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cati
05-08-2005, 11:51 AM
After one year and a half we left the flat in perfect, perfect condition. Everything was carefully cleaned (I was myself cleaning the flat for 2 days)and there wasn't any damage at all in the property, further than fair wear and tear (I undestand that the soft wear shown on a light beige carpet in a flat where live 2 adults and a baby and which hasn't been profesionally cleaned at most part at least for 3 years -we know that- can be named fair wear and tear). For one year and a half we've been occupying this flat rented through a letting agent. When we let the flat, we asked them in writing to clean them up or replacing the carpets and also painting the walls before we get in the property. The agents refused to paint the walls and just accepted to clean the carpet in the living room. Now we left, the letting agent refuse refunding the full deposit (they want to keep half of it) claiming there are some damages and there are some stains in walls and carpets. They told us the extractor fan of the bathroom was dirty¿? and one keylock was damaged (completly and totally untrue), but all very vague and nothing in writting. They refuse as well to provide us with a list of the damages and the expenses we were deducted for. There were no inventory signed for us(the flat was unfurnished) and we don't have any other list of contains.

When we left they fixed an appointment for the day we left to carry out the inspection, and they missed the appointment. I personally left the keys at their office as they had established one charge in case not give the keys back in that day.
The person that after that carried out the inspection, without our attendance, left the firm on the next week. We contact the new person in charge and we were told that there would be problems with the deposit for damages. We asked for a new inspection and she accepted to carried out a new one. After days without news we contact the agents and we were told that they couldn't overrule the decision made by their former property manager(????) in relation to the refund of the deposit and that no new inspection were possible as the flat had been redecorated. And they said that this is its last word, they are no willing to further discussions and we can if we want to express our discomfort in writting to the Director of the firm (by the way, if somebody could be considering using of its services, Andrew Louis Property Management). After one month and a half we still haven´t received nothing of the money of our deposit.
We are really, really angry. We would like to know which steps could we take now and which is the responsability of the landlord (as the agent act on his behalf). The agents are members of the ARLA. But the worst thing for us is not the money, but how this people have treated us, more like criminals than people who have paid up to date all the rent, who pay their bills and who cares his homes. Luckily we have buy a house on our own, so we hope not to have any other issue with people that take advantage of the circunstances so shamefully. I would like to receive some advice from you as we are a bit lost with the procedures in UK por this kind of problems. I'd appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

MrShed
05-08-2005, 12:30 PM
- Demand to see detailed break down of all charges, and demand to see receipts for all charges....this is your legal entitlement.

- It shouldnt matter if the property is furnished or not, you need to have an inventory. If the matter were to go to court, the landlord would have to prove you had caused these issues....without an inventory he cannot do that, or it will be very difficult to do so.

- It is prudent for a landlord to do a final check with a tenant present, however he certainly does not have to do so, you have no automatic entitlement to be present.

Whilst it is the agents fault, any responsibility lies with the landlord. I would write a letter to the agent stating:

- You wish to receive £x within 14 days of the date of the letter, giving detailed reasons as to why you want each portion of money.
- Demand receipts within 14 days, as well as proof that you caused these problems - state that they must be able to prove that you caused them to deduct any money from you, legally. They will have serious problems doing this without an inventory :P
- Request the actual landlords full name and address(if you do not already have it).
- Say that if they do not comply you will take the landlord to court, and you shall issue a formal complaint with ARLA - be prepared to go through with small claims as well, quite a simple process.
- It MAY also be worth bringing up any issues you have had during the tenancy, that you may not otherwise have brought up. During my current battle with my ex-agent, issues such as a condemned fire and faulty shower have all come up. Whilst these will not perhaps get you very far, in a court the judge will perhaps see issues where the agent has been far from ideal, which may result in you getting benefit of the doubt, so to speak.

Out of interest, how much money have they actually deducted?

PaulF
05-08-2005, 13:10 PM
I answer many similar questions and there is plenty to trawl through on this forum in other threads. Have a look at other tenant's similar problems.

Just to clarify Mr Shed who has missed out one or two points;


An agent cannot make any decision as to the return of the deposit; you only have a contract with the landlord and his decision is the only one that counts. The agent must refer it to him beforehand.
Find out from your AST if the deposit is held as stakeholder; this means you cannot have any money deducted until you agree to it.
The agent MUST provide you with a list of damages and quotations for the alleged disrepairs.
No signed inventory = No deductions (i.e. basis of assessment not possible).
Don't let the agent get the upper hand - write to them stating that you will consider court action if they try anything on (and they will probably lose!)
Unfortunately I don't think you are now automatically entitled to know the name & address of the landlord as you are no longer the tenant, but had you written to the agent when you were, he would have had to have let you have it within 21 days under S.1 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 otherwise they would have committed a criminal offence.
Before you complain to ARLA you will have to exhaust your dialogue with the agent and they should let you have a copy of their complaints procedure.
If they are also members of NAEA make a similar complaint to them - same rules apply as above, as they are far more likely to discipline the member.

cati
05-08-2005, 14:08 PM
Thank you very much for your answers.

They have deduced 220 pounds. I know its not a great amount, but it should be more important for us than for the agents or for the landlord (who has at least 12 flats in the same site) and it is indeed in exchange of nothing. So we are not sure how far it worths to go further with our claim.

We said in writting to the agents that we will consider legal actions against them but they didn´t seem to care about it.

we do know name and adress of the landlord; should we contact him straight or should we forget?

It's very expensive to go to small claims court?; would we need a solicitor and for how long would last the procedure?

PaulF
05-08-2005, 16:46 PM
You should write to the landlord in the first instance stating your reasons why you feel the deductions are unwarranted.
It is very cheap and simple to issue a summons through the small claims court; go to www.courtservice.gov.uk and you can download the forms and the fees will be there (it shouldn't be more than about £25 and if you win this is added to your claim).
You don't need a solicitor.
If your negotiations with the landlord fails then the summons is against him, not the agent.
The good news is that most judges disallow landlords from deducting anything that isn't crystal clear, and they will need an inventory signed by you to support this normally (and they haven't got one have they?).