looks very like him. I'm not sure if he's aware, but my new flat is next door and looks directly into the old flat so I can see inside.

    I've read on here that repainting should be done every 5 years, given that I lived there for 3.5 years and that the landlord never redecorated, is it likely that if the deposit scheme rule that I have to pay for redecoration, they'll reduce the amount I'm being asked to pay to take that into consideration? Does the LL have to provide evidence that he actually paid £250 in the form of an invoice or something similar?

    Some info on what I've tried to do to resolve the matter: I've asked for photos of the area from before I moved in and for access to the flat so that I can go in and see (and photograph) the marks myself, but neither the LL nor the LA have responded. I've also offered to go in and clean the area on the off chance that it's just dust (a structural engineer friend said it could be "ghosting" which is dust collecting on the joists) but that's been ignored too. All they've done is email me the photo and go to the deposit scheme to say they're only willing to pay me half of my deposit back.

    Any answers, advice or LL opinions on the matter would be appreciated. Thanks.

    #2
    Apologies, the photo didn't attach for some reason

    Comment


      #3
      The cost £250 is no reflection on the deposit, it's the cost of the paint, traders person doing the work, I got quoted £800 to do a ceiling which included the paint, I got another quote for £300.

      If you dispute the claim, then only the adjudicator will see the evidence presented. by both parties. Usually it will take around 6-8 weeks for them to come to a conclusion. I would suggest next time you rent you go through the inventory at check-in so that you don't issues when you leave. I've had the same issue with T's they are all excited when they move in, when they move out they really don't care the state the property is in as they are moving to a new place. But they don't understand I wouldn't be happy giving the property in the same state the last T left the property.

      Comment


        #4
        yes he'd need to provide evidence that it will cost that much to fix. chances are he would either forge an invoice or submit a quote and instead do any work himself.
        tell TDS what you said here, marks were already there, paint is old, marks match where joists are, you dont smoke or light candles etc. just counter everything and prove landlord is trying it on.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ash72 View Post
          The cost £250 is no reflection on the deposit, it's the cost of the paint, traders person doing the work, I got quoted £800 to do a ceiling which included the paint, I got another quote for £300.

          If you dispute the claim, then only the adjudicator will see the evidence presented. by both parties. Usually it will take around 6-8 weeks for them to come to a conclusion. I would suggest next time you rent you go through the inventory at check-in so that you don't issues when you leave. I've had the same issue with T's they are all excited when they move in, when they move out they really don't care the state the property is in as they are moving to a new place. But they don't understand I wouldn't be happy giving the property in the same state the last T left the property.
          Thanks for the response, but I left the place much cleaner and in better condition than I received it in. As I stated in my post, I took care of a lot of the cosmetic issues left by the previous tenant for the LL at my own expense. I got staining out of the cream carpets, repainted a bedroom to a much more suitable colour for a tiny room and had the grout redone. He was happy with all of this (over the moon with the carpet according to the LA). I also spent the full day before handing the keys back cleaning and I had the oven professionally cleaned before I left. I left the flat better much than I found it and I was a good tenant.

          Respectfully, whether it's £250 or £800, none of it should be paid by me because the damage wasn't caused by me.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by bobthebuilder2 View Post
            yes he'd need to provide evidence that it will cost that much to fix. chances are he would either forge an invoice or submit a quote and instead do any work himself.
            tell TDS what you said here, marks were already there, paint is old, marks match where joists are, you dont smoke or light candles etc. just counter everything and prove landlord is trying it on.
            Thanks, that makes me feel a bit better. I wonder if he would go as far as to forge invoices.

            I really hope that the TDS are understanding and reasonable. I loved that flat and I took care of it as if it was my own. I actually loved it so much that I bought the exact same flat in the building next door.

            Did you see the photo I posted? Do you think that looks like £250 of soot damage? If it's dust, what do you imagine it would cost to have cleaned if they won't let me in to clean it myself? Also, do you think I should mention that I think he did the work himself or will that just make me look like a mad conspiracy theorist?

            Comment


              #7
              This is a photo of the area I took myself when I moved out. You can see the grey marks, but it's nowhere near as bad looking as the photo the LL has produced.

              Comment


                #8
                What is noted on your inventory when you moved in?

                Comment


                  #9
                  looks like you left it clean to me. imo soot didn't do that, dust shouldn't collect on a ceiling like that either. might be something to do with heat rising from the radiator that caused the old paint to discolor ? or previously painted over damp discoloring the paint?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jpucng62 View Post
                    What is noted on your inventory when you moved in?
                    Nothing about the paint or the ceiling, unfortunately. Which it's strange because they're very specific about other things, for example it says "One small chip in paint on window ledge in living room". That makes me think that they either didn't notice it or thought it was uneven paint like I did. There are other areas on various walls where you can see that someone has touched up with a slightly different finish of paint and in the light they look a bit darker. Those aren't mentioned in the check in document either.

                    There aren't any photos in the check in doc and the only ones I can find from when I first moved in don't include that part of the ceiling.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by bobthebuilder2 View Post
                      looks like you left it clean to me. imo soot didn't do that, dust shouldn't collect on a ceiling like that either. might be something to do with heat rising from the radiator that caused the old paint to discolor ? or previously painted over damp discoloring the paint?
                      It could be something to do with the radiator. Now that you mention it, in my photo I think there might be some dark spots coming up from the radiator too.

                      The deposit scheme sent me an email (looks like an automated one) saying we should be trying to sort this out between us before they step in, but both the LA and the LL have ignored all contact from me since I said I disputed responsibility. I'm hoping it gets sorted out soon so I can get my money back.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Dispute any deductions you don't agree with through the deposit protection scheme it's registered with.

                        That's what the schemes are for
                        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Firstly, on behalf of all LLs, Thank You for being a "model tenant" - you've previously done more than you should - but, that was your choice I'm afraid.

                          Given that you are aware of how precise the Inventory was when you moved in - for instance, mentioning "One small chip in paint on window ledge in living room" - then YOU should have gone round just as carefully and reported anything which was incorrect and/or missing from that Inventory.

                          It doesn't appear that you did that and unfortunately are now in the position you are.

                          BTW did the staining become worse over the 3 years and did you not report it when it did?

                          All you can do now is dispute the LLs claim - by all means mention the works you have done as it will show an Adjudicator something of your character, but all you can really do is hope to get that £250 reduced.

                          I would write to the LA/LL, dispute their findings but offer £50 without prejudice to move on amicably - that way it goes in the file and shows the Adjudicator that you have tried to reach settlement but also puts a small amount into his/her head too. A bit of psychology lol.
                          My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol

                          Comment


                            #14
                            making an offer seems like admitting responsibility for something he didn't/couldn't cause. i say argue it on the radiators heat causing the discoloring as the marks are where heat from it would travel.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by bobthebuilder2 View Post
                              making an offer seems like admitting responsibility for something he didn't/couldn't cause. i say argue it on the radiators heat causing the discoloring as the marks are where heat from it would travel.
                              BUT we don't know if he caused it or not (how many Tenants faced with Deposit reductions actually admit these things). The adjudicator will have dealt with thousands of such "defences".

                              The Tenant did not report it when he moved in nor when it started to appear but the LL has photos of it being there now.

                              The without prejudice offer shows an attempt at resolution and will be better received by an adjudicator.
                              My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol

                              Comment

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