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Asking for a mate - scumbag says "dust on the lightbulbs"


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Firstly, I'm aware I'm asking this in the wrong forum, but the renting forum seems very quiet, and I'm trying to help a mate quickly. Mods, feel free to move this thread if you deem this to be a breach of the rules.

Anyway, on with my main concern. If anybody can shed light on the situation, or point me towards good resources, I'd be grateful.

A mate of mine moved from a rented house over a month ago, into a house he's buying. When he left, he left 2 cabinets, and some bags of rubbish out the back. He also repainted a wall, but made a bit of a dodgy job of it at the top. He laid a bit of carpet in the cellar because of the damp on the floor, and he left this behind. His deposit was £800. 

The landlord says his handyman has been in and looked, and is now billing him an extra £1000 on top of his £800 deposit to rectify these things, and more. Included is some drawing on the carpet by children. This was there when he moved in. He is also billing him for the broken oven. This broke a month before he moved out, he reported it to the landlord, and the landlord didn't fix it (there is email evidence of this). My mate is annoyed that he couldn't cook properly for that last month. He is also being billed for dust on windowsills etc, even though he did a lot of cleaning before he moved out. As far as I'm aware, no photos were taken before he moved in, but he did say it was a dump that hadn't been cleaned. Over the past month my mate has repeatedly asked for a list breaking down each item that needs rectifying, and the cost of each. He is still waiting. I've seen pictures of how my mate left the house, and admittedly it would need a bloke or two a day to get the house back to a rent-able state, and a trip to the tip, which would take a few hundred, but there's no obvious or malicious damage to the place. My mate agrees and isn't disputing paying something. But we both strongly disagree that £1800 can be justified, and I told my mate the landlord is definitely trying it on. 

My mate is Romanian, and very unsure of his rights, what to do, who to speak to, and so is considering paying the £1800. My blood boils, as he's not the first friend I've seen this happen to, and I said I'd do some asking around, and get back to him. 

Can anybody help me to help my mate please? Pointers, procedures, resources, thoughts? The only ones I could think of were Shelter and C.A.B, the latter of which is shut. 

Again, apologies for the wrong forum, but I feel a sense of urgency to help him. Thank you. 

 

Edited by Orb
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Check if the deposit was held in a deposit scheme first. I believe the landlord has to register faults through the deposit scheme and then any dispute goes through the scheme. Do this first.

If the landlord is not in the deposit scheme then the landlord is in hot water and the tenant could and should claim the full deposit back and damages too.

 

https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/deposit-disputes/

 

Edited by Si1
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Firstly was the deposit registered with the tenants deposit scheme - your friend should have got written evidence of this? You can raise a dispute on matters like this. If not the landord has broken the law.

https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/learn-more/information-tds-lounge/faqs/?q=how+do+i+start+a+dispute

Ultimately its the landlord's job to prove costs and provide evidence its not reasonable wear and tear. And if there is a dispute it should go through the TDS resolution scheme. 

It all depends if the guy wants a future landlord reference - given he has now bought his own place perhaps that isn't an issue - and if he can afford to lose the £800 deposit and how far he is willing to pursue it. But the landlord can go whistle for the extra £1k!

Edited by MARTINX9
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13 minutes ago, MARTINX9 said:

Firstly was the deposit registered with the tenants deposit scheme - your friend should have got written evidence of this? You can raise a dispute on matters like this. If not the landord has broken the law.

https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/learn-more/information-tds-lounge/faqs/?q=how+do+i+start+a+dispute

Ultimately its the landlord's job to prove costs and provide evidence its not reasonable wear and tear. And if there is a dispute it should go through the TDS resolution scheme. 

It all depends if the guy wants a future landlord reference - given he has now bought his own place perhaps that isn't an issue - and if he can afford to lose the £800 deposit and how far he is willing to pursue it. But the landlord can go whistle for the extra £1k!

I think this put it much better than me

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It's not just a case of is it held in a deposit scheme, but also was it deposited in there within the first month of him having moved in. I have this exact same issue at the moment - I am about to (hopefully) exchange contracts on a house, and I have a feeling my landlord is going to be difficult. Similar thing to your mate - ignoring all my mails, never fixing things etc etc. When he moved in, your mate should have been provided within the first calendar month the details of the deposit scheme, and information about its purpose - i.e. dispute resolution, how to get the deposit back etc. If this hasn't happened, then the landlord will be liable as above to pay the deposit back and then up to 3 x the amount depending on what a small claims court decide.

 

When it comes to moving out (hopefully) in the next couple of months, I am going to have a VERY low tolerance for any messing around with our deposit money. We have treated the house with respect, and I have even painted and repaired things that he couldn't be bothered to do, so it is in many ways in a better state than when we moved in. He did not protect our deposit until about 5 months into the agreement, and therefore I will be very clear that he either refunds our entire deposit, or I will see him in court where they can decide how many multiples of £2000 (our deposit) I am owed. 

