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krib
17-02-2007, 10:27 AM
Hi,

If there is a dual signature inventory at the beginning of the tenancy but then nothing signed on check-out, can the LL make claims that items need cleaning, replacing etc??

Im asking this because when i moved out of the property 3 weeks ago we went to do the check-out with LLs at the property and they verbaly said everything was fine. They didnt ask us to sign any papers for anything at all. However, they are now trying to hold our deposit making several false claims such as cleaning etcc. Can LL's win this?? Deposit is in TDS so i will certainly dispute.

Many thanks for your advice in advance!

Kind Regards,

Krib

MrShed
17-02-2007, 10:36 AM
There is no requirement to have you present at check out, therefore it makes no difference that you did not sign anything on checking out.

krib
17-02-2007, 17:17 PM
So basically a LL can decide to invent stuff after a tenant has left the property. Interesting!

MrShed
17-02-2007, 17:42 PM
No, a landlord has to prove damages. That proof is not made by "showing" you physically, it is by showing proof to a court should it get that far, in way of photographic evidence etc.

krib
17-02-2007, 17:56 PM
Oh ok that sounds clearer now!

My case is not in court but at the TDS dispute service. LL is claiming all sorts of things and listed labour of £50 per day to wash her curtains which she said we didnt do (which is untrue), amongst other things. I wonder if the ICE will see things as they are.

Thanks again.

Krib

Paragon
17-02-2007, 18:00 PM
Unless the check out Inventory/Condition report was compiled by a Professional Independant Inventory Clerk, the LL will have a problem justifying withholding funds for damages.

Basically, unless there were other witnesses present at the time, it will be one affidavit vs. another affidavit. Probably a stalemate and you will be returned your deposit. But you never know how a county court judge will rule on the day, they have enormous powers of discretion in using the spirit of the law over the letter of the law.

Paragon
17-02-2007, 18:01 PM
Sorry, my apologies. Missed the dispute services venue.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 18:46 PM
Hmmm Paragon, sorry to disagree with you for the third time today(I assure you it is nothing personal!:D), but I don't agree that to have any basis the inventory must be performed by a professional and independant body of any kind. There is no reason why a DUAL SIGNED inventory(by tenant and landlord, fully detailed, would not be taken as fair representation of the initial condition of the property.

Paragon
17-02-2007, 18:53 PM
Hmmm Paragon, sorry to disagree with you for the third time today(I assure you it is nothing personal!:D), but I don't agree that to have any basis the inventory must be performed by a professional and independant body of any kind. There is no reason why a DUAL SIGNED inventory(by tenant and landlord, fully detailed, would not be taken as fair representation of the initial condition of the property.

I thought he said it wasn't signed and that the LL said everything was fine.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 18:55 PM
He said the check OUT wasnt, the initial inventory was...

Paragon
17-02-2007, 19:12 PM
He said the check OUT wasnt, the initial inventory was...

The check out Inventory is crucial. That is why you have an Independant Inventory Clerk do it, so there is no chance that it was biased.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 19:16 PM
But by definition there is no bias. The onus of truth is on the landlord to prove damages, not on the tenant to disprove damages. An independant clerks report would have to prove to exactly the same level as a private landlord in court. Proof comes with the facts(witnesses, photographic evidence etc) - there is no reason at all why a private landlord cannot do this, and cannot do this any less well than an independant clerk could.

krib
17-02-2007, 20:05 PM
How do you prove that curtains need to be cleaned!! :D Sounds like a cheeky LL to me!

choices
17-02-2007, 20:12 PM
Sadly Mr Shed is correct. Always an independant inventory clerk will give a better report than an agent, going by what I have seen from agents inventory reports, we do give much, much more detail on the condition or at least a much better description of the property, with or with out photographs (always found them to be helpful) when writing up an inventory. Many agents do not bother with check outs from an independant - to save money or to do the check ins - the onus is on the landlord to prove what he is saying is correct, the house is filthy, it does help if mid term inspections reports are carried out, showes the landlord the state the tenant lives, thus provided with another independant report of the state of the property while the tenant is living there.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 20:19 PM
Choices, you seem to disagree with me there!

