nasty landlord trying to keep deposit

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    nasty landlord trying to keep deposit

    I am sure this issue has come up many, many times, but I can't find anywhere where the situation is close enough to ours to help me. Here is the story-
    Signed a 6 month AST at £775 pcm, put deposit of £1550- we were told this was normal since we had two little dogs. We were told by LA that the carpets were to be replaced as they were very worn and coming up, frayed at the edge of the main bedroom and back hallway. We mentioned that perhaps they could leave them as they were since we had pets and a child. So they did. We (me, husband, 5 year old son and 2 poodles) moved in March 2010. The inventory mentioned the state of the carpets, also there were a couple of 'striped burns' in main bedroom. There was some water ingress by the bay window there as well- paint starting to peel. The kitchen floor (cheap wood-effect vinyl) was in a state- one repair patch, a rip, and ruffling by space for washer. The padlock on the garden shed had been pulled away. There was mention of rubbish beside it and a bin by the back door. The bathroom was a bit dirty- mould on bath, etc. The flat had been freshly painted.

    We extended our lease until Dec. 2010 when we moved. Check-out inspection carried out right away and we were sent a letter stating we would be responsible for-
    kitchen floor
    carpet in main bedroom- there were supposedly 3 new burn marks (we don't smoke)
    perspex window on shed cracked
    cleaning (i guess we did forget the stove extraction)
    redecoration of main bedroom (chips to paint where we had things on wall, but wall was crumbly because of the water ingress)

    we did not agree with these, but didn't hear back until a couple of weeks ago

    now they are saying that this is what they are trying to charge us-
    replacement kitchen floor- £89
    replacement front room and back hall carpet-£270
    redecorate back bedroom-£90
    replace lock to kitchen window-£96
    replace locks to patio doors (kicked in) £251
    replace padlock and window and remove rubbish from shed-£126
    repairs to windows and doors-£129.25
    redecorate bedroom 1-£90
    cooker repair as had been disconnected- £60
    TOTAL- £1,286.25 !!!

    We feel it is completely ridiculous- the floors all needed replacing when when we moved in. The kitchen floor was ripped again and the repair patch (which was stuck on with packing tape) was missing, but the whole thing was 'bubbly' and not stuck down properly. I am not sure about the burn marks on the carpet, but again, this was ready to be replaced anyway. NO idea what they are on about with the doors and windows- all were in working order when we left. I had once complained that one of the patio doors was getting hard to unlock and was told to 'spray' it. They did supply some receipts- the ones for 'adjusting' the doors were for the end of December, and the the quote for repairing the patio doors was not until March 4th- 3 months after we left! Also, charging us for lubricating the lock in the front door. I don't even know what they mean about the kitchen window lock- there were just run of the mill latches. They were all quite old-fashioned, but were fine when we left. Are we even responsible for maintaining the doors if all we ever did was open and close them? They are trying to say that we forced the patio doors. There was nothing said about any of these on the check-out, but landlord found these weeks, if not months after we left. What if someone tried to break-in?

    We did write back and made some of these points, also that there was no damage to back hall carpet and the padlock on the shed had already been broken. When we moved in, there was urine all over the toilet and the windows were dirty and everything was dusty, which was noted on check-in. We did forget the exhaust, but they are charging us for all sorts of cleaning that was unnecessary- the rest of the bathroom and kitchen were very clean, except they found a hair in the bathroom- what horrors! The 'rubbish' in the shed was a bag of bark that we had used for the beds and a folded down box that we had put against the back wall since it was very damp and gross(noted in check-in). They (LA or LL) have not even attempted to negotiate with us, even though there are a few things that are completely obvious we should not be charged for. I also know that they can not charge us the entire price for something new, especially when it was in a state to begin with, but they are still trying to claim all this ridiculous money from us.

    The LL seems completely dodgy, I even know he threatened the elderly neighbours and left previous tenants without a boiler for months. When we had a few problems during the tenancy, it took ages to get anything done about it.

    We did get an official letter from LA still claiming the £1286, and then the LL tried to claim it through the DPS, we of course, disputed it. Then LL wrote a slightly threatening email to us saying we better be forthcoming with the money or he will take us to court and it will cost us £2000 and he can claim his legal expenses on his business.

    Anyway, sorry for so much info, but it is a lot of crap he is trying on. I don't understand how he thinks he can get away with it. I have looked at (he had deposit 5 months before putting it in scheme) Housing Act of 2004 and might have been able to get him on it , but since the appeal cases last year, I am not sure if that is going to help us.

    I am seeing a solicitor tomorrow, but just quickly, as can't afford to 'hire' him properly, so any advice anyone could give would be sooooo appreciate.

    Last edited by daisymae; 30-03-2011, 17:19 PM. Reason: error

    Was your deposit protected in one of the 3 deposit protection schemes?
    It has been 15 months since Dec 2009 - what happened to your deposi? Is there a reason you have delayed so long?


      Oh gosh! So sorry, have gotten so carried away with all- I meant 2010!!! Yes, it's been a few months, but not that long! have fixed it now.

      The deposit is with DPS, as a disputed claim.


        Originally posted by daisymae View Post
        Oh gosh! So sorry, have gotten so carried away with all- I meant 2010!!! Yes, it's been a few months, but not that long! have fixed it now.

        The deposit is with DPS, as a disputed claim.
        You have very little to worry about.

        If BOTH parties agree, you can use the DPSs free arbitration service. He will need to absolutely prove all his claims to the arbitrator.

        If he, or you, choose to decline arbitration, then one of you will have to sue the other. But don't worry, at this level it will be allocated to the 'small claims' track where solicitors are not needed, and costs are low. Again the LL will have to PROVE everything he claims. If he claims you have caused £700 of damage to carpets, he is going to hae to prove the quality/condition when you moved in, and their condition when you left. For example - if a carpet with an expected life of 5 years was 2 years old when you moved in, and you totally trashed it after a year, you would still only be expected to pay around 2/5ths of the carpets value, because 2/5ths of its life is all that had been lost.

        You can sue him for the full deposit, and he can counterclaim for alledged damages; or
        He can sue you, and you can counterclaim for the deposit.

        Either way, presuming you win, ask the judge to include an order to the DPS as to what they should do with the money (they won't release it without a court order).


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