Inventory companies/clerks/fees

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    #31
    Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
    True, except that 'moving in' means 'the tenancy starting'.
    See s.21(1), which pre-supposes that the tenancy already exists when Notice is served. Until then, no-one is legally L or T.
    If the s.21 is the last page of the tenancy agreement then theoretically by the time they have reached the s.21 the agreement has been signed and the tenancy has started. Is that right or have i completely missed the point?
    My views and posts are based on my opinion and any advice given is just that, advice. If you decide to act on any advice given it is with the full knowledge that I am not perfect and anything I say could be wrong!

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      #32
      Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
      ! agree with Jeffrey as far as the S.21 Notice is concerned and would say it is probably invalid.

      As far as the charge for checking out the inventory is concerned, were you made aware of this before you entered into the tenancy?
      Yes it's in the contract.

      Originally posted by Paragon View Post
      Why would £150 be automatically unreasonable? Wouldn't it depend on the amount of time spent and the detail involved in doing the written report. A two bed flat with a large kitchen, bathroom, lounge and large entrance hall takes a bit of time. The clerk walks through verbally recording on her recorder. The clerk then needs to listen through the report and type it on a written report. The inventory reports I get are generally at least 10 pages long with incredible detail. Probably about 2 1/2 hours work to include travelling. I expect that the £150 which includes VAT, transportation, paper, postage, tax on profit, time travelling to and from location, doesn't leave much profit per hour of toil. Too little return for me in any case.
      The inventory check-in 'report' that *we* recieved was basically a list of items in the flat and a comment about the general condition. Not sure whether there was any photos or recordings taken, or a more detailed report produced, but I guess we will find that out during the check-out. Anyway I'm not disputing the £150 charge, just whether the report will be impartial. I think that the cleaning rates are not very competitive, especially given our place is about 35sq metres! I was also wondering whether the LL would be getting trade discounts using these cleaners but not passing it on to tenants?

      And we signed the contracts the same day the tenancy started, it was just a few hours beforwe we actually moved in, so I think the s.21 notice is valid.

      *EDIT* FYI the deposit was also protected beforehand and we were notified on the same day we signed the contracts, so all good there on the LL's behalf.

      Originally posted by Sorrel View Post
      If the s.21 is the last page of the tenancy agreement then theoretically by the time they have reached the s.21 the agreement has been signed and the tenancy has started. Is that right or have i completely missed the point?
      This is exactly what we are assuming. I did find it a bit cheeky that when they found out we were actually very good tenants that they wanted us to sign another 12mth contract or give two months' notice from us if we wanted to leave! They even wanted £50 for the charge of a tenancy renewal when I asked if we could go onto a statutory periodic tenancy instead of signing another contract.

      Actually the LL is a company and can seem pretty ruthless in some respects, although the lettings manager is very nice and appears to be very flexible so we are staying with them, just moving to another one of their properties.


      Originally posted by Paragon View Post
      To professionally clean a two bed flat in London, it cost about £250 two years ago. That included steam cleaning the carpets, curtains, and oven. They had ladders to get to the picture rails and the top of the curtain pelmets. They even walked around with plastic bags on their feet. It was a fantastic job. Needless to say, the tenants got every bit of their deposit back.
      We are living in London, but that is half what we are being expected to pay - and how did the tenant get their deposit back? Did you pay for the cleaning yourself?

      Comment


        #33
        Thank you to everyone for your replies, although I am still unsure whether the IC really has to be an impartial third party, or whether they could have a less than professional arrangement with the LL. Am I right to assume that it is possible for the LL to employ pretty much anybody to do the inventory check-out process given that there is no formal qualification required?

        I know I sound very cynical but a third of our deposit could already going on just cleaning this place even before the IC has had chance to highlight anything during the check-out! I didn't think our check-in was very comprehensive, certainly not to a standard you would expect for £150. I know this can actually work in a tenant's favour, but our place was refurbished and we were the first tenants in, so everything was brand new.

        We haven't actually damaged anything at all, but I'm worried that the IC could try to *find* fault and substitute fair wear and tear for damage. Exactly who decides what 'fair' is anyway? Surely not someone else without a formal qualification?

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          #34
          If the inventory check out fee is a condition of your TA, then you are bound to pay it - unless, as Paulf suggests, you fele like disputing it with the OFT - good luck to you. You will probably be watching your grandchildren grow up by the time a decision is reached on it.

          However, you should not be charged unfairly for repairs or cleaning which are not necessary. If you clean the property to a professional standard (assuming it was in that condition to begin with and the check-in inventory has photos to prove it - does it? If not, the pressure is slighly less!), then they cannot insist you leave it cleaner than you found it, or that you employ 'Sparkly Props' Cleaning Company @ £500, etc.

