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MacGuffin

Yet Another Tenancy Deposit Dispute

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Ugh, here we go.

I moved out of a rented flat about a week ago. The inventory was done on the final afternoon. The person from the letting agency who did the inventory said he would have to charge for a few marks to the wall (the usual marks you get with cheap eggshell paint; if you so much as breathe heavily in the direction of the that stuff, it results in a mark). To be perfectly honest, about 3 or 4 of themarks were indeed caused by me, but they are very minor (they barely show up through a camera lens, for example). I have certainly rented flats with walls that were in worse condition at the start of the tenancy.

The rest of the marks were already there at the start of the tenancy. The person who did the check in inventory 18 months ago said he would get it sorted quickly, so it didn't get put on the inventory (I know, very dumb and trusting of me). That person is long gone, and they wouldn't remember anyway.

So now the agency has said approx £250 will be retained for repainting. They have said they will not return any of the deposit (over £2000) until this deduction is agreed. I immediately fired back an email saying the law says only the disputed amount could be retained during the dispute resolution process, which I intend to start with the TDS immediately. I requested the immediate return of the rest of the deposit. I said I'd be in touch very soon with the details of the dispute resolution.

A few questions:

1) Do I have the right to be allowed to re-enter the flat to take photos of the marks, to show how minor they are? (my phone camera wasn't working properly on the day of the checkout)

2) Will any credence be given by the TDS to two witness statements from people who helped me move in, that marks were already on the walls at the start of the tenancy?

3) Given that I was in the flat for 18 months (a fairly long tenancy, I would say) is there any scope for arguing that the minor touch-ups the landlord says are required could be considered (at least partially) as fair wear-and-tear? We all know how that cheap eggshell paint marks easily if furniture touches it.

4) Am I right to demand the return of the undisputed part of the tenancy deposit? If they don't return the undisputed amount within the next 10 days, how do I force them to give it back? Would that be a separate claim in the small claim court, or would the tenancy deposit scheme be the ones to order them to do it? How do I stop the agency from now submitting a grossly-inflated spurious counterclaim that places ALL of the deposit in so-called dispute?

5) Any other advice welcome, but I'd be grateful for any views on the four questions above

I know £250 is not a huge amount, but I hate being ripped off by landlords.

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This sounds like a similar dispute that I had. It was resolved by the small claims court and the adjudicator was scathing about this LL's attempt to rip me off. Small marks after 18 months is considered "normal wear and tear". Mine were after 1 year in that case.

They may have no intention of painting the flat and they are relying on this blackmail to stop you chasing them. Because a much larger amount is held and because they know many tenants need the money when they move (to cover new deposits etc), then they try and rip you off by making the deduction and holding you to ransom over the rest.

If the TDS is like the small claims court then yes, your witnesses statements will be useful. My experience with the small claims court was before I was covered by the TDS.

What they are trying to do is redecorate and "better" the property using your money. Alternatively, it may be a straight ripoff with them pocketing your money once you agree to accept the lower amount.

I'd also send a registered letter to the agent (emails can be said not to be received), given them 7 days/14 days to pay and then start proceedings to get your money back ASAP.

Approach the new tenants of the property, warn them and then ask to take photos. I've found new people very helpful in the same circumstances. If you live close by keep an eye on the property to see if any painters arrive. Obviously you want to see if it is painted and what the new inventory says.

Most of all - don't let them "get" at you. I've found some agents to be sadists and/or drama queens who actually enjoy the power/stress/attention and they like to make people's lives cr*p. Don't let them have this. Be calm and take action. These cowards have never had the guts to actually face me in the small claims court and I've always won.

Hope that this new TDS procedure goes smoothly for you.

Edited by Flopsy

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I moved out of a rented flat about a week ago. The inventory was done on the final afternoon. The person from the letting agency who did the inventory said he would have to charge for a few marks to the wall (the usual marks you get with cheap eggshell paint; if you so much as breathe heavily in the direction of the that stuff, it results in a mark). To be perfectly honest, about 3 or 4 of themarks were indeed caused by me, but they are very minor (they barely show up through a camera lens, for example). I have certainly rented flats with walls that were in worse condition at the start of the tenancy.

