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jamesjg

Think I'm Being Shafted... ?

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Hello everyone! I've left left my first (and hopefully only?) rented property recently.

I will fully admit right now, I didn't leave the flat in the best of conditions, the floor in the living room needed to be cleaned and I'd ended up having to leave quit a bit of canned goods in the kitchen, which was still well within best before date.

However, I'll give you all a little background reading.

I first phoned the LA to arrange a viewing, all fine. Day before the viewing the LA called and said there was water damage to the bedroom, but did I still want to see it - yes.

LA assured me that the water damage to the bedroom would be fixed before I took tenancy.

I took tenancy of the flat on 21st December 2009, the contract was for SIX calendar months.. The water damage had not been fixed, but would be within a few weeks.

A few weeks pass, the LA register my deposit on 09th January 2010, otherwise I hear nothing. Eventually the LL visits, and admitted the flat had been let in a bad condition, that nothing had been "professionally" cleaned after the last tenants.

I then showed the LL the condition that the dinnerware and cutlery was in - a think layer of grime had coated everything, so I went and bought new everything.

The LL, that same day, went to a local store and purchased new blinds and curtains, to replace the current ones, but decided that the entire flat needed to be re-done (paint, floor etc.), which required us to vacate the property entirely for roughly a week or two. The LL also decided that he would be replacing the sofa, or maybe just turning the property into an unfurnished flat.

Time came and went, then all of a sudden I receive a phone call from the LA saying that I have THREE DAYS to completely vacate the property (moving all of my stuff out, too!), and that I won't be charged for the time it'll take to redecorate the flat. I refuse to displace myself on such short notice, and offer to surrender the contract early, nope. So nothing was ever done about the water damage to the ceiling and floor of the bedroom.

Finally I got around to finding a new place to live, and I inquired about surrendering the contract early, the LA said I could leave a month early - great - until I hand in my notice and they'd never said that, apparently. So I inform them that I need to seek legal advice, and I'll withhold rent until I am done, I then showed proof that I did still have possession of the rent money, and wasn't doing a runner, after which I paid the rent in full.

I'm finally out, and I received an email from DPS to inform me that the LA have made an offer in regards to returning my deposit (SIX WEEKS, £787.50), and they want to keep £605.00! I finally have a letter which states the following charges:

REMINDERS IN CHASING RENT ARREARS. £150

- The contract states that a "reasonable fee" of £25 per LETTER be charged in regards to late payments of rent.

- I received two letters.

REMOVAL OF RUBBISH LEFT IN THE PROPERTY. £150

- Apparently, all the tinned food which was still good had to be thrown out. Maybe so, but £150 is a bit much.

- The LA also threw out everything I had bought to replace the old tenants; kettle, toaster, microwave, dinnerware and cutlery. They described it as "unwanted", yet I rented the property with all of these items in the flat when I moved in!

PROFESSIONAL CLEAN OF SOFA AND CURTAINS. £100

- Yes, the same sofa and curtains that the LL is replacing.

PROFESSIONAL CLEANING OF PROPERTY. £150

- I just don't understand this; the entire property is being ripped out and redecorated, including all the flooring.

LOCKS CHANGED ON FRONT DOOR. £55.00

- Again, why? I returned both sets of keys.

The advice I've been given so far is to:

a:) Decline the offers from DPS.

b:) Charge the LA for everything of my property they've thrown out and not left for the next tenants (toaster, kettle etc., amounting to approximately £300).

c:) Inform the LA that I will be contacting my solicitors.

But I was wondering if any of you have some more advice I can use before, after or during these steps?

Thanks a lot,

James.

Edited by jamesjg

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The advice I've been given so far is to:

a:) Decline the offers from DPS.

b:) Charge the LA for everything of my property they've thrown out and not left for the next tenants (toaster, kettle etc., amounting to approximately £300).

c:) Inform the LA that I will be contacting my solicitors.

But I was wondering if any of you have some more advice I can use before, after or during these steps?

Thanks a lot,

James.

a) if you have the evidence to suggest that the deduction is unjustified then do so.

B) you have no chance of winning this.

c) They wont care if you do. If you are going to contest the deductions it is of no concern to the agency whether you do it yourself or engage a solicitor to do so.

Why don't you just follow up the TDS process in the "normal" way.

Some of the deductions seem entirley unreasonable (the keys) and others overpriced (removal of rubbish). On this issue of the tins you really shouldn't have left these. There is no way that an agency can expect someone to move into a property with the previous tenant's food still there. Even if you think that it's OK they have no way of knowing this. They are right to charge for clearing it (though 150 seems well OTT).

tim

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I've taken a similar case to the small claims court and won. The judge who looked at my claim would ask your Landlord for receipts, for example removing the tins, and asking why it had to be done. Every flat I have moved into has at least a bottle of Worcester sauce and often joke that no one ever needs to buy one when renting.

You had a dispute with your LL over rent and it could be argued that the charges for letters were unreasonable. You were misled over the water damage and this was a genuine dispute. It sounds like something has put you on the "wrong foot" and maybe you need to rebalance and stop blaming yourself.

The case hinges on what proof you have and what proof the LL has.

You need to document proof and if that means just a list of dates/times and what was said, then so be it.

My LL could not come up with receipts to prove her ridiculous deductions and so the case went against her. It may be the same for you.

I found that the small claims court, which I have used against several Landlords, takes a dim view of deductions and the burden of proof has been on the Landlord. You don't need to provide proof, they do.

You don't need solicitors. A series of letters telling the LL what you intend to do and then open a claim on line. Ask for proof and receipts.

I've not worked through the TDS arbitration process so that may be the way to go first.

Edited by Flopsy

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Well, I managed to find my landlords phone number, so I'm currently in direct communication with him, who is going to talk to the letting agents tomorrow, apparently they aren't informing him of what's happening.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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