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  • FIRST POST
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 4th Apr 17, 5:58 PM
    • 32Posts
    • 1Thanks
    bonnand
    Rental deposit return
    • #1
    • 4th Apr 17, 5:58 PM
    Rental deposit return 4th Apr 17 at 5:58 PM
    Hello,

    I was on a few weeks ago after we had moved to a new property and needed to move out quickly due to my job requirements. I received some good advice and after speaking to the landlords agent, it was ageeed that he would relist the property and we could look for something suitable.

    Long story short, new tenants were found within 2 days, we moved out on the 31st March and the new tenenats moved in the next day. I asked the landlords agent when we would get the deposit back and was advised 7 - 10 days. Today I decided to check all was okay and sent an email requesting an update and received the following reply:

    "Hi,

    I have been speaking to the landlord and he has said that you entered in to a 6 month tenancy, and you where only in the property for just over 3 weeks and as a result he will not be returning your deposit.

    He has said he has been good enough to just let you move out and he could of asked for you to pay a further 5 months rent."

    I am at a loss how to proceed, when we started talking to the landlord there wa no mention of not return the deposit. I have replied and stated that new tenants are in and the deposit is in a protection scheme (I hope).

    Any advice out there please?
Page 3
    • Icecannon
    • By Icecannon 18th Apr 17, 4:30 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Icecannon
    You haven't been short.

    You have clearly explained the situation.

    Pick out the replies on here that have read what you have wrote and understood it and listen to those.
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 11:44 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Thanks for your help.

    After a detailed reply to the agent he has just brushed it off and basically said start legal action.

    Don't really want to do this, would mediation be a good step to consider and offer to LL and agent?

    Thank tou
    • Heather2603
    • By Heather2603 21st Apr 17, 12:12 PM
    • 67 Posts
    • 83 Thanks
    Heather2603
    They've made their position clear, I think your only option would be small claims but reading the above I'm not sure that anything they've asked for is unreasonable. This is the cost to the landlord for reletting. He had already paid these once 4 weeks ago so obviously views it as why should he have to pay them again? I can';t say I disagree with them.

    By my calculation though it's £480.00 of fees? Therefore you should still have £220 returned to you. Have they explained why they are not returning the additional sum?

    I do think £480 for terminating 5 months early is a bargain in relation to paying the rent for 5 months
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 12:35 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    I have asked for an explanation of fees but this isn't going to happen.

    I have thought of settling for the sum you have shown but still feel that some of the costs are plucked out of the air and i have emailed and told him this, also asking he read my answers in detail and respond fully. I have also advised I want to settle amicably and quickly.

    I see the point you made about early exit but this was agreed on both sides. And if he had mentioned costs and the possibility of no return of the deposit, then I would have remained in the property reluctantly.
    Thanks
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 21st Apr 17, 1:01 PM
    • 10,449 Posts
    • 12,369 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    From October 2014 all letting agents must be registered with a compulsory redress scheme.

    http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-complain-about-your-property-agent

    Go onto your letting agent's website and find out which one they are registered with.

    You have done everything you can by complaining directly to the letting agent so this is your next step.

    Before you contact them I suggest you thoroughly read both your contract and any information about fees on their website so you know exactly the details of your complaint which basically seems to revolve around fees not being advertised correctly.

    Once you have spoken to the scheme then you will know how to move forward.

    Please come back and tell us what they say!
    • theEnd
    • By theEnd 21st Apr 17, 1:07 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 853 Thanks
    theEnd
    LL might have explained it badly, but how did you expect to terminate a 6 month contract for £29? Seriously?
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 21st Apr 17, 1:17 PM
    • 461 Posts
    • 288 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I apologise if I missed a couple of details in my response, but am genuinely trying to help. I understand that you openly explained your geniune reasons to leave early, and the LL/agent COULD helped you out by letting you leave without much penalty, but legally they don't have to. Many of your comments focus on how little work was involved in the fees they are claiming, but agents do not work for free and lots of little jobs add up.

