L won’t arrange exit inspection

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    L won’t arrange exit inspection

    Please excuse the ramble, but any advice gratefully received! Thanks

    Our AST ends on 31st May and we gave L six weeks written notice that we would be moving out. We have since written to L twice asking him to arrange an exit inspection with us, preferably on 31st May, but he has not responded.

    I gather L has to return the agreed portion of the deposit within ten days of an agreement(?), but how long do we have to wait for him to inspect the property and tell us how much he is willing to return (this will be his idea of an ‘agreement’). As this is our money, surely he has a legal obligation to perform the inspection within a certain time (and inform us when it is taking place)? We don’t know if/when new tenants are moving in. He has indicated that he expects to see all final bills etc. Can he legally withhold money if we don’t have them to show him? We are up to date with the latest bills, but clearly we can’t take final meter readings before the 31st so we will not have final bills for some time - plus we are continuing these accounts at our new address anyway.

    Also, we can video the property before we leave to show it is clean and undamaged, but what should we do with the keys if L is not there? We don’t want to keep them beyond 31st, but we are wary of putting them through his office letterbox without a receipt as we don’t trust him.

    We appreciate that the 31st is a bank holiday, but we suspect L will leave it as long as possible to carry out the inspection, and then give us so little (if any) notice that we won’t be able to arrange time off work to attend. We are not sure where we stand legally on timescales, attending the inspection, showing final bills, or what to do with the keys. This might all seem a bit premature but L is extremely difficult to deal with, does everything slowly and by letter, and usually tells us what is going to happen, rather than making mutually agreeable arrangements. We are also concerned that he could enter the property after we leave and create subtle dirt/damage that he can charge us for. Yes, we can take a video, but you don’t know this man. We have taken good care of the property and we just want to get our money back and move on.

    We have an English AST, started in 2009 and our deposit has been properly protected.

    #2
    It seems that trust has gone between you and the LL so you can and maybe should do all you can to protect yourselves now from future claims and get the best chance of having your deposit returned. It will be no good in subsequent proceedings wishing you could give evidence to prove your position if you do not obtain that evidence now.

    Firstly get the property into the condition you intend to leave it in, cleaned and hoovered etc.

    If I was in your position I would "video" the property starting with a copy of a daily newspaper from that day, you could also have a radio on in the background confirming date and time.

    So you would film yourself or another going up to the entrance door showing the condition of the door, putting the key in the lock and opening the door demonstrating that the door lock works.

    If there is a hallway or entrance lobby, treat this as the first room.

    Start with each room at the top and work around each room methodically in the same direction either clock wise or anticlockwise, pan around the entire ceiling showing the light fittings if any, light shades, beginning at the door frame work your way down and along each wall individually including any fittings, sockets, switches, turn the lights on and off and film this, you are demonstrating that the electrics are all working. You can comment on what you video and if you replaced anything you should say so, if something is as it was on the day you moved in and was grubby or damaged in any way then say so, on camera.

    In the kitchen turn on any fittings or appliances to show they work, turn on taps to show they have water. Again, you can comment on these acts as you do them, "See how the cooker works on and off".

    In the toilet flush the wc showing it works, run any taps or turn on any shower fitting showing it works.

    If you isolate any thing on leaving or turn off the water mains for example do this on film/video and comment on why you are doing it "Look, I am turning the water off at the mains to prevent the risk of flooding".

    Don't be tempted to hide any patches or stains on the floors for example by selective filming. By omitting these areas from your video diary it may look less than honest in any subsequent proceedings.

    Do this for each room.

    When you leave show the locking of the door and the securing of the property as you leave.

    If you are so concerned that your LL is likely to be dishonest and devious you could also take pictures of the rooms as detailed above (I video'd each room and took 71 pictures of a 1 bed flat for my inventory) and have these printed off at a shop to get a date and time on the picture to show their integrity?

    Regarding returning of keys, you can "video" this as well to disprove any claims that you did not return keys. Simply film the placing of the keys into the envelope addressed to the LL, show all this, and film the posting of the envelope through the letter box.

    Do you need to be in the property on the very last day? Could you return the keys earlier, you have not mentioned an agent?

    As I understand it the deposit schemes do not invesitigate the matter? They merely look at the evidence presented from each side and decide accordingly, but please do not take my word on this.

