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lampkin

Deposit Withheld

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Hi,

I rented last year in manchester through a firm called Opal estates (the biggest bunch of idiots that exist on this planet).

Anyway, when we moved in we went over the house and updated their very incorrect inventory of the house. They took a copy of this. We also got them to send out someone to fix all the faults.

We have had tons of problems with them. For instance, one time they took the rent from my sister twice and not from myself. After going in about 10 times trying to sort it out i said i wouldnt care about the whole mess if they got the deposits back quickly when the contracts end.

My girlfriend phones up a few weeks after moving out asking where it is and is fobbed off with "it can take up to 4 weeks". She then phones up again a week or so later and is told the deposits are pending due to damage to one of the doors (hence the first guy lied to her). They marked this door as "good" on the inventory, but next to it we have written on the inventory that it was hanging off its hinges. Whats more annoying is we actually told them to fix that door specifically when we moved in only to be told the land lady wasnt prepared to pay for the price of a new frame and door.

I then phone up and the agency guy says something along the lines of "the land lady owns the house and is withholding the rent and i will phone her up for you". That was yesterday, he never got back. I then phoned up again only to be told that the person who deals with it all has been away and will be back next week. I asked her how long this will take, "err, err i dont know". I push it and ask more specifically "4 weeks once it is put through". At this point i had to get off the phone to save myself screaming at her.

Where do i stand with all this? why do i constantly have to wait for them? I am thinking of legal action and would like damages for lost time and money but i dont have records of conversations and by the time it got to court i imagine 4 weeks would be long gone.

Any ideas?

Seb

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Guest magnoliawalls

I am no expert but would suggest that

1. You should seek advice from Shelter, CAB and/or any local organisations.

2. When dealing with agencies it helps to put absolutely everything in writing with a copy to the landlady.

Incidentally I have been waiting a month to get a deposit back through an agency :angry:

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According to trading standards the agency are not allowed to withhold deposits without a reason so from what i can gather they are breaking the law in this case. They didnt contact us to tell us they were withholding the rent and their reason for doing so isnt valid.

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Guest Guy_Montag

You could write to your local councillor. In fact the latter might be better, ask them to get in touch with the agency on your behalf to explain why they are withholding your money.

I know that my Dad did this on my behalf after I moved abroad, (the Landlord knew I was going & put me off until I left, I only had a couple of month's notice I was going) - he paid after getting a letter from his councillor - after all the last thing he wanted was the council taking an interest in his business.

Really you should have insisted that the door was fixed - easy for me to say, I'm crap at doing that sort of thing. The place I live would fail all sorts of health & safety tests, but I still live there.

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The agency are holding the deposit, right? If that's the case, write to them saying you have moved out and want your deposit within 2 weeks or you will be taking legal action to recover it through the small claims court. That should make them shift their bums. If you are a student or on an income under about 14k you can get a rebate of the court fees so it won't cost you anything. otherwise it qwill be about £80. Send the letter registered post and label it 'letter of notice before action' (the courts like to see you have given them a chance to cough up). if it goes to court and they dispute paying everything back to you, there will be a hearing in front of a court officer who will decide the matter based on the evidence. Good luck

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Heh, well the letter sort of worked..We got a response saying we would get our deposits back in 7 days, which we did. It turns out they then took off £12.50 from all 4 of us for cleaning! At this point my eye started twitching whilst i was speaking to them, i was totally outraged.

I guess my next plan is to write another letter saying i want a breakdown and reciepts of exactly what was cleaned. Pointing out that they have no broken the law on two counts, firstly withholding deposits without reason and now taking money for what could be considered general ware and tare (the house was totally spotless when we moved out, cleaner than when we moved in).

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Do Opal rent a lot of flatss to students...if so you could try the local student union or try and get a letter in the student newspaper...this should put a few students off renting with them and may prompt a reply that 'it was all a mistake that has now been sorted out'

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Do Opal rent a lot of flatss to students...if so you could try the local student union or try and get a letter in the student newspaper...this should put a few students off renting with them and may prompt a reply that 'it was all a mistake that has now been sorted out'

Yes they do. Lots for manchester i believe, that sounds like a good idea. I know a few student letting agencies have been discredited by the unions because of such things.

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Yes they do.  Lots for manchester i believe, that sounds like a good idea.  I know a few student letting agencies have been discredited by the unions because of such things.

they have been there for years - think they were operating when I was there eons (well, 10 years) ago. Hopefully that means they will value their reputation. Glad you got a good response to your letter!

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they have been there for years - think they were operating when I was there eons (well, 10 years) ago. Hopefully that means they will value their reputation. Glad you got a good response to your letter!

Yeh its a shame it takes so much effort to get a response. They clearly have inside communications problems. When i first went in about 4-5 months back i said the important thing was that i got the deposit back on time and fully...they clearly listened.

I would say my girlfriend or I rang them at least 10 times and we went into the agency at least 10 times trying to resolve this problem with them. A real bunch of monkeys! I told them i was sick of doing their job for them and the women actually recognised me, unlucky for her.

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I've rented 3 times now, and the landlords or agencies always take the p*** with the bond. So this time, and this has been my 2nd worst home so far, with things not being fixed, and us being blamed for breaking things outside of our control, so this time, i've kept my last months rent back. One months rent happens to be the same as the bond, which is nice. I don't mean to be nasty about it, but this gives me the edge in negotiations for charges against my bond, anything they want to 'spend' on the house, like £200 cleaners they have to ask me for it!

On the cleaners front, I did get a letter from the agency stating if any 1 thing is in need of cleaning, they approve a full house clean from the cleaners, this seems very mean to me, when they could just ask you to come back and fix/clean the mess you left. I've moved out before, 4 of us cleaned the place spotless, and the landlord charged me for cleaners!

I know tennants have the most rights, but its only any use if your prepared to go though the courts, and for 100-200 quid that they may 'justify' charging you it seems a lot of hassle. No this time I'm keeping my bond before I move out.

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Ive used opal in manchester before...IMHO a notoriously disorganised bunch of money grabbers. The best way to deal with them is to persist in hounding after your deposit..repeated phonecalls etc...eventually they will tire and refund it to you...keep yer' chin up

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Guest Guy_Montag

When I was a student, it was so unusual to get your desposit back - regardless of the state of the flat, I & many others never paid the last month's rent.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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