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sammersmith

Dilapidation report for check out inventory

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I'm moving out on Monday from a place I've rented for 5 years. 

The flat hasn't had any maintenance or decoration since the late 90's / early 2000's. It really needs it but it didn't bother me too much. Agents came to rental value the place a few months back but haven't done any marketing or any tenant visits. They did send a painter here to quote work so likely the LL what's to redecorate before allowing viewings and is prepared to suck up a void. 

The inventory clerk contacted me today and said that she's been informed that there is no check-in inventory report to go from and that she could either make a dilapidation report or asked me if i had a copy.

What's going on here? I see a few possibilities:  

  1. Agents are incompetent and simply can't find the check in report, but hoping i'll give it to them so they can make their deductions
  2. Agents have check in report but want me to sign off that the flat needs a lot of maintenance through a dilapidation report, at which point they will 'find' the inventory and push me for the renovation cost. 
  3. It's a genuine mistake and they're not looking to squeeze anything more from me. 

As much as i want to believe it's Option 1, the agents are so on the ball with renewal dates and chasing me each year that i just can't believe they could miss a trick on gaming the check out inventory. I'm also sure the landlord would have the check in report as, i've heard, it's their only flat in UK as they moved abroad and let this one out, which is likely going by the decor, post, and their trinkets that i'm warehousing for them. Option 2 is very underhand but potentially something that they could do. I obviously don't have much faith in Option 3 :lol: 

Any advice would be appreciated! 

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Just another point to add: The landlord paid for the original check-in inventory. The agent's policy is for the landlord to pay for check-in and tenant for check-out.  If i paid £180 for a inventory report (as i will have to on Monday) then I really would make sure that i didn't lose it, but maybe that's just me. 

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1 hour ago, GloomMonger said:

Never heard of the tenant paying to check out. That's absurd. Is your deposit protected?

Welcome to the greatest city in the world https://www.portico.com/popups/lettingfees.htm

Deposit is protected through TDS https://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/ which i believe unlike DPS allows the agent to hold the deposit rather than kept in a 3rd-party account. 

7 hours ago, GreenDevil said:

Depends on your landlord, can't see how he would expect it back pristine after a 5 Year let. Redecoration is par for the course.

That should be how it works but this agent in particular seems to take great professional pride in screwing tenants. The reason i'm leaving is because they issued a Section 21 as i asked to move onto a statutory periodic tenancy rather than paying a renewal fee every year. They issued the Section 21, as they said a contact offered both me and the landlord more 'security', but then used the looming eviction as a negotiating tactic to continue to push me into signing a renewal.

As you can see, if the law works in their favour they have no hesitation in leveraging it to get what they and the landlord wants. As the law seems to favour landlords i would not put anything past this agent, as they are even more mercenary than Foxtons.  

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I wouldn't sign a delapidation report since that implies things have deteriorated during your tenancy. Why can they not just do a normal inventory as they would do with a new instruction?  If they have nothing to compare it to then they will find it very hard to prove you owe anything, but that is there problem.

I would also think that after 5 years, almost anything would be fair wear and tear. Always remember that the LL will have claimed 10% of your rent every year for wear and tear against tax. In your case 50% of a whole year's rent. That covers an awful lot of repainting so have no sympathy.

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17 minutes ago, GreenDevil said:

Stop paying rent and refuse to move out. Then see how they feel when 6 month in arrears. They sound like a right bunch of *****s.

Keep paying rent but move out on your own terms. The eviction process is lengthy and time consuming and costly. The only issue will be getting a landlord reference if you rent again.

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8 hours ago, CunningPlan said:

If they have nothing to compare it to then they will find it very hard to prove you owe anything, but that is there problem.

That was my thinking. I hadn't heard of a Dilapidation Report before yesterday, but then found this today: http://www.rics.org/Global/RICS-Dilapidations-consumer-guide.pdf

Specifically, the high level summary:

“Dilapidations” refers
to breaches of lease
covenants that relate
to the condition of
a property during the
term of the tenancy or
when the lease ends. 

Which sounds up to me, as nothing's been flagged to me as me breaching a lease covenants. They inspect the property every year and have never flagged any issues with the condition or decor. 

You're right that with no maintenance in 5 years and pocketing the 10% wear and tear allowance for most of that time puts the issue at the landlord for not maintaining their property. Even 5 years ago the flat needed a renovation, but I took it anyway as the location near work was good and I don't have people over often. 

May have to look into this..

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9 hours ago, GloomMonger said:

Keep paying rent but move out on your own terms. The eviction process is lengthy and time consuming and costly. The only issue will be getting a landlord reference if you rent again.

I did consider withholding the last month rent and just losing the deposit as 1 months rent + checkout fee + end of tenancy clean = almost the same as deposit. However i just didn't want the hassle as they are a real pain and i know they'd find some random clause in the tenancy agreement to have me over a barrel.

I don't mind so much about losing the agent / landlord as a future referee as i'm likely moving abroad in a few months and will flat share till then. I've had enough of trying to attain a decent standard of living in London. 