Let me make it clear. My point is not that it isnt easier to hire an independant clerk - it certainly is. I am not even neccessarily saying it is not BETTER to do so. But what I am saying is that there is no way a court case for damages is going to be jeopardised in any way by the landlord performing these checks rather than an independant clerk, as long as the check is up to the same standard.

Paragon
17-02-2007, 23:03 PM
A Professional Independant Inventory Company is considered an expert witness. A landlord witnessing his own handiwork would not be considered an expert witness.

I don't understand what your disagreement is? It seems as if you disagree for the sake of it.

The landlord has to prove the damages. He has a check out inventory compiled by himself, unwitnessed I assume, and unverified by the tenant (according to the OP). A statement was made by the LL substantially saying that everything was in good order. If it wasn't, he then had an obligation to inform the tenant of that fact in order that the tenant could mitigate the damages.

In conclusion, there is no proof and the LL has prevented the tenant from receiving his deposit. I contend that the dispute service will award the deposit to the tenant.

So far, Mr S, you haven't expressed yourself with much clarity and I am not understanding the path that you seem to want to take. Please explain in more detail.

MrShed
18-02-2007, 07:39 AM
Paragon I clearly do not just disagree "for the sake of it" - I disagree as I feel it is fundamentally wrong to claim that a landlord cannot win a court case without paying for someone external. However, I agree that I haven't been entirely clear - I shall try and do so now.

"If it wasn't, he then had an obligation to inform the tenant of that fact in order that the tenant could mitigate the damages."

What a load of claptrap. The landlord has NO obligation to allow the tenant to mitigate any of his damages once the tenancy has come to a conclusion.

So back to the main point. I agree entirely that if the landlord simply completes a check out inventory, unwitnessed, that is clearly insufficient, and not as good evidence as having an independant clerk. You are absolutely right, as the landlord must prove the damages, and just having the check out inventory signed by one of them is clearly a "your word against mine" situation. But I have never said that this WOULD be sufficient. I have in fact stated that other evidence would need to come into play, in order to show actual proof of damages, rather than just someones word for it. For example, having a witness(which is, in effect, all the independant clerk is), taking photographic evidence, even statements by the tenant as to admitting liability for certain damages. It is frankly ludicrous to presume that you cannot prove damages without having to hire someone from a certain body - proof can be made in any number of ways.

And let me assure you, what I am stating here is not only correct in theory, but is also the way it will work in practice.

Paragon
18-02-2007, 14:03 PM
How do you prove that curtains need to be cleaned!! :D Sounds like a cheeky LL to me!


As a professional LL with several properties and several years experience, I also find that the LL has been unreasonable and has a hard task to justify withholding the deposit.

If he agreed verbally at the time of check out that everything is OK, then he should stick with that verbal agreement.

I will stay with my belief that the final check out document will be dismissed as hearsay and invalid and, in fact, could have been changed to suit the LL's claim. However, as I said before, it will be his word against yours and one never knows how a third party will rule on any given day.

Also, as I said before, a way around these kind of disputes, is to have an Independent Professional Inventory Company. By definition, they are experts and they are independent. A third party will lend an enormous weight to their written report. I have my latest one in front of me - it is 19 pages long for a medium sized two bed flat with no furniture. Every scratch, blemish, and mark is listed on everything ranging from doorknobs to light fixtures.

It is similar to a Will Contest on mental capacity. Which one will a judge or probate officer believe - you or the testator's psychiatrist/medical doctor.

Worldlife
18-02-2007, 16:03 PM
My feeling is that is is unfair to the tenant to deprive them of an opportunity to discuss any alleged defects at the time of checkout.

The landlord perhaps focus on allowing for fair wear and tear and pointing out clearly those items that are not fair wear and tear and that need repair or replacement. It is better that agreement is reached on the spot concerning alleged defects and either a provisional price agreed or if necessary estimates obtained.

To have checks without the tenant present gives opportunity for the unscrupulous landlord to impose charges for trumped up defects.