          Assuming your deposit is in a protection scheme, you should apply for it back in the normal way. If, on the basis of what IC reports, LL disputes, it, he will need to convince the scheme adjudicator that any deductions he proposes are fair. From what I can gather, adjudicators are generally more sympathetic to tenants - the burden of proof is on the LL, not the T. The fact that your LL has employed an independent IC will count slightly in his favour, but it should be an objective ruling, even so. And it's not in the IC's interest to get embroiled in too many disputes, is it?

          If you want to see the kinds of decisions adjudicators have come to, google TDS or DPS - one of them has some useful links to summaries of actual cases.
          '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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            #35
            Thank you MTG, I am grateful for your reply, although I think it has raised yet more questions in my mind...the clue is in my username!!! I think I tend to worry unduly and most of these questions are (as yet) hypothetical, but I do want to prepare for whatever outcome may arise.

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            If the inventory check out fee is a condition of your TA, then you are bound to pay it - unless, as Paulf suggests, you fele like disputing it with the OFT - good luck to you. You will probably be watching your grandchildren grow up by the time a decision is reached on it.
            Thank you, but I am not planning on disputing the £150 charge in any way whatsoever. Though I am hypothetically disputing the integrity of the IC and what possible implications this could have for me as a tenant.

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            However, you should not be charged unfairly for repairs or cleaning which are not necessary. If you clean the property to a professional standard (assuming it was in that condition to begin with and the check-in inventory has photos to prove it - does it? If not, the pressure is slighly less!), then they cannot insist you leave it cleaner than you found it, or that you employ 'Sparkly Props' Cleaning Company @ £500, etc.
            I never saw any photos, but we are planning on returning the flat in the condition we were given it in (save for fair wear and tear obviously). I don't want to dispute any genuine claims against our deposit just because we can because they didn't take pictures, but after reading this we will certainly be taking our own photos the day before the check-out! Like you said, I just don't want to pay for unnecessary work to be done, but if the IC decides that the flat needs cleaning/repairing, the LL will employ 'Sparkly Props' Cleaning Company @ £500 and then deduct this from my deposit. If I disagree with the IC's decision, is it worth disputing the the necessity for the work, the exorbitant cost or neither?

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            Assuming your deposit is in a protection scheme, you should apply for it back in the normal way.
            Our deposit is protected with Tenancy Deposit Solutions (mydeposits.co.uk). I wasn't aware that we had to apply to have it returned, I thought the LL/TDS would just refund us. Do we have to make an application for the return of our deposit? And when/how?

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            The fact that your LL has employed an independent IC will count slightly in his favour, but it should be an objective ruling, even so.
            That is kind of my point...how to know whether they are truly independent if not a member of AIIC?

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            And it's not in the IC's interest to get embroiled in too many disputes, is it?
            Why? Can he/she have is IC status revoked?

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            If you want to see the kinds of decisions adjudicators have come to, google TDS or DPS - one of them has some useful links to summaries of actual cases.
            Thank you! For anyone else wishing to know, this thread provided some very useful links:
            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=12534

            Thanks to all who replied, I am sure everything will run smoothly, but like I said I just want to prepare for any eventuality I can foresee now.

            Comment


              #36
              Originally posted by Sorrel View Post
              If the s.21 is the last page of the tenancy agreement then theoretically by the time they have reached the s.21 the agreement has been signed and the tenancy has started. Is that right or have i completely missed the point?
              You have missed the point, but only on a technicality. A tenancy agreement is simply an agreement to grant a tenancy, but does not itself create a tenancy. The tenancy only starts when the tenant* goes into occupation.

              * Not strictly the tenant until he has gone into occupation.

              Comment


                #37
                Hi

                I don't have any direct experience of court action in relation to deposits, but I do think you may be worrying a little too much about the role and status of the IC.

                I very much doubt that they will have any special "expert" status in any court proceedings - I would be interested to know if anyone has any thoughts to the contrary on this one - so their role will simply be to provide evidence and their status in doing so will be the same as your own.

                The key, then, as others have already said, is to collect as much evidence as you can to demonstrate the condition of the flat on leaving. A witness of your own would be helpful. Compiile a written schedule and ask your witness to sign it off. And when taking photos, remember the old Cecil B. DeMille adage, "never take one photo when 10 will do" (well, in his case it referred to the number of dancing girls in a line up, but you get my drift).

                Ultimately, if you disagree with the IC's recommendations, dispute them through the arbitration process and use the evidence you have gathered to support your claim.

                Preston

                Comment


                  #38
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                  You have missed the point, but only on a technicality. A tenancy agreement is simply an agreement to grant a tenancy, but does not itself create a tenancy. The tenancy only starts when the tenant* goes into occupation.

