Inventory/dispute re deductions from deposit

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    Inventory/dispute re deductions from deposit

    Hello there,

    I've been attempting to resolve a dispute with my letting agents and hope that some of you may be able to give some sound advice on where I stand in this matter.

    Firstly a history of the tenancy of the house.
    Initially 4 people moved in and had a contract of their own which I was in no way part of. They also signed an inventory for the house. A year later 3 of them move out and myself and another person move in. We weren't shown the inventory, no exit inspection was undertaken, and we never signed a new inventory or signed an agreement to take over the old one (bare in mind 1 of the original tenants continued living there, but for myself and the other person it was our first time living there and we feel we have no connection with the old contract or inventory signed during that contract).
    About another year later, a new tenant moves in. Still no exit inspections/signed inventory. And then give it another year, one tenant moves out, another moves in. There are still no exit inspections. However the newest tenant is given a copy of the original inventory and signs it. The rest of us weren't even informed that this had happened (and she didn't mention it, believing us also to have signed it). They didn't go through a check in procedure with her, so she didn't get to check out what was/wasn't in the house, they didn't give her a copy of the inventory (so no bringing it back with her and checking over her), and they didn't even explain the inventory process. And they kept us in the dark about it having happened, though are now saying we had the opportunity to dispute what was on the inventory and should have done so.

    About 10 months later, all of us are leaving. Myself and one of the other tenants invest a fair amount of money replacing carpets, furniture we had damaged etc., take a lot of time cleaning and doing a bit of gardening. This was our first time moving out and I can see now the many ways in which we've been naive, but it is so frustrating having spent so much money, acting in good faith believing ourselves to be putting right what was wrong (based on when we had first moved in rather than when the original tenant had moved in). But now according to their exit inspection, not only are we not to receive any of our deposit back due to "discrepancies and damages" but we actually owe them more money.

    From our perspective, they intentionally got the newest member of the house to sign an inventory that hadn't been in force or agreed to for several years. I would've thought that inventory had become nul and void when the tenants who initially signed it moved out and they didn't carry out an exit inspection or get our permission to take over the inventory. They then left it for 2 years (after that initial year of the original tenants having caused damage/taking things) and then gave the exact same inventory for the newest person to the house to sign, so now we are being held accountable for things other people have done (and people who I never even personally lived with!). They're saying the house has been permanently tenanted since 2006 and it wasn't possible to carry out inventory checks whilst people and their belongings were still in the property. Is it actually impossible for them to have done these checks?

    Obviously I'm aware the newest person signing that inventory makes it very sticky for us, since we had a joint tenancy. But it really does frustrate me - this seems so underhanded of them, they should have checked on the damages/issues when the original tenants left, not slyly saddled us with it when we were leaving. Even if it's almost 100% certain I'll lose this I still intend to dispute it since I really do think they've acted quite unethically in this, but I'd like to know what you guys think my chances are of winning the dispute based on what I've said, and whether you have any advice for me when disputing this?

    Thankyou for any help/advice you can give.

    #2
    Is my deposit protected?

    Hi I posted a day or 2 ago about the difficulty I've had with my letting agent and my possibly having to do to the ICE over my deposit dispute.

    I just found out today that although my deposit is registered with the TDS the letting agents registered my tenancy as ending in Sep 2008 - I only just left it June this year. I have a written tenancy agreement and letters from my LA to proove I had a tenancy until this year. Since I was about to open up a dispute over my deposit I was wondering what implications it would have for my LA providing inaccurate information of the tenancy. Would the deposit technically count as protected when according to the scheme I vacated the premises years ago?

    I know that if a deposit is not properly protected you can get back 3x the amount of it for their failure to protect it. Would I be able to do this?

    I would like to add that my LA has been extremely shoddy, including recently forging an email to try and cover up for the fact that they've been ignoring me and trying to delay the resolution of my deposit dispute and attempting to fool me into giving them my personal bank details. If I can get back 3 times my deposit from them I would like to do so just on account of how terribly they've acted.

    Thanks for any insight, and my apologies if this post was a bit lengthy (as was my other one).

    Regards

    Comment


      #3
      I am guessing that the tenancy end date was the 6 or 12 month anniversary of you moving in - ie when your fixed term ended? If so, it is possible that you are mis-understanding what the TDS paperwork says.

      I can not see this being a problem, although no harm calling or emailing TDS to clarify the situation for your own peace of mind.

      With regard to compensation - I can't see you getting anywhere with that. The agency obviously did protect your deposit and providing it is still registered with TDS then it is still protected.

      Comment


        #4
        h

        Hi, thanks for the reply

        That's what I thought but not what I hoped The problem for us is they got one of the joint tenants to sign an out of date inventory, there are items damaged/missing from the inventory which they are now trying to charge us for. They didn't let the rest of us know that they got her to sign this inventory, and since she had moved in several years after the rest of us and the rest of us had not signed an inventory when we moved in (back in '07 compared to her '09) and would've known straight away had they told us or given her a copy of the inventory to bring back, it's all very frustrating to think that we've all effectively jointly been screwed. Would you have any helpful advice to dispute under these circumstances?

        Comment


          #5
          LL compensation for deposit

          Hello there,

          I know a LL can charge compensation for damages from your deposit, but is this only if they intend on making repairs or are they able to just take your money as "compensation" whilst having no intention of doing anything about said damages.

          (I would like to add that it was not me causing the damage, it was past tenants I hadn't even shared a contract with, any issues I caused I had the decency to try and put right!)

          Comment


            #6
            The money the landlord can claim is for either the loss of value, or the cost of repair.

            Replacement cost doesn't come into it.

            Example... A worktop originally cost £400. Tenant damaged it. How much is that damage worth, how much has the work top been reduced in value? If the damage is £50 worth, it is not reasonable to expect a landlord to buy a new £400 worktop when he is only getting £50 from the tenant. In this instance, the landlord might continue using the damaged one but it is still worth less than it originally was.

            If the item is damaged beyond repair/continued use, then tenant would be expected to pay the value of the X-years-old worktop. So, a £400 worktop, half way through it's life is worth £200 - that's what the tenant pays for because that is the damage they have caused. What the landlord installs in its place, is up to him.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by rdfmartin View Post
              Hello there,

              I know a LL can charge compensation for damages from your deposit, but is this only if they intend on making repairs or are they able to just take your money as "compensation" whilst having no intention of doing anything about said damages.

              (I would like to add that it was not me causing the damage, it was past tenants I hadn't even shared a contract with, any issues I caused I had the decency to try and put right!)
              If Ts have caused damage or left a property dirty, the L is entitled to claim an appopriate amount from their deposit to cover the cost of returning the property to the same state it was in at the start of the tenancy, minus fair wear and tear. What is an appropriate amount may be arrived at by means of estimates, invoices, or receipts and the claim supported by hard evidence such as the inventory and photographs.

              If the LL subsequently chooses not to carry out the repairs/ get the cleaning done (which would be unusual, since presumably he needs to re-market the property in a decent state), then that is up to him. The T is simply reimbursing him for damage done. For example, my mother once provided quite an expensive TV in a rental property, which the tenants smashed during a party. They reimbursed her, but she decided not to provide TVs in future as it was too much hassle. She has however, still 'lost' the value of the TV set, so she was entitled to claim for it, would you not say?

              It is not the same as when you claim for something on your contents insurance, where the insurer will often insist on the receipt for the replaced item before settling.
              '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
                Three threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).

                Comment

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