    If you present the best evidence, the most compelling evidence you give yourself the best chance of winning and getting your deposit back. Better to be thorough now than found to be lacking later.

    good luck

    pm
    Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by simon99 View Post
      I gather L has to return the agreed portion of the deposit within ten days of an agreement(?), but how long do we have to wait for him to inspect the property and tell us how much he is willing to return (this will be his idea of an ‘agreement’). As this is our money, surely he has a legal obligation to perform the inspection within a certain time (and inform us when it is taking place)?
      Check with the deposit scheme as to the timescale for return of deposit/raising a dispute. The landlord has no legal obligation to carry out a check-out inspection, therefore no obligation to perform one within a certain time.

      He has indicated that he expects to see all final bills etc. Can he legally withhold money if we don’t have them to show him?
      No.

      Also, we can video the property before we leave to show it is clean and undamaged, but what should we do with the keys if L is not there? We don’t want to keep them beyond 31st, but we are wary of putting them through his office letterbox without a receipt as we don’t trust him.
      If LL does not give you any instructions, such as to leave the keys behind at the property, then I would post them via Special Delivery Next Day service (the one that costs over £5) which is fully trackable, and email the tracking number (or write a letter) to the landlord advising what you have done in the absence of any specific instructions, despite requests made. (Keep copy letter and get a *free* certificate of posting, don't use a signed for service).

      We have an English AST, started in 2009 and our deposit has been properly protected.
      If the LL attempts to make any unfair deductions, raise a dispute with the scheme, and the dispute will be settled either via the scheme's adjudication service (LL is entitled to opt out) or via the county court (you'd have to issue a claim). The deposit is your money, and the onus will be on the landlord to prove you caused damage/loss, not for you to prove you didn't (but it doesn't hurt to gather your own evidence of condition at check out).

      Note that, if the landlord doesn't have evidence of condition at the start of the tenancy (i.e. a check in inventory signed/approved by you), then he would find it very difficult to prove any allegations of damage. For example, if he alleged that you caused a stain to a carpet, he'd firstly have to prove there was no stain there when you first moved in.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks both of you, much appreciated.

        No there is no agent involved and as LL only does property work Mon-Fri we would have to give him the keys on Friday afternoon, which is just too soon.

        westminster, although you suggest

        Originally posted by westminster View Post
        If LL does not give you any instructions, such as to leave the keys behind at the property, then I would post them via Special Delivery Next Day service (the one that costs over £5) which is fully trackable, and email the tracking number (or write a letter) to the landlord advising what you have done in the absence of any specific instructions, despite requests made. (Keep copy letter and get a *free* certificate of posting, don't use a signed for service).
        unfortunately, because the 31st is a bank holiday, we would be unable to post them until the 1st June meaning he would receive them, at the earliest, on the 2nd. We are concerned that this would make us liable for the next month's rent, and potentially delay any incoming tenants' arrival.

        We could easily put them through the letterbox at his office, but when we once did this with some paperwork, he claimed it had never arrived before admitting he had in fact lost it. This has led to us being wary of doing so, as keys are rather more important than paperwork!

        We want to complete the handover 'by the book', but as he is not responding to any communication, we are incredibly unsure how to proceed. Our landlord has a law degree and makes this clear to us at any available opportunity, so we really don't want to get things wrong!

        Any further advice or suggestions will be gratefully received : )

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by simon99 View Post
          unfortunately, because the 31st is a bank holiday, we would be unable to post them until the 1st June meaning he would receive them, at the earliest, on the 2nd. We are concerned that this would make us liable for the next month's rent, and potentially delay any incoming tenants' arrival.
          The landlord ought to have his own set of keys.

          However. You cover your back by making two written requests for instructions as to the return of keys. Keep copy letters and post first class with a *free* certificate of posting (signed for services can be refused/go undelivered - fine for the keys but not for these letters).

          In the second letter, you advise LL that, having not had a response to your letter dated [x], you intend to post the keys to [address] using Royal Mail Next Day service, and will write to advise him of the tracking number - unless you receive instructions to the contrary before [date].

          This way, you create a clear paper trail/record, should the LL try to be difficult.

