Deposit Deductions

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    Deposit Deductions

    Hi all,

    I have simplified an earlier (possibly garbled post) to try and seek advice:

    In a nutshell - can a letting agency make any deposit deductions without advising the tenants of their intentions?
    • 5 year tenancy ended November 20th - rent always paid, no major issues.
    • Letter received from agency on 4th December with potential issues (damage, cleaning etc) that had no specific amount assigned, only "to be quoted". At the bottom of the letter it states "if you have any queries, it is advised that you caontact us swiftly as the above works, if not actioned immediately, could give rise to further claims by landlord".


    I have tried on an almost twice daily basis to speak to the man in charge to obtain clarity as to what amounts could be deducted with no response. No one else can help within the agents office.

    This may be premature with quotes being obtained for the work, but the lack of response, even a courtesy call, is making me think the worse.

    Thanks very much for any advice.
    Ed

    #2
    Originally posted by EduardoBianco View Post
    In a nutshell - can a letting agency make any deposit deductions without advising the tenants of their intentions?
    It depends when you last signed a new contract.

    If it was after April (3rd, I think) then no --- they have to inform you before they can deduct, I think.

    If before, then yes --- as far as I know they have no legal obligation to inform you before making the deductions. Of course, if the deductions are unreasonable you can take them to court to reclaim what you've overpaid.

    Peter

    Comment


      #3
      The lease extension was signed on the 20th April and as it wasn't a new AST, I am led to believe (by the internet) that I won't be covered by the DPS as that only covers new agreements. Unfortunately the extension was really just a letter with the basic information on that the tenants signed. Guess I am going to hav eto play the waiting game.

      Legalities aside, I am furious that no return call has been made to clarify the content of the check-out letter.

      Many thanks for your reply.

      Comment


        #4
        Before DPS, I would write to tenants advsing them of dilapidations and would not give any figures or quotes. This is for two reasons - firstly I dont personally want to be held to a figure that might prove to be inaccurate and secondly if I arrange for a cleaner/decorator etc to visit a property to quote they will likely charge a call out fee for doing so, and I would then have to pass this cost onto the tenant.

        I can understand your agents approach, however not being prepared to talk to you about it is certainly bad practice on their behalf

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks fallenlord.

          I have made it clear to the agency that all I want is clarification on what is happening with my £800. It's four weeks almost to the day since we moved out and I have spent almost two of those weeks trying to get through to the boss to discuss things. He is quite simply screening and not returning my calls.

          There are things listed on the check out letter that need action that are not our responsibility and a lot of them due to the building work undertaken by the landlord that the agency did know about. I have just tried again to speak to him, but he is "very busy" so I am composing a letter.

          The last thing I want is to have to start going down the small claims court if we have massive disagreements with what is taken from our deposit. I can feel a whole new thread coming on!!

          Thanks again.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by EduardoBianco View Post
            The lease extension was signed on the 20th April and as it wasn't a new AST, I am led to believe (by the internet) that I won't be covered by the DPS as that only covers new agreements. Unfortunately the extension was really just a letter with the basic information on that the tenants signed.
            I'm not convinced that a new agreement wasn't formed when you signed the extension. When did the old agreement expire?

            I'm not really an expert but I'm inclined to think that what you call an extension may in reality have been a new fixed-term AST...but I'm sure other people will confirm or otherwise.

            Peter

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by pcwilkins View Post
              I'm not convinced that a new agreement wasn't formed when you signed the extension. When did the old agreement expire?

              I'm not really an expert but I'm inclined to think that what you call an extension may in reality have been a new fixed-term AST...but I'm sure other people will confirm or otherwise.

              Peter
              I think it was called a flexi lease that we had to sign in April. Basically, we had a new housemate move in in April so we had to sign a new form with his name on. It will be hard to get old copies of any correspondence as the three of us have all gone our separate ways so I hope the above is of some use?? Do let me know if not.

              Thanks again.

              Comment


                #8
                And of course, there is the question that no-one has yet asked - was an inventory prepared at the beginning of the tenancy and did you sign it, and has it been updated with the bits of work that have been done during the tenancy and have you signed any updates?