The rest of the marks were already there at the start of the tenancy. The person who did the check in inventory 18 months ago said he would get it sorted quickly, so it didn't get put on the inventory (I know, very dumb and trusting of me). That person is long gone, and they wouldn't remember anyway.

So now the agency has said approx £250 will be retained for repainting. They have said they will not return any of the deposit (over £2000) until this deduction is agreed. I immediately fired back an email saying the law says only the disputed amount could be retained during the dispute resolution process, which I intend to start with the TDS immediately. I requested the immediate return of the rest of the deposit. I said I'd be in touch very soon with the details of the dispute resolution.

The onus of proof is on the landlord to prove that the marks were not fair wear and tear and that they were so bad that it necessitated repainting the wall.

An important factor would be your length of occupation. I expect to redecorate every three or four years, so if the wall had been decorated more than three years ago I don't think an arbitrator will allow a deduction for redecoration, however if you had only occupied the dwelling for 6 months and the decorating was relatively new then if the landlord can prove that the marks were not fair wear and tear then it may be reasonable to expect a deduction.

Edited by sleepwello'nights

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The onus of proof is on the landlord to prove that the marks were not fair wear and tear and that they were so bad that it necessitated repainting the wall.

An important factor would be your length of occupation. I expect to redecorate every three or four years, so if the wall had been decorated more than three years ago I don't think an arbitrator will allow a deduction for redecoration, however if you had only occupied the dwelling for 6 months and the decorating was relatively new then if the landlord can prove that the marks were not fair wear and tear then it may be reasonable to expect a deduction.

From the point of view of an evidently-reasonable landlord, how would you view this case?

With the agent's permission, I put up venetian blinds in two rooms, to let in air and light while shielding me from direct sunlight. One of those rubs the walls, and the marks might be argued to be more than just wear-and-tear. Depending on how busy I am when I move out, I might or might not find time to repaint that particular window recess.

Given that I've been here five and a half years, would you want to make an issue of marks like that?

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From the point of view of an evidently-reasonable landlord, how would you view this case?

With the agent's permission, I put up venetian blinds in two rooms, to let in air and light while shielding me from direct sunlight. One of those rubs the walls, and the marks might be argued to be more than just wear-and-tear. Depending on how busy I am when I move out, I might or might not find time to repaint that particular window recess.

Given that I've been here five and a half years, would you want to make an issue of marks like that?

To be honest I wouldn't make a deduction for that. It's quite normal to fill in minor indentations when decorating, I've got marks where the blind fitted to our back door touches the wall when the door is opened fully. A bit of polyfilla is all it needs.

I had a similar situation when a tenant fitted a child stair gate. It was fitted really badly and the fixing holes were badly elongated and enlarged where the gate had levered them out. I wouldn't have been happy for something as badly fitted as that to prevent my child from gaining access to the stairs. But I just repaired the holes and didn't include it on the schedule of deductions. Mind you the Housing Benefit tenant in question had caused lots of other damage. Including but not limited to her complaint that the fridge door fell off and hit her on the face!!! I think the knuckle marks in it matched her boyfriends fists. Even then I doubt many people are able to punch a fridge door so hard the metal hinge fractures. Could they have been swinging on it?

Or the radiator that their toddler had pulled off the wall !! "You've got to expect some damage when you have a toddler" she said. God help us when it grows up if it can do that sort of damage when it has only just started to walk. Not sure how he managed to punch holes in the lampshades though.

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Mcguffin, Porca

You need to write to the Landlord and not the agency. It is the landlord who owes you the deposit, not the letting agent; so if you have to go to court to recover the deposit it is the landlord you must sue. Perhaps copy in the agency to your correspondence, just to keep them abreast, but also if they are managing agents there is a chance that the landlord will not have a clue what is going on.

