Law favours the tenant? Don't make me laugh!

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    Law favours the tenant? Don't make me laugh!

    Hi everyone, this is my first post, and is in response to some of the very helpful and interesting contributions I have been reading on here over the past few weeks.

    I originally came here to read things because I've just moved into a house owned by a family member, who had a hard time getting rid of the (really poor) tenant they replaced me with, hindered by an inefficient and mendacious letting agent. Having seen what they have been through, I would have indeed agreed that 'the law favours the tenant'.

    That was until I received the letter from the agency dealing with my former property proposing deductions from my security deposit. They aren't for much, but it is the 'money for old rope' aspect of them that irritates me. The inventory clerk went around with my co-tenant on checkout and said that he was giving us / the property "a clean bill of health", although noting that "there was a bit of dust here and there".

    In his report, he proposes 1-2 hours light cleaning and dusting (he is not specific about where this is required), plus 2 hours weeding (which he never mentioned) to the garden area. The agency propose to deduct 2 hours x £15 for both those items, totalling £60. Quite high rates, even for SE England, and basically incontestable from my point of view. How do you disprove that somewhere needs a little bit of dusting and weeding? Most people's houses do, unless they have a horde of domestic servants. But the inventory clerk is independent, isn't he? Yes, absolutely. He has exactly the same loyalty to me, a tenant who he is most unlikely to ever see again, as to an agency and landlord that will give him repeat business.

    The landlord also proposes a deduction representing the cost of an electrician visit in the last week of the tenancy. I was washing marks off the walls, and switched the light on so that I could see better. The switch gave me an electric shock. Then a little plume of smoke came out of it and I could smell burning. "Bloody hell!" I exclaimed in surprise, and called the fire brigade. They confirmed that the light switch had burnt out, and turned the power off. An electrician came round and told me that one of the screws attaching the light switch to the wall had been slightly loose, enabling a drop of water from my wall-washing sponge to get in to the socket.

    The landlord would also like me to pay for that. No-one would have ever noticed that the light switch screw was loose if I hadn't tried to clean the walls, in their opinion. That's another £58. I wrote a two page letter arguing with them, and they offered to go halves on the cost. I want them to pay the full £58 - the fixed electrical points are their responsibility, but I'm hardly going to go to the Small Claims for £29 now am I?

    In my little worldview, therefore, my landlord is getting £89 out of my deposit for absolutely sod-all. Three of us spent ages cleaning (and weeding!) the property before the tenancy expired, but we still get slapped with the good ol' non-specific cleaning charge. I wonder how much an inventory clerk charges to come round? Would it be about £60 or so? Is that too cynical?

    The law favours bad tenants and greedy landlords. Discuss. And even if no-one replies, that was very therapeutic. Thanks.

    #2
    Write another letter to the agent, and a copy to the landlord stating that you will take the landlord to court for all of the deductions (you can't take the agent to court as they are acting for the landlord) unless he returns it in 7 days.

    If you have to issue the summons (however small the amount) he would have to pay your court fee as well as your claim and I think it's very likely that you would get back your money pronto or you would win in court if it gets that far. Judges don't like petty landlords.

    Of course the agent could be acting without the full knowledge of the landlord in which case he won't be too pleased if he is taken to court.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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      #3
      Does the law favour greedy landlords? Well, consider this: you have the right to enter a valuable property and stay in it for six months never paying your rent much less than two months in arrears without any penalty or legal comeback from your landlord. If you then wish to stay on beyond the initially agreed term you can do so for as long as you like until a court decides otherwise (which is highly unlikely to be for a further two months). And if your landlord makes a technical error on the S21 notice requiring possession the court will throw it out faster than you can say Jack Robinson and lo and behold you can stay at least three months more. Plus, any jiggery-pokery that the landlord attempts with the deposit, such as you describe, is likely to lead to a court finding in your favour and requiring your landlord to pay back all money owed plus all court costs. And if you report your landlord's defective switch to your local authority they might well take enforcement action against him. The law favours greedy landlords? Don't make me laugh!
      Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

      Comment


        #4
        Inventory Clerks

        A tenant can also employ an independent inventory clerk.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by lawstudent
          Does the law favour greedy landlords? Well, consider this: you have the right to enter a valuable property and stay in it for six months never paying your rent much less than two months in arrears without any penalty or legal comeback from your landlord. If you then wish to stay on beyond the initially agreed term you can do so for as long as you like until a court decides otherwise (which is highly unlikely to be for a further two months). And if your landlord makes a technical error on the S21 notice requiring possession the court will throw it out faster than you can say Jack Robinson and lo and behold you can stay at least three months more. Plus, any jiggery-pokery that the landlord attempts with the deposit, such as you describe, is likely to lead to a court finding in your favour and requiring your landlord to pay back all money owed plus all court costs. And if you report your landlord's defective switch to your local authority they might well take enforcement action against him. The law favours greedy landlords? Don't make me laugh! :
          The law favours both sides let's get realistic about it
          Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by pms
            The law favours both sides let's get realistic about it
            The law favours the lawyers who make fortunes because legislation is written in an archaic language that lawyers think they understand but don't! Then the lawyers make more money sorting out the misunderstandings between lawyers arising from complex archaic language use.

            ...... and then the High Court judges make more money trying to sort the disputes out

            ....... and then the European Court or International Courts decide that in any case our legislation was flawed!!!

            Seems rather like the early Christian church who opposed the translation of the Bible!!!
            Vic - wicked landlord
            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Worldlife
              The law favours the lawyers who make fortunes because legislation is written in an archaic language that lawyers think they understand but don't! Then the lawyers make more money sorting out the misunderstandings between lawyers arising from complex archaic language use.

              ...... and then the High Court judges make more money trying to sort the disputes out

              ....... and then the European Court or International Courts decide that in any case our legislation was flawed!!!

              Seems rather like the early Christian church who opposed the translation of the Bible!!!
              Very good post Worldlife I couldn't have put it better myself
              Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

              Comment


                #8
                So, MJW, did you follow PaulF's advice, and if so, what happened????

                Comment

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