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babnye

Condition To 'leave Property In The Same Condition'

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We're about to move out of our property after six and a half years - got Notice to Quit with minimum notice.

The landlords have told me they are recarpeting and repainting so I assumed that apart from ensuring the kitchen and bathrooms and garden were tidy (and hoovering and a quick wipe around) nothing else would be required.

I spoke to the LA yesterday to try and clarify and he was quite difficult. He told me that things like the extractor fan would need cleaning (inside and out) and the walls all washed down. He suggested we use their professional cleaner to esnure we got our deposit back - spend money to get money back? He said that the landlords were moving back in and although they were painting, they would need the walls cleaned. Mmmm, they offered to sell the house to us behind their back so not sure about the moving back in.

He referred me to the checklist they send out which I hadn't looked at.

I have now and it is outrageous. I am a really tidy and clean person but there is no way someone had cleaned the bath 'free of mildew and water residue' before we moved in. Nor had they 'thoroughly cleaned the oven hood and extractor inside and out'. Nor had they checked and replaced all the lightbulbs!!

I looked at my original contract which simply says that we should return the property 'in the same clean state or condition as they shall be at the commencement of the tenancy'. Although, our tenancy is now a statutory periodic tenancy, I understand that the provisions of the initial lease are applied to it. For the condition of the premises, we must refer to Inventory/Schedule of Plight and Conditions.

The checklist seems to attempt to impose unilaterally definitions of cleanliness and a new standard altogether for departure as it says “although the condition of the property at the move in will be taken into account, as will a degree of fair for wear and tear , the expected standard at move out is set out below”. :angry:

I'm annoyed about this as it seems to me that they are wanting us to meet higher standards than were applied to our move in. I think these checklists after the TDS which does not apply to us.So, I would like to hear what people would advise regarding:

1. Is it right to say our statutory periodic tenancy is till governed by the original lease

2. Do you agree that it is the lease and inventory and not this new checklist which determine the standard departure?

Thanks

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We're about to move out of our property after six and a half years - got Notice to Quit with minimum notice.

The landlords have told me they are recarpeting and repainting so I assumed that apart from ensuring the kitchen and bathrooms and garden were tidy (and hoovering and a quick wipe around) nothing else would be required.

I spoke to the LA yesterday to try and clarify and he was quite difficult. He told me that things like the extractor fan would need cleaning (inside and out) and the walls all washed down. He suggested we use their professional cleaner to esnure we got our deposit back - spend money to get money back? He said that the landlords were moving back in and although they were painting, they would need the walls cleaned. Mmmm, they offered to sell the house to us behind their back so not sure about the moving back in.

He referred me to the checklist they send out which I hadn't looked at.

I have now and it is outrageous. I am a really tidy and clean person but there is no way someone had cleaned the bath 'free of mildew and water residue' before we moved in. Nor had they 'thoroughly cleaned the oven hood and extractor inside and out'. Nor had they checked and replaced all the lightbulbs!!

I looked at my original contract which simply says that we should return the property 'in the same clean state or condition as they shall be at the commencement of the tenancy'. Although, our tenancy is now a statutory periodic tenancy, I understand that the provisions of the initial lease are applied to it. For the condition of the premises, we must refer to Inventory/Schedule of Plight and Conditions.

The checklist seems to attempt to impose unilaterally definitions of cleanliness and a new standard altogether for departure as it says “although the condition of the property at the move in will be taken into account, as will a degree of fair for wear and tear , the expected standard at move out is set out below”. :angry:

I'm annoyed about this as it seems to me that they are wanting us to meet higher standards than were applied to our move in. I think these checklists after the TDS which does not apply to us.So, I would like to hear what people would advise regarding:

1. Is it right to say our statutory periodic tenancy is till governed by the original lease

2. Do you agree that it is the lease and inventory and not this new checklist which determine the standard departure?

Thanks

How much is your deposit? Could you offset your rent against it. You have been in the property for enough time for wear and tear to be a significant factor. Withold final months rent and ask it to be taken out of the deposit, then they would have to chase you for deposit through the courts: the latter is unlikely as it would be a ball ache and they would have to prove the condition of the property when it was let to you.