This is the letter recommended by the consumer action forum (edit as you require). I think that it sums up your rights quite nicely:

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you concerning my tenancy of the premises at [address].

I request that you return my deposit of £_______, as the premises were left clean and in good repair when the tenancy ended. Allowing for fair wear and tear, the premises were left in the same condition as they were in at the beginning of the tenancy.

As the deposit was paid after 6 April 2007, you the landlord are required by law to keep the money in a separate account, and to provide the tenant with a written statement detailing (a) exactly what the deposit covers and B) when the money will be returned. Please provide evidence that you have complied with this statutory duty.

The deposit must not be regarded as extra rent, to be used to improve the condition of the property.

Any amount deducted from it must be equivalent to the amount needed to replace “like with like”. For example, if the carpet was worn at the start of the tenancy, you cannot retain the amount that would pay for a brand new carpet.

You cannot deduct the replacement value of any item, even if it was brand new at the start of the tenancy, as this would be "betterment". You can only deduct from the deposit a percentage of the item's value, based on (a) its on condition at the start of the tenancy (which you must prove using the inventory from the start of the tenancy), and B) the expected life of the item.

Nor can you make deductions from the deposit for general “wear and tear”. The tenant is only liable for damage that creates extra cost; the deposit is not there to provide a redecoration fund. You must redecorate at your own expense.

You must in any event prepare a dilapidation schedule, and you must have the relevant tradesmen give a written quotation (not an estimate) for each item of cost that you include in it.

I request that you give me receipts or invoices for work carried out, or quotations for work yet to be done.

The onus is on you to prove that there are circumstances justifying the retention of any part of the deposit, and to date you have not provided any such evidence.

I will therefore be in a position to demonstrate that it is unreasonable for you to keep any part of the deposit, should you be unable to produce the requested evidence and matters proceed to court.

You must remember that the deposit is my money. You must account for it properly. It is a common misconception that the deposit belongs to the landlord, but that is not the case and withholding it without proper grounds is unlawful.

I require your reply to arrive no later than 14 days after the date of this letter, together with your cheque for any amount not in dispute. If I receive no satisfactory reply by then, I will begin a county court action for recovery of my deposit without further warning.

The Court can order you to pay back the deposit, and the proceedings are very straightforward. Also, the Courts are very sympathetic to tenants whose landlords do not fulfil their statutory obligations.

I look forward to hearing from you within 14 days.

Yours faithfully,

[signed]

Edited by Maursh

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I require your reply to arrive no later than 14 days after the date of this letter, together with your cheque for any amount not in dispute. If I receive no satisfactory reply by then, I will begin a county court action for recovery of my deposit without further warning.

Not really necessary. Because of the tenancy deposit regulations you only need inform the relevant deposit scheme. Their arbitration services will deal with the issues far more quickly than the Courts. Their timetables are very strict, if either party fails to respond within the time allowed the award will be made to the other party. Statistics show that tenants are usually more successful than landlords in deposit disputes.

This was after all the point why the tenancy deposit regulations were introduced; to stop the courts being clogged with deposit disputes.

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Thanks everyone thus far, there have been some interesting points which I will respond to individually, but I just want to remind everyone I had four specific questions in my OP. I'd appreciate your collective wisdom being trained like a high-beam laser on them...

They were (and are):

A few questions:

1) Do I have the right to be allowed to re-enter the flat to take photos of the marks, to show how minor they are? (my phone camera wasn't working properly on the day of the checkout)

2) Will any credence be given by the TDS to two witness statements from people who helped me move in, that marks were already on the walls at the start of the tenancy?

3) Given that I was in the flat for 18 months (a fairly long tenancy, I would say) is there any scope for arguing that the minor touch-ups the landlord says are required could be considered (at least partially) as fair wear-and-tear? We all know how that cheap eggshell paint marks easily if furniture touches it.

