Old inventory used to check in tenants - now dispute over contents & condition

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    Old inventory used to check in tenants - now dispute over contents & condition

    Hi All, I'm posting on behalf of my son and his pals.

    My son +3 moved into a house via a letting agent. They signed an inventory in the letting agency office alongside the tenancy agreement, prior to moving into the letting rather than do recommended walk round one with the advice that once they got into the address, if anything was different to the inventory they were to inform the letting agency. They queried several differences, but not everything by good fortune some of the disputed points do appear on a video on the day of moving in. (the agent claims he cannot view videos on his work computer!)

    One year later at the end of the tenancy the landlord has gone in after the boys had moved out and noted the several alleged defects needing fixing which 'don't show up on the inventory' but WERE present on moving in and is now accusing them of having done them and charging them to have them repaired - presumably out of their deposit.

    In that the inventory was not done in the customary way, do the boys have any legal redress or are we going to have to fight them on this?

    Thanks in anticipation!

    #2
    The boys should simply dispute any deductions they consider unfair with the deposit scheme. The onus will be on the LL to prove they did the damage, not on them to prove they did not.

    It can be a bit of a palaver (raising a dispute) and it takes a few weeks, but it is well worth it. Which scheme is it?

    Good luck.
    '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

    Comment


      #3
      Hi, thank you for your reply!

      We have only just begun to argue the points of the inventory at present - the agent is having a fine old time and making it very long winded and protracted, which acutally benefits him as he has now stipulated that as the tenancy is seen to have run over a year in duration due to our dispute, that we are now duty bound to have the carpets deep cleaned!!

      We haven't asked re the the deposit scheme - will there be some documentation with the tenancy agreement as to which scheme it is? or will we have to ask? Do you advise scrapping the to and fro emails and querying it with the deposit holder instead?

      Sorry for all the questions - it's proving a very steep learning curve! and thanks for the advice in anticipation

      Comment


        #4
        The tenancy lasts as long as it lasts, the agent can't decide how long it lasts.
        If it was a joint tenancy, it began the first day one of the 4 people named in the agreement moved in on or after the agreement start date.
        There is less certainty when it ended, but that would be obvious from things like emails and the return of keys.
        If the tenancy was ongoing, the landlord/agent would expect rent - which is pretty clear indicator.

        Any deposit should have been protected within 30 days of receipt, and anyone paying the deposit or part of it should have been given a long document called "Prescribed Information".
        It's basically three pages of details of the tenancy with the words Prescribed Information usually somewhere near the top, with a box for the recipient to sign and several pages of terms and conditions.

        If you paid the deposit for your son, you should have been given a copy (although most people don't seem to understand that point) but your son should have been given a copy.
        It may be that if there was one combined deposit only one of the tenants was given the information - this makes them the "lead tenant" as far as any dispute is concerned.

        The organisation with whom the deposit was protected will have a dispute resolution service and you should definitely use that.
        Most landlord's feel it favours tenants and (from what I have read elsewhere) tenants feel it favours landlords, so it's probably quite fair.

        If you search for "is my deposit protected" you'll usually find a link to the shelter england website which has pointers so you can see where it was protected.

        Don't go backwards and forwards with the agent, just use the protection company process.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Most joint deposits are protected by the LL/agent as one amount under the name of the Lead Tenant (who should have been given the Prescribed Information described about by jpk). Some LLs protect each individual's 'share' of the joint deposit separately, under his or her own name. Ask your son which scheme the agent thinks it is with.

          The tenancy contract should indeed contain some reference to the scheme with which the deposit(s) is/are protected.
          '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

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you so much ! this has been really useful! as none of the lads has any paperwork from the tenancy left I have requested the details of the deposit protection scheme from the agent - assuming they used one.

            Today's email requested additional rent for the fact that the dispute is taking time to complete - and, by strange 'coincidence' all the requests for additional monies add up to exactly the same amount as the sum of the deposit!

            The boys have all been really bamboozled by the disputes and repeated money requests and were all set to roll over and let the agent take the entire deposit because it was proving so difficult to resolve without a lot of time and effort, especially in that all four are now living in separate places. This advice has given them all reason for hope!

            I'll post up the next development and query - no doubt we'll hear from the agent tomorrow!

            Thank you so far.

            Comment


              #7
              The agent seems at best clueless and at worst, dishonest. The stuff about the rent continuing to be due while dispute continues is rubbish.

              If they are evasive about the deposit scheme and there is no reference to it in the contract, comeback to us and we will advise how you can check the 3 main schemes. Even if the boys have lost the info about it, they can still get a new password by contacting the scheme - but they need to know which scheme.
              '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

              Comment


                #8
                So the LA provided a copy of the signed move-in Inventory and suggested the 4 occupants do their own check and notify LA of any issues?
                The lads did not make any written corrections to the Inventory and did not make & return an amended copy, only recorded & kept a video (?date stamped)?

                How and when was T terminated? Who gave Notice?

                Thread header stated 'old inventory', when was it compiled & by whom?

                Please complete & paste http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ll-new-posters.

                It is customary to compile move ir report before T occupies, giving copy to Ts to amend & return within 5-7 days, noting any marks, omission or defects. If not done, the original signed report is considered accurate. Final decision is ADR Adj at end of T.

