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tahoma

Advice From The Wise Please

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Hello all,

I've just moved out of a flat and the landlord is basically angling to keep the deposit. Here are the circumstances (apologies for verbosity):

1. When my flatmate and I first left, we had not had time to clean fully and there was a mark on the carpet from a coffee spill, which we have since paid to have professionally cleaned. However, the carpet was already filthy with what looked like oil stains. The landlord is angling for a new carpet.

2. My flatmate and I then returned to the flat, and made it far cleaner than when we moved in. While we were there, the landlord appeared with a bouncer type, and basically stated that if we did not 'sort it all out' he would 'come after us, and not through the courts' as he is a 'nasty b*stard' and he knows some 'right nasty b*stards'. Completely over the top, we were there cleaning up! The agent admitted when my flatmate moved in (a month before me) that the flat needed cleaning, which was supposed to be done while he was on holiday but never occurred.

3. He now claims the wiring for the integrated home cinema system is 'damaged'. When we first moved into the flat, he had ripped out the controller boxes and tried to charge us £100 to 'hire' them back. We pointed out the flat had been first shown as featuring a home cinema system, so he had no right to charge extra. He relented, and gave us the boxes although I had to spend 3 hours fiddling with the wires he broke to get it to work. I did not 'damage' the wires in any way, but he now claims we did.

4. My flatmate insisted on bringing a cat to the flat, despite no animals on the contract. The cleaner of the flat stated there had been an animal there, and my flatmate has now admitted this to the agent.

5. The agent does not seem to be acting in our interests - he holds the deposit, and appears to be intimidated by the landlord. My flatmate sent a fault list to the agent after moving in, pointing out that the carpets were filthy along with other faults. The agent claims not to have received this.

I know we are not completely innocent in this (cat, stain on already filthy carpet) but could anyone advise me on the best course of action?

Regards,

T

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Guest Fiddlesticks

I would write a letter immediately to the agent setting out pretty much what you have said in your post. Don't write to the landlord, as he sounds like he will bin it and in any event the agent is the one with your money. Although you are addressing your letter to the agent, you should really be writing it with the possibility of it being eventually put before a judge in the back of your mind. Be completely honest about your own shortfalls, and include all adverse information about the landlord, especially his threatening behaviour.

Did the presence of the cat actually cause the landlord any loss, ie did it damage the flat in any way? If so you owe them for that. And you owe some nominal amount for staining a filthy carpet, let's say twenty quid. So in your letter ask for the deposit minus the amount which you fairly estimate as the damage you have caused. Give them fourteen days to pay you it or threaten them with a small claims court action. If you haven't heard from them within fourteen days, start the court claim. In the court claim you must name both the agents and the landlord as defendants. Attach the letter you sent to the agents to your claim form.

District judges deal with cases against arsehole landlords day-in and day-out. They can spot a character like the one you're dealing with a mile off, and you'll get judgment easily. The fact that the deposit is held by the agent means that the judgment should be relatively easy to enforce.

Fiddlesticks

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If you beleive you have a valid case, take him to the small claims court. They normally see through scum like this. The threat of legal action should be enough.

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Thanks for the advice, I am putting together a letter to the agent. They do seem to see our point of view; we have already paid £100 for ALL the carpets to be cleaned and there is no other damage we are accountable for. We did actually go to the Police immediately after the threats and have an incident number, which could run in our favour should this go to court.

Beware people - they are out there! It's amazing what a huge amount of negative equity can do to people :unsure: .

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Simple answer to this query. Did you have a full inventory, which you signed when you entered the property? With regards to the agent, there is a common misbelief that they act neutrally. The agent acts on behalf of the landlord, and as such will almost always side with the landlord. You as a tenant have absolutely no tie with the agent whatsoever. Anyway....your answer to the question I have put above will allow me to answer all of your questions above.

Edited by MrShed

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Simple answer to this query. Did you have a full inventory, which you signed when you entered the property? With regards to the agent, there is a common misbelief that they act neutrally. The agent acts on behalf of the landlord, and as such will almost always side with the landlord. You as a tenant have absolutely no tie with the agent whatsoever. Anyway....your answer to the question I have put above will allow me to answer all of your questions above.

My flatmate (who arrived at the flat first) made a full, amended inventory and sent it to the agent. He claims not to have received this. He seems like an honest guy, but...

T.

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If the landlord has no copy of the inventory signed by yourselves(which he appears to say, and which actually works against him) then he can make no deductions. Period.

