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Given Notice - Fears About Deposit

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Hi All,

I've just given a months notice (afer a 6 year tenancy) on our rented house and I have a few concerns about our friendly reliable letting agent stealing our deposit. The house has a huge garden which obviously requires a lot of work to maintain (lots of trees and shrubs etc). The only reason my family took the house on were verbal assurances from the letting agent that we would have a gardener who would tend to the garden. When we first moved in we did have an old lady who would spend a morning a week gardening and all was well. A couple of years ago the old ladys husband died and she gave up the gardening and a new gardener was employed who now only cuts the grass.

Then, a few months ago after a house insepction, we were sent a letter by the letting agent asking us to tend to the garden. After informing them of the above they then said the tenancy agreement states we are responsible for the garden (conveniently having no recollection of the verbal assurances of a gardener that were given by them years ago). This understandably p1ssed me right off, but I did sign the tenancy agreement so I figure I'm screwed legally here.

There has, however, been a few developments since then:

1) On packing to move I discovered a postcard left by the owner welcoming us to the house whwn we moved in stating we have a gardener included in the rent who works a morning a week.

2) The owner has sold 2/3rds of the garden and it currently it is being carved up while we are still tenants and paying rent for a garden we can no longer fully use.

In this situation I would like some advice: -

a) does the postcard have any legal clout (does an agreement between a landlord and tenants separate to an agents tenancy agreement have any legal standing)?

B) can the landlord sell off land that we are paying rent for while we are still occupants, and does this affect the origianl tenancy agreement (does it make it void)?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Rich

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Six years is 72 months. How much would your deposit be per month if you divided it by 72? Do you care if you actually paid this more in rent per month? If they keep it just let everyone on the internet and the real world know, it will lose them some sales, however you just need to move on whatever happens, I wouldn`t get bogged down wrangling with them.

Two times in the past landlords said they were keeping all of our deposit, one was a private individual and a couple of letters back and forth sorted the issue, another was a letting agent, who was overruled on the issue by another more senior agent who had given us the keys. I was bothered at the time, but by averaging it out you can see that a tiny amount would have been added to your rent by losing it? Deposits in Scotland are protected anyway, the landlord has to give it back, or prove damage/negligence of upkeep.

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A six year tenancy would probably just about cover you in tenancy deposit scheme. They should have provided details of it. That might provide some reassurance if so. Suspect they "forgot" though.

As per previous poster, assume the deposit is gone and if you see any of it back it's a bonus. Or, and this puts you on slightly dodgy grounds, simply don't pay the last month's rent.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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It may only be a small amount of money but it's your money not the landlord's. I don't know about the legalities you queried but I would have a go at getting the deposit back. Could be that the agents arranged the new grass cutter and the owner doesn't know the gardening tasks had been changed.

If you are in NI only a months notice is correct (ludicrous but correct)

good luck

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I

If you are in NI only a months notice is correct (ludicrous but correct)

good luck

It is the poster who has given notice.

If you don't have use of the garden you've paid for I would take photos, pref with a newspaper or other date visible; you should really have done this when you lost use of the garden. The owner cannot sell a garden you are paying rent on without your agreement.

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A six year tenancy would probably just about cover you in tenancy deposit scheme. They should have provided details of it. That might provide some reassurance if so. Suspect they "forgot" though.

As per previous poster, assume the deposit is gone and if you see any of it back it's a bonus. Or, and this puts you on slightly dodgy grounds, simply don't pay the last month's rent.

If you did start the tenancy after the deposit protection scheme came into operation and they didn't sign you up for it, I believe you can shop them and they'll get fined and you get all your money back.

Worth an investigation. For an easy life just mention it to the agents and they might hand you your money back "tout de suite".

Edited by Eddie_George

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Hi All,

I've just given a months notice (afer a 6 year tenancy) on our rented house and I have a few concerns about our friendly reliable letting agent stealing our deposit. The house has a huge garden which obviously requires a lot of work to maintain (lots of trees and shrubs etc). The only reason my family took the house on were verbal assurances from the letting agent that we would have a gardener who would tend to the garden. When we first moved in we did have an old lady who would spend a morning a week gardening and all was well. A couple of years ago the old ladys husband died and she gave up the gardening and a new gardener was employed who now only cuts the grass.

Then, a few months ago after a house insepction, we were sent a letter by the letting agent asking us to tend to the garden. After informing them of the above they then said the tenancy agreement states we are responsible for the garden (conveniently having no recollection of the verbal assurances of a gardener that were given by them years ago). This understandably p1ssed me right off, but I did sign the tenancy agreement so I figure I'm screwed legally here.

There has, however, been a few developments since then:

1) On packing to move I discovered a postcard left by the owner welcoming us to the house whwn we moved in stating we have a gardener included in the rent who works a morning a week.

2) The owner has sold 2/3rds of the garden and it currently it is being carved up while we are still tenants and paying rent for a garden we can no longer fully use.

In this situation I would like some advice: -

a) does the postcard have any legal clout (does an agreement between a landlord and tenants separate to an agents tenancy agreement have any legal standing)?

B) can the landlord sell off land that we are paying rent for while we are still occupants, and does this affect the origianl tenancy agreement (does it make it void)?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Rich

Did the landlord signed that postcard? You also have the old lady gardner as a witness of the original arrangement. And maybe you could also use all that on a small claims court?

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It is the poster who has given notice.

If you don't have use of the garden you've paid for I would take photos, pref with a newspaper or other date visible; you should really have done this when you lost use of the garden. The owner cannot sell a garden you are paying rent on without your agreement.

Good point. A good bargain chip to get the deposit back?

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I'm a bit late to the party, but here are some observations to help others (I've had two successful deposit disputes).

1) If your tenancy started, or has been renewed, after 6th April 2007, then your landlord must have put it in deposit protection scheme. If they have not, then they are in big trouble legally and you should easily be able to get the money back with a bit of sabre-rattling.

2) If your tenancy is in a deposit protection scheme, then you are probably fine - if they try to claim a deduction for the garden, you can submit a counter-claim. The dispute resolution service takes into account ALL evidence that you submit (not just inventory and tenancy - these documents are very important but not necessarily conclusive), and the burden of proof is with the landlord. So, for example, the postcard would definitely count as evidence, as would your written account of any verbal agreement. Also, if they cannot "prove" that the garden is in a "worse state" than it was previously, then they are a bit stuck. On balance, I think you'd win easily! However...

3) They sold your garden!! They have removed access to something for which you are paying rent. Now really you should have negotiated a deduction, but never mind that now. I should think that if you point out the situation in a deposit dispute (especially if you have a letter saying "we are selling the garden, you lose access to 2/3 of it") then they will be laughed out of the resolution process. At the very very least, they won't be able to claim more than 1/3 of any "gardening fee" (they will need to provide an invoice).

In short, it should be impossible not to win this :) Let us know how you did.

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