4) Am I right to demand the return of the undisputed part of the tenancy deposit? If they don't return the undisputed amount within the next 10 days, how do I force them to give it back? Would that be a separate claim in the small claim court, or would the tenancy deposit scheme be the ones to order them to do it? How do I stop the agency from now submitting a grossly-inflated spurious counterclaim that places ALL of the deposit in so-called dispute?

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This sounds like a similar dispute that I had. It was resolved by the small claims court and the adjudicator was scathing about this LL's attempt to rip me off. Small marks after 18 months is considered "normal wear and tear". Mine were after 1 year in that case.

I'd be very interested in knowing more about the court's view of small marks on the wall ( I am assuming the TDS will view things similarly). How big were yours? How noticeable were they?

One example from my inventory check: the guy doing it pointed to the wall and said 'It's clear there is a blue mark along the wall, like a blue sofa has been against it'. \I couldn't actually see the mark, but there must have been something there because I had in fact had a blue sofa against the wall during my tenancy. My reaction (which I kept to myself) was: 'So what? If the wall is marked by having furniture placed against it, how is that the fault of the tenant? Did the landlord not expect me to bring furniture into the unfurnished flat???'

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My nephew had a problem like this, 9 weeks had passed since he moved out of a rental and no deposit (or even any kind of account for supposed deductions) had been returned.

He simply emailed the agent to say that if he the matter was not resolved in 7 days he would (not to put too fine a point to it) pass the landlords details on to HMRC so that they could check if he was paying tax on his rental income.

If you are letting is owned by a private individual the chances are that he is not paying tax on his rental income, so this approach may work for you.

Actually, whilst I'm here, can I encourage all those reading who are letting from private landlords to shop them to HMRC...you can do it anonymously whilst still living in the property or just after you leave, all you need to do is to get the landlords name and address from your contract and call the HMRC tax evasion hotline on 0800 788 887.

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1) Do I have the right to be allowed to re-enter the flat to take photos of the marks, to show how minor they are? (my phone camera wasn't working properly on the day of the checkout)

You have no rights in this regard. You might be able to re-enter the flat with the current occupants permission

2) Will any credence be given by the TDS to two witness statements from people who helped me move in, that marks were already on the walls at the start of the tenancy?

Hard to say. But if there is no mention of the state of the wall in the inventory then they cannot claim that it was in pristine condition - no inventory, no claim.

3) Given that I was in the flat for 18 months (a fairly long tenancy, I would say) is there any scope for arguing that the minor touch-ups the landlord says are required could be considered (at least partially) as fair wear-and-tear? We all know how that cheap eggshell paint marks easily if furniture touches it.

There is huge scope for arguing this. The walls were not freshly painted when you moved in so painting them would be "betterment". The deposit is not there for the landlords decorating fund. Even if the walls were freshly painted when you moved in, fair wear and tear is permitted and charging you to repaint them, unless there is substantial damage, is also construed as betterment.

4) Am I right to demand the return of the undisputed part of the tenancy deposit? If they don't return the undisputed amount within the next 10 days, how do I force them to give it back? Would that be a separate claim in the small claim court, or would the tenancy deposit scheme be the ones to order them to do it? How do I stop the agency from now submitting a grossly-inflated spurious counterclaim that places ALL of the deposit in so-called dispute?

You are absolutely correct to demand back the undisputed amount. Turn to the TDS if you have problems.

I don't believe that you can stop the agency from submitting a spurious claim (and thus ring-fencing the funds).

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Could they not say that unless the inventory said otherwise then the wall was in pristine condition.

the onus is on the landlord to prove that the walls were pristine not the the tenants to prove that they were marked. That's why the inventory is in the landlords interest, not the tenants.

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Just an update re question 4 (demanding the return of the uncontested part of the deposit):

My firmly-worded emails to the agent (cc'ing the landlord) appear to have done the trick. The agent has emailed back to say the landlord will return the uncontested portion of the deposit (about £2000) today or tomorrow.

