How to make L's Agent release T's deposit?

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    How to make L's Agent release T's deposit?

    Hi there,

    I'm looking to get a little advice from someone in the know...

    I'm currently having great trouble trying to get the agency acting on behalf of a private landlord to release our bond. They have proposed charges for £555 of a £1250 deposit for cleaning, minor repairs such as the touching up of walls, replacing of lightbulbs (some of which never existed in the first place) and new shower curtains - amongst other very minor things. They are also trying to charge £165 for an entire new carpet which is said to have very small burns in it.

    During our tenancy we experienced lots of nasty problems such as a huge leak from the bathroom through the lights and fire alarm in the kitchen ceiling due (the house was newly finished and decorated when we moved in) along with paint peeling off the walls, mould on our personal belongings caused by damp. We also found it very difficult to get the agency to comply with things that needed doing in the house, with most things taking over a suitable amount of time.

    I sent an e-mail expressing my views and that we were terribly disappointed with the amount they wanted us to pay. We had cleaned the house top to bottom including a professionally cleaned cooker. We were never behind on the rent, all bills are paid up and everything was pretty much as found, or what can be expected after 5 adults have lived in a property for a year. Most of all, the tenancy agreement stated that the house be returned to a 'good standard', which we feel we met and exceeded.

    My e-mails and advances for contact were ignored, until i suggested a dispute - to which the landlord replied to within 5 minutes suggesting we negotiate.

    They suggested £375 which i still felt was too high. I suggested £150 from the total amount which the agency said they were sure the landlord would not accept. I asked them to put forward our proposal anyway, along with our views on how the property has been managed. This was not replied too. 24 hours later, I e-mailed again asking if they were happy to proceed to a dispute. After no reply, i went online and requested our bond, minus £100 be released by the dps.

    After ANOTHER e-mail from me asking for some communication, I received a message back saying that now I had contacted the dps, they would allow it to be dealt with that way and were preparing a case. They also said that the Landlord was willing to negotiate further, but we have now closed off that option - they never informed me of this and I believe that in a day and a half, they had ample time to.

    I have asked on countless occasions for a detailed and itemised breakdown of costs along with dated photographs from when we moved in and when we moved out. An inventory and schedule of condition was never made, issued or signed.

    How does this sound to those in the know? Where should I go from here?!

    Thanks!

    #2
    You have to be provided with a reasonable explaination/breakdown of what you are being charged for. The fact that they have been unable to provide these added to the fact that they have attempted to negotiate twice with the amount they feel is due is not standing them in a favourable position.

    Do you have an inventory which was signed when you moved into the property?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Sedgwick65

      I have asked on countless occasions for a detailed and itemised breakdown of costs along with dated photographs from when we moved in and when we moved out. An inventory and schedule of condition was never made, issued or signed.

      How does this sound to those in the know? Where should I go from here?!

      Thanks!

      No inventory in or out - you win - end of. Let it go to dispute. Were you given comfirmation of bond protectin within 14 days ? if not you can threaten to sue for 3x Bond amount as well.
      A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
      W.Churchill

      Comment


        #4
        We never had an inventory, in or out. I have asked for these several times (knowing full well they don't exist) and the question has been cleverly evaded, and on one occasion he said 'the landlord is getting the inventory details together'. How?! We never saw one! Should we also have a copy of this?

        I don't remember getting the letter within fourteen days, though I am sure we must have. I have spoken with the DPS and our lovely deposit of £1,250 is, indeed, sat there. :-(

        I just can't believe how negligent with replying they have been. One of the other tenants called yesterday to ask why they hadn't responded. They said 'we can't get hold of the landlord, and have no information so we didn't see the point'. Remarkable. Later they said they were working with the landlord to prepare a case.

        They didn't seem happy about the dispute I mentioned the other day, but now they are saying that because I have taken it to the DPS by requesting our money back, then they will deal this way too.

