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TheEmperorHasNoClothes

Landlady Might Keep Deposit - What Can I Do?

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Hi All

Some advice needed - I will also be talking to the citizens advice bureau but also wanted to see what HPC-ers think especially those who have been in the same boat.

Here are the facts:

  • I moved in to my current place in Feb 2010
  • I am renting a room in a house which the Landlady also lives, so I am lodging
  • She has a month's rent as deposit
  • I am on my last month and I am fully paid up on rent
  • In that time I have made no damage and been an excellent tennant in my opinion
  • She has made many negative remarks about my "not following the rules" e.g. what she describes as "slamming doors" which most people would call "pulling a door to" i.e. allowing it to click. And using the washing machine at 7:30am when everyone is awake anyway
  • She has sent me angry text messages over the months about things such as using the phone late at night. She also makes noise late at night and stomps alot which I can hear through the floorboards
  • I consider her behaviour harrasment but have put up with it knowing that I wont be there for long etc. and wanted to "keep the peace" so played it all very diplomatically. Other's would have probably screamed at her by now.
  • A month ago she game 2 months notice as she wants to sell the house
  • I have found a place to live, and now it is the last month. Just paid the rent for this month probably came out yesterday.
  • Last night she sends a message saying she will hold my deposit if I don't keep to the terms of the contract. I haven't broke any of the terms so not sure what she means. She wouldn't clarify.
  • I replied saying I wouldn't stand for that, and would take court action if necessary.
  • She uses text messages alot for harassment and I usually reply because I can't be bothered talking to her. She is impossible to talk to she has a very bad attitude, a chip on her shoulder and a proverbial broom up her ****. (Sorry I said I would stick to facts, but hey just giving you an impression of who I am dealing with before anyone talks about a "talk to her nicely" solution to this).
  • Additional harassment was to keep the heating off in April. When I asked her to turn it on she said she'd think about it and it has been on for about 2 hours in the last month. She has the keys to the boiler controls.
    My room reverted to the average outside temperature, was 10 degrees Celsius. There is a rule in the contract saying I can't use a heater. As a result I needed to dress in thermal clothes I use for skiing to be comfortable in the room. "Guantanamo Bay" springs to mind when I think of this.

So the question is what can I do to leverage her to give me the money back?

Would I go via the small claims system?

Can I keep her keys until I get the deposit back? Or will that look bad on my part if it goes to court?

Also I could say to her "Well I hope you are filing a tax return on your rental income above the rent-a-room scheme limit of £4250 and that you have registered with the rent a room scheme, there is a number I can call to make sure they are aware..."

<_<

I want to keep inside the law on this one, although I could have a lot of fun if I decided not to have that restriction :P

Edited by TheEmperorHasNoClothes

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Stay inside the law.

Simple sue her in the small claims court for the return of your deposit.

Keep a record of anything useful - text messages etc that show she has been unreasonable.

Keep your cool - life's too short to let arseholes make a nuisance of themselves.

I assume you have some sort of written tenancy agreement? When you lodge, does she have to keep the deposit in a separate account?

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£400

this is one of the downsides of renting, moving about can be costly when you get fleeced

is getting it back worth £400 worth of effort?

you're certainly entitled to it, do you have a signed contract? photos of how you have left the house? proof etc?

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If you wanted to be a ******* and are absolutely sure you are in the right, you could sue her in the county court. The minute she gets the summons, she won't be able to pay you fast enough. She'll have to pay the court fee too.

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[*]Additional harassment was to keep the heating off in April. When I asked her to turn it on she said she'd think about it and it has been on for about 2 hours in the last month. She has the keys to the boiler controls.

I was with you until you said that. Anyone who uses heating in April (other than for a diagnosed medical condition) should be charged a £100-per-day premium for massive waste.

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Firstly: Be happy you are not her! She sounds miserable and in debt. You are going to have a much better life.

Would suggest the Shelter helpline for advice.

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Yeah small claims. Easy to do it online

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/claims/index.htm

When you move out tell her legally she has ten days to return deposit after which you'll be taking out a small claim and then she'll be liable for legal costs too. She won't know what that means of course, and will imagine it will be thousands (of course it's a very small amount in reality.) Cheque will be forthcoming.

Make sure there isn't an inventory from when you moved in. If there is, she has to itemise the damage and the cost of repair. Normally this is done through an independent surveyor.

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We had similar when my missus moved out of a shared house. LL said he was keeping everyone's deposit due to carpet damage in one of the other's bedroom. Phone calls etc resulted in unreturned messages or excuses, etc. Went on for a few weeks.

So we popped in to the small claims court and enquired - they gave us a leaflet that explained what to do. Basically, write a letter to her. There was a sample letter on the leaflet. We sent a recorded letter to the LL pointing at that a deposit of £xxx had been paid and that this was now due to be returned. We stated that if we did receive the deposit in full within 2 weeks of the date of the letter then we would take him to the small claims court.

Cheque for full amount received by return of post.

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Divorce her, she sounds like a nightmare.

LOL!

Tell her you'll send her lender a copy of the lodging agreement - she's probably in breach of her mortgage conditions. If she thinks that might screw up the sale, you'll get your money pronto.

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I was with you until you said that. Anyone who uses heating in April (other than for a diagnosed medical condition) should be charged a £100-per-day premium for massive waste.

I've got my thermostat up to 27 just now :unsure:

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Small claim court seems the way forwards. I had to go down that route with my last tenancy, sent a letter before action giving a deadline to pay and heard nothing, sent a second re-iterating it and they paid up. I think that usually the landlord caves in before it even gets to court.

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I was with you until you said that. Anyone who uses heating in April (other than for a diagnosed medical condition) should be charged a £100-per-day premium for massive waste.

