Deposit dispute over damage caused by T

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  • Deposit dispute over damage caused by T

    I have been reading the advice on the forum as I have a dispute with my former LL over damage caused as we were moving out.

    Moved in 23/04/06 signed a check in Inventory and Tenancy Agreement
    LL issued his own 'Certificate of Deposit' on 28/09/07 after extending our tenancy agreement.
    Moved out on 20/11/09 not asked to sign check out Inventory

    My husband went back into the flat to clean it and collect some items. By accident he knocked a glass tea light holder out of the cupboard which smashed a hole through the toilet bowl rendering it unflushable. (Unless you want a puddle in the bathroom)
    He immediately owned up to this and offered to get it replaced , and repaired (Standard new white loo from B&Q for around £100, plus installation by his friend who is a professional Decorator £100) LL insisted he would replace it himself, as we were in the middle of moving home we agreed trusting that he would do so as cheaply as possible (as that was our experience of him from the past 3years and 8months)
    At some point after that, either by text or phone and LL said there was a chance he could claim for it on his insurance meaning we would only pay the excess on his insurance.
    He text me on 02/12/09 saying 'the excess on the policy is £250 and it will have to come out of your bond' I replied 'that it might be cheaper not to claim and we will need to see all paperwork/ receipts'
    Later that day he text to say ' Replacement loo is £310 add £115 fitting so I think we should claim'
    I chased him a couple of times during early January, and he emailed me a couple of times after sending the email below on 20/12/09 to say he'd chased the insurance but no decision had been made.

    'As requested, thanks for gathering your final bills for assessment and I look forward to seeing you soon to finalise your account.
    Progression on the damaged loo is as follows:
    It seems that the insurance co may well pay out but I have only just sent the claim off.
    The costs are as follows:
    Replacement unit £310.00
    Fitting £175.00
    The unit is as near to a direct replacement as I could get (Ideal Standard model M576) and the reason for the higher then hoped fitting costs are that the base unit was not an exact fit and so some floor re=-tiling was necessary. All paperwork is held here for your inspection. There is also tilework still to be done around the cistern itself but I am currently unable to give you a price as there are no workmen available until after Christmas.
    Although I am not certain the Insurance Co will pay out, I am hopeful. As mentioned there is a policy excess of £250 and therefore my claim on you will be £310.00 add £175.00 = £485.00 less £250.00 excess = £235.00 add whatever it costs the make good the wall tiles as this is not covered by insurance, as previously mentioned.
    There is an issue about the time it took for the work to be done as the flat was empty for 7 days (from 23rd Nov - 1st Dec while the new loo was fitted). While this was inconvenient to the incoming tenants, thankfully they still went ahead with the let wef 1.12.09. I naturally look to you for payment for the week that it was un-occupied due to the repairs necessitated by you. I think the cost of this is £144.23.
    Please let me know when you have all the final bills and have time to
    meet and discuss the details - we can arrange a date from there.
    Please note that I am away from 2nd - 9th Jan but otherwise generally around.'

    We feel that he is taking advantage of the fact that we are first time renters and he has our deposit. We have always paid our rent on time and looked after the flat. We are happy to pay reasonable cost for replacing the toilet, but feel its unfair that he is trying to charge us full price for a brand new toilet when the original toilet was over 13 years old. We also feel its unfair he is trying to charge us a whole weeks rent while the work on the loo was being carried out. Is he within his rights to do so?

    He also wants to deduct £60 from our deposit for a dishwasher part which needed replacing. He had a brand new dishwasher installed which was replaced due to a problem under warranty.
    Soon after the mechanism holding the lid for the rinse aid broke and was not covered by warranty. LL wanted to charge us £90 for the manufacturer to come and fit it, or £60 for the part and he would fit it for free. I explained I had always treated this with care and how many times would I have refilled the rinse aid in a new dishwasher? I suggested splitting the cost but he put the cost to us saying 'You broke it when using it. If we broke something in our home we'd have to pay to replace it'.
    At the time we questioned if we should foot this payment. As he wouldn't budge I agreed to add £10 to our rent for 6 months. We had paid this for the 2 months of our tenancy so £40 outstanding. Was he in the right to make us pay for this?

