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Surprise Deductions From Deposit

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My landlord conducted a check-out when I moved out of a rented flat (AST) on Friday evening and although he agreed that the flat was spotless and better-equipped than when I'd moved in (I'd replaced broken kettle, iron, crockery etc) he would still have to make the 'standard deduction' before sending me a cheque. This turned out to be for steam-cleaning the mattress and sofas. When I objected and said this charge had not been mentioned in the contract or at any stage of my tenancy, he told me these items had been cleaned before I moved in a year ago and therefore must be repeated when I moved out. I doubt this will happen - the new tenant was moving in the following morning - and also doubt that my deposit has been protected as I had requested details from the landlord and the letting agent on several occasions and had no reply. There is no record with any of the three main organisations. Must I accept this deduction? If he does send a cheque and I cash it, will this prevent me taking thing further? I know people on here have extensive knowledge in this area and hope one of you will advise me. The landlord told me he couldn't recall how much this additional cleaning costs, so it could be for the majority of my deposit, which I cannot afford to lose. All advice gratefully accepted and followed!

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Phone the estate agent and ask for details of which deposit protection scheme your deposit is protected by, then make it clear that you will be starting a dispute with them. This alone was enough to make my last LL cough up the "standard deduction". Better still, if your deposit has not been protected then it's time to cash in - submit a N208 claim for deposit non-protection and you are entitled to 3 x your deposit amount regardless of any dispute on deductions. If the LL doesn't pay up then you could end up with their house (see: http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=146492).

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

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My landlord conducted a check-out when I moved out of a rented flat (AST) on Friday evening and although he agreed that the flat was spotless and better-equipped than when I'd moved in (I'd replaced broken kettle, iron, crockery etc) he would still have to make the 'standard deduction' before sending me a cheque. This turned out to be for steam-cleaning the mattress and sofas. When I objected and said this charge had not been mentioned in the contract or at any stage of my tenancy, he told me these items had been cleaned before I moved in a year ago and therefore must be repeated when I moved out. I doubt this will happen - the new tenant was moving in the following morning - and also doubt that my deposit has been protected as I had requested details from the landlord and the letting agent on several occasions and had no reply. There is no record with any of the three main organisations. Must I accept this deduction? If he does send a cheque and I cash it, will this prevent me taking thing further? I know people on here have extensive knowledge in this area and hope one of you will advise me. The landlord told me he couldn't recall how much this additional cleaning costs, so it could be for the majority of my deposit, which I cannot afford to lose. All advice gratefully accepted and followed!

well you should have insisted on proof of deposit protection because it's a legal requirement.

The cleaning thing is obviously a standard rip-off, which is why he hasn't put the deposit into a protection scheme.

Unless the mattress and sofas are dirtier than when you moved in, of course you don't have to accept it.

This may help:

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=65430

if nothing else, you may be able to put the frighteners on him!

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As gmang has said go for the fecker, get onto the three deposit schemes immediately make sure it was never protected and inform them that the tenancy has ended so not to accept a deposit in your name. And Kaladorms thread has made interesting reading and has all you need to know. The fecker hasn't a leg to stand on, it wasn't detailed in the agreement and so you never agreed to it. He can have them cleaned if he likes but thats at his cost not yours. He may as well say that its standard for him to buy a new ferrari and charge you for it upon your departure.

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As gmang has said go for the fecker, get onto the three deposit schemes immediately make sure it was never protected and inform them that the tenancy has ended so not to accept a deposit in your name. And Kaladorms thread has made interesting reading and has all you need to know. The fecker hasn't a leg to stand on, it wasn't detailed in the agreement and so you never agreed to it. He can have them cleaned if he likes but thats at his cost not yours. He may as well say that its standard for him to buy a new ferrari and charge you for it upon your departure.

There have been some recent developments in case law (though I'm unable to provide an exact link) in the last few weeks I believe, where judges are interpreting the law as being such that penalties for non-protection of deposits aren't applicable once the tenancy has ended. Perhaps someone with access to recent journals can confirm?

As for the other point, yes if it's not in the agreement there's no reason I can see for making a 'standard' deduction. It may say there is an expectation that 'you' have the items steam cleaned etc in which case I believe they are then entitled to take it out of the deposit if you haven't?

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There have been some recent developments in case law (though I'm unable to provide an exact link) in the last few weeks I believe, where judges are interpreting the law as being such that penalties for non-protection of deposits aren't applicable once the tenancy has ended. Perhaps someone with access to recent journals can confirm?

Jesus, but I thought there was previous precedent whereby the LL could protect upto the court case and get off. Clearly they have 2 weeks from taking the deposit to protect otherwise are breaking the law so for all time that would be the case whether or not the tenancy had ended. Judges seem to be fecking morons. Seems like the judges are sating heads the LL wins tails the tenant loses.

To the OP-but either way, unless there is something in the agreement which states the work will be done there is nothing the LL can do. Also on top of that even if there is the LL has to actually do it-providing reciepts but if it will be occupied how can that come about. You aren't liable for cleaning them from someone elses occupancy.