        I'm just not sure how well it will count for or against us as the house was newly decorated when we moved in. Will receipts and photos for this work stand up enough for a dispute? They is some light damage to walls - scuffs and chipped plaster etc but nothing more than superficial, minor markage. I don't think there's anywhere near £555 or even £375 worth of damage.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Sedgwick65 View Post
          We never had an inventory, in or out. I have asked for these several times (knowing full well they don't exist) and the question has been cleverly evaded, and on one occasion he said 'the landlord is getting the inventory details together'. How?! We never saw one! Should we also have a copy of this?

          they may be typing away as we speak but unless you have signed the inventory it is unlikely that the dps will look at it as evidence

          I don't remember getting the letter within fourteen days, though I am sure we must have. I have spoken with the DPS and our lovely deposit of £1,250 is, indeed, sat there. :-(

          ask them what date the deposit has been sat there since - to check they have complied with the time limits of the scheme

          They didn't seem happy about the dispute I mentioned the other day, but now they are saying that because I have taken it to the DPS by requesting our money back, then they will deal this way too.

          No they wont be because they have a poor case

          I'm just not sure how well it will count for or against us as the house was newly decorated when we moved in. Will receipts and photos for this work stand up enough for a dispute? They is some light damage to walls - scuffs and chipped plaster etc but nothing more than superficial, minor markage. I don't think there's anywhere near £555 or even £375 worth of damage.
          If there were 5 of you sharing a house then it would be expected to be some form of wear and tear when you vacated the property

          At the end of the day you have the right to dispute what they are charging you. There is no signed inventory. Photos when you admit them for evidence have to be dated. They have not provided you with a list of costs and have attempted to negotiate rather than sit down go through a list of repairs etc.

          prepare your case - include all the emails you have as evidence, it would be unusual based on what you have stated than the dps would rule other than in your favour.

          Comment


            #6
            In order to win the dispute LL will have to prove condition at move in (inventory, photos video etc - signed/ agreed by you - there is none) then he will need the same to prove condition at move out using the same - in theabsence of both, it is pretty much certain that he will lose the dispute hands down.

            All disputed amounts must be documented with quotes/receipts.
            A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
            W.Churchill

            Comment


              #7
              These were all things that I was thinking - they are just making me doubt our position. Thankyou for your help.

              I'm just worried because it's causing me a great deal of stress, the last few days have been awful. Not to mention that I'm completely poor and would have expected my £250 back by now.

              Each of my e-mails say the same thing - show us a breakdown, show us the photographs, show us the inventories.

              I've been pushing to let it go to a dispute knowing that they have a poor case. I even think we are due it all back, especially based on the fact that there's no inventories, but we have offered £150 as goodwill. They could get loads done around the house with that!

              I also have a district judge in the family, I am wondering if a letter from him, stating their position might help to speed things up!

              Comment


                #8
                I'd just leave it to the dispute service as soon as they look at the evidence, if money is the issue ask them if they will return the undisputed amount until its resolved

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Sedgwick65 View Post
                  These were all things that I was thinking - they are just making me doubt our position. Thankyou for your help.

                  I'm just worried because it's causing me a great deal of stress, the last few days have been awful. Not to mention that I'm completely poor and would have expected my £250 back by now.

                  Each of my e-mails say the same thing - show us a breakdown, show us the photographs, show us the inventories.

                  I've been pushing to let it go to a dispute knowing that they have a poor case. I even think we are due it all back, especially based on the fact that there's no inventories, but we have offered £150 as goodwill. They could get loads done around the house with that!

                  I also have a district judge in the family, I am wondering if a letter from him, stating their position might help to speed things up!
                  I would retract your goodwill offer, demand full repayment of bond & suggest that you are now looking into the possiblity of claiming for 3x bond penalty for not suppling bond reg details and supplementary info within the prescribed 14 days, it wil be be them to prove that they did comply. You very much have the upper hand here, chill out, you will win this LA/LL don't have a leg to stand on !
                  A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
                  W.Churchill

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Good advice indeed. If you discover your deposit is not held with any of the three schemes, here is a template for a Letter Before Action you can use, courtesy of another LLZ member, Snorkerz:

                    ===========================================

                    letter before action

                    Dear Mr XXXXXXXX

                    RE: 123 High Street, Anytown, AT1 2AA

                    On the XXX of XXX 20XX I/We paid you a tenancy deposit of £XXX in respect of the above property.

                    The Housing Act 2004 introduced the concept of "Tenancy Deposit Protection" and obliges private landlords to protect/register all tenancy deposits with one of 3 approved schemes.

                    I/We have verified with all three schemes that the deposit you hold was NOT protected by any scheme. This is unlawful.

