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  • FIRST POST
    DJ MPH
    Fought tooth and nail to get deposit back. . . AND WON!!!
    • #1
    • 13th Feb 13, 3:22 PM
    Fought tooth and nail to get deposit back. . . AND WON!!! 13th Feb 13 at 3:22 PM
    I figured I'd post a thread on my situation in order to try and help or give hope to others who are struggling to get their security deposit back after a tenancy. If you are trying to get your deposit back, give this a read, there might be something in amongst all this that could help you.

    So, our tenancy ended just shy of 3 months ago, and I have been fighting to get our deposit back through the letting agency since mid November. Today (3 days short of our cut off point for raising a dispute with the resolution centre) I received an email from the agency telling me that they will release the FULL AMOUNT to us, after initially wanting to make deductions for countless things which we viewed as false or unfair deductions.

    I think the easiest method here will be to to write up briefly what has happened in chronological order:

    Signed Tenancy Agreement and issued with a check-in inventory - Back at the beginning of our tenancy we were very naive as to the ways of tenancies. The check-in report issued to us was very inaccurate and outdated, and we had to return an ammended copy within days of our tenancy. We ammended it as best we could but were under the impression that it wasnt that important, since the agency hadnt bothered to keep their copy updated.

    Several issues relating to repairs arise during our tenancy - Not much to do with the return of our deposit, but this made us wary of the Agencys practices and I began putting every communication into writing as a precaution.

    Tenancy reaches its end - Our tenancy finishes after we declined to extend our tenancy. We left the property in a very clean state (although when we started the tenancy the property was dirty and we had to clean it ourselves). We took photos of how clean in was, and I also wrote to the Agency to request that I attend the check-out.

    Check-out happens without my knowledge or presence - Even though its not a legal requirement for the agency to allow me to attend the check-out, it is within their best interest to facilitate this. They initially agreed to inform me of when the check-out was to take place, but failed to do so. I subsequently contested the check-out report as the things they wanted to claim for were simply unreasonable.

    Here I will briefly break-down the check-out report:

    The initial comments box from the Inspector says that the property was left in an average condition, with soiled carpets which need cleaning or replacing and the whole property is in need of a full clean - We briefly noted on the check-in that the carpets were in poor condition, though we werent aware of how much detail we perhaps should have gone into, and stupidly we didnt take any photos at the beginning of our tenancy. We left the property in a very clean state (our contract obliged us to clean the property to a good domestic standard upon leaving, something which we certainly fulfilled)

    Is cleaning needed? Yes - Again we cleaned the property to a good domestic standard, including oven, fridge/freezer etc. We took pictures at the end of our tenancy to prove this

    Carpets need cleaning? Yes - Noted on the check-in that the carpets were stained and in poor condition. Strangley, the report stated that the landlord was to pay for one carpet, while the tenant was to pay for the other. (note that the landlord cannot claim for something which would allow the property to be in a better state than at the beginning of the tenancy)

    Chip to skirting board of bedroom - This really puzzled us as we NEVER saw this during our tenancy, nor at the end of the tenancy when we thoroughly cleaned the property. The photo the inspector provided was of poor quality and showed no scale of the chip, it was zoomed in and pixellated. I came to one of three conclusions: The chip was there at the start of the tenancy, but so small that we never noticed it. OR, the chip was caused by us but we never noticed it (being a landscaper I always have woodfiller in my van so if they had allowed me to attend the check-out i could have easily rectified this). OR, the chip was not a part of our property and was a picture from another property in order to better the property at our expense.

    Cloth blind and window ledge in en suite bedroom unclean - The cloth blind was unclean when we moved in, and we subsequently took the blind down and used our own blind throughout the tenancy, replacing the cloth blind at the end of the tenancy. The window ledge had mold in the corners, due to the poor ventilation of the ventilation unit in the shower room, and the window not leading to an open space but to an indoor lobby area, further reducing the chance of ventilation.

    Mold spots on shower room ceiling - again due to poor ventilation system and no exterior window in which to help ventilation.

