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Jul, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Landlord withholding full deposit, I think unfairly

    Hi all,

    New to the forums, just signed up to get your advice on a dispute I'm having over deductions from my deposit.

    My family and I (wife, two little girls) were with our landlord for just shy of 6 years. We moved out, giving two months notice, as I'd got a job back down south. Everything seemed fine for a couple of weeks, he seemed happy enough during the inspection but was dragging his feet a bit returning our deposit, but now it seems like he's gone off the deep end.

    Turns out there was a leaking pipe under the floorboards in the hall, and it seems to have caused quite a bit of damage but we didn't spot the signs and now the damp spread quite extensively. We don't actually know how bad as the landlord refuses to give us detailed photos, just a couple of some stained wallpaper.

    Problem is that most of the damage was above the floorboard was hidden behind a large book case, that he only threw out last week and it was then that he spotted the issue. We'd always got on ok with our landlord, seemed like a decent chap and our kids got along. He's blaming us for all the damage to the wall and under the floor, saying that we should have reported the leak as soon as it happened. So he's keeping our entire deposit to fix the damage.

    Separately, he's also well as saying we left the place really dirty (we wants £400 to clean the house) and he's saying that we've broken all sorts of stuff, which he claims was all new when we moved in so we need to pay for new replacements. Again I've asked him for photos cause he didn't mention it any of this at the inspection but he seems to think he doesn't need to supply them, that the leases says he can deduct whatever amounts he feels justified in deducting.

    He's basically goading us to sue but if we do he says he'll come after us for all the flood damaged (which he claims is many thousands)

    All this seems completely unreasonable to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    This is in Scotland btw (Inverness, if it helps)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Central south coast
    Posts
    2,548

    Default

    Hi Dave - the Scots have different rules on lettings and this needs to be posted in the 'Scottish section' of the forum.

    Can any moderators out there assist?

    Basic question is 'was there and inventory'? If not LL cannot claim for damage where original condition was not known or reported on.
    Challenges him.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    398

    Default

    Fully suspect landlord may be trying it on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8,404

    Default

    Welcome to LLZ Dave:

    See here for the expert's advice on these matters, including sample letter to send to landlord: I agree with Alex that LL may be trying it on...
    http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_a...r_deposit_back

    Also maybe try Shelter's **free** helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice...
    see
    http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_a...dvice_helpline
    Shelter provides a free, national telephone advice line staffed by trained housing advisers. Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    Housing problems can affect anyone. But many people can find it hard to go for advice or just don't know what help is available. Through our helpline, we have helped thousands of people solve all kinds of housing related problems, from finding them a place to sleep to suggesting how to handle mortgage arrears.

    If you have a housing problem, you can call free on 0808 800 4444 (now free to call from all six of the main UK mobile networks, Virgin, Orange, 3, T-mobile, Vodafone and O2, but charges may apply from any other network). Lines are open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    Our advisers can:

    give immediate, practical assistance
    tell you your rights
    offer advice and guidance
    link you in with specialist or local services to help you longer term.

    We will answer your call as quickly as we can and treat it confidentially.

    When you call, it may help if you have information to hand such as:

    your landlord's name and address and any letters you've received from your landlord, if you rent your home
    Was the deposit protected?? (The scheme would have written to you about it..) If not landlord may be in trouble....

    How long since you left?? You have up to 3 months from that date to sue him for up to 3 times the deposit.. (!!) see...
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/20...ulation/9/made

    Court orders9.—
    (1) A tenant who has paid a tenancy deposit may apply to the sheriff for an order under regulation 10 where the landlord did not comply with any duty in regulation 3 in respect of that tenancy deposit.
    (2) An application under paragraph (1) must be made by summary application and must be made no later than 3 months after the tenancy has ended.
    Was the landlord registered with the council?? If there was Gas was there a gas safe certificate?? As asked earlier the key thing is, was there an agreed inventory of the place when you moved in & moved out...

    Cheers!
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks guys, those links are really useful. Don't think the deposit was protected, Shelter have a Deposit protection date checker that says it didn't need to be protected until 15th May 2013. We left the flat last month.

    Can't find the landlord registration with the council. Is he legally required to be registered? Can we use this as leverage to at least get some photos? If we've genuinely put his out of pocket due to our negligence, then I'm a fair guy and I may even give him some more money to cover the damage. Just feel completely blindsided as all these issues (broke some kitchen cupboards, a table leg, etc) weren't pointed out at his inspection.

    The major issue is that he claims we are liable for the entire water damage, which dwarfs our £1600 deposit, and that he'll countersue and get expenses against us. I've never sued anyone, don't have a lawyer (he "retains" two firms) as it's all a bit stressful, particularly for my partner who has really fond memories of the house.