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5 hours ago, sammersmith said:

I did consider withholding the last month rent and just losing the deposit as 1 months rent + checkout fee + end of tenancy clean = almost the same as deposit. However i just didn't want the hassle as they are a real pain and i know they'd find some random clause in the tenancy agreement to have me over a barrel.

I don't mind so much about losing the agent / landlord as a future referee as i'm likely moving abroad in a few months and will flat share till then. I've had enough of trying to attain a decent standard of living in London. 

In that case play hardball. I had a standup row with my landlord who then issued a S21. I was moving abroad for 3 months and just wrote to the agency saying the S21 had not been served correctly and gave them a date I would move out that was convenient for me. I stayed 2 months over my S21 date. I kept paying rent and got my deposit back. I gave them as little notice of my intentions as possible. Eviction is not an easy or quick process for them.

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We need to know what the tenancy agreement says about:

the tenant's repairing obligations

the tenant's obligations on quitting the premises

what the deposit is for

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An update to this: The checkout was basically fine. They marked the current state of the flat and that was it really. I didn't need to sign anything, and it looks like they really have lost the original inventory. 

However, it's now almost a month since I moved out and no deposit has been returned or claim for deductions made. I've emailed them many times and no response until finally I got a canned reply yesterday that they will ask my landlord if any deductions are required and get back to me.

So, I'm really annoyed that they're so late in resolving this that I started to raise a dispute with TDS. Then I noticed some interesting things about the deposit protection. 

First thing is the address is slightly wrong on the TDS certificate. It has repetition in the flat number (25 25 Tower Heights, for example). So I thought that this might mean the deposit is unprotected and therefore I could raise a non-protected deposit claim.  This page implies that it's possible https://justicefortenants.org/know-your-rights/incorrect-deposit-protection-certificate-rights but gives the exception of a tiny typo in the tenant name. It might be argued that this also applies to a tiny typo in the address if the property is still 'findable'.

Then I got excited when I saw that the deposit was only protected up to the end of the fixed term in November, but then i read the following on the TDS FAQ page https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/landlords-FAQs.html

Quote

Unless you notify us otherwise we will assume the tenancy is continuing as a statutory periodic tenancy on exactly the same terms and continue protection on this basis.

This seems counter to DPS https://www.depositprotection.com/help/browse/custodial/agent-landlord/deposit-submission and Shelter's advice, which says here https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_rules

Quote

If your landlord uses a tenancy deposit protection insurance scheme, they'll have to renew the insurance if they renew your tenancy or if you stay on after the end of your tenancy's fixed term. 

I did stay after the fixed term, though the S21 was served two days before the fixed term ended. That's quite annoying as I had hoped this was a clear breach that I could shaft them for.

Is there any weight in pursuing them on with the typo in the address or the lateness in their resolving the deposit return? The TDS dispute submission is not helpful. There's a mandatory section that says 'have you tried to resolve the disputes around deductions before contacting us?' I clicked 'no' and it said that they won't help me, but i can't click 'yes' as a claim for deductions has not been made yet.

It goes without saying that after: guaranteed annual rent rises, being served a Section 21 for daring to ask to continue on a periodic tenancy, and a month of sitting on my deposit with no contact, I feel that I have no moral obligation to treat the LA or LL fairly or be above exploiting a tenuous contractual loophole. 

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On 18/3/2017 at 9:56 AM, Damocles said:

We need to know what the tenancy agreement says about:

the tenant's repairing obligations

the tenant's obligations on quitting the premises

what the deposit is for

Please reply to the above questions.

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9 hours ago, Damocles said:

Please reply to the above questions.

The tenancy agreement is 18 pages long and the general tone is: tenant must do this, landlord not responsible for that. The checkout report is the same: pretty much every item is listed as the tenant's responsibility bar the actual structure of the building.

The following is a good section of the tenancy agreement though which discusses the deposit purpose.  

Quote

6.6. The Agent with the consent of the Landlord and the Tenant may deduct monies from the Deposit (as set out in clause 6.2) to compensate the Landlord for losses caused for any or all of the following reasons: · any damage to the Premises its Fixtures and Fittings or for missing items for which the Tenant may be liable, subject to an apportionment or allowance for fair wear and tear, the age and condition of each and any such item at the commencement of the Tenancy, insured risks and repairs that are the responsibility of the Landlord; · the reasonable costs incurred in compensating the Landlord for, or for rectifying or remedying any major breach by the Tenant of the Tenant’s obligations under the Tenancy Agreement, including those relating to the cleaning of the Premises, its Fixtures and Fittings; · any unpaid accounts for utilities or water charges or environmental services or other similar services or council tax incurred at the Premises for which the Tenant is liable; · any Rent or other money due or payable by the Tenant under the Tenancy Agreement of which the Tenant has been made aware and which remains unpaid after the end of the Tenancy.

 

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The Agent with the consent of the Landlord and the Tenant may deduct monies from the Deposit

It look like answers to my questions are not needed. Assuming there is nothing else relevant in the agreement, the above is clear. No deduction may be made without your consent. Tell the agents you do not consent and that they must therefore return the deposit without delay since it is your money.

This is a classic case of shooting yourself in the foot drafting and you are the beneficiary.

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