                Without a way to PROVE that you have caused damage over and above fair wear and tear, the landlord would have great difficulty getting judgment to say he can hold onto your money.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by EduardoBianco View Post
                  I think it was called a flexi lease that we had to sign in April. Basically, we had a new housemate move in in April so we had to sign a new form with his name on. It will be hard to get old copies of any correspondence as the three of us have all gone our separate ways so I hope the above is of some use?? Do let me know if not.
                  I've never heard of a flexi-lease. Have you got a copy of what you actually signed on the 20th April, and what does it say?

                  Peter

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                    And of course, there is the question that no-one has yet asked - was an inventory prepared at the beginning of the tenancy and did you sign it, and has it been updated with the bits of work that have been done during the tenancy and have you signed any updates?

                    Without a way to PROVE that you have caused damage over and above fair wear and tear, the landlord would have great difficulty getting judgment to say he can hold onto your money.
                    An inventory was compiled and signed, but it has not been updated in the five years we lived there. This is an interesting point which I appreciate you raising. I shall add it to my folder of documents etc. Every window in the house has been replaced and at the time of moving out we took photos of all the surrounding walls where wallpaper was hanging off due to the work. None of this has been officially documented as the landlord who lived next door did this off his own back without the agency knowing. Some of the things we take ownership for such as a couple of carpet stains but these are inevitable over 5 years and we're happy to pay. It's the zero communication that is making me fear the worst!

                    Thanks again.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If the carpet has been down for 5 years and it wasn't new when you moved in, then you won't be looking at having much compensation to pay, even if you'd trashed the thing completely. A landlord cannot expect betterment from their tenants' deposits, and no court will allow it either.

                      If you don't get your money back PDQ, then I suggest you write in more forceful terms asking the agent to give it back. All of it. Every last penny.

                      As your inventory is 5 years old and a lot has been done to the property since you moved in, it won't be a lot of use as evidence of what condition things should be returned in. For example, if the landlord has damaged the walls around the windows himself during your tenancy, then obviously you are not responsible for footing the bill to make good. Similarly, if the walls were very scruffy when you moved in but the landlord painted them last month, then he would expect the walls to be in a good condition, not just the same as they were when you moved in.

                      Cleaning, on the other hand, is something that should be on-going. If the place was clean when you moved in (as in, skirting boards not covered in dust, no fingerprints all over the light switches, curtains freshly laundered) then that's how it should be at the end of your tenancy, so it is obviously your responsibility to make sure it's as clean at the end as it was in the beginning. Do be aware that getting professional cleaners in can be VERY expensive, so I hope you did the necessary when you moved out.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I can sympathise with your situation entirely.My daughter is also trying desperately to get her deposit back for the same amount £800.she was charged this amount because she had cats and included in this sum is a £50 "cat clause" which is returned to the tenant after a 2 month period has elapsed from when they vacate the property.
                        A very small amount of damage was done by the cats in the almost 3 years of her tenancy.To be absolutely sure that her deposit would be returned to her with absolutely no quibble she replaced the carpet with new same quality and colour. The area renewed was entrance hall,lounge and landing as the house is the open plan variety and could'nt just replace lounge where the small amount of damage was done.The original carpet was far removed from new.She also had one bedroom professionally redecorated for small amount of damage and also put new curtains in the main bedroom for a small tear in one curtain.Garden has always been kept perfectly manicured as daughter enjoys gardening.Her tenancy officially ended 21st Nov but inspection by LL and LA were carried out..both delighted..and the keys were handed back to LA 8th Nov ,thereby giving them 12 days rent in their hand and early posession of their property.
                        ALL THIS and she cannot get that £800 back.So she will have to seek a small claims court judgement against them...perhaps that will concentrate their minds a little.The very snobby landlady says there is nothing more that she or the landlord can do about it and that we should'nt be bothering them :confused with it.I corrected her..informing her that deposits are absolutely the LL responsiblity.She disagreed and hung up on me.
                        Good luck in your quest!!

                        Comment

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