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There have been some recent developments in case law (though I'm unable to provide an exact link) in the last few weeks I believe, where judges are interpreting the law as being such that penalties for non-protection of deposits aren't applicable once the tenancy has ended. Perhaps someone with access to recent journals can confirm?

That is indeed correct, but it only affects the penalty not the return of the deposit.

The rule that says "if the deposit isn't protected the LL cannot make any deductions from it, however reasonable" still applies, so the OP should apply for the FULL return of his deposit on that basis.

tim

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There have been some recent developments in case law (though I'm unable to provide an exact link) in the last few weeks I believe, where judges are interpreting the law as being such that penalties for non-protection of deposits aren't applicable once the tenancy has ended. Perhaps someone with access to recent journals can confirm?

The case is Gladehurst Properties Ltd v Hashemi (May 19 2011). The Court of Appeal held that the court cannot make an award for three times the deposit where the rental lease has expired.

A very perverse decision, it appears that an action for non-protection of a deposit can only be successful whilst the tenancy is existence. It is possible for the LL to protect the deposit any time before a court appearance. Makes you wonder why the legislature bothered to introduce a law to protect deposits.

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Makes you wonder why the legislature bothered to introduce a law to protect deposits.

Not really. It just shows where the real power lies (and it's not with anyone accountable to an electorate, nor even to some unelected overseer).

There's a long history of parliament legislating on housing matters, and the courts setting aside the law when their friends might be affected.

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Depressing update: I contacted the letting agents, who told me they were acting purely to introduce me to the landlord and could take no responsibility. I then emailed the landlord pointing out that I knew he had not protected the deposit and warning him that I was prepared to sue him for the full amount. He replied, admitting it but blamed the letting agent for not informing him that the money had been paid into his personal account. (This is untrue, as at the start of the tenancy, he had refused to give me a key until the agent confirmed that the money was in hisaccount.) This morning I received a cheque - my deposit, minus £110. There is no receipt and I know that no cleaning has been done. It now seems petty to go to court for such a small sum. This man is a banker at Santander, makes me wonder how low these people will stoop for a penny.

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Depressing update: I contacted the letting agents, who told me they were acting purely to introduce me to the landlord and could take no responsibility. I then emailed the landlord pointing out that I knew he had not protected the deposit and warning him that I was prepared to sue him for the full amount. He replied, admitting it but blamed the letting agent for not informing him that the money had been paid into his personal account. (This is untrue, as at the start of the tenancy, he had refused to give me a key until the agent confirmed that the money was in hisaccount.) This morning I received a cheque - my deposit, minus £110. There is no receipt and I know that no cleaning has been done. It now seems petty to go to court for such a small sum. This man is a banker at Santander, makes me wonder how low these people will stoop for a penny.

Contact the landlord, explain you want your £110 or if you are prepared to let it roll then you want a receipt for the cleaning otherwise you will be contacting the court.

It is worth pursuing such a small sum as the more people get away with small things the more they try it on!

Personally i think its the principle of the thing and i would be pursuing it!

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That's what the small claims court is all about.

It's easy to do online and I found the actual hearing to be very fair and not stressful.

Half the time the LL makes the payment before the court date arrives or doesn't even turn up.

I send a registered letter asking them to pay within x number of days

Then another registered letter advising them that I will start court proceeding within x number of days

Then wait, then start the claim on line.

Can quite understand why you would want to forget it though. Just wanted to say how easy it is with the small claims court. The trick for me is to remain calm and not get stressed out.

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Nothing deppressing about it, it is the LL responsibility to ensure protection of the deposit. Take hime to court, he can't prove its protection and so you'll win and seek costs as well. It may be a relatively small amount but it's your money. Or would it be different at 120, 130 etc. Where do you think the line should be drawn when you don't let someone steal from you?

Edit, realised I'd quoted someone else instead of the OP

Edited by zebbedee

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That's what the small claims court is all about.

It's easy to do online and I found the actual hearing to be very fair and not stressful.

Half the time the LL makes the payment before the court date arrives or doesn't even turn up.

I send a registered letter asking them to pay within x number of days

Then another registered letter advising them that I will start court proceeding within x number of days

Then wait, then start the claim on line.

Can quite understand why you would want to forget it though. Just wanted to say how easy it is with the small claims court. The trick for me is to remain calm and not get stressed out.

You were right - the threat of the small claims court and a calm approach worked! The landlord has now coughed up the missing money, but his emails are full of venom that a mere 'technicality' is preventing him from maintaining the flat in the way he wants. You have to laugh.

Many thanks to all for your advice.

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I wonder if his "mere technicality" is that he is skint or is that he has no clue what being a landlord should actually involve!

Or that hes merely technically an idiot by the sound of it :lol:

Glad it all worked out for you, now add his email address to your spam list and forget about him, or alternatively add his email address to several other spam lists ;)

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I wonder if his "mere technicality" is that he is skint or is that he has no clue what being a landlord should actually involve!

Or that hes merely technically an idiot by the sound of it :lol:

Glad it all worked out for you, now add his email address to your spam list and forget about him, or alternatively add his email address to several other spam lists ;)

I guess this "mere technicality" is that replacing items that have reaced the end of their life due to fair wear and tear is down to him, and not something that he can charge to the tenant as extra to the rent

tim

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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