    The fees they suggest don't seem unreasonable to me and are in line with typical letting agent fees.. it doesn't matter what else they do for the LL. Remember an early termination is a new agreement between you and the LL, and everything is up for negotiation regardless of the costs involved. Your argument is therefore that at the point of terminating, the agreement was vacate by 31March and you are charged reletting fees.

    Now that you have a breakdown of what they are claiming, you don't need to go into rent, reasons for leaving etc. Your argument should focus on the fees never being agreed and had you known you wouldn't have left early.


    This is the reply I have received today from the LL's agent in reply to the various goings on, I have taken out our names etc:

    "Hi My name,

    I can confirm to you that the reason why we had not returned the deposit to you is for the following reason's.

    It is not as simple as finding a new tenant it cost both myself and the landlord time on advertising the property and letting it.

    I had confirmed to both yourself and wife that we will have to take deductions from your deposit to cover the cost and you both agreed to this, please see below a breakdown:

    The Tenant find cost for the new tenant was £200

    There was no mention of this at all, agent only advised that there would be a £30.00 fee for putting on to listing site- ok, so say £200 never agreed

    Drawing up of new AST contract's £100

    If it was the same as our one, it consists of a standard tenant agreement consisting of 5 double sided sheets which the LL's agent filled in himself before we arrived, (and I now realise was not witnessed), we signed the agreement and initialed each page- the work isn't nothing, and £100 is in line with the industry. The point is £100 was never agreed.

    Advertising the property was £29 - This was as agreed

    Inventory inspection that the landlord had asked to be carried out at a cost of £50. The LL's agent walked around with me and confirmed he was happy with everything- the work isn't nothing though, and reasonable for ~30min inc travel time. The point is this was never agreed.

    I also had to make Two visit to yourself costing £25.00 each visit.No mention was ever made of this fee and nothing is mentioned in the tenancy agreement- If this was routine visits during the tenancy then you're right it should be in the original tenancy agreement. If this was in relation to the termination, then the original agreement is irrelevant, the point is it wasn't agreed in the early termination.

    When you left the property you did show me a stain to the carpet in the hallway and said this was water from the washing machine as you had moved it and that it will dry, i have since found out this is not a water stain this is dirt on the the carpet and has cost £50 to have the carpets cleaned. This I accept, I was hoping that this would clear up when dried out

    Both Myself and the landlord feel we where very accommodating by letting you move out of the property early when you had only been in there one month and we could still recover 5 months rent from yourself and wife. This was discussed openly and genuine reasons for wanting to exit early were given, I have long stated that if we were told of extra costs, no deposit return etc; thgen it would be a different matter and we would not be on here!!

    I look forward to your response.

    Kind Regards
    Originally posted by bonnand
    Your argument is that the separately negotiated argument to terminate the tenancy was vacate by and pay rent until 31March, and you pay reletting fees which were specifically quoted to be £30. I suspect you'll need proof they agreed this would be the only reletting fees you would cover though.

    As for next steps, practically the only option is to file a money claim. You'll have to pay the court fees though, and only recover these if you win the case.
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 1:23 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Many thanks for continuing advice etc.

    I will follow this up and discuss but the agent isn't a true letting agent, he acts for his boss who is the LL so it may not be possible.

    As to the point of settling for £29, if all the so called fees had been raised and explained at the start of the process, as I have already stated, I would still very reluctantly I must admit, be living there. There has been plenty of time to raise these costs at the start of our request to end the tenancy early. In my job, I have to list costs to a customer before proceeding, surely a LL should do the same?

    I am ready to send an email to settle for half the deposit to close the matter quickly.

    Thanks again.
    • macman
    • By macman 21st Apr 17, 1:28 PM
    • 40,880 Posts
    • 16,688 Thanks
    macman
    'a tenant is being upfront and honest about the situation of why the tenancy ended early'.