 

If the landlord has followed the law and protected the deposit within a month, I would be inclined to move out, lose the £800 if you are admitting that there is damage, and then let them see how much time and money they want to waste trying to prove your mate did further damage. If there are no photos of when he moved in, I would imagine any attempt to seek legal recourse will be very quickly laughed out of court as how can the landlord prove what was or wasn't damaged by your mate. 

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1 minute ago, Twenty Something said:

It's not just a case of is it held in a deposit scheme, but also was it deposited in there within the first month of him having moved in. I have this exact same issue at the moment - I am about to (hopefully) exchange contracts on a house, and I have a feeling my landlord is going to be difficult. Similar thing to your mate - ignoring all my mails, never fixing things etc etc. When he moved in, your mate should have been provided within the first calendar month the details of the deposit scheme, and information about its purpose - i.e. dispute resolution, how to get the deposit back etc. If this hasn't happened, then the landlord will be liable as above to pay the deposit back and then up to 3 x the amount depending on what a small claims court decide.

 

When it comes to moving out (hopefully) in the next couple of months, I am going to have a VERY low tolerance for any messing around with our deposit money. We have treated the house with respect, and I have even painted and repaired things that he couldn't be bothered to do, so it is in many ways in a better state than when we moved in. He did not protect our deposit until about 5 months into the agreement, and therefore I will be very clear that he either refunds our entire deposit, or I will see him in court where they can decide how many multiples of £2000 (our deposit) I am owed. 

 

If the landlord has followed the law and protected the deposit within a month, I would be inclined to move out, lose the £800 if you are admitting that there is damage, and then let them see how much time and money they want to waste trying to prove your mate did further damage. If there are no photos of when he moved in, I would imagine any attempt to seek legal recourse will be very quickly laughed out of court as how can the landlord prove what was or wasn't damaged by your mate. 

If the landlord has no evidence then surely he has no grounds even to claim the £800 out of the deposit within the scheme?

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If there was no inventory including photos signed by both parties when moving in, then the landlord has no claim on the deposit, even if it’s in a TDS.

In my experience, BTL landlords have tried to exploit immigrants’ lack of knowledge of British law, and charge them ridiculous fees when leaving the property.  Your friend should offer to pay for cleaning and rubbish removal and that’s it. He should start a dispute resolution process at Shelter if an agreement can’t be reached: https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/housing_options/deposits/statutory_protection_of_deposits/return_of_the_deposit/dispute_resolution

I’ve gone through this twice myself and they ruled in my favour both times.

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11 hours ago, Si1 said:

If the landlord has no evidence then surely he has no grounds even to claim the £800 out of the deposit within the scheme?

Yes but it sounds like the chap has already owned up that he has caused some damage, and accepts that he must pay something towards it. If the confession is only on here and not to the landlord, then you could lodge a dispute to the deposit protection scheme if the money is held in one. Otherwise, if it isn't, I guess it's a case of what £800 is to you versus the amount of bother having a lengthy dispute, small claims court etc etc to probably just decide to award half of the money back, so £400. 

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Thanks again to everyone who replied. I'll pass on the information to him. 

The insight, knowledge, and info on this site reminds me why I come here everyday. 

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2 hours ago, Twenty Something said:

Yes but it sounds like the chap has already owned up that he has caused some damage, and accepts that he must pay something towards it. If the confession is only on here and not to the landlord, then you could lodge a dispute to the deposit protection scheme if the money is held in one. Otherwise, if it isn't, I guess it's a case of what £800 is to you versus the amount of bother having a lengthy dispute, small claims court etc etc to probably just decide to award half of the money back, so £400. 

Good point

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21 hours ago, Twenty Something said:

Yes but it sounds like the chap has already owned up that he has caused some damage, and accepts that he must pay something towards it. If the confession is only on here and not to the landlord, then you could lodge a dispute to the deposit protection scheme if the money is held in one. Otherwise, if it isn't, I guess it's a case of what £800 is to you versus the amount of bother having a lengthy dispute, small claims court etc etc to probably just decide to award half of the money back, so £400. 

All the themes point to it being an unprotected deposit- Romanian tenant, no photos, demanding extra on top of the deposit.

He probably doesn't even have a rental agreement.

18 hours ago, Orb said:

I'll pass on the information to him. 

The landlord also had a duty to give him a gas safety certificate, a "how to rent" guide and an EPC for the property.

Sounds like it's quite possible he won't have declared the rental income to HMRC. Very worth following up and reporting if your mate wants to make the guy's life difficult.

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Landlord once took half my deposit for cleaning when I agreed to let them off damage to electrical items, clothes, bedding etc from a roof leak which was much more.  Now I take detailed evidence and make sure to claim for any damage to my stuff.  

