Our agency is charging excessively for the end of tenancy clean-up

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    Our agency is charging excessively for the end of tenancy clean-up

    Hiya, we're in a spot of bother with our landlord.
    In late September 2014 we agreed to move into a private 2 bedroom house for a higher price than it was worth, given that there were aspects of the house that weren't top notch. Examples include a stained carpet, poorly placed fireplace (that was unsafe to operate) and bathroom lights as well as a dirty cooker and vent, to name a few. The landlord is now trying to claim £234 from our deposit for the professional cleaning of hard surfaces and carpets, stating he won't charge us for other things such as the "uncleaned" cooker and overgrown garden (compared to the original inventory). The agent is also claiming £114 as a "check-out fee" from our deposit, which we have accepted to pay. Our dispute is the amount we have to pay as cleaning costs.

    We were not given the chance to pay for the clean-up ourselves when the property was checked by one of their agents before the check-out inspection. The agent told us that everything was fine so we did a good, thorough clean of everything to the best of our abilities, including floors, carpets, benches, cooker, etc. When the check-out inspection was over, the agent told us "it's a bit grubby" but gave no details of what needed further cleaning and as a result, we took no further action, nor photographic evidence.

    We were given 3 pictures to sign as part of the initial inventory check, but we were not given these pictures back, whereas the woman that conducted the check-out went picture crazy, taking 60 photos. All dealings were made through the agency alone; we have never met or spoken to our landlord directly, nor have we a contact number to communicate with him directly. I spoke to another landlord who says they broke the law by not providing us with any contact details for our landlord and advised us to contact the cleaners directly and ask for a copy of the invoice, to ensure that the requested amount is genuine.

    We are grateful for any insight you might be able to give us, as we need as much of our deposit back as possible. If something is unclear we can even post the pictures that the agent took.

    #2
    Your deposit is protected, right?

    Don't accept the deductions and challenge this through your schemes arbitration facility.

    Sounds like they don't have a good starting inventory to base their claim on, so I doubt they'll get what they want.

    Do not accept the deduction of a check-out fee from your deposit unless your contract specifically says you must cover this.

    If it doesn't, tell the agent, politely, to take a long walk off a tall object.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the quick reply, yes it is protected through "mydeposits" and our contract clearly states that any and all work done to the house after we leave is deductible from the deposit. Like I said in the original post, we want to settle at a more sensible price.

      Comment


        #4
        So take it through the arbitration system with mydeposits. The landlord must prover that their costs are legitimate and reasonable.

        A clause stating that the tenants are responsible for 'all work done to the house after they leave' is most likely unenforceable. I presume that's not actally the contract wording?

        But I was asking about the check out fee, not reparation works. Is that in your contract?

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          #5
          Tenancy Agreement Clause 3.100 (verbatim) "To pay the cost of checking out the Inventory at the end of the tenancy. A schedule of fees is available fro the Landlord's Agent upon request." We also received a letter in response to our notice, quoting: "A check out fee of £114.00 inclusive of vat (sic) will be deducted from your Security Deposit."

          We already asked myDeposits to start a dispute online, but they're asking for evidence we don't actually have.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by NephAndChris42 View Post
            We already asked myDeposits to start a dispute online, but they're asking for evidence we don't actually have.
            You don't have to prove anything. The landlord does. Can he?

            Comment


              #7
              Yes, as above you neednt submit anything, it's up to the landlord to prove damages.

              Call them again and hope you get through to a more useful operator.

              Comment


                #8
                Whilst LL has to demonstrate any proposed deductions are 'reasonable', based on prof rates, he does not have to provide invoices as he is not required to repair/restore any item.
                He should provide move in/out inspection reports for comparison and show T had opportunity to check/amend move in report within 7 days. Were you also required to pay for move in report?
                AST prob states the property should be returned in similar condition to start of T, so you had chance to avoid some of the prof fees before you vacated.

                By applying to ADR (which LL can decline) you put onus on LL to justify his proposed deductions to ADR and any undisputed deposit should returned to T wihin 10 working days.

                What info is ADR asking you to provide that you do not have?

                Comment


                  #9
                  And, if you are right and they only have 3 pictures at Check In/Inventory, they will be hard pushed to prove any claim, no matter how many pictures the Check Out Report included. The woman who went picture crazy was doing it wrong - unless she had a full inventory to work from!

                  If she was an independent clerk you could also check and see if she is a member of an Association, AIIC and APIP are the 2 largest. Both have proper complaints procedures and, if you are right about the lack of detailed inventory, check in reports, then they will help you through the complaints process.

                  As an independent clerk who has seen a great many shoddy reports I would encourage anyone to complain if they have good cause. T'aint rocket science and so many LLs, LAs get it wrong, without the so called trained professionals adding to the woe!

                  Comment

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