Tenant Deposit Dispute - Stained Mattress - NO deposit protection scheme - Help?

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    Tenant Deposit Dispute - Stained Mattress - NO deposit protection scheme - Help?

    Hi can anyone help?

    I recently left a property approximately a month ago which I had rented along with some fellow students through a private landlord. Following leaving the property, I learnt from one of my former housemates that the landlord planned to withhold £40 of my deposit (originally £150) due to a stain on the underside of my mattress and that he was going to pass on the remaining £110 cash to my former housemate to return at a later date to myself. I am adamant that this stain was none of my doing. During the tenancy I did not flip the mattress at any point. So further to this I checked with the 3 government back deposit schemes to see if the landlord had registered with a scheme – it turns out he has not.
    So I then emailed the landlord expressing my concerns with the action he had taken in regards to not providing any invoice, and his method of return of the deposit, as well as that the stain on the mattress was none of my doing and that I felt it was unreasonable that I would have checked the underside of the mattress at the beginning of the tenancy. Adding to this I expressed that he had not protected my deposit as required by law and I therefore requested he paid returned my £150 within 2 weeks.

    He has replied to this with the following message:

    Dear XXXX,
    My response to your letter is as follows:-
    I will be sending your bond cheque for the full amount of £150.00.
    You now have a choice; I will buy a new mattress which will cost around £100.00.
    I have a signed inventory check letter which is dated 30th June 2011.This document will be produced, along with photographic evidence to show there was NO stain or damage to the bed in your room, prior to your tenancy.
    It is signed by the person who occupied the room.
    You can re-imburse me £100.00 and I will not go on to seek recourse for a whole bed.
    I will be sending the evidence to your parents, who are probably not aware of your current position.
    I dont think you or your parents would like the slur of a county court judgement on your record which will adverse effect on your future prospects.
    In the tenancy agreement that you were asked to read before signing it states that you are ALL jointly and severally responsible for any damage in the property, how would it look if I took all of you to court to pay for an item that just you have spoilt. I'm sure the other tenants parents won’t be happy about that.
    As you stated in your letter you would prefer to settle this amicably. I leave you to decide which way to go.
    Yours Sincerely

    I am now unsure of the action I should take. I reiterate I am adamant that the stain is none of my doing, and the signed inventory that he is referring to; had no mention of a mattress with any stains. He is now also threatening to seek recourse for the whole bed if this goes to a small claims court – there were a couple of broken slates underneath the bed which I declared with him before leaving and he agreed to there being no problem with this.

    I have not seen any of the other evidence he claims to possess as of yet.

    If he pays back my deposit does this not mean that he is accepting that there is no chargeable damage?

    Would any court judgement have an effect on any future prospects?
    Originally I just wanted to use the threat of no deposit protection as leverage to get my deposit back and would like to avoid the ‘slur’ of court. If he returns my deposit can I still take him to a small claims court for not originally protecting it?
    U
    ltimately I would just like to take no action against the landlord for not protecting my deposit and just receive my full deposit without any charges. Is there any way of going about this?

    Any other further advice would be much appreciated

    Please note that I am student, and I have notified my parents contrary to his belief – not that this should make any difference.

    Apologies for the length of this post - wanted to provide as much information as possible.

    Regards

    #2
    Just to clarify - when you moved in - you did not sign an inventory or inspect both sides of the mattress?

    For the landlord to bring a county court claim will cost him £175 and a lot of time and paperwork. Paying him £40 would seem a quick way around this nastiness. Surely the replacement of the broken slats must be worth £40 alone - but according to you he did not seem interested in claiming for those from you.

    If the LL did bring a court action you would be encouraged to settle out of court to save the time of all concerned and therefore get no CCJ. It would be truly bizarre to get a CCJ over a stained mattress.

    Yes, a CCJ can damage your credit history for many years to come.



    Freedom at the point of zero............

    Comment


      #3
      If you couldnt agree the amount with the LL but were happy to pay whatever the court decided (acting as a mediator) would that be classed as a CCJ? As in I think I should be paying half of the value but the LL wants the full value. If then the court decides you should pay say 75% of the value and you are happy to pay, is that a CCJ? And would that mean that you are liable to pay the LL's legal expenses as well?
      All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

      Comment


        #4
        You are backing eachother into corners. Two of the ways it could end are one of you will give in or it could end in court, which would be crazy.

        If you broke the slats on your bed £40 seems reasonable. If it were me I would email/speak to the landlord and make the following points:-
        a) Can we start this conversation again.
        b) I was upset because I didnt think I had damaged the matress.
        c) If you return my £110 we can consider the matter resolved.

        Will cost you £40 but you will have learned a lesson, probably a cheap one when you see what tuition fees are these days.
        ps did you have fun breaking the slats?

        Dave

        Comment


          #5
          What reference does the inventory say about the mattress? Plainly if you go to court and the inventory says "Mattress" with no other reference to it. It could be assumed that you had both accepted that it was in a tenant like manner. Ultimately, he will probably not go to court, because there are plainly risks involved with this route, that said, it's £40. In my opinion, the Landlord seems to be a decent enough chap, if the landlord was an arse, he would undoubtedly jump on every opportunity to with hold amounts from the deposit.
          [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
            Just to clarify - when you moved in - you did not sign an inventory or inspect both sides of the mattress?

            For the landlord to bring a county court claim will cost him £175 and a lot of time and paperwork. Paying him £40 would seem a quick way around this nastiness. Surely the replacement of the broken slats must be worth £40 alone - but according to you he did not seem interested in claiming for those from you.

            If the LL did bring a court action you would be encouraged to settle out of court to save the time of all concerned and therefore get no CCJ. It would be truly bizarre to get a CCJ over a stained mattress.

            Yes, a CCJ can damage your credit history for many years to come.
            - Upon moving in, I did sign an inventory, unfortunately I do not have a copy of it but by memory it was just stating that there was a matress no indication to any condition.

            - No he did not seem interested in charging me for the slats. Its a faux leather bed frame with very flimsy slats. I have stayed in student lets before with these beds and they break every year. Im sure the cost of 3 replacement slates would probably be around £15. But I assuming now he is just trying to be difficult about the situation. In hindsight it perhaps would have been best to pay him the £40 but now he is quoting £100.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
              What reference does the inventory say about the mattress? Plainly if you go to court and the inventory says "Mattress" with no other reference to it. It could be assumed that you had both accepted that it was in a tenant like manner. Ultimately, he will probably not go to court, because there are plainly risks involved with this route, that said, it's £40. In my opinion, the Landlord seems to be a decent enough chap, if the landlord was an arse, he would undoubtedly jump on every opportunity to with hold amounts from the deposit.
              - Upon moving in, I did sign an inventory, unfortunately I do not have a copy of it but by memory it was just stating that there was a matress no indication to any condition.

              Comment


                #8
                It is possible that the Inventory began with something like 'All items listed are in very good or new condition at commencement of tenancy unless otherwise indicated'.

                If it does not say that then LL will struggle to justify his claim legally. However since you do not seem to have a copy of the inventory (why didn't you take one?), it is probably academic now.

                Next time, go through the inventory carefully checking off each item and noting if condition is less than very good. Take your own digital photos of any damage - it's easy enough these days.

                BTW I think you mean slats, not slates.
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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