I'm pleased about that, because when I spoke to the TDS this morning, they said that if the landlord refused to return the uncontested part of the deposit, I would have to raise a dispute on the entire amount. TDS disputes take 2-3 months to resolve, they told me, and the funds are not subject to statutory interest as they would have been in a small claims situation. So there would have been no penalty to the landlord for being difficult (other than the fact that the TDS would have barred them as a member).

So, questions 1-3 from my original post still stand. I am very interested in people's views on the fair wear-and-tear question with regard to marks on the walls. I am also interested in people's views on whether a failure by the landlord to mention on the original inventory that 'The walls are in pristine condition' means any subsequent claim by them for repainting is hindered.

Edited by MacGuffin

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My nephew had a problem like this, 9 weeks had passed since he moved out of a rental and no deposit (or even any kind of account for supposed deductions) had been returned.

He simply emailed the agent to say that if he the matter was not resolved in 7 days he would (not to put too fine a point to it) pass the landlords details on to HMRC so that they could check if he was paying tax on his rental income.

If you are letting is owned by a private individual the chances are that he is not paying tax on his rental income, so this approach may work for you.

Actually, whilst I'm here, can I encourage all those reading who are letting from private landlords to shop them to HMRC...you can do it anonymously whilst still living in the property or just after you leave, all you need to do is to get the landlords name and address from your contract and call the HMRC tax evasion hotline on 0800 788 887.

Perhaps it may work if he has not declared his rental income, but if he has, he will be filled with righteous indignation and fight you all the way on principle, I would.

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Glad to hear that you are getting there.

I found the small claims court to be very understanding about marks on the wall. I've found the folder with my original photos and letters. There were marks above the bath in the untiled portion of the bathroom. I'm disabled and it is a struggle for me to get in/out (faint in showers so baths better). Also other marks on other untiled parts of the same bathroom.

Scruff marks by some of the doors. Scruff marks in the bathrooms.

Marks to the wall of all of the rooms. In the kitchen marks where a small extra free standing cupboard was. Marks where shelves and other furniture was located. In the cleaning cupboard marks where the vacuuming cleaner and mops had touched the walls.

All were considered minor wear and tear in the small claims court. There was no hesitation or quibble.

The flat I was in hadn't been painted between previous tenancies and I have comprehensive notes and photos from the disputed inventory. Bit of an over-kill really and barely examined in court.

I'm at a loss to understand how someone could live in a flat for 1 year or 18 months and not leave small marks due to normal movement, cleaning and furniture.

The only reason my old LL had the place painted after I left (and other redecoration) was that her son was moving into it and she didn't think it was good enough for him. When I left it was substantially cleaner than when I arrived. She had lied about having it professionally cleaned when I rented it so I was very careful with the inventory and evidence on camera.

Didn't need that though as the onus was on the LL to provide "damage" and small marks from normal living on walls etc is not "damage". It's "trying it on".

They hope that you will be so desperate for the rest of your deposit that you cave in and pay.

I've used the small claims court now for most of my LL disputes and most don't even make it there.

Edited by Flopsy

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Glad to hear that you are getting there.

I found the small claims court to be very understanding about marks on the wall. I've found the folder with my original photos and letters. There were marks above the bath in the untiled portion of the bathroom. I'm disabled and it is a struggle for me to get in/out (faint in showers so baths better). Also other marks on other untiled parts of the same bathroom.

Scruff marks by some of the doors. Scruff marks in the bathrooms.

Marks to the wall of all of the rooms. In the kitchen marks where a small extra free standing cupboard was. Marks where shelves and other furniture was located. In the cleaning cupboard marks where the vacuuming cleaner and mops had touched the walls.

All were considered minor wear and tear in the small claims court. There was no hesitation or quibble.

The flat I was in hadn't been painted between previous tenancies and I have comprehensive notes and photos from the disputed inventory. Bit of an over-kill really and barely examined in court.

I'm at a loss to understand how someone could live in a flat for 1 year or 18 months and not leave small marks due to normal movement, cleaning and furniture.

