Deposit deductions of old repair invoices.

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    Deposit deductions of old repair invoices.

    We’ve just left a property after nearly 5 years (AST, in England). We’d accepted (in writing) a few minor deductions for damages to the state of the property. We moved out and the landlord took the keys. He said he will send us a ‘final statement’ with a few days and if we agree to it he will refund the remainder of the deposit.

    Here’s the problem, during the tenancy there were a few minor repair jobs that needed doing (replacing a pane of glass broken by a football, repairing a door that slammed shut in a draft, and some damage to the kitchen units - all just accidents). The landlord got a handyman to do each of these jobs and then sent us a bill. We ignored all of these bills believing they were the responsibility of the landlord. At the time the landlord didn’t mention these bills again.

    The ‘final statement’ has just arrived. It includes all of these old invoices which total nearly £500, and mean he intends to refund us less than half our deposit. The problem is we really need that money and we need it now!

    I have lots of questions.
    • Aren’t these repairs the responsibility of the landlord?
    • Even if the bills were our responsibility, isn’t there any time limit? Some of the bills are over 3 years old, shouldn’t he have taken action earlier? When he initially sent us the invoices we assumed he was ‘just trying it on’ and when he didn’t bother following up we just assumed we must have been right!
    • Is this something our deposit protection scheme would adjudicate on? The landlord says they only adjudicate on deductions due to the condition of the property, not outstanding bills.
    • Are there any additional risks costs that we could face if we go to adjudication?
    • The landlord has said that if we don’t agree to his demands and go to arbitration he will withhold the entire deposit until the matter is settled. Can he do this? The undisputed part of the deposit £450 must be returned straight away mustn’t it?

    The landlords says that he only stopped chasing us for the invoices because he 'can't be bother to argue' and that we still owe for them

    #2
    Unless you can agree a sensible sum with landlord, start a dispute with the relevant deposit protection scheme (it was protected, yes?)
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/housin...nancy_deposits
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by longJohn View Post
      • Aren’t these repairs the responsibility of the landlord?
      Doesn't sound like it. These may all be accidents, but they are your accidents, therefore you are responsible.

      Originally posted by longJohn View Post
      • Even if the bills were our responsibility, isn’t there any time limit? Some of the bills are over 3 years old, shouldn’t he have taken action earlier? When he initially sent us the invoices we assumed he was ‘just trying it on’ and when he didn’t bother following up we just assumed we must have been right!
      If there is a time limit, I think it's six years, in which case you're out of luck. He told you you owed money, you ignored him but you still owe money.

      Originally posted by longJohn View Post
      • Is this something our deposit protection scheme would adjudicate on? The landlord says they only adjudicate on deductions due to the condition of the property, not outstanding bills.
      I think the landlord is wrong on this one, any deposit protection scheme should adjudicate on any attempt to withhold any of the deposit for whatever reason.

      Originally posted by longJohn View Post
      • Are there any additional risks costs that we could face if we go to adjudication?
      You run the risk of looking foolish.

      Not sure about your last question. I'm sure there someone here who can answer it

      Comment


        #4
        You are correct that the undisputed amount should be returned.

        If L is making deductions from the deposit then the scheme can decide whether those deductions are valid.

        What the deposit can be held for is usually set out in your contract. I'm not sure that costs for historic damage would be treated any differently from a bill for current or outstanding damage. If there is a period of limitation it will not be three years.

        I don't understand why you consider your damage (accidental or otherwise) to kitchen is the landlord's responsibility. If the football was yours, your guest's or your family's I'd suggest you are liable for that. The door - perhaps (only perhaps) more arguable.

        In L's shoes I would probably claim interest too.
        Assume I know nothing.

        Comment


          #5
          Disagree with GG - a bit (apologies gg...)

          a) If door glass pane was in an external door then yes it IS landlord responsibility to fix: He is at liberty to attempt to recover afterwards (yes, many landlords try to do so before doing the work).
          s11 LL&T Act 1985
          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/11
          b) LL seems to have just sent the COMPLETE bills, without allowing for fair wear 'n tear: So, if repair was to kitchen cupboard door, new door, had an (agreed by all parties) life of 25 years, was 10 years old when replaced & cost £50 then fair proportion of bill would be 10/25 of £50, - £20.

          Try and agree a fair amount: If unable to, use adjudication process - it's what it's there for!
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            I believe Artful is making the mistake JPK made yesterday.

            There is no deduction for fair wear & tear to be made from a repair if the repair does not put the item (the kitchen, the back door or the window) in a better state than it was previously.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              Disagree with GG - a bit (apologies gg...)
              no need to apologize, constructive disagreement welcomed.

              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              a) If door glass pane was in an external door then yes it IS landlord responsibility to fix
              It may be the landlords responsibility to fix it (it appears that he's done so) but if the window was broken by the tenant/family/guests then the cost should still be borne by the tenant.

              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              LL seems to have just sent the COMPLETE bills, without allowing for fair wear 'n tear: So, if repair was to kitchen cupboard door, new door, had an (agreed by all parties) life of 25 years, was 10 years old when replaced & cost £50 then fair proportion of bill would be 10/25 of £50, - £20.
              agreed - in the case of cupboard doors.

              But consider a pane of glass - it should last forever, and there's no such thing as 'a bit broken'. surely in this case a landlord could charge the full amount?

              Comment


                #8
                Um a briefer response from me to OP.

                You think the landlord should be responsible for paying for damage caused by your accidents, stray footballs etc. Wot T F.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We ignored all of these bills believing they were the responsibility of the landlord
                  Well now the time has come for an adjudicator to decide would you wish for some arbitration. However, as other posters, why you would believe these to be the responsibility of the Landlord is hard to understand.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ignoring invoices is a terrible idea.
                    They form a sueable debt when delivered - if you don't agree you should be charged something respond and ask for the invoice to be cancelled - never ignore them.
                    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


                      #11
                      LL may be reqd to repair, you to pay for repair as damage was not caused by LL nor attributable to FW&T. Yes LL should reduce orig invoices to allow for FW&T of orig. He should return any undisputed amount within 10 days. You had opportunity to repair for poss lower cost at time. LL can charge you for a tradesman repair. As a LL I do not allow Ts to repair windows/doors or even redecorate.
                      A debt is recoverable for min 6 years.
                      Accept what LL demands and refer to DPS for ADR. LL may not accept ADR, in which case he would have to sue via SCC.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        if the accident was caused by you then you pay, unless the landlord's insurance covers it. He and/or you should have had insurance cover for glass. You can possibly argue if the glass should have been security glass and wasnt.

                        You owe the landlord interest on the bills, the risk is that the adjudicator will give him that if he requests it.

                        Comment

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