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Bit Of Advice Please

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This is not for me, it's for my stepdaughter's father.

He and his wife served notice to quit after a 5 year tenancy. They asked landlady for a joint review of the state of the house before moving out so that they would have adequate time to rectify.

Landlady didn't do this, but did send them an email a week before asking that some gravel be removed from the garden (they'd late it after verbally agreeing with her that they could make the garden more manageable). They've done this but obviously after such a period of time some of it is embedded in the soil. Landlady apparently not happy.

Last day of tenancy was yesterday. Landlady's son attended and reviewed inventory - signed off with a couple of points raised - mould on carpet, which they had pointed out to landlady in past, and lightbulbs needing replacing - fair comment.

Today, they've received an email from the landlady stating that she is not happy with some other aspects and will let them know what they are in the next few days along with required deposit deduction.

Can they take the view that the inventory was signed off on friday by the landlady's son (agent) and anything else (which i believe is probably minor wear and tear anyway) can be ignored?


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Agreed. If the landlady is dissatisfied with the way the final inspection was carried out she should take that up with her son.

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Sounds like your stepdaughter's father might be dealing with an old school landlady who doesn't really get how the new tenancy deposit schemes work.

If the landlady wants to unilaterally claim that 'damage' beyond fair wear and tear has happened since the tenant moved in she is free to do that without the support of an inspection report signed by the tenant, but the burden of proof is on her. I'd imagine after 5 years this will be quite difficult to do, especially as it sounds like these additional points are going to be fairly trivial seeing as they were not picked up during the final inspection.

Your stepdaughter's father should ask for the undisputed portion of the deposit (i.e. the amount that the landlady offers to return) to be returned within the time limit (I think this is 14 days of the end of the tenancy but be sure to check) and tell the landlady that he will be submitting a claim to the deposit scheme for the amount he feels should have been returned over and above this.

The landlady may just back down, if not he should submit the claim to the deposit scheme and it will go to arbitration. In general the arbitrators are not impressed by old school landlords who still think they can act as judge, jury and executioner in deciding how much of their former tenants' deposits to return.

Hope it goes well (for the tenant!)

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Note: all of this assumes that the landlady protected the deposit with one of the schemes. If she didn't she has no right to keep any of the deposit regardless of the state of the property and would be forced to pay the tenant compensation of up to 3 times the deposit if he takes her through the appropriate processes.

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Then land lady has been there, seen that the place need some maintenance and wants to bill the last tenant for it.

That's whats rally happened.

Indeed, we've all seen that type of landlord. Small stain on 20 year old carpet = the cost of a new carpet is coming out of your deposit. Cosmetic mark on wall that was last painted 15 years ago = I'm going to bill you for having the entire room professionally repainted.

Fortunately the tenancy deposit schemes are now there to protect tenants from these games.

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