Tenancy Deposit Unfair Deduction?

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    Tenancy Deposit Unfair Deduction?

    Hi

    My wife and I recently moved out of our rented accommodation having been there 12 months. We let it initially on a 6 month shorthold agreement but when that expired, the landlords and ourselves continued on a fairly casual basis as we all got on well, they were very happy with us as we kept the house in order and paid every month on time with no problem, and likewise we were happy with them.

    The initial plan was for a long term let but in March the LL said his partner had been made redundant and needed to sell the house and gave us notice. We found a place in the meantime and agreed final rent costs etc - all no problem.

    Now - the dispute - he has just done his final checks and wants to make two deductions from our deposit, one being £110 for carpet cleaning and the other being £145 to have the house 'professionally cleaned' to its original state.

    Now, with the carpet, there was a tiny stain in the bedroom which I couldn't shift - looked like either hair dye or nail varnish so maybe we can't dispute (or tell me if £110 is too steep?).

    However, as for the house needing 'professional cleaning', we think its a joke. When we moved in, there were some cobwebs on the tall ceiling over the stairs, dust on top of the bathroom cabinets and kichen units and the cooker and freezer was filthy! (The freezer was still full of LL's meat which he had to collect at a later date). When we left, we scrubbed and left it spotless in our opinion. Unfortunately, we did not take any pics of the initial condition.

    The letting agent doesn't want to know and has told us we need to deal specifically with the LL, although he did mention one of the problems being a small stain on a window sill where we had a leak from the upstairs toilet come through a month or two ago. This incidentally was caused by a broken valve in the toilet and a broken overflow pipe which flooded the bathroom and which caused all the electrics to short in the process. We had no electric for 3 days, did all LL's dirty work for him, fixed the toilet, called out a sparky etc. In short, not sure if any stain there would be due to a problem that was our fault anyway. He's going to ring me tonight to tell me other specifics, another thing that has been mentioned is the front room curtains weren't professionally cleaned.

    How do we, as tenants, stand on this?

    For added info, he did the inventory himself and the check out himself about a week after we left (although invited the letting agent guy to come and look at the property too two weeks after we left). No inventory clerk was ever used in the process and I'm not even sure that we signed his inventory.

    I need to dig out the tenancy agreement tonight to check that having the house cleaned professionally was a requirement too. If that's not stated, then I think that would be unfair to ask us as good tenants to do that if not required. We certainly left it spotless, hoovered and cleaned ourselves.

    Lastly, it's also not like he is going to live in the property again, or rent out himself. It's already on the market, and is described on the website as 'having been meticulously maintained and is in immaculate condition'!! Can I turn these words against him too??!? It's not like they would raise the asking price of the house after having work done so I am suspicious that this money wouldn't just be pocketed!

    And lastly, if there is some 'wear and tear', isn't that expected?

    Any advice from either landlords or tenants will be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks!

    #2
    Hi roseywhu

    We are currently in a very similar situation to you as we have moved out of a property and have been given back a reduced deposit after the LL decided to deduct what we see as unfair charges. Having taken advice from solicitors, family and friends and members of this forum we are currently taking the case to an arbitrator, which is free provided the LL registered the bond with a registered organisation (such as mydeposits.co.uk.) You submit evidence based on your claims and the LL has to also submit evidence including cleaning bills and proof the property required it as a result of your Tenancy. I would recomend you look into this and also check out my post as loads of people have offered useful advice,

    Regards,
    Dave

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your advice, and I hope your situation gets sorted too.

      I'll take a look more in depth myself a bit later.

      Comment


        #4
        With reference the opening post, it seems the small stain on the window sill was probably caused by a pen that we had left there which then caused the stain when the water came through from upstairs.

        We'll still maintain that the flood upstairs and subsequent leak was no fault of our own though and was down to the house's ageing general infrastructure which could have happened at any time - after all, the overflow pipe etc should have been in working order.

        We've arranged to meet the LLs at the house on Sat so they can actually go throught the inventory with us and show us what they believe we are liable for. As the inventory was prepared by the LL himself though, we will tread carefully as it is fairly assumed it may not be particularly impartial !!

        Comment


          #5
          Was this an assured shorthold tenancy in England/Wales, and if so was the deposit protected in a scheme?

          Comment


            #6
            Yes, it was a shorthold tenancy in England - deposit was protected as well.

            Comment


              #7
              Then let the arbitration scheme within the deposit protection system sort the situation.

              LL has to prove the condition of the property at commencement, and at conclusion. Were you ever sent an inventory at the start? If yes then that will be good evidence of the condition at commencement (unless you disputed the inventory when you received it).

              Is the check out inventory accurate? if no have you challenged this with the landlord?
              PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

              Comment


                #8
                Meeting LL tonight to go through the inventory. We still haven't seen a check-out inventory as yet, literally it's only been a text message stating 'you owe us this much...' so hopefully we will find out where and how we supposedly owe this amount of cash.

                Checked out tenancy agreement over the weekend and it is stated that on leaving we were require to clean the house thoroughly or have it cleaned to a professional standard. I think the word 'or' is important there - it clearly implies one or the other - and we did clean it ourselves thoroughly before we left - about five of us spent one morning cleaning it up, one room at a time, closing each door after completion so no footprints could be left etc.

                Whether he will have any proof of condition beforehand, I'm not sure - as he did his own check in/out inventories, I assume he will need to provide receipts etc to an arbitration to prove we moved into an environment that was professionally cleaned?? Same goes for the upholstery I imagine that is also stated should have been 'professionally cleaned'.

                Also, who should actually get the final call as to who is brought in to clean the carpets? The LL's quote for £110 seems a little over the top seeing as there's a company with an ad on the front page of the local paper advertising only £19 per room or £59 for a whole house. Could we insist on using our own people for the aforementioned bedroom carpet stain which we do accept? Obviously we will fight the whole professional cleaning of the house thing though as this is unfair in our opinion!

                As far as the amount of money, that is not in dispute is concerned, should this be released straight away? It's already been three weeks since we moved out, and could certainly do with the deposit money back! We phoned TDS this morning and LL hasn't lodged a problem yet with them and I don't think has been in touch with them at all yet.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Actually - just as an addition to the last post, I've noticed it said that LL's have 10 working days to advise of any deductions? How legally binding is this?

                  We moved out 3rd May (tenancy end date) and was only told of deductions on 19th May (12 working days later). Nothing in writing given - just a text message informing of intentions. As stated in earlier posts, still no explanation or check-out inventory yet until we see LL at the house tonight.

                  Comment

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