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If the landlord threatens you again consider taking out a restraining order against him in the courts. Not sure quite what the procedure is, perhaps Mr Shed can help? :unsure:

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If the landlord has no copy of the inventory signed by yourselves(which he appears to say, and which actually works against him) then he can make no deductions. Period.

MrShed,

I would be eternally grateful if you could point me in the direction of some official material stating this - it could make my life over the next few weeks much much easier!

Regards,

T.

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There is no official material as such. However, it is shown time and time again in the courts(which is where it matters, not written on some bit of paper) that judges will not entertain the idea of deductions from the deposit without a full inventory signed by the tenants. The only possibility is that they have other evidence(eg pictures) which they could use, but would be nowhere near as useful. Of course, the important point to note is that they cannot LEGALLY deduct from the deposit. Doesn't stop them doing so, which would put the onus back onto you to sue them for the money....however, the case would be a no-brainer, so not too much hassle for you.

Just to kind of "ease your mind", ignore the fact that he cannot make deductions without a signed inventory, and I shall address your points one by one.

- The coffee stain - the landlord could potentially charge for a new carpet, IF it was uncleanable(which it doesnt sound). However, he would have to replace "like for like" ie same age and condition. Obviously, he would replace with a new carpet, but can only CHARGE you for the cost of a like for like. With the condition you describe, this amount would be nominal.

- In the case of the landlord intimidating you again, keep a written log of times, dates, and EXACT details of all incidents. It could be construed as harrassment. Any attempt to force you out, whether physically or through intimidation, could be classed as unlawful eviction, which is a very serious criminal offence which can result in a jail term.

- Will have to mention the inventory, but with regards the wires, no inventory, no deduction!

- Any term in a contract having a blanket ban on pets is an unfair term according to the OFT, and as such is null and void. It depends on the wording of the term. In any case, it makes little difference.

As I said above, remember that the agent acts PURELY on behalf of the landlord.....the landlord is the client, not you.

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Thanks for the advice MrShed, this could be really useful.

There are other mitigating circumstances for us, such as the fact the agent agreed to have the flat cleaned when my flatmate first arrived and this never happened. He even agreed to credit us a month of rent to compensate my flatmate for cleaning the place himself! Needless to say, this never appeared.

Not to mention the fact that blinds had been torn down and returned broken, along with the farce of the 'integrated' sound system that the landlord 'de-integrated'. Also, apparently the cord on the light in the bathroom is 'dirty'. Result? The landlord wants a completely new switch unit. Thats the sort of thing we are talking about here.

In hindsight, we have acted in goodwill and given away too much, and I think the Landlord now thinks he can take us all the way. I have drafted a letter which we are sending the agent, and is presentable in court. I'll amend this to include the points you have raised.

I'll post with progress...

Regards,

T

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Back to this issue;

The landlord has now extracted the deposit from our agent claiming he has the legal right to hold it?

Look like we are going to have to take the guy to court. The landlord has claimed that the 'damage' we did to the flat prevented him from renting it out immediately, and if we take him to court he will counterclaim for £1000 of 'lost' rent. The agent has already rectified any issues with the flat - just about all of which needed doing before we moved in.

The flat still lies empty two months later.

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Pass his name and detail to HMRC just incase he isn't paying income tax. Which I think is a fair bet if he's threatening violence.

That's my advice to all tennants if their landlord tries to do downright dodgy things. If they are prepared to break the law with regards to your rights it is a fair bet that they will be breaking the law regarding paying income tax, so report them to HMRC.

Do not feel guilty about doing this!

Not giving you your deposit back is theft from you.

Not paying income tax is essentially theft from you and every other law abiding citizen.

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Good grief. I am going to reply to this one again. You have ZERO, I repeat ZERO basis to report such a thing. Apart from anything else, making such unfounded claims could legally constitute harrassment.

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Guest muttley

Tahoma..

I just wanted to lend a bit of moral support, as we are in the process of sueing our former landlord regarding a withheld deposit.

My advice would be this. Just do it!

Don't let the b push you around like this. You will feel much better about it if you make a claim.

A few points: The cat is a reason for evicting you, not for withholding the bond, unless, of course, the cat shredded the walls and carpets.

The landlord cannot counter sue you for loss of income.No way,no how! He is just trying to bully you (again).

The correct way to do this is through the small claims court.You can do this online at http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/.

It is easy to do,and will only cost £30.You can claim the £30 back from the landlord.

Listen to MrShed. His posts have proved most useful to me.

