Unfair Deposit Reduction

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    Unfair Deposit Reduction

    Hello ,

    I am new to this forum and am posting out of sheer frustration . If you'll bear with my long post below, you'll hopefully understand what I am referring to.

    Myself and my husband have been renting a furnished Victorian Apartment for the last 4 years and 2 months and have recently vacated as we have bought our first home.
    We were paying £900 pcm for the first two years followed by £950 pcm for the remaining period. The Deposit is £1350.

    Last weekend we were to hand over the house on the Sunday and we spent an entire weekend cleaning the property up to a professional standard. I am known as a clean freak amongst my friends and they had always commented on how meticulously I used to maintain the apartment. Since it was a fully furnished apartment, there was an extensive inventory list as one can expect and we had a chipped glass here and a missing tea spoon there which we have agreed to pay from our deposit . Yesterday during the handover , the landlady insisted on us paying for the following items which we are unsure of (in terms of whether or not they are just simple wear and tear ):

    1. Three piece uplhostered sofa's upholstery was professionally cleaned but has worn down in some patches (as one might epxect after having sat on it for four years!) - Landlady expects us to pay for another clean !

    2. Repainting some of the walls in the bedroom , due to minor marks here and there - Please note that the flat has had no fresh paint at all whilst we were in it and after four years of living I'd expect the landlady to give it a fresh paint job for the new tenants anyway !

    3. The mattress in the main bedroom (Sprung coil), has some rust marks (ring shaped) in some places (We have in our four years not even ever stained the mattress protector, forget the mattress) and it is embarassing for me to say this but she hinted that we have stained it by having sex on it !!! she expects us to pay for a new double mattress.

    4. Some of the glasses are chipped and she expects us to pay for the complete set and not just the 2 chipped ones!

    5. We use bloo flush blocks in our toilets and she would like for us to pay for the cleaning the toliet would need after the bloc has run out as she reckons there is certain to be more limescale in the pot than she can see now !

    6. Overall she was not satisfied with our 2 days of hard work on the cleaning and thinks we ought to pay for another professional clean as well.

    7. Window sill paint had a cup mark (ring) on it and she reckons we need to pay for another paint job on it.

    She talked down to us throught the handing over process and left me and my husband feeling very humiliated and embarassed. One has mixed emotions when one is leaving a flat they have lived in and loved for four years anyway and she made the entire experience so ugly, that we are mortified with what happened yesterday.

    We had moved into the UK from abroad when we rented this flat and do not understand our rights here very well. At a minimum I feel one should not get penalised for sleeping on a mattress and living in a house , which is the feeling we get here !.

    Can you please advise as to our options.

    Thanks for your patience if you have read this far.

    #2
    You say you moved in 4 years ago, which would be before the deposit protection rles came into effect. Have yu signed a replacement agreement at any time since April 2007 - for example, when the rent changed? If you have, has the landlady protected your deposit in one of the 3 government approved schemes?
    Originally posted by julymermaid View Post
    1. Three piece uplhostered sofa's upholstery was professionally cleaned but has worn down in some patches (as one might epxect after having sat on it for four years!) - Landlady expects us to pay for another clean !
    Is it worn or still dirty - I suspect from your post it is just wear and tear, so not chargeable.
    2. Repainting some of the walls in the bedroom , due to minor marks here and there - Please note that the flat has had no fresh paint at all whilst we were in it and after four years of living I'd expect the landlady to give it a fresh paint job for the new tenants anyway !
    That seems clear-cut wear and tear.
    3. The mattress in the main bedroom (Sprung coil), has some rust marks (ring shaped) in some places (We have in our four years not even ever stained the mattress protector, forget the mattress) and it is embarassing for me to say this but she hinted that we have stained it by having sex on it !!! she expects us to pay for a new double mattress.
    I'm a little less clear on this, but even if you are liable, you can not be charged for a new matress - it is now 4½ years old - it is worth much less than a new one. Personally, I think that so long as the mattress cover is sound, you should not be charged.
    4. Some of the glasses are chipped and she expects us to pay for the complete set and not just the 2 chipped ones!
    She may have a case here if the glasses can not be matched. New tenants will expect glassware that matches - Church Halls are the place for mis-matched crockery etc
    5. We use bloo flush blocks in our toilets and she would like for us to pay for the cleaning the toliet would need after the bloc has run out as she reckons there is certain to be more limescale in the pot than she can see now !
    "I recon" is not a legal phrase. If she can prove how much limescales was in the loo when you moved in, and how much is there now - then she may have a claim, otherwise she's having a laugh.
    6. Overall she was not satisfied with our 2 days of hard work on the cleaning and thinks we ought to pay for another professional clean as well.
    Can she prove it is not as clean as when you moved in?
    7. Window sill paint had a cup mark (ring) on it and she reckons we need to pay for another paint job on it.
    Again, after 4 years the glosswork is going to need repainting due to wear and tear. If we give her the benefit of the doubt and say it shouldn't have needed painting for another year, that would saddle you with paying 1/5th of the cost of repainting, presuming it was freshly painted when you moved in.

