Deposit Return Issues: Unreasonable charges

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    Deposit Return Issues: Unreasonable charges

    Upon requesting the return of the deposit, my landlord presented me with ridiculous charges for administrative costs in chasing up utility companies at £100 per company, totalling £300 (electric/water/council tax).
    There is no clause in the tenancy agreement, which obligates me as a tenant to provide the landlord with final bill statements. I moved abroad when I moved out and paid the final bills over the phone, so I didn't have a paper trail and I didn't have time to chase them up for her convenience. All bills were paid in full, in due time and I have rang up each company asking if there was any correspondence between themselves and my landlord to substantiate the landlord's claim. The answer was 'no' in each case, and as far as I know it is not standard practice for utility companies, if the bill is unpaid, to chase up the landlord, rather than the account holder. Thus the landlord cannot impose such charges? Am I right in thinking all of the above?

    The next issues concerns dispute over the sofa and the fact that it has a slightly dented armrest. The landlord claimed that I have damaged the sofa and wished to replace it with a brand new leather sofa, initially pricing the top cost at £300. She refuted my argument that the sofa was in that condition when i moved in, as I did not have pictorial evidence to support it. ( In hindsight stupid, but something always slips through the craks, I only stated that the sofa was not in a new condition at the start of the tenancy and though it would be so unreasonable if she claimed otherwise but..). She also refuted my argument of fair wear and tear. (The whole apartment block has this particular sofa and everyone has the same problem with the armrests, the foam inside just melts away). Of course this didn't matter to the landlord who proceeded to buy a sofa at £449. Can this be argued as betterment? I am a conscientious tenant, the place was left sparkling (in much better shape than received and I have pictorial evidence of this), with absolutely no damage, and therefore I am obviously not prepared to pay for any of the charges.
    My deposit is protected by a scheme; I believe it's an insurance-based one. I will now start the claim process and wanted to ask for any advice on the constructing the claim and what my chances are in getting my deposit back in full.

    And finally, I moved out of the property 3 weeks before the end my tenancy (the full moths rent was paid). The landlord was fine about and aware of that fact. A new tenant moved in 2.5 weeks before the end of my tenancy. In correspondence it was agreed that the landlord were to reimburse me the rent for that time, as in essence she was getting double. She has now conveniently forgot about this. Where do I stand?

    #2
    1.LL cannot charge £300 for a few phone calls etc to util co's.

    2.Re sofa, was there a signed inventory/schedule of condition at the tenancy start date? Without a start point he will be struggling.

    3.One of the legal guys will clear up the issue of the double charging of 2.5 weeks rent i'm sure. My own feeling is he wouldn't get away with it though.

    Comment


      #3
      Re. sofa, there was a signed inventory which stated "one sofa (new)"-the "new" was crossed out as it clearly was not, and the inventory was signed and accepted by the landlord.

      Comment


        #4
        You seem to be approaching this from the wrong end.

        The deposit is your money not the landlord's so it is up to the LL to PROVE that they suffered the loss - there is no requirement for you to prove anything.

        As to the phonecalls - as the LL has no liability for bills that would be up to them but you have no liability.

        As to the alleged damage to the sofa - it is up to the LL to prove that it was caused by you not for you to prove it wasn't. So the lack of photos is to your advantage not hers.

        Even if you admit the damage tot he sofa she can't charge you the cost of a new one just the cost of one of the same age - and even then only if it has to be replaced.

        Overall raise a dispute with the deposit protection scheme and reject all her charges and see where that goes.

        Comment


          #5
          As to the alleged damage to the sofa - it is up to the LL to prove that it was caused by you not for you to prove it wasn't. So the lack of photos is to your advantage not hers.

          Even if you admit the damage tot he sofa she can't charge you the cost of a new one just the cost of one of the same age - and even then only if it has to be replaced.


          Thanks for you advice. It's good to know that the onus of proof is on the LL. Just to double check, even if the LL will maintain the sofa was new or undamaged, unless she has evidence to support it, its my words against hers am I right?

