PDA

View Full Version : Given notice after 7 Years - Reletting and deposit issues



Sully
25-01-2009, 18:26 PM
Hi,

I've been living in our current converted flat on a series of one-year ASTs for the past 7 and a half years.

We've decided to move because in the past six months because other tenants in the adjacent two flats are causing a series of late-night noise problems and we've had enough of having to sleep with earplugs in.

We've found a new flat a couple of miles away which are planning to move into in the middle of February, we've invoked our two month break clause which means the AST ends now on the 26th of March. I've spoken to the landlord he has verbally agreed we can leave sooner as long as he can find new tenants.

The flat is in need of some re-decoration as it hasn't been redecorated in all the time we've been here and the carpet was slightly worn in one or two places when we moved in and is showing signs of wear and tear in a number of places now. The landlord and agent have indicated that they intend to lay laminate flooring and re-decorate throughout when we move out but during the last inspection about 6 months ago the agent indicated we should use a carpet cleaner when we go so.

I'm also slightly concerned by this term in the AST agreement:


"The Tenant may seek the Landlord's permission to be released from the Tenancy Agreement only in exceptional circumstances and subject to the permission of the landlord. The Tenant would be responsible for the Agent's fees paid by the Landlord to the Agent at the commencement of the tenancy. The reletting fee is 10% plus VAT at the normal rate for each and every month of the outstanding term of the Tenancy Agreement"

If I'm reading this correctly (it seems a little ambiguous) I'm liable for reletting fees until the 26th of March at a rate of 10% of the rent if a new tenant moves in and not agency fees plus 10%. If a new tenant can't be found I'm liable for the rent alone. If it's fees + 10% I can't see a whole lot of point giving possession in the last couple of weeks, I may as well just let the notice expire. Correct?

Is it reasonable for us to get the carpet spotless if it's being ripped out within days of us vacating the property and is it possible pointless cleaning charges could be disputed against my deposit if I don't?

Similar question regarding the re-decoration, there are a few marks in some areas so I'm worried those could also be disputed regardless of the fact the whole flat is going to be re-decorated

My landlord's seemed like a nice guy but the agents have always struck me as very weaselly (including only informing us the rent was going up one year literally days before we had to sign a new agreement) so I'm not sure about vacating and letting the place be re-decorated and re-floored just after I've moved out if they're suddenly going to sting me with a bill for the privilage and then have things disputed on the deposit which they are re-decorating and ripping out anyway on top.

I'm trying to work out what the best way of broaching this is with the landlord/agent and the easiest way of going forward.

mind the gap
25-01-2009, 18:40 PM
Hi,

I've been living in our current converted flat on a series of one-year ASTs for the past 7 and a half years.

We've decided to move because in the past six months because other tenants in the adjacent two flats are causing a series of late-night noise problems and we've had enough of having to sleep with earplugs in.

We've found a new flat a couple of miles away which are planning to move into in the middle of February, we've invoked our two month break clause which means the AST ends now on the 26th of March. I've spoken to the landlord he has verbally agreed we can leave sooner as long as he can find new tenants.

The flat is in need of some re-decoration as it hasn't been redecorated in all the time we've been here and the carpet was slightly worn in one or two places when we moved in and is showing signs of wear and tear in a number of places now. The landlord and agent have indicated that they intend to lay laminate flooring and re-decorate throughout when we move out but during the last inspection about 6 months ago the agent indicated we should use a carpet cleaner when we go so.

I'm also slightly concerned by this term in the AST agreement:


"The Tenant may seek the Landlord's permission to be released from the Tenancy Agreement only in exceptional circumstances and subject to the permission of the landlord. The Tenant would be responsible for the Agent's fees paid by the Landlord to the Agent at the commencement of the tenancy. The reletting fee is 10% plus VAT at the normal rate for each and every month of the outstanding term of the Tenancy Agreement"

If I'm reading this correctly (it seems a little ambiguous) I'm liable for reletting fees until the 26th of March at a rate of 10% of the rent if a new tenant moves in and not agency fees plus 10%. If a new tenant can't be found I'm liable for the rent alone. If it's fees + 10% I can't see a whole lot of point giving possession in the last couple of weeks, I may as well just let the notice expire. Correct?

Is it reasonable for us to get the carpet spotless if it's being ripped out within days of us vacating the property and is it possible pointless cleaning charges could be disputed against my deposit if I don't?

Similar question regarding the re-decoration, there are a few marks in some areas so I'm worried those could also be disputed regardless of the fact the whole flat is going to be re-decorated

My landlord's seemed like a nice guy but the agents have always struck me as very weaselly (including only informing us the rent was going up one year literally days before we had to sign a new agreement) so I'm not sure about vacating and letting the place be re-decorated and re-floored just after I've moved out if they're suddenly going to sting me with a bill for the privilage and then have things disputed on the deposit which they are re-decorating and ripping out anyway on top.

I'm trying to work out what the best way of broaching this is with the landlord/agent and the easiest way of going forward.

Hi Sully,

I can't help you over the agents' fees but as far as the cleaning/re-decorating goes, these are my thoughts (for what they're worth).

The L cannot charge you for fair wear and tear, or for items/cleaning for which he has no evidence on the check-in inventory. How detailed is this inventory and what does it state about the walls and the carpet?

Also, if the place has not been re-decorated for the last 7 years then it would be unreasonable of L to expect you to do anything to the paint work other than clean dirt from it. Presumably your deposit has been protected, so you could challenge any unreasonable deductions the L tries to make.

