Deposit Issue

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    Deposit Issue

    Hi everyone, you helped me a lot last time so I'm hoping that you can help me again.

    Me and my housemate left our rented property when the AST ended on the 30th June and handed the keys in the the Agents office. Now they're trying to charge us about 1/3 of the deposit for new carpets, cleaning and bits of alsorts really. But the carpets were already stained and I have photos from when we moved in showing the place in a bit of disrepair.

    I've rang up the A to tell them that I'm starting a dispute and that they never took an inventory or did a check in with me. They're saying that they have an inventory and have photos but when I said that I've never even seen let alone signed these they said well it doesn't matter, I never asked to see them and that because they have a lot of houses the manage, they can't get an inventory out to everyone.

    I've started a dispute but I a bit worried about this, my thinking is that if they don't have a signed inventory then they can't charge us because the photos could have been taken at any time. They say that the photos are dated but that can be changed easily, besides my photos are dated too.

    Thanks for any helps guys, really appreciated. Sorry for the long post too.

    Tony.

    #2
    If you have started a dispute already then you and the agent will be offered arbitration (ADR).
    Either party has the option of declining arbitration.

    If the agent declines arbitration, then you and your joint tenant will have to sue - but more info can be provided later if that turns out to be the case.

    Whther ADR or Court the agent is going to have to prove the difference in condition between the start of the tenancy and the end of the tenancy - no proof - no deposit to be kept.

    The agents photos are useful to them, but judges know that they can be doctored - lets call them 'evidence' not 'proof'.

    You seem to be in a reasonably good position, you may find this article reassuring too http://www.propertyhawk.co.uk/index....agazine&id=411

    Comment


      #3
      You shouldn't have to ask for an inventory, its in the landlords best interests to get a copy to the tenant when they move and to have it signed.

      It is quite easy to change the date that appears on a photo but a lot harder to take it out of the information in the actual file that the camera records.

      6 weeks to notify you that they wish to make deductions seems to be stretching the deposit scheme rules a bit, is there a reason for the delay? have you been away? did they have your forwarding address?
      My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for your reply. I had seen that article actually because I did do a bit of research prior to contacting them this morning and it was quite reassuring. We both have photos showing the property but the thing that is concerning me is the inventory that they supposedly have. Are the photos and inventory valid if I've never even heard of their existence? It was my (very limited) understanding that the inventory had to be signed to be worth anything and to stand up as evidence?

        Tony.

        Comment


          #5
          The inventory doesn't 'have' to be signed, but it will have much more value to the agents case if it is. Remember, they will have to prove their claims to the judge/adjudicator. You have nothing to prove - but you will be given the chance to disprove the agents claim if you wish.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by oaktree View Post
            6 weeks to notify you that they wish to make deductions seems to be stretching the deposit scheme rules a bit, is there a reason for the delay? have you been away? did they have your forwarding address?
            They said it takes that long because of the amount of properties they manage. It was a student letting and all the students leave at that time. This is the same reason they used as why they don't offer people an inventory.

            Plus, I've yet to even get a full breakdown of the charges. I requested copies of invoices over a week ago but they've yet to email me because "they've been busy". In all, they've never been an especially professional lettings agent and I think a lot of their practices are based in worrying people about money (like they have tried here).

            Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
            The inventory doesn't 'have' to be signed, but it will have much more value to the agents case if it is.
            Fair enough didn't know that, but couldn't they just print a new inventory off with anything on it if it doesn't have to be signed?

            The amount of issues I've had with this Agent, I knew the deposit was going to be another

            Tony.

            Comment


              #7
              You may find it helpful to read the official guidance for landlords about the evidence they'll need to satisfy an adjudicator: A guide to tenancy deposits, disputes and damages.

              Downloadable here:
              https://www.depositprotection.com/landlord-info

              (it's the same for all the deposit schemes)

              Comment


                #8
                A landlord can only claim the lesser of: -

                The actual financial loss incurred or the diminution in the value of the reversion.

                If the carpets were already stained and worn, then further staining is going to cause negligible diminution in value in that they are no longer new.
                [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


                  #9
                  Thanks for your responses guys, been very helpful.

                  I finally got an email from the lettings agents with the invoices. One is a cleaning bill for £205 that has the whole house being deep cleaned even though it really didn't need it. The carpets were looking a little shabby when we left but they weren't great when we moved in and I have the photos of that. It also states that 3 bedrooms were cleaned but it was only a 2 bedroom place as well as rubbish being removed but there was none.

                  There's also an invoice for tidying up the back yard but we left it how we found it. All in all, it sounds as though they've had the placed deep cleaned and spruced up when it didn't need it. Do I have grounds to say that the invoices are excessive?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We went through the adjudication process with TDS and I'm sorry to say it was one of the worst, most frustrating experiences of my life.

                    The property was riddled with damp due to blocked, leaking gutters and NO ventilation in the property whatsoever. No extractor fans and 4 airbricks and 2 chimney breasts had been wallpapered over. The central heating also didn't work and barely got above lukewarm, the landlord sent round engineers 4 times who tinkered about, then gave up when it didn't improve and I informed him the install was incorrectly piped (I'm a plumbing contractor). We complained to the A constantly about the damp, kept evidence of all correspondance and took photos. We submitted all of this, not disputing the existence of damp but who's fault it was. The landlord submitted the same photos as us and his redecoration invoice (written, on an invoice pad available from Staples), claiming full refurb of the property was necessary including new kitchen and carpets. He won.

                    This took place in December 2010, the property was recently advertised again online so I took a look at the photos. The carpets, kitchen and decor is exactly the same except the mould has been painted over.

                    When we moved in the cooker was filthy so we put it under the stairs and bought our own. When the tenancy was up the landlord claimed our use had caused its condition and that it now didn't work (did it ever?), we submitted that we had never used it, providing our receipt for the new cooker as evidence. The landlord won, on the basis that the adjudacator thought we must have used it for it to stop working (seriously).

                    We lost all of our deposit and the landlord was awarded an additional £200. He never even attempted to recoup the additional amount.

                    I actually feel better for getting that off my chest now! :-)

                    Comment

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