    Shower door unclean and extractor fan dirty - Shower door was clean and although extractor fan had gathered dust inside, it is not our duty as a tenant to dismantle the fan in order to clean it. Should we have attempted to clean it ourselves and damaged it in the process, we would have been liable for its replacement. Expecting a tenant to clean inside an extractor fan is beyond what should be reasonably expected.

    Pink paint stain on window ledge in lounge - Although not noted in our check-in, there were numerous other pink spots around the property which we DID note on the check-in. Reason would conclude that this stain was also present but just not noted.

    Extractor hood above hobs/oven paint marked and greasy - Extractor hood was not greasy as it was well cleaned, and paint marks must have been present at the commencement of the tenancy. Really, why would we as tenants be painting things in the kitchen?

    Oven and oven door greasy - Again a false statement from the inspector. The oven was cleaned to a very good standard as my partner used to work in a restaurant and had to clean ovens regularly so she was pretty darn good at it!

    Items left in boiler cupboard and in need of remova l - These items were present when we moved in, though we didnt list them on the inventory. Again naivity on our part. Amongst the things in here was a "Right Move"* sign - why would this belong to us?

    *I must note that Right Move were not our Letting Agency and have no link to our dispute at all.

    Wardrobe left in bedroom and needs removing - Again this was present when we moved in, and also when we were shown around the property. We assumed the Letting Agents knew of its presence - which of course they must have.

    Corner desk unit left an in need of removal - Now this we DID leave behind, not out of negligence, but since there were other items in the property such as the wardrobe, we didnt need the unit and decided to leave it on the whim that the next occupants may want it. Upon later "drive by" of the property once new tenants had moved in, we saw a gentleman sat at the corner desk unit, seemingly working at his computer. How then can they charge us for removal when it is still there? The other option would be that charity companies often will collect furniture for free and sell it in their stores, something which we did with some of our furniture. There should be no need for an agency/landlord to charge for removal costs. It was also written in our contract that we will receive 14 days written notice that something requires removing, if it is then not removed then they may charge for its removal. No notice was given.


    Upon receiving the check-out report I immediately contested it, and hoped to enter into discussions with the agency as to the intended deductions. Further more I requested a figure that they wished to deduct, and asked for the return of any undisputed amount. Law states that they must return any undisputed amount within 10 days of formal written request. We received no response.

    After several emails sent (so I had proof of sending documentation I opted for email, as this is how we had communicated with them during our tenancy) and no response forthcoming I chose to send all emails again, with the added notice that should a reply not be received I would raise a dispute with the resolution centre where my deposit was registered.

    I received a reply informing me that they were in communication with the landlord as they were awaiting invoices for the repairs/removals/cleaning which would be deducted, along with the "damages fee" which was part of our contract.

    I wrote to them again informing them that we fully contest the check-out, and again informing them that they failed to allow me to attend the check-out. I explained in detail why we contest the check-out, referencing the state of the property at the commencement of the tenancy, and also asked for contact details for their complaints department.

    No response was recieved.

    1 month (and several emails which heralded no response) later, I wrote again to one of the property managers within the company who had been ignoring my attempts at resolving the issue. I also did some digging around and found the CEO's email address and CC'd him.

    I received a response the following day. Funny isnt it that as soon as you get someone above them involved, they act swiftly!

    He issued me with a detailed rundown of their viewpoint on our issues (some of which dont relate to the return of our deposit, which we are currently preparing a case to send to the Property Ombudsman) and subsequently shirked all responsibility and pretty much informed us that the check-out report is 100% accurate and they WILL be making deductions.

    Again I contested this and informed them that they are unable to authorise any deductions without my consent, or the consent of the dispute resolution centre should a dispute be raised.

    Note all further correspondance was CC'd to the CEO as this seemed to prompt a response.

