Contesting unreasonable retention of rental bond/deposit?

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  • Contesting unreasonable retention of rental bond/deposit?
  • toys19
    Member

    Well Indunno about the rules in scotland about dps or small claims butif they keep it you should sue the cheapest way possible.
    If it was dps then you should have details of where its protected?
    Have they got a visual record of the condition, agreed/signed by you on moving in? If not then they cannot prove shit so in my opinion you win.
    scottish dps here

    grum
    Member

    They’re taking the piss IMO. I’d do gardening work in a flash if it paid £19 an hour. I take it you’ve already paid your last month’s rent?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I would ask to visit the property with whoever is making the claim.

    Offer to get the work done yourself (especially paint the door frame), ask for specifics as to what is wrong – not what they want to do about it.

    Do you have move in photos? If they don’t then it’s time to read what was written in the official inventory. If it’s an agent try the ombudsman’s site to see what is current best practice.

    Junkyard
    Member

    my advice is to never pay the last bit of rent to the value of your bond as i got shafted so many times this was the only way to make sure they did not keep it.

    I am sure many landlords are sound but i was never prepared to risk it

    I guess without pictures and inventory this will be difficult but i wish you luck

    Quick question for those in the know. We were landlords ourselves last year and weren’t arseholes about minor stuff when tenants moved out, so are a bit miffed with the agents/landlord of the property we recently vacated.

    Things like:
    £110 to repaint the doorframe we chipped when taking the settee out. It is literally a small chip and some paint damage about the size of your little finger where one of the legs caught.

    Current estimate of 3 men x 8 hours x £19/hr to replant their garden. Given the horrendous weather we’ve had, I can see neither the blame being ours for their marigolds not appearing, nor how 24 man-hours could be required to turn over the borders. I maintained the garden myself last summer when the weather was good, but who in their right mind goes out in the pissing-down rain/6″ snow cover to weed a garden frozen solid by consecutive weeks of sub-zero temperatures?

    6 hours of cleaning @ £15/hr. We’re neither squatters nor junkies, and we didn’t treat the house like we were. In fact, we employed a cleaner to come every week and deep-cleaned in the 4 days before we handed the keys back, including having the carpets professionally cleaned.

    Current total is close to £850 of our £1200 bond, and I think they’re taking the piss. Agents are obviously being coy with the details as they want to retain the landlord’s business, so how do we go about contesting these amounts.

    Or do we contest them? Are they reasonable?

    I should add that we’re in Scotland, so does the DPS come in to play?

    Ta in advance.

    toys19
    Member

    In fact mate if you read that link it appears that unless they have protected your deposit then they are donald ducked. If they have then you should have all the info about where it is protected, you can then contest it through the protection scheme. If it is anything like england, then its always in the tenants favour.

    So can you tell us when you moved in?

    stumpy01
    Member

    I thought they could only withhold for stuff that is not classed as normal wear & tear. So in the example of the door frame, a small chip would be considered wear & tear whereas ripping the frame out would probably warrant withholding some money.
    Likewise, I don’t think you have to leave the house ‘new build showroom’ clean. So long as you have left it reasonably clean & tidy I don’t think they can take money for a team of super cleaners to come in.

    Thanks for the advice. Nice to know it’s not just a case of us being thick.

    To be honest, we’ve not got a problem with taking money to do the things needed like repair the chipped paint, but it needs to be within reason. It seems like they’re trying to get their property redecorated using our deposit.

    We moved in on 29th March 2012, moved out 26th March 2013, handed keys back on 29th March after blitzing the house top to bottom.

    I shall pester the agents about the DPS as well, because we never heard squat about that.

    toys19
    Member

    If you have not been given prescribed info about dps, then you can take the landlord to court for 3 times the deposit. Read that dps link I posted it is all in there. You are in the acsendancy.

    toys19
    Member

    From this erelink

    9.               FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH TENANCY DEPOSIT REGULATIONS
    What happens if the deposit is not submitted to a scheme and/or information provided?
    You may apply to a sheriff court for sanctions against your landlord for non-compliance with the regulations. If the sheriff is satisfied that your landlord has failed to comply they must order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit. They may also order that the deposit is submitted to an approved scheme or the missing information provided.

    The sheriff will have discretion to take the individual circumstances of each application into account when deciding the amount of financial penalty that should apply.

     

     What happens if I move out of my home before realising that the landlord has not complied with the regulations?
    You will have up to 3 months after the tenancy has ended to make an application to the court for sanctions against a landlord who has not complied with the Regulations.

    toys19
    Member

    And the dates are

     

    Key dates for landlords
    The dates by which landlords must pay deposits to an approved scheme and provide information to the tenant vary, depending on when the deposit was received:

    1.  Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011:

    Where the tenancy is renewed by express agreement or tacit relocation on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013 (Regulation 47(a))

    Within 30 working days of renewal

    In any other case  (Regulation 47(b))

    By 15 May 2013

    2. Deposit received on or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012 (Regulation 48)

    By 13 November 2012

    You moved in march 2012, so your landlord had to have given you the prescribed info about the deposit by 13th nov 2012, which he has to be able to prove by you signing it. If he has not then he is frankly in the doo doo. Personally I would not let them keep a penny, purely because they so obviously are trying to skin you.
    Fight fight fight..

    Steve-Austin
    Member

    I’m not wholly sure on the law in Scotland and you might want to run it past someone in Scotland who knows. Click my name, and you’ll find details for shelter Scotland, free advice.

    If it was in England, and i was you, i would tell the landlord/letting agent i want the deposit returned in full, deny any liability, and if the deposit was not returned in full i would be taking the matter to court as the deposit had not been protected. do everything in writing.

    toys19
    Member

    Well if you read the links I posted they are from scotland.gov.