    Another question is that of the deposit. Our Tenancy agreement states that its £500 but his 'Certificate of Deposit' says its £550. When we disputed the amount LL said he checked with the Estate Agent and the amount is £500. I have no letter from any of the 3 government recognised schemes so I'm not sure if this is valid. I have emailed him to as which government approved scheme our deposit is with but have had no reply as yet. I will check my historical bank statements to see what payment was made to LL around the time we moved in.

    LL left me a voicemail yesterday to say the insurance will not pay out for the damaged loo and it should come out of our bond. He said theoretically we will actually owe him money which he will waiver if its not a lot. He wanted to draw a final account so asked me to drop him an email as this is the easiest way for him to communicate. I thought it best to get some advice before proceeding. Your advice is appreciated.

  • #2
    Quick question, was a new tenancy agreement signed in September 07? If so, is that your current tenancy agreement?

    Comment


    • #3
      We signed a letter to say we were extending our tenancy by 6 months and the original tenancy agreement still stands if I remember correctly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mowgli View Post
        We signed a letter to say we were extending our tenancy by 6 months and the original tenancy agreement still stands if I remember correctly.
        In which case, that may constitute a new tenancy and therefore your deposit should possibly be with one of the 3 deposit protection schemes. Let's wait for one of the legal eagles to comment.

        Comment


        • #5
          I can confirm that the letter extending our tenancy after the first 6 months said the orginal lease stands. We did not actaully sign this letter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mowgli View Post
            We feel that he is taking advantage of the fact that we are first time renters and he has our deposit. We have always paid our rent on time and looked after the flat. We are happy to pay reasonable cost for replacing the toilet, but feel its unfair that he is trying to charge us full price for a brand new toilet when the original toilet was over 13 years old. We also feel its unfair he is trying to charge us a whole weeks rent while the work on the loo was being carried out. Is he within his rights to do so?
            Issues of deposit protection aside, I don't think the LL is being wholly unreasonable in the charges for a replacement loo. You might well feel that a £100 loo from B&Q installed by a 'professional decorator' is an adequate solution, but replacement loos do have to match the existing pipes/plumbing and general set up in the bathroom, not to mention matching basin/bath in general style, and it is reasonable for the work to be carried out by a professional plumber.

            As for the question of apportionment, one doesn't generally expect to have to replace a loo very frequently, so its age isn't necessarily relevant (as it would be if we were talking about a fitted carpet, say). However, 13 years is still an 'old' loo so I think it'd be reasonable to offer maybe 50-70% of the cost of the replacement loo depending on the condition of the original one, but the full cost of the fitting and tile work.

            Were the new tenants due to move in on the 23rd? If so, then again I think it's fair to charge rent for the week when the repairs were being carried out.

            Responsibility for the dishwasher part may depend on who is responsible for repair of electrical appliances under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mowgli View Post
              I can confirm that the letter extending our tenancy after the first 6 months said the orginal lease stands. We did not actaully sign this letter.
              My thinking is that at the end of a tenancy, 3 things can happen...
              1. You can leave
              2. You can sign a new contract
              3. It can become a statutory periodic tenancy

              Obviously 1 doesn't apply, and I think the 6-month extension may mean that 3 doesn't apply. If I am right, then it must constitute a new tenancy (2). Any tenancy can be done without a paper tenancy agreement, so the fact that there was no new AST may not be relevant.

              My thinking is also that if we can acertain that a new tenancy was entered into after 6/4/2007 (which is when the schemes came into effect) then it should have been protected through one of the approved schemes. If it wasn't, you would have little difficulty getting your deposit back in full through the courts.

              That doesn't mean the landlord couldn't then sue you for any damages caused - but at least if he did so you would have the knowledge that a judge had looked at the case and decided what was fairest to everybody.

              However, this is just conjecture. Hopefully this post will have bumped your thread up the list a bit. The forum has been quiet recently, but hopefully someone with legal knowledge will spot your query today.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                My thinking is that at the end of a tenancy, 3 things can happen...
                1. You can leave
                2. You can sign a new contract
                3. It can become a statutory periodic tenancy

                Obviously 1 doesn't apply, and I think the 6-month extension may mean that 3 doesn't apply. If I am right, then it must constitute a new tenancy (2). Any tenancy can be done without a paper tenancy agreement, so the fact that there was no new AST may not be relevant.