    I emailed the second stage of their complaints department (the first stage was already done by contacting one of their property managers), again detailing all that we contest, along with other issues. Their response, (a full month later!) was as expected. They refused to accept any liablity or accept that we were rightfully due our security deposit in full. So I responded again asking that my complaint be escalated to the final tier of their complaints procedure, which would then allow me to raise a dispute with the resolution centre (the resolution centre advises to go through the letting agencys internal complaints department before raising a dispute). I also informed them of the date in which we would have to raise a dispute (as you can only raise a dispute up to 3 months after the end of the tenancy) and that if no response had been recieved 5 days prior to that date, we would compile our case and send it off to the dispute resolution centre.

    No response was received.

    Today, 3 days short of the cut off point (and 2 days after the deadline I gave them), I have been finalising our case for the dispute resolution centre, only to receive an email telling me that they and the landlord have agreed to return to us the full amount of our deposit.

    So, there is hope for all of you who are in a similar situation. Just be persistent, be reasonable, and remain professional.

    A few tips to consider:

    Always take photographs at the beginning and end of your tenancy

    Read your contract thoroughly and any clauses you are unsure over, get advice about, or research it yourself. There are several clauses still in use by agencies that the Office of Fair Trading deem as unreasonable
    see this link http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/unfair_contract_terms/oft356.pdf

    Always request written communication so you have a log of all correspondence. Not only is it a good source of evidence, but its useful for you to read over, especially if a complaint lasts a few months.

    Use the forum! - The guys here are full of useful information and the majority of them want to help.

    Do some research on the internet and find out your rights!


    I rarely have internet access but I will endeavour to help anyone who may need help or advice. Just post your questions or situation and i'll try my utmost to help. I feel like a semi-trained property lawyer with the amount of research i've had to do!
Page 1
    • theartfullodger
    • By theartfullodger 13th Feb 13, 4:25 PM
    • 10,305 Posts
    • 14,161 Thanks
    theartfullodger
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:25 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:25 PM
    Well done!
    • Better Days
    • By Better Days 13th Feb 13, 4:48 PM
    • 2,720 Posts
    • 12,578 Thanks
    Better Days
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:48 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:48 PM
    Well done for your persistence. It is good to see your hard work has paid off.

    I took 78 photos of the property at the beginning of the tenancy which caused some amusement among my friends, but the property was not very clean and the kitchen cupboards especially, are in poor condition. Although the LA have, so far, been reasonable, we did not want to be asked to pay for damage to the cupboards that we had not done.

    It is as well to educate yourself. Our LA's standard tenancy agreement stated that both LL and T had to give 2 months notice to end the tenancy (after the end of the 6 months). I pointed out that the legislation states that the T has only to give 1 months notice. The LA obviously looked it up as when we came to sign they amended our agreement and admitted that they also amended their template for the tenancy agreements for everyone.
    It is a good idea to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.
    James Douglas
  • jayms1
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:49 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:49 PM
    Well done! Some good words of advice in there! Thank you for sharing.
    • Cissi
    • By Cissi 13th Feb 13, 4:55 PM
    • 1,111 Posts
    • 1,315 Thanks
    Cissi
    • #5
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:55 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Feb 13, 4:55 PM
    Thank you for taking the time to share all that detail, that will surely be useful to others in future.
    • moromir
    • By moromir 13th Feb 13, 8:16 PM
    • 1,823 Posts
    • 5,010 Thanks
    moromir
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 13, 8:16 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 13, 8:16 PM
    One fairly major point I take from the end of your post - you have an email from the agent three days before the cut off point to lodge a dispute saying the landlord will return your deposit.

    Do you physically have the money back?

    If not, lodge the complaint now. This could be a delaying tactic to ensure you miss the cut off point for lodging a dispute.
    • Yorkie1
    • By Yorkie1 13th Feb 13, 8:18 PM
    • 11,055 Posts
    • 20,844 Thanks
    Yorkie1
    • #7
    • 13th Feb 13, 8:18 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Feb 13, 8:18 PM
    If they delay paying you the deposit back beyond the time for raising a dispute, where does that leave you? Can you lodge a dispute to cover this position, and withdraw it if they pay up?