          Obviously you cannot post the keys using a trackable service on a Bank Holiday, so don't worry about the two day delay. No adjudicator or court will hold you liable for a further month's rent if you show them the evidence of your copy letters and certificates of posting, proving that you tried your best to arrange to return the keys at the end of the tenancy and due to the LL's lack of response you opted for a safe, trackable, service to return the keys.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by simon99 View Post
            Our landlord has a law degree and makes this clear to us at any available opportunity, so we really don't want to get things wrong!
            I assure you this is no proof of his legal knowledge - even qualified solicitors aren't infallible. The fact that he cites his degree in order to try to intimidate a tenant suggests that he is pathetic, insecure and a nobody, frankly.

            Comment


              #7
              You should see our TA!

              Thanks very much for your help and time. We're going to follow your advice with the letters and hope that does the trick.

              I'll update in due course...

              Comment


                #8
                As advised, we wrote to the landlord (again) and have finally received a response which has left us with a few more questions.

                1. He suggests we leave the keys in the flat, but this will mean that we are unable to lock the Chubb lock, only the Yale one. Do we follow his suggestion, and risk the flat not being completely secure, or do we lock up and post the keys through the door? Alternatively - do we compromise: one set in the flat and one through the door with a note explaining why we have done so?

                2. The LL has requested that we leave him the details of our gas and electricity accounts to ensure that they are paid up to date. Westminster has already pointed out that he cannot withhold money in case of unpaid utilities, but his letter implies that the return of our deposit is in part linked to this request. What is our position if he refuses to return the deposit until we provide these details?

                3. LL has said he will post the deposit to us after he has receieved the keys, the electricity bill and the receipt for the carpet cleaning contractor. Carpet cleaning is mentioned twice in our TA, on one occasion it mentions that a professional cleaner must be used, and in the other makes no mention of professional cleaning. We had intended to hire a Rug Doctor machine to clean the carpets; can he withhold money if we have ensured that we leave the carpets as clean as they were when we moved in, despite not hiring 'professional' cleaners? The previous tenants did not appear to have had the carpets cleaned professionally or otherwise.

                4. LL says he will send us a cheque - with no mention of an 'agreement' in case of any money being kept by him. We will be contacting the deposit holding scheme, but will his returning the money in this way mean we are unable to go to arbitration in case of disagreement?

                Sorry for all the questions, we would just like to be sure we get things right so we can resolve the situation as quickly as possible!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by simon99 View Post
                  1. He suggests we leave the keys in the flat, but this will mean that we are unable to lock the Chubb lock, only the Yale one. Do we follow his suggestion, and risk the flat not being completely secure, or do we lock up and post the keys through the door? Alternatively - do we compromise: one set in the flat and one through the door with a note explaining why we have done so?
                  If you mean a letterbox on the front door of the actual flat (as opposed to the letterbox on the communal front door), I think I would lock both Yale/Chubb, and post the keys through the door sealed in a largish Jiffy bag (because I would guess there's a small risk that a clever burglar armed with a coathanger or something could hook a bare set of keys and pull them under the door, whereas that would be impossible to do with a Jiffy bag). This is what I'd prefer a tenant to do, anyway.

                  2. The LL has requested that we leave him the details of our gas and electricity accounts to ensure that they are paid up to date. Westminster has already pointed out that he cannot withhold money in case of unpaid utilities, but his letter implies that the return of our deposit is in part linked to this request. What is our position if he refuses to return the deposit until we provide these details?
                  You raise a dispute with the deposit scheme.

                  You say he has requested you 'leave details' of the utilities accounts - so just leave him copies of the last bills you received (so that he has confirmation of the suppliers/account numbers) with a note giving the meters' final readings (and date/time of readings); say that you have given the readings to the suppliers, and have given them your forwarding address and will of course settle the accounts on receipt of the final bills.

                  Not that you have any obligation to do this, but it is always best to be 'reasonable' and moreover it may (possibly) be enough to satisfy him and avoid the hassle of a dispute.

                  3. LL has said he will post the deposit to us after he has receieved the keys, the electricity bill and the receipt for the carpet cleaning contractor. Carpet cleaning is mentioned twice in our TA, on one occasion it mentions that a professional cleaner must be used, and in the other makes no mention of professional cleaning. We had intended to hire a Rug Doctor machine to clean the carpets; can he withhold money if we have ensured that we leave the carpets as clean as they were when we moved in, despite not hiring 'professional' cleaners? The previous tenants did not appear to have had the carpets cleaned professionally or otherwise.
                  You are bound by the terms of the tenancy contract. But it is perfectly adequate to do the cleaning yourself; it's the machine which is the 'professional' component, not the operative (given that it requires no great skill to operate the machine). Keep the receipt for the hire of the Rug Doctor.