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On 4/26/2020 at 9:51 AM, dropbear said:

If there was no inventory including photos signed by both parties when moving in, then the landlord has no claim on the deposit, even if it’s in a TDS.

Agreed - this LL is a scumbag - just no need for this 

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On 26/04/2020 at 09:51, dropbear said:

If there was no inventory including photos signed by both parties when moving in, then the landlord has no claim on the deposit, even if it’s in a TDS.

Photos aren't necessary (or weren't when I was last renting) although will help. A description of any damage should be sufficient, although a photo is less ambiguous. But the point is the same - no evidence of previous condition means no evidence any damage was caused by the tenant, so there's nothing that can be claimed. The inventory is to protect the landlord not the tenant as you say,.

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Did he rent directly? What method did he pay each month?

I ask because if the LL is avoiding using an agent, not protecting a deposit etc there is a chance he’s also not paying tax.

In which case he deserves a poke from HMRC.

FWIW I also think that if a tenant gets a place that’s run down and cheap they should know they’re likely paying less for an inferior service from a dodgy individual. Buyer beware.

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44 minutes ago, PeanutButter said:

Did he rent directly? What method did he pay each month?

I ask because if the LL is avoiding using an agent, not protecting a deposit etc there is a chance he’s also not paying tax.

In which case he deserves a poke from HMRC.

FWIW I also think that if a tenant gets a place that’s run down and cheap they should know they’re likely paying less for an inferior service from a dodgy individual. Buyer beware.

I'm not sure, but I shall ask him when I'm next in contact, and put that to him. It'd be great if he turned it on the scumbag and got him to pay my mate his whole deposit back and £1000 on top, and got hammered by HMRC :D

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Hopefully in the not too distant future a new thread will be up and running on here with 100,000's of views on "HOW MY LANDLORD BROKE DOWN".?

Maybe someone will use a better title, a thread on how landlords begged their tenants not to leave them in the s*** by leaving, how landlords were near tears as tenants insisted on a 25% rent discount and the landlord  had to accept because there would be no better offers. How they lost everything, how the Spanish villa they constantly bragged about or they happened to be in when you called to tell them the boiler was knackered  or with any other problem had to give it up due to bad debts, how after never thinking they would  have to go back to their sh**y jobs they had to with about as zero motivation as you can get.

Not all of my landlords have been ar**holes, but a disproportionate amount of them have been, cannot way for pay back ?

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On 25/04/2020 at 23:00, Twenty Something said:

It's not just a case of is it held in a deposit scheme, but also was it deposited in there within the first month of him having moved in. I have this exact same issue at the moment - I am about to (hopefully) exchange contracts on a house, and I have a feeling my landlord is going to be difficult. Similar thing to your mate - ignoring all my mails, never fixing things etc etc. When he moved in, your mate should have been provided within the first calendar month the details of the deposit scheme, and information about its purpose - i.e. dispute resolution, how to get the deposit back etc. If this hasn't happened, then the landlord will be liable as above to pay the deposit back and then up to 3 x the amount depending on what a small claims court decide.

 

When it comes to moving out (hopefully) in the next couple of months, I am going to have a VERY low tolerance for any messing around with our deposit money. We have treated the house with respect, and I have even painted and repaired things that he couldn't be bothered to do, so it is in many ways in a better state than when we moved in. He did not protect our deposit until about 5 months into the agreement, and therefore I will be very clear that he either refunds our entire deposit, or I will see him in court where they can decide how many multiples of £2000 (our deposit) I am owed. 

 

If the landlord has followed the law and protected the deposit within a month, I would be inclined to move out, lose the £800 if you are admitting that there is damage, and then let them see how much time and money they want to waste trying to prove your mate did further damage. If there are no photos of when he moved in, I would imagine any attempt to seek legal recourse will be very quickly laughed out of court as how can the landlord prove what was or wasn't damaged by your mate. 

Your friend shouldn't admit anything and claim his £800 back, anything else will put him on the back foot if the LL puts in a claim.

If there is insufficient evidence of the houses condition when he moved in the LL will not be able to make a claim on the deposit, as long as he does not admit to causing any damage. 

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15 hours ago, Locke said:

All the themes point to it being an unprotected deposit- Romanian tenant, no photos, demanding extra on top of the deposit.

He probably doesn't even have a rental agreement.

The landlord also had a duty to give him a gas safety certificate, a "how to rent" guide and an EPC for the property.

Sounds like it's quite possible he won't have declared the rental income to HMRC. Very worth following up and reporting if your mate wants to make the guy's life difficult.

IIRC  It is an offence to charge rent on a property without a valid gas safety certificate... 

 

 By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check - and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.

https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/renting-a-property/information-for-landlords/

 

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