This year I had to keep my heating on until the middle of May.

I didn't do this by choice, if I didn't the temperature in the house was as low as 14 degrees.

(and FWIW it was 18 degrees two days ago).

tim

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Thanks for all your support and the replies. Good to talk to other renters who know what I am going through. Man it's good to hear some comments. I have supportive friends but unless you've been though it it's hard to understand.

The small claims seems the way to go, and is what I was envisaging. I feel like being angry at her, shouting etc., but I think I will stick to "assertive" as I want to be the "good guy" should this go to court.

Yes it does sound a lot like divorce! Coincidentally she got a lot more horrid towards me after I got a girlfriend, I hope it wasn't jealousy :blink:

As for the heating - I am environmental and non-wasteful, but this is an old and poorly insulated house (I'm no expert put probably doesn't have cavity walls) and the room temperature reverts to the average outside temperature day/night, which in April was pretty cold, and not comfortable to for example sit at my computer and do work. Since I was paying (all inclusive) for heating I expect to get it!!

My plan is to stick with what I said about going to court. I will give her a time-frame for return of the deposit, with follow up actions that I will perform if she doesn't return it, such as the small claims process. It could get personal but in 30 days time I'm out and I can enjoy seeing how many seasons her house will remain for sale on rightmove. She want's a detached price for a semi with a shared drive.

Also it is the last time I lodge in my life (I would rather stay in a caravan than have some nazi try to control my life) and I warn anyone else no matter how nice it may seem and yeah you might save a few quid compared to other ways of renting. IT REALLY SUCKS!.

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This is what sucks about renting due to high house prices. All the hassle of dealing with landlords, deposits, living to their rules. I have nothing but contempt for the current system. Why is it that for the property I'm renting the monthly price I pay is almost 1/2 what it would cost if I was to buy it. It should be more expensive to rent as the landlord is responsible for insurance and maintenance.

I was wondering why you are not in an AST? We have had these for all the times we have rented. It is a legal obligation for the landlord to put the deposit in a third-party scheme for cases like these. At least your money will be safe as you both agree the amount to deduct. (Every time we have moved out the landord / letting agent tries to rip you off as much as possible - FACT! )

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This is what sucks about renting due to high house prices. All the hassle of dealing with landlords, deposits, living to their rules. I have nothing but contempt for the current system. Why is it that for the property I'm renting the monthly price I pay is almost 1/2 what it would cost if I was to buy it. It should be more expensive to rent as the landlord is responsible for insurance and maintenance.

I was wondering why you are not in an AST? We have had these for all the times we have rented. It is a legal obligation for the landlord to put the deposit in a third-party scheme for cases like these. At least your money will be safe as you both agree the amount to deduct. (Every time we have moved out the landord / letting agent tries to rip you off as much as possible - FACT! )

Its a slightly different case here as its lodging, rather than normal renting. The landlord has far more right than in a normal AST as it their home as well. This can be a major pain in the **** depending on the landlord.

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This is what sucks about renting due to high house prices. All the hassle of dealing with landlords, deposits, living to their rules. I have nothing but contempt for the current system. Why is it that for the property I'm renting the monthly price I pay is almost 1/2 what it would cost if I was to buy it. It should be more expensive to rent as the landlord is responsible for insurance and maintenance.

I was wondering why you are not in an AST?

Because he's a lodger.

The legal term for this type of occupancy is "Licence"

tim

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Also it is the last time I lodge in my life (I would rather stay in a caravan than have some nazi try to control my life) and I warn anyone else no matter how nice it may seem and yeah you might save a few quid compared to other ways of renting. IT REALLY SUCKS!.

It doesn't have to be bad. In my youth I had a mixture of shared places, ranging from nightmare through to perfectly acceptable. Of course it depends on you as well as your landlord, and a good start is someone who is going to treat you as an equal around the house.

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What a dumb bitch, it sounds like she couldn't live with anyone. No doubt, she is a greedy baby boomer who wants more cash.

I've lived with others and still do and generally I like to keep the peace and being careful with doors and the like. But sounds to me like she has cr@ppy doors that always make a noise.

Using the washer at 730am? Come on mate, that's an ungodly hour to use the damn machine!

btw I hate people who love the cold and are too cheap to use enough heat.

Personally I would fulfil the contract. Remember, us renters are chained to our references. If you have to go small claims, fair enough.

I wonder what she is storing up to spring on you. You can't hold back a deposit because "rules were broken". There has to be damage or something similar, she cannot "deduct 200 quid for slamming doors" lol!

Let us know what happens.

PS personally I could NEVER be a lodger. I hate it as it is when landlords like to pop around once a week or whatever. Imagine LIVING with your landlord :o:o:o

Edited by rolf

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PS personally I could NEVER be a lodger. I hate it as it is when landlords like to pop around once a week or whatever. Imagine LIVING with your landlord :o:o:o

I was lucky. I've been a lodger once (though lived on the the same property as my landlord on another occasion), and it was my best rental experience by far. We still get on and my landlady was one of the few non-family members invited to my wedding.

I expect my experience is rather rare though. Heard some right horror stories.

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I expect my experience is rather rare though. Heard some right horror stories.

Indeed. It may have something to do with LL's of old regarding lodgers as interesting people whom they invited in for lodgings in order to brighten/spice up their lives a bit. Nowadays I suspect many people are having to take on a lodger against their wishes just to afford the exorbitant cost of housing, hence the resentment ala OP.

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I've sued in the small claims court a number of times. Its very easy. DO IT. If she contests it she has to appear in court. Very few people bother to do so (even if they are in the right). Most just pay up. If you win and she doesn't pay then go for an enforcement order - again very very easy. She will then have a CCJ and world of sh1t to contend with. The 400 notes is the easy option for her.

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