    If you can answer my initial question about deposit protection, and just confirm that the property is in England/Wales then we can advise you what to do.

    Comment


      #3
      Snorkerz- Many Thanks for taking the pains to respond.

      The answer is No - I haven't signed any new agreement. Infact our original lease agreement was signed in July 2006 and was not renewed after that.
      She claims she has pictures of every item in the flat before it was rented and can show the difference in condition in a court if need be.

      I'm yet to get the invoice from her for all of the items she marked up. Also she insisted we sign her observations list yesterday (Though we had our reservations). And we didn't get a copy of that either !!

      I might come across as very naive here but will appreciate any advise we can get as to our legal standing and on the following :

      1. Should we go to small claims court or county court?
      2. How much are we looking to spend to get your deposit back?
      3. How much are we looking to loose in case the court settles in her favor?
      4. What is the procedure or approaching a solicitor? Are first 30 mins free?

      Many Thanks once again for your advise.

      Comment


        #4
        And yes - the property is in Farnborough in Hamphire .

        Comment


          #5
          Okay, the issue of a new tenancy agreement is just to clarify if a deposit protection company should have been used. It shouldn't, so that is fine.

          Your only real option is to sue for your deposit.
          1) 'Small Claims' is the same as 'county court', it is one of 3 tracks that a case can be allocated to - and yours is likely to be allocated to 'small claims' as it is under £5k. Small claims is particually handy because it is 'designed' to be done without solicitors.
          2) £75 to file the claim (£70 online) and £100 hearing fee - LL will be ordered to pay that as well if you win
          3) You won't get your fees paid, and you may have to pay some minor expenses like travel or time off work - no more than £50 imho
          4) Different solicitors have different arrangements, but you will be unlikely to find a solicitor to represent you on small claims because you can't claim their costs from the other side (nor they from you).

          You can commence a claim for the deposit at http://moneyclaim.gov.uk. There are fees, but if you are on a low income, you may be able to reclaim them. HOWEVER, if you are entitled to have your court fees waived, moneyclaim will charge you and then expect you to claim it back. If you do it off-line and fill in a form N1 and an EX160 (both from http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/) and send them by mail, you won't have to pay any fees upfront. If you do have to pay, presuming you win your case, the landlord will be ordered to refund any fees you have paid.

          The small claims process is quite simple and as I said, doesn't require the services of a solicitor. However, you might find it useful to obtain a book on the process - a number are available from your local library or Amazon.

          If the landlord doesn't pay, you may have to take enforcement action which could include freezing his bank account or having a charge put on the rental property.

          Comment


            #6
            Many Thanks Snorker !
            I shall keep you posted . We are still waiting for the final bill from her and once it does reach us, we will need some advise on what constitutes fair wear and tear and what doesn't .

            Really appreciate your help.

            Comment

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