                Comment


                  #9
                  So the LA provided a copy of the signed move-in Inventory and suggested the 4 occupants do their own check and notify LA of any issues?

                  Possibly there was a paper inventory, but it was signed in the office alongside collecting the keys and before moving into the tenancy. they viewed the property 2ms before and moved in on the same day of the signing.

                  The lads did not make any written corrections to the Inventory and did not make & return an amended copy, only recorded & kept a video (?date stamped)?

                  On moving in the boys noted several defects and emailed their complaints - nobody remembers doing a tick box room by room inventory, so perhaps it wasn't provided? one of the complaints was NO smoke alarms fitted despite it being a 4 storey property (this bothered me immensely and resulted in the boys having to withold their rent before it was remedied)

                  The video made was just a 'hey have a look round my house' one but does show that a pull up bar is present - this is one of the items in dispute which the LA claims was not present on their inventory and is accusing our boys of having fitted as they didn't mention it to the LA. They initially thought it was an old curtain rail across the stairs so why would they think to mention it. The video is automatically dated on the computer.

                  How and when was T terminated? Who gave Notice?


                  The tenancy was terminated 2 months in advance by email by one of the boys (incidentally there was not a Lead Tenant) It was always supposed to be a years tenancy, but did have the option to extend their tenancy at an extra £35 pw. (the property had been sold during their let)

                  Thread header stated 'old inventory', when was it compiled & by whom?

                  I'm assuming it was an old inventory as there are so many items not as within the inventory complaints - for instance a carpet mentioned in one room which has laminate flooring, the aforementioned pull up bar, a compost bin etc etc so I am making the assumption is that it was compiled for a previous tenant and just rehashed for my son's tenancy with the onus on them to point out any differences.

                  The LA point blank refuses to believe that the pull up bar, and a smashed in bedroom door, crudely 'mended' with polyfilla (amonst other problems) were already present on move in, claiming to have dated photographs from 5 days before the tenancy showing these items not to exist. In that these are clearly lies because I saw these items, I have no faith in the inventory and what the LA is claiming monies for. As we don't have a paper copy I don't know who compiled it or when it was done. The LA is quoting from a document but it seems to be an old one.

                  I'll have to clarify the hard copy inventory thing tomorrow with my son and report back.
                  Last edited by Woodhouse; 23-06-2016, 23:28 PM. Reason: to add quotes in bold

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Don't forget to provide http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ll-new-posters.

                    Long time since I jointly shared a rental property (in more relaxed times, but without benefit of internet, google or email.
                    All newbie Ts make mistakes, but recent ones have access to Internet resources.

                    Judge/ADR should compare T accepted move in condition report +T email comments within 7 days of initial occupation with final move out inspection report.

                    Moral of this strory is Do not sign for anything not checked and get a copy of what you are agreeing to. We can all negotiate Agreements

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you Mariner - there have been a lot of lessons learned from this encounter from us all!

                      I do fully intend to do the cut and paste thingy but am a bit puzzled as to where to paste it to - not on this thread? also, I'm not sure re. naming the letting agents whilst we are still in a precarious position, but I assure you that I will do it.

                      Meantime... the LA has sent a new email along with yet another bill for cleaning - now taking the amount owed to over the deposit amount.

                      AND, following a quibble with the return of the keys which were returned 2 days after vacating, a scan photo of a HUGE set of keys (with different estate agents key fob on) sitting on top of their tenancy agreement and another photograph of the keys the boys returned which has only 2 keys on it (and a duplicate set) Given that the large set has 11 keys on it - most of them yale keys (the property only has 2 yale locks) I think the scan of the keys is a recent fabrication.

                      None of the boys have ever seen the set of keys - they would probably remember as, as mentioned previously, they all had to have their own sets cut - 11 keys would have been quite an expense. Also, none of them have had any dealings with the letting agency whose name is on the fob.

                      I requested the name of the deposit scheme and he emailed back 'your deposit is lodged with the TDS. Details of this can be found in your tenancy agreement'. I'm reluctant to email back and admit that none of them have the tenancy agreement in case it gives him more ammunition. Is it unusual for him to have been evasive or is he just making life difficult? and can I find out the scheme in any other way (again, assuming it was used)

                      Sorry its all getting more longwinded and thank you for your help so far

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Woodhouse View Post
                        can I find out the scheme in any other way (again, assuming it was used)
                        Use the link below.

                        http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...es?src=hpban-s

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thank you for the link Mrs Mug!

                          I've put in all the details given by my son and found nothing - all 3 schemes. I've tried the different boys' names and still nothing. I've double checked each permutation too.

                          The only piece of info I will have to reconfirm with my son (who is out of contact at the mo) is the definite amount of deposit paid - that's the only factor that might be different. Given that all the other details are correct would it come up anyway?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Cut & paste requested link in this thread.
                            No one has asked for name of Letting Agent (against Forum rules) just refer to as 'LA if nec.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Apologies for not having read the rules properly - hope the info is ok here...


                              Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

                              England

                              Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

                              multiple tenant

                              Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

                              1/06/2015

                              Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

                              12 ms

                              Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

                              once again, no paperwork. Can only comment that they initially paid 6ms rent up front

                              Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

                              not sure and no paperwork to check on now - is a deposit the same thing? the term 'damage deposit' hasn't come up in any of the emails from the LA

                              Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

                              n/a

                              Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?

                              no

                              Comment

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