          Comment


            #6
            Double rent

            Does anyone know about the double rent issue?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by fletchj View Post
              Even if you admit the damage tot he sofa she can't charge you the cost of a new one just the cost of one of the same age - and even then only if it has to be replaced.
              To clarify for OP's benefit. LL need only prove her loss, which would be calculated* as a portion of the cost of similar, new sofa should the sofa be so damaged as to be beyond cleaning or repair (assuming the cost of this to be less).

              However, the LL is not obliged to replace the sofa and can spend any money awarded as she likes.

              *If sofa were expected to last 10 years before requiring replacement due to fair wear and tear, and the sofa was 4 years old at end of tenancy, then LL could claim 60% of the cost of a similar, new sofa.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Rella View Post
                And finally, I moved out of the property 3 weeks before the end my tenancy (the full moths rent was paid). The landlord was fine about and aware of that fact. A new tenant moved in 2.5 weeks before the end of my tenancy. In correspondence it was agreed that the landlord were to reimburse me the rent for that time, as in essence she was getting double. She has now conveniently forgot about this. Where do I stand?
                Rent paid in advance is not usually refundable, but arguably LL accepted an early surrender by reletting the property, and you have written evidence that she agreed to reimburse you.

                You cannot include this in a deposit scheme adjudication dispute, as it's not within their scope. You will have to bring a county court claim against LL if she refuses to pay up (after first sending LL a letter before action giving LL a deadline to pay). You can start a claim online at Money Claim Online.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Rella View Post
                  Re. sofa, there was a signed inventory which stated "one sofa (new)"-the "new" was crossed out as it clearly was not, and the inventory was signed and accepted by the landlord.
                  Was there any mention of the condition of the sofa, or photographs of it?

                  Did you sign the inventory?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Does anyone know how in this case of a dented armrest, would the desicion go? The landlord took a photo of it when I moved out and said I damaged it, but can the LL unilateraly and arbitraly decide that?

                    Is it worth me collecting evidence that 5 more apartments in my building were furnished with the same sofa, around 4 years ago, and each has the promblem with the arm rest. Thus pointing out the age and the poor quiality of the sofa?
                    Is there anything that I can do to make sure I am not charged for a sofa which I did not damage, even in portion?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      Was there any mention of the condition of the sofa, or photographs of it?

                      Did you sign the inventory?
                      There was no mention of the condition of the sofa, and no photographs were taken, expesially none with me present there. I signed the inventory, there was a two seater black sofa, and that's all that was stated in the inventory.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        Rent paid in advance is not usually refundable, but arguably LL accepted an early surrender by reletting the property, and you have written evidence that she agreed to reimburse you.

                        You cannot include this in a deposit scheme adjudication dispute, as it's not within their scope. You will have to bring a county court claim against LL if she refuses to pay up (after first sending LL a letter before action giving LL a deadline to pay). You can start a claim online at Money Claim Online.
                        Thanks for that, I appreciate it. I realise it's seperate from the deposit scheme, it's just now my gloves are off and I want to persue all that I am entiteled to.
                        I assume that written confirmation of the reimbursement in an e-mail correspondence is admissable?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Rella View Post
                          It's good to know that the onus of proof is on the LL. Just to double check, even if the LL will maintain the sofa was new or undamaged, unless she has evidence to support it, its my words against hers am I right?
                          To succeed in a claim for damage, the LL will have to show evidence of:

                          1) Original condition at start of tenancy (ideally in the form of a check-in inventory/condition report, signed by the tenant, but LL may have other evidence, such as a receipt from carpet fitters the day before the tenancy began, for example)
                          2) Damaged condition at end of tenancy
                          3) Quote or receipt for cost of repair/cleaning/replacement
                          4) Anything else relevant, such as a receipt proving the age/quality of the damaged item

                          It is not enough for LL merely to say you damaged the sofa, without any evidence to support the allegation.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Rella View Post
                            I assume that written confirmation of the reimbursement in an e-mail correspondence is admissable?
                            Yes, emails are valid evidence (as are letters, text messages, photographs, oral testimony, etc).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Is it better to just file a claim with the deposit scheme and wait for them to notify LL or should I e-mail LL and state that I do not accept the charges and the reasons as to why?

                              Comment

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