Edited by flatnose

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A woman walks into a pet shop and asks the shopkeeper for 200 cockroaches and half a dozen brown rats.

"What do you want those for?" asks the shopkeeper.

"My lease is coming to an end and I have to leave the flat in the same condition as when I found it" she replies.

Sorry for the crap joke.

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dont stress - a lot of landlords wont even bother to look at the place after you move out

if they are planning to try and keep your deposit I guarantee they have already decided this in advance and any cleaning up you do will make zero difference

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dont stress - a lot of landlords wont even bother to look at the place after you move out

if they are planning to try and keep your deposit I guarantee they have already decided this in advance and any cleaning up you do will make zero difference

Indeed. Note also that you are *not* responsible for ordinary wear and tear. If you've been in the house six years it's completely unreasonable for them to expect it to be returned to it's original condition, even if it was pristine to start with.

(This bit is very different in Switzerland IIRC: if you rent there an official inspector comes and checks the place before you leave and if it isn't *perfect* they will refuse to release your {large} deposit. But that's not the way things work here in the UK.)

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Indeed. Note also that you are *not* responsible for ordinary wear and tear. If you've been in the house six years it's completely unreasonable for them to expect it to be returned to it's original condition, even if it was pristine to start with.

(This bit is very different in Switzerland IIRC: if you rent there an official inspector comes and checks the place before you leave and if it isn't *perfect* they will refuse to release your {large} deposit. But that's not the way things work here in the UK.)

Well, I had the woman who the LA employ to clean for them around today to quote for a clean and she told me how they do their inspections.

They are clearly looking to find fault. Yes, they expect you to clean the extractor fan and replace the filter. Yes, they expect you to clean all the window frames, remove every sign of mildew. Yes, they expect you to remove all signs of water reisdue from sinks etc!

She showed me how the inventory clerk comes in and runs his/her hand over the front of cupboards to check for any sign of grease and how they run their hands over the tops of door frames to check for dust.

I spent all last night scrubbing and cleaning and today and the woman was still able to point out bits and pieces which would make the inventory clerk say - call in the cleaners!

This is why I'm getting annoyed/upset. This bears no relation to the visual checks which were done in other properties I have rented. They are clearly looking to get some money off the tenant.

It is also outrageous when we were not exposed to the same rigorous checking before we moved in.

I reckon this is all to do with a new system of deposit taking which does not benefit us as it was after we signed the lease.

This seems absolutely draconian and my view is that we cannot be held to standards of cleanliness imposed unilaterally by their check in list which formed no part of the contact. it has crap in it like replacing all the lightbulbs or they will gte a contractor in to do it and charge you! I'm outraged :angry:

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Lesson: Ensure you criticise everything in the property when you amend their inventory, then sign it.

or do what i did and ignore every request for me to sign the inventory...should make it harder to claim off me when I leave (though so far this estate agent seems way more reasonable than the Savills scumbags who ripped me off last time, £50 to replace 2 light bulbs...)

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The thing is, I did mark things down on the inventory but the inventory doesn't even mention things like the state of the extractor fan or light bulbs and I think that cuts both ways.

How can I be obliged to replace either if they can't prove the state of the property at entrance? They will certainly not have gone through a checklist for our move in which was like this

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Thanks. I have written a letter, without prejudice, setting out that I think their checklist is not a contractual obligation and that, if it were, it would be unreasonable as it involves excessive discretion on the LA's part and an element of betterment.

I am not having every little thing argued about as we leave and I will inform the landlords of the nature of my complaint. These people are charlatans and this is bullying practice!

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If something like the state of the extractor is not on the original inventory, then its up to them to prove its in a worse state than it was when you took over, over and above fair wear and tear.

If they cant prove the condition, then they cannot claim.

My LA threatened with all sorts, but our detailed inventory and accompanied checkout ensured all they could suggest was all the deposit returned in full.

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I am a really tidy and clean person but there is no way someone had cleaned the bath 'free of mildew and water residue' before we moved in. Nor had they 'thoroughly cleaned the oven hood and extractor inside and out'. Nor had they checked and replaced all the lightbulbs!!

So in the 6 years you lived there you never cleaned the extractor or the bath ? :unsure:

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It sounds to me as if the aggravation is being caused by the letting agent. Why not contact the owner direct? Invite him to come and see the property and ask him if he thinks it's in an acceptable condition.