                  * Not strictly the tenant until he has gone into occupation.
                  Well now this is *very* interesting! Everything was done on the same day. On that day:

                  1. Our deposit was protected (although we didn't actually get confirmation of this until a later date, probably within 14 days, I can't remember)
                  2. We signed our AST agreement
                  3. We were served with and signed a s.21 notice
                  4. We were given keys and moved in

                  Our signatures on the s.21 are timestamped at 3pm, but there is no time indicated on the signatures on our AST, and of course no-one can prove what time we got the keys and entered the property.

                  So are you saying that 4 should have happened *before* 3 and the LL should have served the notice only after we physically moved into the property? I know in this instance we are talking only a matter of hours/mins, but what if we had not actually entered the property for a day or two? Surely that wouldn't invalidate the s.21?

                  An interesting digression...
                  Last edited by stresshead; 17-01-2009, 13:30 PM. Reason: clarity

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by Preston View Post
                    I do think you may be worrying a little too much about the role and status of the IC.
                    You are probably right!

                    Originally posted by Preston View Post
                    A witness of your own would be helpful. Compiile a written schedule and ask your witness to sign it off.
                    Since we are moving with the same LL I don't want them to think that we are difficult tenants...but this is very sound advice, thank you we may consider this!!!

                    I think my main concern was that the IC might work in the interests of the LL if they have a profitable business relationship with each other, but I will do as you suggested and wait to see what happens!

                    Thank you!

                    Comment


                      #40
                      Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                      You have missed the point, but only on a technicality. A tenancy agreement is simply an agreement to grant a tenancy, but does not itself create a tenancy. The tenancy only starts when the tenant* goes into occupation.

                      * Not strictly the tenant until he has gone into occupation.
                      Hi

                      Surely the tenancy (in case of a lease less than three years) takes affect on possession, rather than occupation. For the tenant to have possession, there is no necessary requirement to "move in", it can take place (and be evidenced) in other ways. The giving and receiving of keys might be an example.

                      Preston

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Originally posted by stresshead
                        Our deposit is protected with Tenancy Deposit Solutions (mydeposits.co.uk). I wasn't aware that we had to apply to have it returned, I thought the LL/TDS would just refund us. Do we have to make an application for the return of our deposit? And when/how?
                        You need to be proactive. On check out day, discuss the deposit return with your landlord (cash, cheque or bank transfer). Once you and your landlord have agreed on any deductions, the landlord should give you the balance within a couple of weeks.

                        With mydeposits, the deposit is physically held by the landlord, not the scheme. You can ask mydeposits for assistance if a dispute arises.

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                          You need to be proactive. On check out day, discuss the deposit return with your landlord (cash, cheque or bank transfer). Once you and your landlord have agreed on any deductions, the landlord should give you the balance within a couple of weeks.

                          With mydeposits, the deposit is physically held by the landlord, not the scheme. You can ask mydeposits for assistance if a dispute arises.
                          This is good to know. Actually I have just dug out our Deposit Protection Certificate and under the section "Information for Tenants" from our TDS it states:

                          "At the end of the tenancy agreement you should agree with your landlord/agent how much of the deposit should be returned to you...within 10 days from the end of the Tenancy Agreement you should receive the agreed amount from you landlord or agent".

                          My LL wont actually be present during the check-out - just myself, my partner and the IC (and our witness if we decide to have one). I guess I will just have to wait on the LL to let us know how much they are expecting to deduct. I do feel reasonably reassured though given everyone's replies.

                          Comment


                            #43
                            [QUOTE=
                            We are living in London, but that is half what we are being expected to pay - and how did the tenant get their deposit back? Did you pay for the cleaning yourself?[/QUOTE]

                            I told the letting agents who hold the deposit to send it to them. The tenants paid the cleaners directly as it was their choice who they used. I gave them some contacts and they chose one, but they could have gone anywhere.
                            ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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                              #44
                              Originally posted by Paragon View Post
                              I told the letting agents who hold the deposit to send it to them. The tenants paid the cleaners directly as it was their choice who they used. I gave them some contacts and they chose one, but they could have gone anywhere.
                              Oh, I see! That's what we are hoping to do, as the contact our LL has given us seems to have inflated prices in comparison to what we have been quoted. We are going to do most of the cleaning ourselves, except for the carpets, which is the only thing I don't think we could do to a "professional standard" ourselves. We do need to find a decent carpet cleaning company, I don't want them to do a botched job and end up paying twice!

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by Preston View Post
                                Surely the tenancy (in case of a lease less than three years) takes affect on possession, rather than occupation. For the tenant to have possession, there is no necessary requirement to "move in", it can take place (and be evidenced) in other ways. The giving and receiving of keys might be an example.
                                In this context possession and occupation are the same thing.

                                Comment

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