                    You must refund the outstanding balance of my/our deposit IN FULL within 14 days. If you fail to do so, I/we shall sue you for the balance due PLUS the statutory penalty for non-protection of deposits, which is three times the value of the deposit.

                    Yours sincerely

                    PS Snorkerz also had a good link to a site where you could check all three schemes for your deposit easily - I cannot find it though!
                    '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


                      #11
                      I received an e-mail saying:

                      'You have chosen to pass on the situation to the DPS so as we said in our e-mail last night we will now pull together the information and pass it on to the DPS.

                      My early immediate thoughts are that £100 will not cover even the following work:

                      - Damaged cupboard door

                      - Broken wooden chair

                      - Missing chest of drawer handles

                      - Carpet in first floor bedroom needing replacing due to burn marks

                      In the check out conversation you agreed that this damage has been done. So to suggest that £100 will cover everything is surprising. This is without even considering/discussing all the other work listed in my letter.


                      Following my inspections I wrote to you regarding smoking in the house, cleanliness and the cupboard door. So you have been aware of my concerns for months.

                      We will progress things as quickly as we can from Monday next week.'

                      to which I have replied:

                      'We did not agree that the damage had been done. You suggested these items, we disagreed and you went ahead and put this in your letter anyway, with scant regard for our views. Please see my e-mail as proof.

                      We offered £150 as goodwill for the damage you claim is ours, I believe that we are due our entire bond back to the negligence of your meeting the bond requirements. I am still waiting for a detailed, broken down list of costs, photographs and signed inventories which you have not provided.

                      A representative from * said that the landlord was willing to negotiate further - as you had not notified us of this, we took matters into our own hands. We made the advances to negotiate and you failed to withstand on your behalf.

                      If you are happy to allow this to become an official dispute then so are we. You have a very poor case due to the fact that you have not provided us with correct documentation, when asked for on numerous occasions and therefore you cannot submit this as evidence for your case.

                      Please expect a letter from my legal representative - we are also speaking with the DPS on our position in receiving claiming back the 3 x deposit penalty based on your failure to comply to regulations.'


                      What do you think? Still winning?

                      I'm going to remove this thread in a short while, just in case they happen to have a nosy on here!! So stressful!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I do not understand Landlords who do not comply with certain standards of Landlording. It's not difficult to see why an inventory would be needed and in not doing one he has left himself swinging in the wind.

                        Even if the Tenant did cause the damage, he deserves to lose the dispute. He'll learn his lesson.

                        The Tenancy Deposit law is a joke at the moment, the principal is correct but the Law needs redrafting to stop abuse by late protectors. If you cannot follow a relatively straight forward law, you should be punished.

                        Good luck Sedgwick65.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Sedgwick65 View Post


                          What do you think? Still winning?

                          Without a doubt !

                          I will add that out of common decency: if you have damaged anything then morally you should be prepared to pay for this regardless. BUT as LA/LL are not playing fair then this does move the moral goalpost slightly
                          A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
                          W.Churchill

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Rodent1 View Post
                            Without a doubt !

                            I will add that out of common decency: if you have damaged anything then morally you should be prepared to pay for this regardless. BUT as LA/LL are not playing fair then this does move the moral goalpost slightly
                            I agree. It's a bit like the LL in this thread:

                            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=30200

                            There seems to be a bit of an outbreak of grasping unprofessionalism among some LLs at the mo. There have been lots of thread lately on similar themes.

                            Stand your ground - don't let them browbeat you!
                            '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


                              #15
                              That's what I mean - we have offered £150 which i think is fair to repair any damage we made, especially combined with the fact that an allowance is given by HMRC to cover wear and tear. Plus I think that it should be factored into the rent - they have received £15,000 over the course of the year.

                              I requested the bond back via the dps as they weren't responding, simple as that!

                              They have requested £165 to entirely replace a carpet, which was apparently new when we moved in, again no inventory but they may have receipts for them.

                              I know that carpets can be repaired, so I asked for a quote for this (there are two very tiny burn marks that they say we caused). A quote for a repair was not supplied, and again we still don't have a detailed list of costs for each item so we can't ascertain which costs we should pay for and which we shouldn't!

                              Looks like we're off to a dispute anyway, which is likely to take a long while but (hopefully) it'll be worth it!

                              Comment

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