Ex-L's refuses chance to rectify; claims against us

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    Ex-L's refuses chance to rectify; claims against us

    We moved out of our rental property when we bought a house in July 2010. But we were still contracted to paying rent on it until September 2010. The week we moved out I cleaned everything excluding the outside of the house and the ceilings and the walls as our landlord was going to decorate.

    There was some minor damage to the property, the main concern to the landlord at the time was some minor burn marks on the carpet. He said we were not legally responsible to deal with the carpet, so we thought that was that.

    A week or so later he called us saying that we should pay him £125 for cleaning (as he claimed we left the house in a state) and for the damage to the carpet. He owed £45 because he let the property before our tenancy was up, so he offset that with the amount and said we should pay him £80. If we don't he'll take us arbitration drop the charges for the carpet but up his cleaning charges.

    We made a snap decision because we were tired of being harassed by him and said he could take the £80. However when we talked about it with other people in the letting field they suggested that his conduct was inappropriate. So we decided to take the disputed £80 to the ADR, however he also has to agree to do this.

    Our concern is that our landlord did not give us the opportunity to rectify anything that he saw was wrong. He carried out cleaning without notifying us. He even mentioned in a conversation that he had people in to witness the state of how we left the property. He also didn't tell us when the property was re-leased prior to the end of our tenancy.

    I know that morally he is in the wrong. But if he decides not to go through ADR and therefore it has to go to court - do we have a legal leg to stand on?

    #2
    Do you have anything in writing/email/text to say that it was okay for you to not clean the walls?

    How old was the carpet / what sort of quality? (ie was is Carpetright £3.99m or Best Axminster @ £35m)

    Was an inventory taken showing the condition/cleanliness of walls and ceilings - and the condition of the carpet - when you moved in, and did you sign a copy?

    Comment


      #3
      No there is nothing in writing to say that it was not okay to clean the walls.
      The carpet was 5 years old, and it seemed to be nylon
      We had inventory done at the beginning and they were established marks of the wall, and also of the carpet which already had a cigarette burn on it. We did sign a copy. However no inventory was done when we moved out.

      Comment


        #4
        Okay, I am no expert but I would be inclined to think that in arbitration your landlord would be awarded something, but probably not the £125. This may be of interest.. http://www.propertyhawk.co.uk/index....agazine&id=411 scroll down the page a bit to where it tells you how an arbitrator works.

        If it goes to court, YOU would have to sue for the unpaid deposit. The landlord would then countercalim for the damages. Ultimately, I think you'd get the same outcome but there is the issue of time in court and court fees. You may get the court fees from the landlord, you may not. Likewise with a small allowance for your time. Of course, if you lost then you would also lose your court fees and may have to pay the LL for his time and expenses - not a lot, but enough to think about.

        In the real world, I'm not sure court would be worth the risk. You do, I am sure, have a case, but I'd be inclined to forget it and enjoy your new home.

        Comment


          #5
          It seems to me the only people who would make any money out of this argumentative situation is either the court service for the court summons issue fee or the solicitors that either party uses.
          Best in my opinion to put it down to experience and move on. Litigation can take over your life!

          Comment


            #6
            But it was during our tenancy!!!!!

            Can a landlord just go in, clean your house during your tenancy, albeit you've vacated the property and then say here's my cleaning bill!! Should a landlord always give the tenant the opportunity to rectify what he claims as being wrong?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Jianna View Post
              Can a landlord just go in, clean your house during your tenancy, albeit you've vacated the property and then say here's my cleaning bill!! Should a landlord always give the tenant the opportunity to rectify what he claims as being wrong?
              You say he has agreed to refund some money because he re-let before the end of your tenancy? How long before it was re-let did he have the walls done? There is an argument that by going in and cleaning the walls, the tenancy was ended by operation of law and that therefore, you should not have paid rent from that day forth.

              However, the counter-argument might be that had he not entered during your tenancy, he would not have been able to re-let it, and therefore you would not have been entitled to the £45 refund.

              Under normal circumstances, a landlord has no obligation to allow a tenant to return to put things right after they have left - but your situation is a bit different as your tenancy continued for a while. I think it would have been reasonable for the LL to have given you the opportunity, BUT

              This may work to your advantage (I have used ficticious dates)
              Example 1.
              Leave 24th July 2010
              Walls cleaned / painted BY LANDLORD 31st July 2010 (behaviour not consistent with the continuation of the tenancy)
              New Tenants in 24 Sept 2010
              End of your Tenancy 28 Sept 2010 - You are liable for no rent after 31/7/10 but pay for cleaning
              Example 2.
              Leave 24th July 2010
              Walls cleaned / painted by YOU 31st July 2010
              New Tenants in 24 Sept 2010
              End of your Tenancy 28 Sept 2010 - You are liable for rent until 24/9/10

              Comment


                #8
                I don't know when he went in to repaint the walls. He's using the £45 he owes us to offset the cleaning charges. So he will hold on to that £45. Can you refer to somewhere in law that if he entered to redecorate that this means the tenancy is officially ended and then we should have stopped paying rent?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Jianna View Post
                  I don't know when he went in to repaint the walls. He's using the £45 he owes us to offset the cleaning charges. So he will hold on to that £45. Can you refer to somewhere in law that if he entered to redecorate that this means the tenancy is officially ended and then we should have stopped paying rent?
                  It is not statute, but case-law. See point 3 on this page http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2009/0...eet-surrender/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Can a LL do this???

                    1. Let other people witness the apparent state you left the house, whilst you're paying rent, even though you've vacated the property?
                    2. Not do a final inventory with you, because he's said the house has been redecorated and therefore there's nothing to go through with you as a tenant?
                    3. Say pay me money without letting you be aware of the reason for paying such money and then threaten you with arbitration if you don't do so?

                    Comment

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