    Edit: snap, moromir!
  • DJ MPH
    • #8
    • 13th Feb 13, 10:31 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Feb 13, 10:31 PM
    One fairly major point I take from the end of your post - you have an email from the agent three days before the cut off point to lodge a dispute saying the landlord will return your deposit.

    Do you physically have the money back?

    If not, lodge the complaint now. This could be a delaying tactic to ensure you miss the cut off point for lodging a dispute.
    Originally posted by moromir
    Ha! That was the first thing that crossed my mind. However, I concluded that IF it is a delaying tactic I still have the option of pursuing the matter through the courts (the "info" page on the deposit protection scheme site states that you can either use the resolution centre or the courts but not both). And I'm fairly confident that the courts would not appreciate such underhand activity and wasting their time. We don't want to raise a dispute as a precautionary measure as we're concerned that it might then HAVE to go through the dispute process, which states can take up to 3 months, and we could really do with the money sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for pointing that out though in case it hadn't crossed my mind. Thanks for all the nice replies too.
    • Ivana Tinkle
    • By Ivana Tinkle 13th Feb 13, 11:03 PM
    • 836 Posts
    • 1,011 Thanks
    Ivana Tinkle
    • #9
    • 13th Feb 13, 11:03 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Feb 13, 11:03 PM
    Well done! Would it be worth an email to the agent pointing out that if the money's not in your account by midday on the deadline day you'll be lodging a dispute anyway? Might save a lot of hassle if they are trying to pull a fast one! (Although I agree they'd be stupid to do so.)
    • DRP
    • By DRP 14th Feb 13, 8:36 AM
    • 3,909 Posts
    • 3,376 Thanks
    DRP
    Well done! Would it be worth an email to the agent pointing out that if the money's not in your account by midday on the deadline day you'll be lodging a dispute anyway? Might save a lot of hassle if they are trying to pull a fast one! (Although I agree they'd be stupid to do so.)
    Originally posted by Ivana Tinkle
    Good idea! I would email and ring the agent just to be sure..
    • embob74
    • By embob74 14th Feb 13, 9:10 AM
    • 712 Posts
    • 788 Thanks
    embob74
    It is so helpful and thoughtful (considering your limited online access) to give others an insight into what has happened, particularly as most only come on here asking for help with problems.
    The only thing I would like to add is that although email correspondence has worked for you the advice on here is to write a letter and use snail mail with proof of posting. It is easy to say an email was never received.
    Well done for persevering and remaining calm in what is obviously a frustrating time :-)
  • danda
    hi there, I rented a house in NW10 and we stayed there for the minimum tenancy as we were buying a house and were
    waiting for the paper work to go through... anyway we left the property within 5 months time (but we paid for the 6
    month minimum contract and the landlord agreed with it) we had many problems in the property because of the past
    flooding problems they had there (but we did not know any of this when we rented the property) so we ended up pay more
    for our bills because the house even with the heating on, use to freeze... long story short, we did the check out in
    December and even the inspector said the house was left in excellent conditions... etc ... when the 6 months passed we
    contacted the DEPOSIT PROTECTION SERVICE to get our deposit back and since then we have being trying to sort this out
    with no success... we contacted the agency as well to know why the landlord is doing this and apparently he wants
    deductions from our deposit for fix things that has nothing to do with us... (like roof leaking ,etc ). We also tried
    to use the service from DPS (Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Procedure. An independent service that acts as an
    alternative to going to court, aiming to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants through evidence-based
    adjudication) but they refused as well and probably because they have nothing to say against us...
    Now I am here
    trapped... It is being almost 6months and nothing has being sorted... and truly I don't think nothing has to be
    deducted from my deposit because I haven't done anything wrong, I paid an extra month and gave the keys back to the
    agency when I left the property after 5 months, so the landlord could rent it again or even sell the property if they
    wanted to (even though I paid for 6 month)... now my feelings are ... the landlord wants to take money out of my
    deposit to make me pay for things that they should've done right from the beginning, like contracting the right
    builders to make a proper work in their property, etc... because once I got into the house, even the neighbours told me the house was for sale before but it
    didn't happen because the bank spotted those flooding problems and that's why they left it for rental... Now, I would
    like some advice of what I should do...
    • princeofpounds
    • By princeofpounds 27th Jun 13, 11:21 AM
    • 7,677 Posts
    • 10,103 Thanks
    princeofpounds
    like some advice of what I should do...
    Hi and welcome.