    You keep repeating this mantra, but it's completely irrelevant whether you were 'open and honest' or lied through your back teeth about why you wanted to leave. You sought to break the contract, and the LA agreed to you doing so under stated conditions.
    Whether he has lost income or not is also irrelevant.
    What baffles me is why, during your meeting and subsequent exchange of emails, you never questioned the status of the deposit, which was surely your paramount concern.
    If you take an action through the county court, you may well find that you are served a counter-claim from the LA claiming the full 6m rental. This would leave you much worse off than you are now.
    You are confusing what is 'fair,' with what is the civil law.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 1:40 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Sorry to report this but I have stated several times both verbally and via email that I asked and discussed return of the deposit with the agent. Not once was there any point raised to me about not returning it, made up fees and paying the full term of rent. My only mantra is: if he had been open and honest I would not be discussing this situation at all as I would still be living in the property. I have written evidence that the agent stated the deposit was in a scheme and then he confirmed it had not been registered!

    Surely someone who is reputable would speak up from the start of a process and state you may have to pay extra fees or not get money back. It's not a mantra, it's a fact and I now realise I have been dealing with an unscrupulous LL and agent who will lie to rip people off.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 21st Apr 17, 1:54 PM
    • 10,393 Posts
    • 14,235 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    You've sent your letter before action. The LL disagrees with you so if you want your money back and you believe you have a case take action i.e. file a Money Claim Online. If you don't want to go to small claims court then suck it up.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 1:57 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Sorry to report this but I have stated several times both verbally and via email that I asked and discussed return of the deposit with the agent. Not once was there any point raised to me about not returning it, made up fees and paying the full term of rent. My only mantra is: if he had been open and honest I would not be discussing this situation at all as I would still be living in the property. I have written evidence that the agent stated the deposit was in a scheme and then he confirmed it had not been registered!

    Surely someone who is reputable would speak up from the start of a process and state you may have to pay extra fees or not get money back. It's not a mantra, it's a fact and I now realise I have been dealing with an unscrupulous LL and agent who will lie to rip people off.
    • theEnd
    • By theEnd 21st Apr 17, 2:01 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 853 Thanks
    theEnd
    So the LL definitely said you'd get all the deposit back and the total cost would be £29? Is this in writing/email?

    If so, go ahead with the legal option.
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 21st Apr 17, 2:25 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Yes, we had a meeting and we agreed to cover the cost of the relisting and I then confirmed in an email the discussion as per the request of the agent.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 21st Apr 17, 9:05 PM
    • 39,647 Posts
    • 45,152 Thanks
    G_M
    Yes, we had a meeting and we agreed to cover the cost of the relisting and I then confirmed in an email the discussion as per the request of the agent.
    Originally posted by bonnand
    The court's starting position will be that there was a 6 month contract which you broke.

    1) Was anything agreed, in writing, regarding the terms (ie costs) of the LL accepting the Early Surrender?

    2) And /or did the LL agree, in writing, that you could surrender the tenancy early, ie on xx date, without penalty or cost?

    3) If nothing was agreed in writing, then you'll be arguing to a judge "He said..... " "No I said....."

    Your options now are

    a) walk away
    b) refer the matter to the relevant ombudsman
    c) moneyclaimonline
    • dannim12345
    • By dannim12345 22nd Apr 17, 11:07 AM
    • 230 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    dannim12345
    The fees the agent is proposing don't seem exesscive and £30 sounds too low. However I would be annoyed if when asked/agreed I was told it would only be £30 (it that was the case).

    I would write back saying none of this was discussed or agreed when agreeing early termination and this would have affected your decision to leave the property.

    See what they say and consider going to small claims (if you have evidence to back up what you are saying). I wouldn't just keep going back & forward via email though.
    • theEnd
    • By theEnd 22nd Apr 17, 2:17 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 853 Thanks
    theEnd
    Yes, we had a meeting and we agreed to cover the cost of the relisting and I then confirmed in an email the discussion as per the request of the agent.
    Originally posted by bonnand
    But did they say it was £29 total or did they say "cost of relisting"?
    If the later, than that's what they've done and doesn't seem unreasonable.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 22nd Apr 17, 3:05 PM
    • 15,502 Posts
    • 38,858 Thanks
    FBaby
    *No mention was ever made of this fee and nothing is mentioned in the tenancy agreement*
    You seem to be using this argument a lot as a defense. They didn't need to mention everything that would be charged then to have a right to ask for i now. It was YOUR responsibility to ask for a breakdown of costs associating with resigning the contract. The fact that they told you one fee doesn't mean that there were not more applicable, and frankly, if you believed that this would only cost you £30, you were just very naive.

