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DTMark

New Property, Advice?

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Hi

We got the first look inside our new cottage on Saturday having picked up the keys. Deposit paid via BACS, tenancy agreement signed, all formalities done. No inventory - but apparently that's on the way, a photo inventory is being done.

However when we viewed the property the first time we were advised it would be cleaned before we moved in. But it hasn't: the general level of cleanliness is well below how we'd expect to leave a property:

Dirty skirting boards, marks on carpets, mismatched bits of paint here and there, spatter marks in kitchen, even some writing on one of the walls in pencil which could easily have been removed, so it's pretty certain it hasn't been cleaned. It was hoovered by the looks of it, but that's about it. It's not filthy, but it isn't "ready to move into".

It is a 200 year old cottage so some aspects like the musty smell (as it's been left empty), the dead insects here and there, the dust etc. are to be expected. But the main complaint is specifically "dirt".

Now the letting agent probably thinks it has been cleaned, and is going to be a bit embarrased about this:

We're not actually moving much stuff in until the weekend. Should we ring the agent and allow them the opportunity to clean it in that week/insist it is cleaned?

I'm waiting on this Inventory: because it must have been done with the house in the condition it's in so it depends on whether it's literally an inventory of items or also includes condition (which is odd, as there as so many defects the person doing it couldn't have failed to notice them and the fact it wasn't clean). I am not sure if they're expecting their inventory to be signed and sent back, so we then have the opportunity to add lots of extra information if needed.

I'm a bit miffed that we'll have to clean it all when we get there and we'll probably be expected to clean it all when we leave: we could agree with them that we'll clean it now, and when we leave, just leave it as it is and do no cleaning.

However it's much easier if at the start it's clean and at the end it's clean, rather than "it was dirty then, and it's dirty now, but is it dirtier than it was"...?

I'm going to talk with the agent today. I was just wondering whether you think we should simply insist it's cleaned and not move in until it is, or whether we should accept this as long as it's all inventoried?

Edited by DTMark

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Call now and insist it is done. The inventory should be completed before you get keys - otherwise whats the point?

Complain and take photos. They will be billing the **locks off you at the end of the tenancy if they are anything like the ones I've had the mispleasure to deal with. Whatever you do don't just get a verbal agreement. Get it in writing before you move in.

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The agent came back to us quickly and said that she needed to speak to the person responsible for those lettings, which I think is the lady who showed us round. She has been on holiday, but is back today. I am assuming they'll have her visit the property today and we've authorised them to let themselves in.

To summarise: the property is by no means filthy and the word "clean" is a bit subjective. But things like the graffiti would have been removed if it had been cleaned so therefore it hasn't been cleaned.

I have a feeling the agent is going to be a little embarrassed as they've been very professional so far even going to pains to point out the Tenancy Deposit Scheme etc.

We have to move in tomorrow. We can't wait any longer, plus, we're into the tenancy now, have signed the Agreement and have the keys, so it's a bit awkward.

The Tenancy Agreement says we'll keep the property clean and return it in "at least as good a state as it was at the start", or similar. Actually those two conditions are at odds with each other.

I'm thinking:

1. We clean the property from top to bottom and potentially get agreement to repaint the walls which have dodgy paint repairs (white over beige) with white emulsion

2. We do a new Inventory with a digital camera and number each wall, take a photo, make a Word document and sign that, and ignore their one

That will take about two and a half days, so we politely ask for payment: whatever it would cost to get a third party in to do both jobs, as we're in a hurry so we can't delay moving furniture in until it's done.

Or:

We simply don't sign the Inventory

Am I right in thinking that if we don't sign it, no deposit deductions can be made on the basis of cleanliness and condition because there is no agreement on what the condition actually was?

(That's not to say they would not try, but we should be able to get it back easily enough)

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Call now and insist it is done. The inventory should be completed before you get keys - otherwise whats the point?

Complain and take photos. They will be billing the **locks off you at the end of the tenancy if they are anything like the ones I've had the mispleasure to deal with. Whatever you do don't just get a verbal agreement. Get it in writing before you move in.

Get evertyhing in writing - make sure it is written on theinventory that the place was in a poor state of cleanlines and give points such that it is well known and sigend by all.

(If not you could be paying for them to redocorated and recarpet their house on termination of contract... well paying towards it !!!!)

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Hi there,

This is very normal even with so-called reputable companies. I have never been able to agree an inventory because the person preparing it is under the control of the agent or the LL. They normally lie in my experience.

Make sure that you photograph all the bits that are not clean. Make notes and date them. Note and date all conversations.

Send a registered letter to the LL and the agent. Make sure that you keep a copy and proof of delivery. Say that the inventory is unavailable / incorrect and the property was not in a clean state. Say that a clean was promised verbally and not delivered. In my experience this is a normal agents trick. Why would they or the landlord pay for a clean when they can get you to do it for free.

It's common to blame another tenant moving out. Usually they didn't clean it because.... it was not cleaned in the first place.

Say that you will not be responsible for the final inventory and will not be responsible for the final clean. Say that the property is not in a fit state. List the repairs that are needed.

If you do all of this by phone they will deny it ever happened. Then it comes down to their word against yours and you need proof.

Have they charged you for the first inventory?

You are right that if you do not sign the inventory they cannot take any deductions. However, this is beside the point. As they have your bond that may deduct from that. Your only option is to take them to the small claims court or the deposit scheme. This is where the photo's come in handy.

Good luck! Please don't feel that this is unusual. It has happened to me on every flat I have rented and I have always been able to sort problems through the small claims court if needed.

Edited by Flopsy

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