    I think I'll contact Shelter tomorrow and see what they say.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8,404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DavePirie View Post
    Thanks guys, those links are really useful. Don't think the deposit was protected, Shelter have a Deposit protection date checker that says it didn't need to be protected until 15th May 2013.
    Presumably you said you did not know when tenancy renewed??
    I quote from Shelter document here..
    http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/__dat...it-Schemes.pdf
    - written by Rebecca Johnston, Operations Manager at SafeDeposits Scotland .. (ie not a rapid anti-landlord loonie... )
    For deposits taken before 7th March 2011, there are transitional provisions:
    o Where the tenancy renews, either by express agreement or by tacit relocation, between 2nd October 2012 and 2nd April 2013, the deposit should be transferred within 30 days of renewal.
    o Where there is no renewal between 2nd October 2012 and 2nd April 2013, the deposit should be transferred by 15th May 2013.
    You original tenancy from 6 years ago - or whatever was the last new signed tenancy you had - will have had (almost certainly..) an initial "fixed term" and will then roll on. Let us say the fixed term was 01/01/2009 to 31/12/2009, rolling on a month at a time. Each time that "roll-on" happens is a "renewal" - so I suspect deposit SHOULD have been protected. If your last tenancy does not specify how it rolls on then it will renew "by tacit relocation" (Scots legal phrase) usually "rolling on" every 6 or 12 months..see..
    http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_a...cit_relocation

    - so, when did the last written tenancy end & how did it continue ??



    We left the flat last month.
    - OK, so still time to sue landlord for unprotected deposit - if applicable..
    Can't find the landlord registration with the council. Is he legally required to be registered?
    Yippee!!! Yes, he MUST be registered - not doing so exposes him to a fine of up to £50k (!!) - but unlikely to be stung that much...
    Blackmail is such a dirty word..... ;-)

    Wonder what else he "forgot" to do - declare his rental income to tax man??


    I think I'll contact Shelter tomorrow and see what they say.
    Good, ask them all the stuff we've covered - and please post back with update !!

    Cheers!!
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  7. #7

    Default

    Potentially excellent news!

    Hmm, not sure about whether it should be in a deposit scheme or not though. We signed on the 15th May 2007. Lease was for 12 months initially, continuing "monthly thereafter unless terminated in writing by either party giving 2 months notice". We gave notice on the 1st of November, to leave 15 January. So the lease renewed on 15 October, but we gave notice that we'd terminated it within the 30 day period. So should he have paid it in to a scheme for the remaining two months of the tenancy given that it was coming to an end? Seems tight.

    The national register doesn't seem to be complete: how likely is it that he was registered but it's not on their database? Should I just contact the local council?

  8. #8

    Default

    Wow, you are a star Mr Nesbitt! Drunken layabout my proverbial:

    - Landlord is not registered, council enforcement officers are investigating.
    - Council is going to contact us about making a complaint against him for his unreasonable behaviour.
    - Council says it will put a black mark against him for registration should he ever apply.
    - Mentioned deposit protection and he folded like a house of cards, is returning full deposit!

    Now we have to decide whether to just take our deposit back or press on and sue for the failure to protect the deposit.

    My partner is minded to settle, she just wants it over with, thinking he might not return the deposit if we sue. How likely is it the sheriff would award the full 3x amount? Have there been any cases yet? As he's unregistered, how unreasonable he was being and that this sort of thing is exactly what the protection scheme was brought in to stop, you'd think the sheriff would come down hard on him. On the other hand, the requirement had only just come in so that may count in his favour.

    Anyway, not something I need to decide now. For now we're just ecstatic!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8,404

    Default

    Excellent news Dave!!! It's so gratifying when some stupid eejit, on being presented with facts, has to back down ignominiously.. (Landlord, tenant, MP....) Delighted!!!!

    Hopefully, apart from anything else, he'll be more careful in future & get registered & stick to the rules for future tenants.. Only thing to do with a bully is to stand up to them... Well done you!!

    Not sure about 3xdeposit suing. I am (Scottish small-time LL living in England ...) unaware of anyone suing: Suggest 'phoning Shelter 0808 800 4444 & seeing what their view is: Not sure what the risks and/or court fees for you might be. You could try, after getting your deposit back, suggesting to him you are considering suing for 3x but would settle for £xxxx and see if he folds... Perhaps a wee hint of not mentioning him to HMRC taxman...

    It would of course be the duty of any right thinking citizen to report him....
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/

    Cheers!!
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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