Dispute Resolution - Can anyone help??

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    Dispute Resolution - Can anyone help??

    Hi, Im new to the site and wondered if anyone could help me.

    My situation is; I rented a room from my Landlady in May 2009. I paid a deposit and set up a standing order for my monthly rent.

    I insisted on a contract which we both signed.

    I did not receive or sign an inventory when I moved in.

    I moved out approx 1 month ago and the room has been re-let.

    My Landlady and I have been in dispute regarding water damage to a wooden/laminate bathroom floor, which I deny. She appears to have accepted this (but not confirmed), but mentioned today in an email that she had to clean the room for 4 hours and that she had to replace a bath mat, so I should expect a deduction in the deposit and she will send a cheque soon.

    In view of this dispute, I looked for a resolution service, and on reading found that the deposit protection schemes offer this service. Looking through my paperwork, I have no recollection of which company my deposit was protected with, so decided to call all three - none of them have a record for me or my address.

    My question is, how would I go about resolving this situation, does anyone have any prior experience? I guess if there is no resolution service available, the it would have to go to court?

    Any help greatly appreciated!

    Barry

    #2
    Does your landlady live in the same property as you, or elsewhere?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      No, she lives elsewhere, she let out 3 rooms individually

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by BPJones View Post
        No, she lives elsewhere, she let out 3 rooms individually
        OK. Assuming the rate of rent is less than £25k p.a. and the property is in England or Wales, you have an AST for which she should have protected your deposit.

        The fact that she has not done so, and the fact that you did not agree or even see an inventory at the start of your tenancy, means that she is really going to struggle to claim any money from you for the damage she claims you have done.

        I suggest you send her a short Letter Before Action advising her that in the absence of a check-in inventory agreed by you, you are unable to negotiate with her any further about her allegation that you have damaged the property. Tell her you are aware she has not protected your deposit as she was legally required to do. Say that unless she returns your deposit in full by x date (give a date 14 days hence), she will leave you with no option but to sue her for its return via moneyclaimonline and for the penalty for non-compliance with deposit protection, which is 3x the deposit's value. Letters like this usually make sloppy LLs see sense and she will probably return your deposit without further ado. Snorkerz has a good template for this very purpose. You can adapt it quite easily to include the bit about the inventory:

        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ion#post210342

        If she doesn't budge, come back to the forum and we will advise you what to do next.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


          #5
          Wow, thanks for the response and for the template, I wasnt aware that I was in a fairly strong position!

          Ill send a letter and keep you updated

          Thanks again!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            Tell her you are aware she has not protected your deposit as she was legally required to do. Say that unless she returns your deposit in full by x date (give a date 14 days hence), she will leave you with no option but to sue her for its return via moneyclaimonline and for the penalty for non-compliance with deposit protection, which is 3x the deposit's value.
            MTG, you know very well that non-compliance claims cannot be started via Money Claim Online!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by westminster View Post
              MTG, you know very well that non-compliance claims cannot be started via Money Claim Online!
              Yes, sorry, I didn't make that clear. My reference to moneyclaimonline was meant to be read in relation to the claim for deposit return, which is why the reference to the claim for 3x deposit was put after that...but I see what you mean!

              Hopefully OP will not have to go down the 3x penalty route as I gather it is a bit of a palaver!
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Hopefully OP will not have to go down the 3x penalty route as I gather it is a bit of a palaver!
                Yes, and the £1,000+ court fees and no guarantee of winning do not add to the allure.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi again - quick update and request for further advice if possible, I have not sent any letters as yet!

                  I have looked out my original contract, which is a form from lawpack.co.uk - I believe a generic tenancy agreement which has the relevent parts filled in - this is signed by both myself and the landlord.

                  Now, the document is titled "House/Flat Share Licence Agreement" and at the bottom it states "This form of agreement is for use in those cases where the room is part of a house or flat which the owner occupies as his/her only or principal home so that an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is not created."

                  So as this is not an AST, the deposit does not need to be protected under the agreement.

                  My question is, what quantifies this being the landlords only or principal property?

                  She owns the property

                  She has never stayed at the property during my 12 month tenancy, in fact it was her room that I rented

                  She has a locked room in the property (formerly the lounge) which contains a bed/sofa, dining table, some filing etc, no personal effects such as clothing etc

                  She lives in another town with her partner

                  A small amount of post came to the property, did not appear to be all of her post

                  In the interests of the contract I mentioned above and the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, can she claim this as her only or Principal property?

                  If this is not her only or principal property, am I therefore legally in an AST, even though my contract states otherwise?

                  Many Thanks for any help/info you can provide

                  Barry

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by BPJones View Post
                    My question is, what quantifies this being the landlords only or principal property?

                    She owns the property

                    She has never stayed at the property during my 12 month tenancy, in fact it was her room that I rented

                    She has a locked room in the property (formerly the lounge) which contains a bed/sofa, dining table, some filing etc, no personal effects such as clothing etc

                    She lives in another town with her partner
                    Then she is not resident. It is not her only or principal home.

                    If this is not her only or principal property, am I therefore legally in an AST, even though my contract states otherwise?
                    It's an AST, regardless of what it says on the contract.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Were you sharing the house with 2 others?

                      Is there 1 bathroom?

                      If there is only 1 bathroom who is to prove who did any or how much damage to the laminate floor, if indeed there is any damage which was not pre-existing?

                      Without an inventory how would she prove the state of the floor when you moved in?

                      You could buy a new bathmat from a "99p" shop and give this as a gesture of goodwill, or if you are feeling particularly generous buy her a luxury bathmat from the Poundshop.

                      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


                        #12
                        Hi

                        There are 2 other tenants, however my room had an en-suite, the main bathroom has a tiled floor and i never used this.

                        The floor is damaged, but during everyday use - i.e. it got wet when I got out of the shower, am I correct in believing this damage was unavoidable?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by BPJones View Post
                          Hi

                          There are 2 other tenants, however my room had an en-suite, the main bathroom has a tiled floor and i never used this.

                          The floor is damaged, but during everyday use - i.e. it got wet when I got out of the shower, am I correct in believing this damage was unavoidable?
                          This discussion (about who did the damge to the bathroom floor) is acdademic since the LL cannot prove it wasn't damaged at start of tenancy.

                          BPJones, send the letter as advised, but add that you have taken advice as to the status of your tenancy; you believe you are, de facto, an Assured Shorthold Tenant not a lodger, and that deposit protection rules therefore apply.

                          She may reply saying that it is a lodger's licence, but go ahead and sue anyway, if she does not return your deposit in full. (You could do that anyway even if it were a lodger's agreement, as she has no inventory/evidence of your having caused any damage).

                          In the unlikely event that she manages to persuade a court that she does live there, she still owes you your deposit. To be honest at this stage I would not even bother arguing with her about the damage to the floor.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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