                  4. LL says he will send us a cheque - with no mention of an 'agreement' in case of any money being kept by him. We will be contacting the deposit holding scheme, but will his returning the money in this way mean we are unable to go to arbitration in case of disagreement?
                  No. If LL sends you a cheque less any deductions you disagree with, then raise a dispute with the scheme.

                  Assuming it's an insurance-based scheme (mydeposits or TDS), the LL would then have to lodge the disputed sum with the scheme, and they would hold it until the dispute was settled either via adjudication or the county court.

                  If the scheme in question is the DPS, the custodial scheme, the DPS would require both parties to agree on the sum to be released before they paid it to either party - however, it is possible for the LL to obtain the deposit from the DPS if he makes a claim and the tenant doesn't respond/is uncontactable.

                  So make sure the protection scheme has your correct, up-to-date, contact details, and don't delay initiating a dispute if the LL isn't complying with the scheme's timelines.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    That's fantastic, thank you - and thanks for always responding so quickly and thoroughly. We really do appreciate it : )

                    Comment

                    Latest Activity

                    Collapse

                    • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                      by HobbitShire
                      Sorry but I must reitterate that she DID provide all documents which were initially requested before both parties signed the lease. This new, rigid requirement for a utility bill only came a day before the agreed move-in date.

                      This is not a case of a prospective tenant having no paper trail....
                      20-01-2022, 01:28 AM
                    • Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                      by HobbitShire
                      My partner has recently signed a lease through a well known property agent in London.

                      The lease was also signed by the landlord. References from current + previous employer, landlord, etc, and proof of address were requested before signing, and provided.

                      Upon signing the lease...
                      20-01-2022, 00:57 AM
                    • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                      by HobbitShire
                      Firstly, she already provided the previous lease, along with a document from the municipality of Amsterdam stating that she was registered as living there. I paid the bills as we were living together, and she has closed her Dutch bank account (as is required when you are no longer a resident). I'm sure...
                      20-01-2022, 01:11 AM
                    • Reply to Letting Agent Withholding Key (Lease signed + rent paid)
                      by Jon66
                      No bank statements with the old address on? These are available freely from your online account, or previous utility bills, council tax bills etc. I find it difficult to accept that they are unable to provide something. I would have concerns if you were my prospective tenant. You need to provide the...
                      20-01-2022, 01:02 AM
                    • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                      by minorbark
                      When you put it like that I'm more inclined to edge towards the S21 route regardless. As much as part of me feels some compassion for the guy and doesn't want to lump more stress on top of someone who appears to be struggling already, as has been said before, none of us are acting as a charity.
                      ...
                      19-01-2022, 22:51 PM
                    • Property damaged. Advice please
                      by minorbark
                      Apologies if something similar has already been covered elsewhere. I did try to search but couldn't find anything that matched my situation particularly closely. A huge thanks in advance to any of you who do take the time to read and advise.

                      TLDR version: Police have forced entry into my...
                      18-01-2022, 21:55 PM
                    • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                      by minorbark
                      Thank you.

                      My initial contact with the police was just a phone call to the local station. As I almost half expected they wouldn't give up much info, I didn't particularly push back when they said as much and I left it at that. A formal complaint might fill in a few blanks in the story but...
                      19-01-2022, 22:37 PM
                    • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                      by Hudson01
                      A back door way into finding out what did happen (or more info than you have now), is to ask for a callback from the local PCSO who covers the beat area where the tenant lives (go online and start a live chat), he or she will know far more about your tenant that a faceless comms operator at HQ or anyone...
                      19-01-2022, 22:17 PM
                    • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                      by DoricPixie
                      Just because someone knocks on your door, even if it crescendos to them banging loudly on your door, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it or have to go and investigate.

                      If the tenant suffers from mental health issues and the police were sent round because someone thought the tenant’s...
                      19-01-2022, 21:47 PM
                    • Reply to Property damaged. Advice please
                      by WebLand
                      From painful personal experience of this issue... You should formally contact the police, ask them why they broke the door down and ask for compensation. Their lawyer will then write to you with some information which may be useful for you to know (but not giving very much detail). I expect they'll...
                      19-01-2022, 21:31 PM
                    Working...
                    X