    I would suggest starting a new thread of your own and re-posting your information properly formatted.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 27th Jun 13, 11:32 AM
    • 48,229 Posts
    • 59,136 Thanks
    G_M
    Hi and welcome.

    I would suggest starting a new thread of your own and re-posting your information properly formatted.
    Originally posted by princeofpounds
    Yes,

    Danda, pleasere-post in seperate thread and break your post up into paragraphs.

    Short and relevant.

    One paragraph for each point.
  • Harold12
    Good job! Thank you very much for sharing the details. It makes me clear about many things.
  • quantim
    Going through something similar...
    We have recently vacated a rented property which had been badly neglected and not properly maintained before and during our tenure, despite our best efforts to communicate all the things that were wrong with the house via our letting agency.

    The LA is now using the checkout (we were not present for this) as a basis for deducting a number of claims against our deposit, which we feel are unfair.

    We have a comprehensive archive or emails to and from the lettings agency and pictures before and after our tenure.

    More than 10 days have passed since we moved out and so far none of our deposit has been returned, it's "in dispute".

    The deposit is being held with the Deposit Protection Scheme, who don't seen to be contactable by email and have a premium rate phone number (0844), which seems a little unfair but I think a call to them is our next step to see where we stand.

    For the record, the Landlord gave me their word when they last visited the property following a major water leak (due defective plumbing which left us without heating or water for over 24 hours!!) that because of all the problems we had put up with during our tenure there would be no problem with us having our full deposit back. Wish I'd have got that in writing now!

    My research journey starts here, if anyone has any good contacts or advice on whether or not we have a claim against the LA and/or Landlord then it would be greatly appreciated.
  • sailorboy53
    Hi People, my daughter cannot get her rental deposit back from the landlord,((2012) who DID NOT put it into a deposit protection scheme, we have a solicitor
    on a "NO WIN NO FEE" who is getting nowhere this this landlord, who is extremely devious, keeps coming up with excuses,
    we went to the county court and on advice from the bailiff not too waste our money as he (the landlord) was well know to them,
    been to citizen advice told "get a solicitor" cannot afford them until we found the solicitor mentioned above
    have you any advice please,
    regards sailorboy53
    • 19lottie82
    • By 19lottie82 3rd Apr 14, 10:50 AM
    • 5,806 Posts
    • 8,706 Thanks
    19lottie82
    Hi People, my daughter cannot get her rental deposit back from the landlord,((2012) who DID NOT put it into a deposit protection scheme, we have a solicitor
    on a "NO WIN NO FEE" who is getting nowhere this this landlord, who is extremely devious, keeps coming up with excuses,
    we went to the county court and on advice from the bailiff not too waste our money as he (the landlord) was well know to them,
    been to citizen advice told "get a solicitor" cannot afford them until we found the solicitor mentioned above
    have you any advice please,
    regards sailorboy53
    Originally posted by sailorboy53
    Hi Sailorboy53, please start your own, new, thread. You will get a better response.

    Thanks
  • CreditCrunchie
    Oops necro post!
    Last edited by CreditCrunchie; 03-04-2014 at 12:04 PM.
    • jaylee3
    • By jaylee3 3rd Apr 14, 7:08 PM
    • 1,847 Posts
    • 4,703 Thanks
    jaylee3
    Great news. I am sick to death of dodgy landlords ripping off tenants. I have known people get landlords trying to try to take part of the deposit for 'tidying the garden,' when it was a sh-t-tip to start with! And for 'rubbish removal' when there was nothing left. I think they do it to line their pockets.
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