IMHO a checkout (the incoming inventory amended with notes) endorsed by both the tenant and landlord will be seen by a Court to be a fair assessment of the condition of the property at handover time.

homeless
18-02-2007, 21:59 PM
Sounds to me like you have come up against a landlord in financial trouble, this is not too un-common these days. Did the landlord get a let right after you left?, is it let yet?.

Due to the vast majority of late to the market landlords having to subsidise there mortgages with there own income, many are only a couple of months void away from real trouble.

What reason would the landlord have to with-hold your deposit after the goodbye check on the property?.


seems this is a classic case of a landlord trying to rip you off, fight them all the way

krib
19-02-2007, 22:14 PM
Yes the property was re-let within a week after our check out! They finally gave us a bill of their supposed damages! A very high bill and with a lot of stuff that is made up. They even claim damaged items which are not even listed on the original inventory!! How amateurish is that?? and what a waste of time for an adjudicator.

However, the worst part is that they wish to charge us for damage that occurred through leaks that came through the shower room into the kitchen. They were well aware of the problem as we had informed them by email but they never fixed it till we left the property. I kept all our email correspondance and sent it off to the TDS with our dispute. I feel it's not a damages issue but a maintenance one since they chose to ignore fixing the problem merely because we were on notice. However, what gets me is the cheek they have to turn around and say that we caused the damage when they knew the problem was pre-existing. I hate dishonesty.

Anyways i guess the TDS will have to decide this one.

Thanks for all your help guys.

Krib

choices
20-02-2007, 14:13 PM
The outgoing tenant, whatever the reason they left the property, should always attend the check out, there is no reason for an inventory if it were not for the check out - quote from inventoryclerk.com. If a tenant cannot be bothered to attend this final check over to the property, then they cannot complain really. I, as an independant clerk, have been to many check outs with no tenant present to agree or disagree with what I have seen, if I state that the cooker is 'not clean' (often filthy/greasy but cannot use emotive wording)and the tenant is not there to agree, they cannot complain to be charged for a professional oven cleaning service. It is either there or not for an independant clerk.
I do agree that there is no reason why a landlord cannot do their own check out, but without the tenant present, or proof of what they see, open to disagreement without proof.
A cheaper way for the landlord to be aware of the condition of the property before a tenant leaves is to have an independant do a quarterly inspection.

RichieP
20-02-2007, 15:14 PM
Is this opinion:


A cheaper way for the landlord to be aware of the condition of the property before a tenant leaves is to have an independant do a quarterly inspection.

anything to do with this:


I, as an independant clerk

?

choices
20-02-2007, 17:20 PM
Ok, not explained very well...

Just agreeing that their are other options for the landlord that is not prepared to have a thorough report to protect his investment

AngelofSol
05-11-2009, 13:12 PM
Hi, I have a problem similar to this...

Our landlord used an agent to let out the property but managed it himself. A DVD inventory was done of the property at the time of check in, and we had no dispute or issue with it.

However, when we checked out we expected the landlord to do a little bit more than walk around the house, say everything was fine with the exception of a couple spots on the carpet that he wanted to bring someone in to see if they could be cleaned out. Nothing to sign, nothing on paper.

We were feeling really good about it all. 14 days later there was no word. 16 days after check out he says that a few of the carpets need to be replaced and he wants to charge us 1700 pounds total (200 over our deposit) for everything. Still nothing to sign and nothing on paper.

17 days later I go to see my old neighbor and there's a carpet cleaning van parked outside the old house. I also find out that he's already had a few people come by to view the property. Still nothing to sign and nothing on paper.

It's 18 days after we checked out and we went ahead and initiated the process to get our deposit back. My husband told him on the phone that we need his stuff in writing so we can dispute it.

If he did no check out beyond something verbally and then went back on it does he have any leg to stand on if this goes to arbitration, which I think it probably will?

Does the DPS have a time frame where the LL has to respond to our request now that we've initiated it since he hasn't and it's past the 14 days?

I'm really looking for help here in this matter.