    The cost of using a LA to find a tenant runs around £500 for the Landlord. The LA had no reasons not to charge this to the landlord for their normal business and the LL had no reasons, especially considering the fact he was already doing you favour, to pay this fee that resulted from your decision to break the contract.

    You seem to have confused 'I will return the deposit' with I will return the full amount of the deposit, it's not the same.

    You can take your LL to court but unless he can't prove the charges he is claiming, I think you have very little chances to win. What is surprising with this post is the fact you seem to have very little concept of the fact that you had a lucky escape and could have ended having to pay 5 times that amount and you would have had no defense against that full amount if your landlord had decided to be fully business like. Be grateful!
    • Miss Samantha
    • By Miss Samantha 22nd Apr 17, 4:00 PM
    • 1,177 Posts
    • 1,122 Thanks
    Miss Samantha
    Either the agreement was to pay 'reasonable costs' or it was to pay a specific amount. Otherwise nothing is payable.

    You seem to have confused 'I will return the deposit' with I will return the full amount of the deposit, it's not the same.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    It has to be implied that "I will return the deposit" means the whole amount held. Otherwise the statement is meaningless.
    • bonnand
    • By bonnand 24th Apr 17, 11:16 AM
    • 32 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    bonnand
    Many thanks for the last few posts.

    I will admit early on that I realized we would be lucky to get away without paying the remaining rent.

    What rankles me is the charges which come out of the woodwork when you move out and I am 99% certain that this scenario would have occurred after the initial 6 months tenancy.

    I thought I would include the initial emails when I started this, names have been removed:

    First email advising we wanted to move out early:

    XXXXXX,

    We are writing to advise you that at end of the 6 month fixed tenancy we will be vacating the above referenced property.

    Over the last few weeks we have not settled into living in the flat and have realized we have made a mistake. We also have the added complication that XXXXXXX work is changing to focus more on the South East meaning we will need to move to at least XXXXX or XXXXXX.

    We are hoping that we can look to locate replacement tenants in the meantime, with your approval of course, who could take over the tenancy from us sooner. This would allow us to move sooner.
    Also if you can find new tenants to replace us that would help as well.

    We trust you understand our position and if you need to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Regards,


    This is the reply I received fron the LL's agent:

    Hi XXXXXX and XXXXXX,

    okay what a shame, i will pop round and speak to you and see what we can do and take it from there.

    When are you free?

    Thanks


    Aftert the visit when we discussed our reasons for wanting to move out early, the only costs raised was that to relist the property on "Openrent", I was asked by the the agent to confirm the details of our meeting as follows:

    Hi XXXXXXX,

    Thanks for popping around last night and discussions we had.

    To confirm, due to changes at my work we would need to move out soon as convienent for you. We understand the need to find a tenant to replace us first before we vacate and we would also be willing to carry out viewings with potential tenants.

    When you get a moment, please send some details on the properties you mentioned in Exeter area.

    Once again, many thanks for your help.


    So the agreement was to list the property again which the agent did on the Monday and the listing was live on the following Wednesday morning. Within 3 hours of the listing having gone live, a couple had viewed the property, liked it, agreed to take the tenancy on and our move out date was confirmed as the 31st March and the tenants would move in 1st April. During our further discussions over the next 7 - 10 days approx., no mention was made of the extra fees at all. Do you not think that this should have been raised and we should have been made aware?

    A week after we moved out I chased the deposit, and if you go to the start of the posting you will see what happened there!!

    I would be willing to accept the return of our deposit less the agents fees, just to close the matter as I don't want to go legal.

    This was the last comment from the agent:

    Hi XXXXXX,

    My response to you was my final response and a full explanation was given, if you are unhappy with my decision then i would suggest for you to instruct your legal source then i will respond to them.

    Regards

    XXXXXX XXXXXXX


    One last question, although we signed both copies of the agreement and initialed them, neither were ever witnessed. Would this have a bearing on anything? Just an aside question.


    I would like to say thank you for all your help and advice, it has been gratefully received.
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