Advice for tenant considering witholding final month's rent

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    Advice for tenant considering witholding final month's rent

    Hello,

    Myself and my two flatmates have given our notice to move out of our flat at the end of next month.

    We've had trouble with the letting agency since we moved in. When we signed the lease, they didn't do a walkthrough with us or take a written record of damages present in the flat (first mistake on our part - not demanding that).

    They have typically let this flat to students so they haven't bothered keeping it in a very good state of repair under the assumption the students are just going to destroy it again anyway. When we moved in, the flat had not been properly cleaned and we had to spend a weekend scrubbing the entire place down. The paint in certain areas is peeling off the walls, and there are tons of marks from tape and blue tac in both bedrooms and some other areas. One of the employees of the letting agency even admitted to us that they had withheld the previous tenant's deposit, however as far as we can tell they didn't use that money to put fix anything in the flat. There's also a huge inventory list that includes things like broken appliances and broken dishes, and the carpets in the bedrooms are terrible, etc.

    We've had nothing but headaches and stress when dealing with this letting agency, and we seriously believe they will withhold most or all of our deposit despite the fact that we haven't added any new damage to the flat and intend to leave it in a much cleaner state than it was when we arrived. My flatmates have decided to withhold the final month's rent, but provide the letting agency with a letter outlining all the problems we've had and all the damage that was pre-existing, and our reasons for leaving them to take the final month's rent from our deposit. We also plan to offer to pay for any damage they can find that they can prove was caused by us. Should we offer to pay any interest they might be losing on the deposit? What is the typical interest rate they would be getting?

    It's my understanding that the only action they can take against us will be to take us to small claims court, but we could counter claim for the amount of the withheld deposit and force them to prove any damages. Is this correct? Anything else we should do to cover ourselves in the event they take action against us? I'm not sure how strong our case would be as we have minimal pictures from when we first moved in, and we failed to make a written record as the letting agency never did a walk through with us. Obviously we'd like to avoid small claims court, but we can't afford to lose the deposit money on bogus claims, and we are all moving out of the UK shortly after so we won't be around to try to fight for our deposit back if we were to pay our last month's rent.

    Sorry for the length, but any input would be greatly appreciated.

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