Withholding deposit due lack of documents or the flat's run-down condition

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    Withholding deposit due lack of documents or the flat's run-down condition

    Dear forum members,

    I have recently signed a lease agreement in Scotland but the landlord has not served either: Easy-read notes for the Scottish Government model tenancy agreement' or the 'Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’. I am not very happy as of now. Here is why:

    I have paid the rent, however, for now, withheld the deposit equal to the one month’s rent. Here are the reasons - the landlord has not provided an inventory of any kind. The general condition of the flat is run-down, or downright dilapidated. The landlord seems to be a very lovely person, however extremely disorganised to the point of not caring. He offered, upon my suggestion that the deposit doesn’t reflect the value of the property, to have someone to clean the flat but I don’t think it doesn’t do the justice regarding the rent cost, which is, in my view, way too much (I agreed because the market in the university town was very much skewed due to extreme demand but I was just given a quick tour and was focused on the conversation, and quite likely not in a position to negotiate due to demand).

    The whole flat is very dirty, kitchen, hall, fridge smell bad of cooked and spoiled food. The kitchenette is windowless, and I suspect the fun extractor hasn’t been doing its job for years. There is plenty cat’s fur everywhere (keeps accumulating on my and the other tenant’s clothes and possessions), both on furniture and the floor. Many landlord’s items in the flat, including bike in the hall, clothes, food in a fridge, and other possessions, including many drawers stuffed with a variety of items.

    All the surfaces covered in dirt and dust, all window panes and frames dirty, smeared and dirty all doors that can be moved to the closed position with locks only (which are old). Half the lamps either don’t have a working bulb or are broken. Two out of three halogen lights in a bathroom not working. Bathrooms electric shower very noisy, not working (although hot water runs from the boiler). Outside the other (there are two of us) tenant’s window, a huge, unkempt shrub making little daylight coming through. Every door has locks, the other tenant locked himself accidentally out, there was no key to the lock in the flat, apparently it is lost, he had to go back around the garden and through the window in. My lock appears broken but has keys. The intercom’s body fell apart upon reaching for the receiver.

    Front door’s handle is missing, in the living room wobbly tables, wobbly old chairs, couch has some tears, assuming from a cat, dirty mattress behind it, dirty tables, tired carpet all covered in dust and fur, requiring wet cleaning or replacing.

    In my room very old, some hundred years old, impractical to operate chest (of course, the top is dirty) of drawers in my room, however reasonable mattress and bed frame, wobbly lamp but that’s all the items. Pulled the old curtain to get some daylight, it fell off. Last night a CO detector woke me up in the middle of the night as the battery ran out. Apparently there is a an air bubble in the pipes and requires fiddling with the taps to get the water running in the shower. I could have written a few more paragraphs but you get the picture. The only items that have any reasonable worth are the fridge, the washing machine, the boiler and the hob. Everything else is very old or on the verge of falling apart. I wouldn’t invite anybody of my friends, let alone a partner or family, it is so filthy (at least for me).

    Given the above, meaning, not having served either the model tenancy agreement or Supporting notes, not being served inventory notes establishing the factual state of the property, which is a very run-down property overall, can I stand some grounds to either withhold a deposit due it not reflecting the true value of the items and/or by the fact I may not get the deposit back because the landlord would “forget” how bad it was on the first day of the lease?

    k.

    #2
    I remember a few years ago Shelter had an app to create your own inventory. If I were you I would create an inventory and send it to the landlord as evidence of the condition of the house at move in. If you are not happy then you have the option of giving 28 days notice and finding somewhere else. I don't think withholding rent or deposit is the way to go.

    Comment


      #3
      Take LOADS of photos, high quality, date & time-stamped, inside & out of property. Ide\ally with a witness: Keep them, then when you leave you have evidence to argue about deposit.

      Appreciate landlord is not doing things right but withholding deposit by you ain;t right either, if signed tenancy says you paid. But in your shoes I'd not pay deposit

      You say "My room". Is that in a property with landlord living there also?
      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


        #4
        @ Sandi - I think I may go with your option - pay the deposit but keep looking for a new flat and serve the 28 days notice, as soon as I find another property to move in. The question is how to make sure I will get back the deposit in full? I think theartfullodger's suggestion is spot on.

        @ theartfullodger - No, landlord lives in another city (though he mentioned he might pop in for a few days around Christmas).

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, it is a PRT but landlord obviously doesn't know what he's doing.

          You'll probably need help - call Shelter Scotland 0808 800 4444 when needed.

          Slàinte mhath!
          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
            Talked to the landlord for an hour, he wouldn't make any concessions (small rent discount or a one-off £100 discount, say, so I could get a reasonable, a second-hand, working chest of drawers, though he considered it when I pressed him), happy to let the cleaners clean the flat, but all the issues I mentioned above are for him a minor issues and "didn't bother him when he lived there" (but he didn't pay £400 to live there, did he?). Played down the inventory, argued he always returned it in full, and a majority of my qualms where "no biggie". He said I'm free to move out and don't have to stay, which is correct - the question, however, I have, is this:

            Can the landlord serve eviction to me for "just for the sake of it"? I think not really, but don't know the legal framework that much to be certain what he can and can't do.

            I don't know how long will it take me to find a new place, be it 28 or 56 days, it's a university town with a tough market. I haven't, as of today, paid up the deposit but in principle can wire it today, though would much prefer to have the inventory of what is working and broken beforehand.

            ,.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ksbms View Post
              ....

              Can the landlord serve eviction to me for "just for the sake of it"? I think not really, but don't know the legal framework that much to be certain what he can and can't do.....

              ,.
              No: That's the main difference with PRT.
              Landlord has to have a reason (no rent being paid, wants to sell, wants to live there etc..)

              Sounds like he doesn't understand the system
              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

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