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Joannalala
04-11-2009, 12:48 PM
Hi

I'm having a problem with a deduction my landlord / managing agent is proposing from my deposit... I recently moved out and the landlord, via the managing agent, claims that they wish to deduct £201 from our deposit for professional cleaning.

When we moved in 2 years before the flat was dusty, had old food and crumbs in the cupboards, there were personal items such as old clothes around and there was thick black mould on the bedroom window frame. It was not like this when we moved out, it was in better and cleaner condition overall. We spent 3 whole days thoroughly cleaning the flat just before the end day of our tenancy, and it was left in a considerably cleaner state than when we moved in.

We didn't receive any check in report or inventory when we moved in. We didn't think that one had been compiled. Now I am kicking myself for not asking after any check in report when we moved in! When I queried the proposed deduction from our deposit for professional cleaning, saying I thought it was unfair, I was sent a copy of a check in report and check out report for our tenancy. We have not signed either of these reports and we didn't know the check in report existed and had never seen it before!

The agent claims that they instructed the check in report to be completed the day before we moved in. However, when I looked at the check in report that the agent sent through to me after we had moved out, it is blatantly completely out of date and was put together a long time before the start of our tenancy. It describes furniture and various fixtures and fittings that were not in the flat when we began our tenancy. It also describes the walls and flooring as being in good condition, whereas when we moved in all walls and flooring had various marks and scratches consistent with a long period of wear and tear.

I've told the agent the check in report is out of date and therefore not a valid representation of the condition of the flat when we moved in. I said that this means it can't be compared against the check out report to conclude that the cleanliness is worse than when we moved in. I've also pointed out that we never signed the check in report.

However, they still say they wish to deduct the cleaning costs. They claim that they sent the check in report to us at the beginning of our tenancy and that since they never heard anything back from us it was assumed we agreed with everything on it. They also say that if we never received the check in report we should have chased up a check in report with them, and that since we didn't we will have to agree with the check in report as it stands.

This doesn't seem right to me! Obviously we were rather naive / stupid for not asking about a check in report when we moved in. However, we haven't signed the check in report so surely it can't be counted as an agreement on the state of the flat when we moved in?
Also, surely you could say that just as it was our obligation to chase up the check in report with the agent if we hadn't received anything, it was also the agent's obligation to chase us to see if we had received the report and were signing / sending it back?

Sorry this is so long and rambling!!

Any thoughts / advice / info would be much appreciated
:)

westminster
04-11-2009, 12:57 PM
Is this an AST in England/Wales which began or was renewed after 6 April 2007? If so, is the deposit protected in a scheme?

Joannalala
04-11-2009, 13:10 PM
Yes. I haven't double checked with the scheme themselves but as far as I'm aware the deposit is protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Thanks!

westminster
04-11-2009, 18:20 PM
Yes. I haven't double checked with the scheme themselves but as far as I'm aware the deposit is protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Thanks!

Call them and find out.

https://www2.thedisputeservice.co.uk/index.php?p=13

It should also say in your tenancy agreement that the deposit is protected with them.

Assuming it is protected, start a dispute with the TDS. The agent/landlord will then have to lodge the disputed sum with the TDS and either the dispute will be settled by the scheme's adjudication service (if the landlord agrees) or via the courts (you would have to issue a claim against the LL).

It's a lot less hassle if goes to adjudication, but either way I think it is likely you would win, as the unsigned/unapproved check-in inventory is not strong evidence of the original condition of the property.

citydockland
16-11-2009, 20:39 PM
You say;
The agent says they sent you a copy of the inventory when you moved in & as you never got back to them they presumed everything was ok?

You need to sign the original to show you & the agent both agree to it.
If the above is true then the agent does not have a signed move in inventory, so the agent hasn't not got a leg to stand on.

If you have signed a move in inventory & it says the property was in good condition then it's you who has problems.