NI law- when did my tenancy agreement end?

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    NI law- when did my tenancy agreement end?

    I've just moved into a new property after leaving the last place which I rented for almost 6 years. I ended up moving due to the issues with the landlord and am now having problems getting my deposit back. I'm based in Northern Ireland and would appreciate any suggestions people might have. Apologises for the length, trying to include relevant details.

    I originally rented a duplex apartment via a letting agency for 6 months starting December 2004. The landlord owned the commerical premises beneath and seemed a decent/laid back person. I was presented with an inventory which listed carpets and blinds in several rooms as marked and on the first day I noticed several issues, doorbell didn't work, one of the taps on the top floor didn't work. Landlord acknowledged he was aware of them but since not major issues I was happy to leave them as they were.

    Once the initial 6 months was up, the landlord asked if I was happy to remain in the premises. I said yes and never heard anything more, I was still paying rent via standing order and was not asked to sign a new tenancy agreement or heard from letting agency.

    Around a year or so later, the landlord informed me he was selling both premises to his accountant. I was given a name and an account number to change the standing order to but no other details. I was told nothing would change on my part. The account had someone out to survey the premises but other than that I had no contact from him. Shortly afterward there was an attempted break-in and I contacted the people downstairs and they dealt with it. I got the impression that they didn't want to give me contact details for accountant so assumed he might be owner but it was a financial/accountancy issue.

    Due to unlagged pipes the premises got flooded during the cold snap at the start of 2010. Again people downstairs organised plumbers to come out and I was told that the damage to one of the rooms would be sorted. 6 months later no repairs had occurred and I received a letter from accountant demanding a rent increase, he wanted to inspect premises and that I get the exterior and interior professionally cleaned once a month. I had been planning to move as I didn't want to risk being in premises during winter, so told him I was leaving at end of July and left. I also asked to come out and inspect place and asked about deposit. I was not informed of any issues, handed keys back and was told original landlord still had deposit and would pay it back once the accountant had inspected place. I asked to be informed of when this would happen.

    After chasing this again earlier this week I found out that the landlord got someone from downstairs to perform the inspection and has professional cleaners in (actually his family) and he plans to deduct the costs from my deposit. I left the premises in a more than reasonable state considering the carpets/blinds were listed as marked in original inventory, almost 6 years had past, flood damage and workmen now pulling down ceiling in one room. I sent the accountant a letter earlier in the week asking for details of areas that needed additional cleaning and why wear and tear, flood damage and initial state not being taken into account. He responded by taking deposit from original landlord and telling me he will contact me once all cleaning is done to discuss how much it's going to cost me to get place fit for his next tenants.

    The few times I've been able to speak to the accountant he's mislead me and made it clear he's no real grasp of the law since this was his only property and he's too busy to waste time on it. He also only replies via third parties which he then blames for problems which makes sorting anything out impossible.

    What I can't understand is did I have a contract with him at all? He claims the original contract still stands but I assumed that I'd become a sitting tenant with basic tenant rights either after the initial six months is up or when the ownership was transferred. As far as I'm concerned he was not my landlord as I hadn't heard from him until June 2010 and didn't receive contact details till then (his office number). Surely I should have received a new tenancy agreement after the 6 months was up and I moved to month to month or when he took over.

    I'd read about DIC and the changes that happened in 2007. Several friends have told me they had to have their places inspected and sign new agreements around the same time but perhaps for some other reason. This ring any bells?

    What is the minimum I should have expected after his inspection? When I paid the deposit I was told I would be presented with a list of issues and given a chance to sort them out. This didn't happen and accountant is claiming that I should have cleaned everything before I left which I did.

    What's the expected way to determine acceptable wear and tear and depreciation for the length of the tenancy? Everything on the inventory was in a reasonable state when I left but he's claiming it's going to cost at least £200 for carpets, blinds and sofa even those all these items were marked/old before I took tenancy. He has never been in the premises so I can't understand how he can determine the initial state.

    Any suggestions on how to progress with this? I don't mind paying deductions for things that I fall under my responsibility but I left things as listed in the inventory and it seems my deposit is being used to deal with flood damage and polish place up so can let to new tenants.

    #2
    So you & the property are in NI?? Sadly LLZ is Engerland & Wales with a side-Scottish board, but I fear limited NI knowledge..

    As far as I know Landlord & Tenant law in NI is rather different & I am loath to offer an opinion

    If not NI please advise where property is

    Suggest you try Citizens Advice

    Cheers!

    Lodger
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
      So you & the property are in NI?? Sadly LLZ is Engerland & Wales with a side-Scottish board, but I fear limited NI knowledge..

      As far as I know Landlord & Tenant law in NI is rather different & I am loath to offer an opinion

      If not NI please advise where property is

      Suggest you try Citizens Advice

      Cheers!

      Lodger
      Thanks the reply, the property is in Northern Ireland which I appreciate has different laws but sadly no obvious forum like this one. I do plan to contact the local CAB and Housing Rights people on Monday morning but I'm just trying to understand what I should expect and how a real UK landlord would act regardless of region. I've been reading up as much as I can and spoke to the letting agency originally involved but seems a lot of things are up for interpretation.
      • Is there a decent way to estimate wear and tear/deprecation on items? Particularly over a long time.
      • When is a repair not made within a reasonable amount of time? After 6 months waiting for a spare rooms ceiling to be repaired and carpet to be replaced I was told a plasterer couldn't be found which amazed me.
      • Landlord sold apartment and commercial premises to his accountant. Would a tenancy agreement really transfer without the tenants acknowledgement? Without contact details, rent book or contact from accountant I had assumed he was owner but no other change.
      • Is it acceptable for inspection and deductions to be made without informing tenant of issues or giving them a chance to respond. This guy keeps using the word professional but is using relatives which leads me to believe he is attempting to scam me.

      Comment

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