                My thinking is also that if we can acertain that a new tenancy was entered into after 6/4/2007 (which is when the schemes came into effect) then it should have been protected through one of the approved schemes. If it wasn't, you would have little difficulty getting your deposit back in full through the courts.

                That doesn't mean the landlord couldn't then sue you for any damages caused - but at least if he did so you would have the knowledge that a judge had looked at the case and decided what was fairest to everybody.

                However, this is just conjecture. Hopefully this post will have bumped your thread up the list a bit. The forum has been quiet recently, but hopefully someone with legal knowledge will spot your query today.
                Yes. The letter seems to create a new (renewal) AST fixed term, albeit bringing-forward the existing Agreement's provisions.
                So L should thereupon have protected the deposit.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                  Yes. The letter seems to create a new (renewal) AST fixed term, albeit bringing-forward the existing Agreement's provisions.
                  So L should thereupon have protected the deposit.
                  And there is the 'someone with legal knowledge'.

                  So, current landlord is breaking the law. Check with the 3 deposit schemes that the deposit isn't protected, you can use this form to enquire of all 3 (they will take 3-4 days to reply), then ask for your deposit back.

                  There is a letter here that at least one other LLZ reader has successfully used in the past. (see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...87&postcount=8)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Points taken Wesminster, thanks.

                    I have not yet checked who is responsible for repair of electrical appliances under the terms of the tenancy agreement but I will do as LL has replied to me email asking him which of the 3 schemes our deposit is in, his reply:

                    'As promised I am writing to update you on the costs incurred to replace the toilet which you broke before leaving the flat and also to advise you on the position of insurance cover.

                    As previously advised, I have paid out the following to replace the
                    toilet:

                    1. Replacement of toilet £310.00
                    2. fitting £175.00

                    Total £485.00

                    I have received a letter from ****, the Insurance Company, in which they detail the extent of the cover. Specifically, they state that the deposit that I hold should be used to pay for damage before they pay out. However, you are not liable for the delay in re-renting the flat as a consequence of the damage.

                    I have decided to re-tile the bathroom at my own cost and therefore there is nothing to pay for making good the wall tiling.

                    As you took tenancy before the the deposit scheme was introduced in April 07 the deposit is held by me.

                    Of the original deposit you paid, amounting to £500. there is an outstanding cost of repair to the dishwasher of £67.25 less £20 paid in installments, leaving a deposit of £452.75.

                    Please will you advise me what you both feel to be a reasonable agreement over the settlement of the deposit. I will of course be please to send you copies of the invoices and letters upon your request.'
                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

                    I would be happy to pay our reasonable share of the loo breakage and installation (50-70%). His back tracking on saying he will now pay for the tiling and will not charge us for the delay in the new T moving in makes me wonder if he is aware he should of protected our deposit at the agreement of extending the tenancy. So asking us to make a deal so we don't go down the road of grinding him for not protecting our deposit?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      Responsibility for the dishwasher part may depend on who is responsible for repair of electrical appliances under the terms of the tenancy agreement.
                      I've checked the original Tenancy agreement (Housing Act 1988 Section 20 Notice of Assured Shorthold Tenancy) and there is a reference to contents.
                      'To keep the contensts and the interior of the premises in good condition and complete repair.... to preserve the contents from being damaged or in anyway
                      destroyed and to make good pay fro repair or replace with articles of similar kind and equal value any such part of the contensts as shall be destroyed, lost, damamaged or broken.'

                      The only referenec specifically to electrical appliances is. 'To keep the tv set and all other electrical appliances in good working order'

                      So as the dishwasher was new I guess we would need to pay for the part?
                      I am thinking of offering LL £300 to cover this part plus our share of the loo replacement and fitting as LL has asked us what we would like to do about it.
                      Do you think this is reasonable? I thought if he has a problem with our offer about telling him how our deposit should have been prtected by law etc.

                      Advice on best way to proceed please

                      Comment

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