From my point of view there is very little love lost between owner and LA. They try and screw both the owner and the tenant. If you need to sue to recover the deposit remember the burden of proof is on the owner to prove that the property is not in the same condition (fair wear and tear excepted) as it was at the start of the tenancy. There is a fair bit of fair wear and tear that could have occurred in the period of your tenancy, nor matter how careful you may be.

In addition you could let the court know how quickly minor repairs were attended to and whether there was any redecoration during your tenure. This would paint (ha, ha excuse the pun) a fuller picture of how well the letting agent or landlord cared for the property.

I still think it is the letting agent that is the cause of your concern.

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So in the 6 years you lived there you never cleaned the extractor or the bath ? :unsure:

Don't be daft! :lol:

This checklist requires the return of a near new property.

The landlords are not entitled to have a property returned in a state better than it was at the commencement of the tenancy and they are not entitled to request the property is restored precisely to the condition it was at the start of the lease as fair wear and tear is allowed. So a 15 year old property which has been used as a family home for the last six years and rented out for two years before that will never be a show home!

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Just to be clear this checklists which demands that tenants comply with it or lose their deposit states:

“although the condition of the property at the move in will be taken into account, as will a degree of fair wear and tear, the expected standard at move out is set out below”. It then goes on to give detailed explanations of how every thing should be left - lightbulbs, no weeds in grass etc etc

It is, therefore, attempting to impose additional obligations over and above those in the contract. This cannot be lawful or enforceable

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Don't be daft! :lol:

This checklist requires the return of a near new property.

The landlords are not entitled to have a property returned in a state better than it was at the commencement of the tenancy and they are not entitled to request the property is restored precisely to the condition it was at the start of the lease as fair wear and tear is allowed. So a 15 year old property which has been used as a family home for the last six years and rented out for two years before that will never be a show home!

the landlord is not entitled to "betterment" which is the legal term a judge used in a case brought against me. I won as the landlord felt that the property should be at least as good as he left it.

He has to account for fair wear and tear and cannot expect the property to be better than first rented.

Lots of case law on this.

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We're about to move out of our property after six and a half years - got Notice to Quit with minimum notice.

I looked at my original contract which simply says that we should return the property 'in the same clean state or condition as they shall be at the commencement of the tenancy'. Although, our tenancy is now a statutory periodic tenancy, I understand that the provisions of the initial lease are applied to it. For the condition of the premises, we must refer to Inventory/Schedule of Plight and Conditions.

I'm annoyed about this as it seems to me that they are wanting us to meet higher standards than were applied to our move in. I think these checklists after the TDS which does not apply to us.So, I would like to hear what people would advise regarding:

1. Is it right to say our statutory periodic tenancy is till governed by the original lease

2. Do you agree that it is the lease and inventory and not this new checklist which determine the standard departure?

Thanks

In another of your posts you mention that you are a lawyer. If so why are you posing these questions?

I would have thought you would know the legal position in relation to the claims which seem to amount to betterment?

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In another of your posts you mention that you are a lawyer. If so why are you posing these questions?

I would have thought you would know the legal position in relation to the claims which seem to amount to betterment?

I am a Solicitor but this is in no way my field which is human rights. I had never heard of betterment and the like! You would not want a dermatologist performing heart surgery on you - silly example but you get my drift!

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience on this site and I was interested in getting people's views and hearing about their experiences to see if it confirmed my reading of the legal situation.

I trust that explains it.

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Well, I had the woman who the LA employ to clean for them around today to quote for a clean and she told me how they do their inspections.

They are clearly looking to find fault. Yes, they expect you to clean the extractor fan and replace the filter. Yes, they expect you to clean all the window frames, remove every sign of mildew. Yes, they expect you to remove all signs of water reisdue from sinks etc!

...

This seems absolutely draconian and my view is that we cannot be held to standards of cleanliness imposed unilaterally by their check in list which formed no part of the contact. it has crap in it like replacing all the lightbulbs or they will gte a contractor in to do it and charge you! I'm outraged :angry:

Yes, it is a scam - backhanders from the cleaning company etc. I expect. I have always left properties in a better state than the (usually filthy) state that they are in when I have moved in, but have invariably run into the sort of scam that is being perpetrated on you at present.