You can follow my progress on this thread http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...showtopic=21161

We are currently awaiting a date for the hearing.

Good luck!!

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i would back up all of the things you have experienced ...with logs and photgraphic evidence, ie diaries of any abuse veral etc, visits or anything, also call the shelter line they are in unison with the office of fair trading, as a landlord there are certain things that are classed as unreasonable or unfair (regardless of all other circumstances ie the violent threats etc)they can give you advice too the number is 0808 800 4444

One thing i would like to say (what with being an ex letting agent) IT IS NOT A REASON TO EVICT A TENANT OR EVEN WITHOLD A DEPOSIT BECAUSE THEY HAVE BROKEN RULES IN THEIR TENANCY SUCH AS PETS, CHILDREN STUDENTS OR EVEN SMOKING!!!!

IT IS CLASSED AS UNFAIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS IF A TENANT IS UNABLE TO LIVE IN A RENTED ACCOMODATION AS ONE WOULD IN THEIR 'OWN' HOME. THESE ARE NOT LEGAL CLAUSES IN THE TENANCY AGREEMENT THEY ARE SIMPLY DETERRANTS.

even if you had an animal in a property which states you are not allowed pets, it is not an evictable offence IT IS ILLEGAL TO EVICT A TENANT OVER THIS. as long as you have made efforts to keep the property in its original state then you are fine in the eyes of the law. an idea may be to have the carpets cleaned or to provide evidence that you have cleaned them yourself, that way the landlord has no reason to withold a deposit because the work is already done. So many times i have seen deposits being held because of the most ridiculously small things, ie toilet seats etc, these things can be bought at your nearest poundshop most of the time but if it is left to your landlord to repair or find faults with, he/she is well within their righhts to charge you the call out cost for whatever the reapir may be ON TOP OF THE REAPIR COST...always ask for evidence and a detailed schedule of all works done that have been held from your deposit.

please do not be fooled by your tenancy agreement, not everything within it is of legal format, check it with a solicitor if you are unsure or ring the office of fair trading to get free unbiased advice on the terms and conditions set

Edited by bonnie

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Just to contradict(slightly) what bonnie says....it IS legal to evict over pets, as long as the term is worded correctly. You cannot have a blanket ban on pets, but you CAN ban pets which may be reasonably expected to cause damage to the property, or cause a nuisance. The initial reason whay a blanket ban was made unfair was because it in theory prevented pets such as goldfish etc!

It is worth pointing out that although it may be illegal to evict due to certain terms(such as a blanket ban on pets etc) it is perfectly legal to "discriminate" against such tenants prior to a tenancy being taken up. However, if as a tenant you lie about having a pet, children etc and then bring them, expect to be evicted quite speedily on a Section 21!

Let us know how you get on tahoma. The landlord having your deposit instead of the agent is of little consequence...it is the landlord you would need to sue anyway. I do hope you push this through small claims, as he really is just laughing at you. His actions regarding the deposit also will make the courts take a very dim view of him, and just strengthens your case even more(if indeed it needed strengthening!).

Edited by MrShed

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Just to contradict(slightly) what bonnie says....it IS legal to evict over pets, as long as the term is worded correctly. You cannot have a blanket ban on pets, but you CAN ban pets which may be reasonably expected to cause damage to the property, or cause a nuisance. The initial reason whay a blanket ban was made unfair was because it in theory prevented pets such as goldfish etc!

It is worth pointing out that although it may be illegal to evict due to certain terms(such as a blanket ban on pets etc) it is perfectly legal to "discriminate" against such tenants prior to a tenancy being taken up. However, if as a tenant you lie about having a pet, children etc and then bring them, expect to be evicted quite speedily on a Section 21!

But would not pets count as your personal belongings.But on the other hand if the pet's are causing a nuisance then a landlord would have every right to request that there found another home.I think there may be a" double edged" sword on this one.

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Thanks for your support everyone. My ex-flatmate is on holiday, as soon as he gets back we'll the landlord through the small claims court. I've just made another claim against someone who owes me money for a computer, and it is really straightforward.

I'll keep you posted - thanks again for everyone's input.

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Right, I'm about to take this guy to court now that I have a written account from the agent of the goings on.

The landlord is now ALSO claiming that we have broken the plasma screen (mounted on the wall, how do you break that...). It worked fine when we left, but he claims 'it was impossible to test it as they had broken all routes to test it'.

He claims he will counter-claim for this if I take him to court. :rolleyes:

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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