Problems with deposit return/deductions

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Problems with deposit return/deductions

    Firstly, apologies for the lengthy thread but I am exasperated and need advice!
    To cut a long story short, I am having issues with the return of my deposit. I move out of my property on 10th November. After 3 weeks of chasing my landlord for the return of my deposit, I was finally informed my deposit was never actually held with them, but an agent in London (I'm from Birmingham) who I had never heard of. Initially they claimed they hadn't been informed I had moved out, apologied profusely, and said they would get it paid back ASAP. Finally, after again much chasing I finally had the deposit returned today, minus £100. When I questioned this, I've been told it was for "cleaning and painting" and was actually forwarded an email from the Birmingham agent where they informed them on the 22nd November cleaning and painting was required, thus debunking their original story that they weren't aware of my moving hence no deposit return, but also not informing me of these charges. This was obviously not discussed/agreed at check out, can a landlord reasonably deduct £100 from a deposit almost 5 weeks after check out with no notice? For the record, the property was in a much better and cleaner condition than when I moved out, which was even commented by the agent at the checkout. In the interests of being upfront, my issues lie as follows:
    When I have disputed the charge, I have been advised by the London agent to provide a copy of the check out documents, which I don't actually have as no such document was filled out
    I actually have no record of where my deposit was held. I wasn't aware until today that it needs to be held in a legally binding scheme, however I have now asked which scheme it was in as I suspect I will have to raise a dispute with them?
    If (As I suspect) my deposit wasn't held in any scheme, where do I go from here?
    In my naivety no, I didn't take any photos of the flat, as up until this point I had a reasonably good relationship with the Birmingham landlord, who assured me he would arrange the full deposit to be returned that day.

    #2
    Assuming you had an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, then the LL was legally obliged to protect the deposit with one of the three approved schemes, and to provide you with the 'prescribed information' (this runs to several pages; see this link). If either or neither were complied with, then you have a case to claim against the landlord (and/or the agent if you paid the deposit to the agent) under s.214 Housing Act 2004, for up to 3x the value of the deposit. But you would need to take legal advice before pursuing such a claim, as there are potential cost consequences. (Also, check your tenancy contract as it's just possible that the prescribed information is included with it, esp. if the scheme used is the Dispute Service).

    If the deposit is/had been protected, then you can/would have been able to raise a dispute with the scheme, and the scheme will/would have held the disputed amount pending resolution of the dispute, whether via the scheme's adjudication service, or in the county court.

    Aside from that, in legal terms, the deposit is your money and the LL is not entitled to make a unilateral decision to make deductions from it. If this went to court or adjudication, all you'd have to prove is that you paid the deposit; whereas the LL would have to counterclaim and provide evidence that he suffered a financial loss (so the agent insisting that you provide 'check out documents' is bulls**t). In order to prove that you were liable for the painting/cleaning, the LL would need evidence of condition at the start and the end of the tenancy, i.e. before and after. He'd also need to show that you caused damage and it didn't fall under fair wear and tear. And you're not obliged to return the property any cleaner than it was to begin with.

    Comment


      #3
      BTW, how did the tenancy end? Did you vacate at fixed term expiry, or serve notice to quit in a periodic tenancy, or agree a surrender with the LL?

      Comment


        #4
        I vacated at the end of a 12 month tenancy after serving my one month written notice as required on my contract. Biazarrely although I wanted the landlord wouldn't allow me to go on a rolling monthly contract at the end of my 12 months, but insisted I sign a new contract which I wasn't willing to do as I knew I wouldn't be staying there a further 12 months.
        P.S. - Thanks for the response, very helpful!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by anfurney83 View Post
          I vacated at the end of a 12 month tenancy after serving my one month written notice as required on my contract.
          A term requiring you to give notice to end the tenancy at fixed term expiry has no effect, as the fixed term tenancy will expire anyway. In other words, you could have vacated without giving notice and the LL would have had no comeback. Though, obviously, it's considerate to advise the LL of your intentions...

          Biazarrely although I wanted the landlord wouldn't allow me to go on a rolling monthly contract at the end of my 12 months, but insisted I sign a new contract which I wasn't willing to do as I knew I wouldn't be staying there a further 12 months.
          It wasn't up to the LL to allow or refuse a rolling contract, a.k.a. periodic tenancy. If you had been in occupation at fixed term expiry, and if you hadn't agreed a renewal fixed term contract, then a statutory periodic tenancy would have automatically arisen under s.5 Housing Act 1988, replacing the expired fixed term tenancy. The LL couldn't have prevented this happening.

          P.S. - Thanks for the response, very helpful!
          You're welcome

          Comment

          Latest Activity

          Collapse

          Working...
          X