The lesson that Miss D'oh and I learnt from this is on the day you move in you take a digital camera and photograph everything. You go through the inventory and make corrections. You then return a copy of the corrected inventory along with a CD of the photographs. Finally, you get a copy of the CD certified by a JP or solicitor (if you have a friendly one on hand who will do it for free) or send by registered post a sealed copy of the CD to yourself. It is tiresome, especially on moving day, but completely necessary.

You also must ensure that you are with the inventory check person during checkout. Follow them around and photograph any issues they raise. Burn a copy on a CD and note that you have presented this to them on the form. When they present a form for you to sign, initial the end of each hand written paragraph on the form so that they cannot insert anything after you have signed in the usual place. Note that you have done this under your main signature. I learnt this lesson after catching an inventory checker altering the form in her car after I had signed it. Silly b**** shouldn't have done it in her car outside the house whilst I was still there. Boy did she get an earful. I ripped the document from her hands and struck out the additions she made and noted that she had made them on the signed page. Absolute scum. Her behaviour is just the sort of stuff that erodes basic trust and civility in society.

This may sound dreadfully paranoid, but it does stop these scum from ripping you off. Since we have followed this procedure we have had no trouble. Prior to that, every agent we had dealt with "had tried it on." Sadly, it is too costly both financially and emotionally to assume that you will be treated fairly. Not all LLs and LAs are out to rip you off...we have had some great LLs (though never a good LA...hmm?)...but there is a significant portion of them who will do their absolute best to do so, and you have to protect yourself from them. In my experience, they will stop at nothing, including falsifying documents.

Edited by D'oh

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Just to be clear this checklists which demands that tenants comply with it or lose their deposit states:

“although the condition of the property at the move in will be taken into account, as will a degree of fair wear and tear, the expected standard at move out is set out below”. It then goes on to give detailed explanations of how every thing should be left - lightbulbs, no weeds in grass etc etc

It is, therefore, attempting to impose additional obligations over and above those in the contract. This cannot be lawful or enforceable

If it wasn't in the original contract, I cannot see how it can be enforceable. Call their bluff. You are a solicitor. Most of the lawyers I have known can write very polite letters that make it abundantly clear that what is being asked is unreasonable and that it might be costly to the LA if they should try it on...

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Thanks so much for that. It sounds like excellent advice. How awful that this sort of thing should be necessary. Because we have been in the same place for over six years, we have been oblivious to this. Things seem to have changed so much. It used to be just the case of a quick once over to make sure the radiators/cooker had not been nicked. I suppose that's the buy to let boom for you

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Thanks. I have done that. I just wanted to get a general picture of practise and how these things were dealt with. I wonder whetrher these checkout forms are used with new TDS leases in an attempt to ensure landlords can still deduct stuff from deposits. I have never seen anything like it.

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As a matter of tactics, do you think I should raise this with the landlords as well? They are unreliable sh*tbags too so I don't know whether that will help (they would be the ones facing smalls claim court action if it came to that). It might force the LL and LA to take sides. Might the threat of the landlords knowing be more effective as far as the LA is concerned?

God, I've got two kids (6 and 3), one of them has chicken pox, we've been kicked out with minimum statutory notice and face renting again with charlatan LA (their tenancy agreement is even more draconian). Why can't these people just be reasonable?

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or do what i did and ignore every request for me to sign the inventory...should make it harder to claim off me when I leave (though so far this estate agent seems way more reasonable than the Savills scumbags who ripped me off last time, £50 to replace 2 light bulbs...)

No it makes it much easier, if you try to go to court your failure to sign will be taken as agreement with the LL's view and you will be generally viewed as a bit of a timewaster.

Re the OP after 6 and a half years, anything short of deliberate damage should becovered by wear and tear. This includes carpet stains etc as the residual valueof a six + year old carpet is practically nill.

Just make sure you take lots of photos of the clean and tidy flat as you leave, and let the estate agent know that any attempt to withold the deposit will result in you filing court papers for its return (supported by those nice photos of the flat).

Edited by Confusion of VIs

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