The only reason my old LL had the place painted after I left (and other redecoration) was that her son was moving into it and she didn't think it was good enough for him. When I left it was substantially cleaner than when I arrived. She had lied about having it professionally cleaned when I rented it so I was very careful with the inventory and evidence on camera.

Didn't need that though as the onus was on the LL to provide "damage" and small marks from normal living on walls etc is not "damage". It's "trying it on".

They hope that you will be so desperate for the rest of your deposit that you cave in and pay.

I've used the small claims court now for most of my LL disputes and most don't even make it there.

Thanks Flopsy, this is great. The marks that I left on the walls were exactly the sort you described. A furniture mark here, an occasional suitcase placed against a wall there. If that is considered fair wear-and-tear rather than damage, then I'm in the clear.

As I have already mentioned, the landlord has now agreed to pay back the undisputed portion (£2000) of the deposit, so now it's only the repainting issue. It looks like I've got a good chance of reclaiming the £250 as well. I hope to be able to convince the landlord to just let it go, but even if it goes to the TDS, that's fine.

Edited by MacGuffin

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But if there is no mention of the state of the wall in the inventory then they cannot claim that it was in pristine condition - no inventory, no claim.

I want to believe you, but it seems to fly in the face of precedent.

Would there not be an assumption by the court (or TDS) that something was in a pristine state if it is not mentioned? After all, the tenant has the right to amend the inventory before he signs it. I would have thought the onus is on the tenant at that stage to scrutinise the premises carefully to make sure any marks, damage, etc get mentioned on the inventory if they aren't there already.

But, if what you're saying is right, then the onus is on the landlord to put in the document something like 'All walls in clean unmarked condition at the beginning of the tenancy'. If he doesn't put such a statement in, then the landlord is out of luck when claiming a deduction from the deposit if the walls get marked.

Or is there some sort of muddling-through by the court, that falls in between these two stools?

I'm very curious about this. Any legal guidelines I can cite in my letter to the landlord, convincing him to drop the whole thing? I am already going to be saying any marks would be fair wear-and-tear (which they are, in fact) but this would add another arrow to my quiver.

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Could they not say that unless the inventory said otherwise then the wall was in pristine condition.

I had this situation on a check out where the check out inventory said there was a crack in a pane of glass (old house, two inch stress crack at one corner) which was not noted on the check in inventory. They relented when I had a photo taken when I moved in which showed the cracked pane was cracked when I moved in. Hence the reason for taking several hundred photos, enter room foor to ceiling then round the room....

I do the same, and send a copy on CD/DVD to the agency attached to the inventory. I also note that this has been provided on the agency's copy of the inventory on the page I sign. Stops them "losing it." It has worked a treat so far, and I have not had the problems I had with checkouts before I started doing this.

Digital cameras are a wonderful invention.

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Just thought I'd update this thread for posterity. Yesterday I received notice from the adjudicator that 100% of the amount in dispute (about £300) had been awarded to me. Result!

In her decision, the adjudicator ignored some of the points I and the landlord had made. Instead, she cut straight to the chase and said she was not satisfied by the landlord's submission that the walls were spotless at the beginning of the tenancy. She said my assertion that they had been already marked when I moved in, supported by the statements of my two witnesses, outweighed the landlord's assertion that they were spotless. My landlord had relied solely on the standard term on the check-in form's small print that the flat was offered 'as new'. The landlord had said this was sufficient proof.

The adjudicator said she was not convinced that a standard term, in the absence of any other evidence (such as a signed-off 'Schedule of Condition' that explicitly mentioned paintwork, or dated photographs) was sufficient to outweight my three witness statements. She said this was because the onus is on the landlord to prove the deduction should take place; the burden of proofs falls upon the landlord.

There were lots of other little tricks that the landlord put in his submission (like taking photographs AFTER the check-out...what cheek!) that the adjudicator ignored, quite rightly.

So, count me as a very pleased user of the TDS adjudication system.

Edit to add: It was 7 weeks from the submission of my claim to the decision, which seems very good, especially as it fell over Xmas.