If inventory shows carpet was squeaky clean when you moved in then yes, technically you should clean it again when you move out - the fact that L has said he will rip it out is not strictly relevant, (although I agree it seems a stupid waste). Unless you can get something in writing/email from L to agree you don't have to have carpets cleaned, why not just hire a carpet cleaning machine (tool hire companies charge about £20 inc. cleaning liquid)? They really are not difficult to use and you get a good result. Much cheaper than getting a company in. Takes about 30 mins per room.

jeffrey
25-01-2009, 18:55 PM
I'm also slightly concerned by this term in the AST agreement:

"The Tenant may seek the Landlord's permission to be released from the Tenancy Agreement only in exceptional circumstances and subject to the permission of the landlord. The Tenant would be responsible for the Agent's fees paid by the Landlord to the Agent at the commencement of the tenancy. The reletting fee is 10% plus VAT at the normal rate for each and every month of the outstanding term of the Tenancy Agreement"
If I'm reading this correctly (it seems a little ambiguous) I'm liable for reletting fees until the 26th of March at a rate of 10% of the rent if a new tenant moves in and not agency fees plus 10%. If a new tenant can't be found I'm liable for the rent alone. If it's fees + 10% I can't see a whole lot of point giving possession in the last couple of weeks, I may as well just let the notice expire. Correct?
T (= you) must pay to L his Agent's reletting fees charged at the commencement of the tenancy, amounting to 10% of each month's rent.
It does not deal with a later reletting fee (e.g. "The Tenant is also responsible for the Agent's fees paid by the Landlord to the Agent on a reletting"). I read it as a badly-drafted single fee payable at commencement only.

Bel
25-01-2009, 19:01 PM
Regarding carpet;
Ask LL direct if you need to and get in writing its ok to leave carpet. But if not forthcoming....

Let's say agency says they insist you have to clean the carpet come what may.

Ask them what company they use and get a quote.

If you then don't clean it; they need to provide you with the invoice when they get the work done themselves. Do you think they will bother to do it? At least you will have a quote so they do not rip you off. Chances they wont bother to have it cleaned so you may save yourself time, effort and cash.

mind the gap
25-01-2009, 19:15 PM
Regarding carpet;
Ask LL direct if you need to and get in writing its ok to leave carpet. But if not forthcoming....

Let's say agency says they insist you have to clean the carpet come what may.

Ask them what company they use and get a quote.

If you then don't clean it; they need to provide you with the invoice when they get the work done themselves. Do you think they will bother to do it? At least you will have a quote so they do not rip you off. Chances they wont bother to have it cleaned so you may save yourself time, effort and cash.

A very good point. Lateral thinking, eh. I agree, the chances of the agents actually having the carpets cleaned are virtually nil, in the circumstances.

Sully
25-01-2009, 19:15 PM
The L cannot charge you for fair wear and tear, or for items/cleaning for which he has no evidence on the check-in inventory. How detailed is this inventory and what does it state about the walls and the carpet?

"Newly painted cream walls" I noted a number of scuff marks and unpainted areas when I did check-in and noted it on the inventory
"Green Carpet" I noted some wear and fraying and some paint marks at check-in and noted them on the inventory

We also took a number of photos showing fraying and unpainted areas when we moved in and gave a set to the Agent when we gave them the amended inventory.


Also, if the place has not been re-decorated for the last 7 years then it would be unreasonable of L to expect you to do anything to the paint work other than clean dirt from it. Presumably your deposit has been protected, so you could challenge any unreasonable deductions the L tries to make.

If inventory shows carpet was squeaky clean when you moved in then yes, technically you should clean it again when you move out - the fact that L has said he will rip it out is not strictly relevant, (although I agree it seems a stupid waste). Unless you can get something in writing/email from L to agree you don't have to have carpets cleaned, why not just hire a carpet cleaning machine (tool hire companies charge about £20 inc. cleaning liquid)? They really are not difficult to use and you get a good result. Much cheaper than getting a company in. Takes about 30 mins per room.

It is protected, yes, the only bit of carpet that's dirty is the bit in the kitchen area of the combined kitchen/lounge, the rest of the carpet is clean though it is worn in a number of areas (it's only cheap thin carpet). We're probably going to use Vanish carpet cleaning spray in the kitchen which we've used before that does get it quite clean. I'm just wondering how to get the Landlord to say "no you don't have to" in writing and know clearly if I'm going to be charged re-letting fees and how much they are so there's no comeback later.

David

mind the gap
25-01-2009, 19:20 PM
"Newly painted cream walls" I noted a number of scuff marks and unpainted areas when I did check-in and noted it on the inventory
"Green Carpet" I noted some wear and fraying and some paint marks at check-in and noted them on the inventory

We also took a number of photos showing fraying and unpainted areas when we moved in and gave a set to the Agent when we gave them the amended inventory.


It is protected, yes, the only bit of carpet that's dirty is the bit in the kitchen area of the combined kitchen/lounge, the rest of the carpet is clean though it is worn in a number of areas (it's only cheap thin carpet). We're probably going to use Vanish carpet cleaning spray in the kitchen which we've used before that does get it quite clean. I'm just wondering how to get the Landlord to say "no you don't have to" in writing and know clearly if I'm going to be charged re-letting fees and how much they are so there's no comeback later.

David

Sounds as if you have very little to worry about, David. I wish all tenants were as responsible and well-organised as you.

If you have LL's email address, I would just send him a quick note saying that you are anxious to wind up the tenancy correctly so please could he advise a) about any fees due to agent and b) as carpet is to be ripped out for the re-furbishment, please could he confirm that it will not be necessary to clean it before you leave.

If not in email contact, you could wite to him at his address or c/o the agent - but they sound a bit sharky, don't they? You need to make sure he gets your letter.