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LMD

Advice Required Please

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My husband and I rent a flat in Brixton, but we intend to move out at the end of our tenancy (October), probably slightly before, as we have bought a house and expect to complete in a few weeks' time. We are happy to pay the rent right up until the end of the tenancy, even though there will be 3-4 weeks overlap between rent and mortgage, and have budgeted for this - we aren't trying to avoid paying what we owe, but I have been a little concerned by the idea that we won't get the £1300 deposit back. The deposit will make the difference between whether we can buy extra furniture when we move in or whether we have to wait for a few months (I refuse to buy on credit!).

The letting agents have slightly over 6 weeks' rent as a deposit. The house is in poor repair (though I have done some repainting) but we will leave it in better condition than when we took it on. We have a detailed check-in report. A couple of questions then:

  • Should we with-hold the last TWO months rent? (Won't they cause hassle for me in the meantime?!) We would then issue a cheque for the remainder of the rent and ask them for a detailed list of any extra charges to be made.
  • Does anyone have any experience using Haart as their letting agency? How good are they about refunding deposits?

Many thanks for any advice...

LMD

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DO NOT WITH HOLD RENT.

It is against the letter and spirit of the contract and gives the landlord the upper hand as far as the law is concerned.

Find the written permission you should have had to do the painting. If you don't have this, get written permission or put the wall back to the colour it was.

As it is a letting agency, expect them to try and get the place proffessionally cleaned using your deposit. Clean it yourself and take photos/get a witness.

On the day you move out, send a letter to the landlord asking for a list of deductions complete with quotations and give them a deadline of 2 weeks.

If they do give you a list of deductions, agree it or disagree and start negotiations.

If they don't give you a list of deductions, send them a letter asking for the full deposit to be returned in 2 weeks.

If they don't give you your deposit in 2 weeks, send a letter before action giving them a further 2 weeks.

If they don't give you your deposit back in 2 weeks, take them to the small claims court.

Keep the ball moving and don't allow them to procrastinate, but stay on the right side of the law.

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DO NOT WITH HOLD RENT.

It is against the letter and spirit of the contract and gives the landlord the upper hand as far as the law is concerned.

Find the written permission you should have had to do the painting. If you don't have this, get written permission or put the wall back to the colour it was.

As it is a letting agency, expect them to try and get the place proffessionally cleaned using your deposit. Clean it yourself and take photos/get a witness.

On the day you move out, send a letter to the landlord asking for a list of deductions complete with quotations and give them a deadline of 2 weeks.

If they do give you a list of deductions, agree it or disagree and start negotiations.

If they don't give you a list of deductions, send them a letter asking for the full deposit to be returned in 2 weeks.

If they don't give you your deposit in 2 weeks, send a letter before action giving them a further 2 weeks.

If they don't give you your deposit back in 2 weeks, take them to the small claims court.

Keep the ball moving and don't allow them to procrastinate, but stay on the right side of the law.

We didn't have direct written permission for the painting, but we did it the same colour that was already there (as it was pretty shabby) and I have a qualification as a painter and decorator. The woman who came round to inspect after six months of us being there said it was fine (she was more concerned about the general state of the property - the dodgy gas cooker, the tetanus trap in the garden, the leaky loo...). Given the over-all state of the place, I am not overly concerned about the paintwork!

We have had no dealings with the landlord as he lives in New York. All our dealings have been through the letting agency, whose staff I have found to be rude and, on occasions, aggressive. As far as I am concerned, no money should be withheld - I was prepared to pay for a professional cleaner to avoid the above scenario (when I got quotes, they said that letting agencies often add 150% for their "admin"!) until I realised there was no official standard, so it may well be money down the drain.

Thanks for your response though.

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