Edited by MacGuffin

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I want to believe you, but it seems to fly in the face of precedent.

Would there not be an assumption by the court (or TDS) that something was in a pristine state if it is not mentioned? After all, the tenant has the right to amend the inventory before he signs it. I would have thought the onus is on the tenant at that stage to scrutinise the premises carefully to make sure any marks, damage, etc get mentioned on the inventory if they aren't there already.

Just incase, when we moved into our place I went through the house with a fine tooth comb and ended up putting more problems down on the inventory than they LA had (about twice as much-useless feckers) and took about 20MB's of digital photos-basically every inch of the place.

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Just thought I'd update this thread for posterity. Yesterday I received notice from the adjudicator that 100% of the amount in dispute (about £300) had been awarded to me. Result!

In her decision, the adjudicator ignored some of the points I and the landlord had made. Instead, she cut straight to the chase and said she was not satisfied by the landlord's submission that the walls were spotless at the beginning of the tenancy. She said my assertion that they had been already marked when I moved in, supported by the statements of my two witnesses, outweighed the landlord's assertion that they were spotless. My landlord had relied solely on the standard term on the check-in form's small print that the flat was offered 'as new'. The landlord had said this was sufficient proof.

The adjudicator said she was not convinced that a standard term, in the absence of any other evidence (such as a signed-off 'Schedule of Condition' that explicitly mentioned paintwork, or dated photographs) was sufficient to outweight my three witness statements. She said this was because the onus is on the landlord to prove the deduction should take place; the burden of proofs falls upon the landlord.

There were lots of other little tricks that the landlord put in his submission (like taking photographs AFTER the check-out...what cheek!) that the adjudicator ignored, quite rightly.

So, count me as a very pleased user of the TDS adjudication system.

Edit to add: It was 7 weeks from the submission of my claim to the decision, which seems very good, especially as it fell over Xmas.

well done, I went to small claims some years ago where the landlord wanted the entire deposit retained.

he was claiming for mould in the fridge, uncut lawn and missing shrubs in the garden...amounting to £700 or so...as I say the entire deposit.

I sued....the Magistrate looked at the Evidence...Mrs Loo said the mould was my fault because I closed the fridge on exit...I explained this to the judge.

He said, matters not, if it was clean on the day you left ( photo) then the fact the LL left it a fortnight is not my cause.

the Award was for £30 to the LL for a shrub...in this case, I withheld the last months rent,which of course was covered by the deposit and paid £30 on the bench there and then.

End of.

As for the TDS, they dont look at evidence so much, and hearsay is accepted, and they do appear to lean towards landlords and the words of EA contracts. I lost an appeal for the MAX charge for an exit inventory in that it took 20 minutes for an office clerk to complete, for which the EA claimed the FULL amount in the AST...the wording was MAXIMUM COST and they charged the MAX from their table of charges.

I suspect if I went to Magistrates and asked them to prove the COST, as it said in the contract, I would have one, but the TPS ignored the wording and some evidence ont he time taken.

20minutes for £175.....doesnt sound reasonable to me.

Edited by Bloo Loo

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Just incase, when we moved into our place I went through the house with a fine tooth comb and ended up putting more problems down on the inventory than they LA had (about twice as much-useless feckers) and took about 20MB's of digital photos-basically every inch of the place.

Good idea, but the interesting thing about the judgement in my case is that the onus is on the landlord to prove the place was in good condition at the start of the tenancy, rather than the burden of proof falling on th etenant to prove it was in a poor condition at the start.

In other words, an absence of a description in the check-in documents does not prove everything was ok.

If I were a landlord reading this, or an agency, I would make sure my check-in documentation include a 'Schedule of Condition' in which the new tenant has to actively sign off on a description of the condition of the flat and the condition of any contents. If this is not done (or if dated photos are not signed off by the tenant), the landlord will have a difficult time proving that everything was perfect at the start of the tenancy.

Edited by MacGuffin

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  • 261 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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