    If it was in England, and i was you, i would tell the landlord/letting agent i want the deposit returned in full, deny any liability, and if the deposit was not returned in full i would be taking the matter to court as the deposit had not been protected. do everything in writing

    And this is frankly the wrong advice as you are entitled to claim for much more, up to three times the deposit, in england. And according to scotland.Gov it is similar . Essentially you are encouraging them to let the landlord off the hook, which is not in the spirit of the law, nor in fact is it in line with shelters mandate as I percieve it.

    samuri
    Member

    I thought the rules had changed nowadays but certainly when we rented, all three times we moved the landlord made up a load of guff about why he was keeping the deposit. I assumed that was standard practice in those days.

    The last guy really annoyed me. He pretty much admitted he was keeping it because he wanted to, he couldn’t even be bothered to make up a decent excuse so I said I was coming round to collect the deposit and when I got there he’d called two of his ‘handymen’ to the shop to discourage me from making a scene.

    barkm
    Member

    And this is frankly the wrong advice as you are entitled to claim for much more, up to three times the deposit, in england. And according to scotland.Gov it is similar . Essentially you are encouraging them to let the landlord off the hook, which is not in the spirit of the law, nor in fact is it in line with shelters mandate as I percieve it.

    That’s not technically correct, you can be awarded up to three times the deposit (plus costs) by a judge if you take the case to court and win. You are not entitled to it by default.

    The advice (on shelter) is correct, the very first step is to request your deposit is returned within 10 days as it has not been protected. If they refuse then you can take legal action for non-compliance of the DPS legislation.
    I do believe now that if the landlords do return the deposit (with or without a humble apology!), even at the doors of the court, you’re unlikely to get a judgement against them, and thus no ‘compensation’.
    Getting 3 times the deposit awarded is generally for the more extreme end of the scale (so I’ve read anyway).

    Consider myself something of a reluctant expert on this having just gone through it (and won) over the last 6 months.

    This is very common, you must not let them get away with it, the law is very clear.
    There are plenty of template letters on the net and examples of cases. There is also a ‘no-win no -fee’ outfit who will do it for you.
    http://www.depositadvisoryservice.com/index.html

    Edit: oh and they CANNOT serve eviction notices whilst your deposit is unprotected and in dispute.

    There is also the very interesting prospect that should you obtain a judgement you are already sat in possibly their largest asset, which gives you some considerable leverage when executing your warrant.

    Edit (again sorry): Should add that you are a long long way from arguing the toss over paint chips and you should tell them asap. Lack of deposit protection trumps everything.

    toys19
    Member

    Barkm – I said “up to three times” insinuating that it is not automatically not 3 times. So I think you will find it is technically correct. Did you not bother to read my post, even though you quoted it? (I’m being light hearted, you seem really nice, but if you are going to hold me to account, its reciprocal)
    But if you read the links from scotland.gov I posted they state

    If the sheriff is satisfied that your landlord has failed to comply they must order the landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit.

    So I do not think ti applys to extreme cases, you either comply or do not. Simple.

    And your link for the no win no fee outfit states the same as I did

    You are eligible to claim an additional award of up to 3x your deposit (as well as having your original deposit protected/returned) if:

    – the deposit was never protected or,
    – the deposit was protected but they were not given sufficient information or,
    – the deposit was protected and sufficient information was given but it either action was not performed within 30 days of the deposit being paid.

    I do believe now that if the landlords do return the deposit (with or without a humble apology!), even at the doors of the court, you’re unlikely to get a judgement against them, and thus no ‘compensation’.
    Getting 3 times the deposit awarded is generally for the more extreme end of the scale (so I’ve read anyway).

    This is just plain wrong. Returning deposits on the steps of the courthouse in the England does not work anymore, they closed that loophole in about april last year. So your “reluctant expert” status should be downgraded to “reluctant”… 😆 (joke, ok) . The law in scotland is on the link I posted and it covers the same thing.

    My point is that shelter should not be encouraging people to accept merely the return of the deposit in the event of a non protection.

    The reason for this is twofold:

    1) This allows landlords to take the piss with only the worry that if pressed, they need to return the deposit, it creates a “nothing to lose by taking the piss” culture. So by my reckoning shelter should be encouraging people to take landlords all the way to get them to understand that they have to behave fairly. If a landlord does not use the DPS in england then he needs to be shown that it is going to hurt.
    2) The tenant has the right to try and claim for a share of this windfall, something for nothign if you like. It is their right, in this case, to benefit from the landlords mistake. Free money. Good news for the disenfranchised who are having to rent. It redresses the balance between tenant and landlord in some small way.

    PS – I am a landlord and I have a third reason which is more personal:

    3) I get pissed off with people slating landlords when I bend over backwards to keep my tenants happy, rent is easy money for me and I am happy that I should do some work for it. So I would like all these tosser landlords who give the rest of us a bad name to get punished.

    barkm
    Member

    That’s ok I was specifically taking issue with the word ‘entitled’, you are ‘eligible’ there is very distinct difference. But pardon my pedantry, I did say it wasn’t ‘technically’ correct, meaning not far off..

    Regards the rest, yes as I said I’m just reciting guff from the internet, I make no claims to expertise in the matter, though I have spoken to experts at length about my own case. As with anything to do with ‘law’ interpretations and even experiences can differ wildly.

    Keeping it simple (as I do not wish to be drawn into arguments), there is a law that covers this and it is relatively straight forward to pursue your claim.

    toys19
    Member

    I said

    entitled to claim

    not “entitled to receive”…

    Steve-Austin
    Member

    I represent no-one. my views are my own. I have no mandate, no agenda. just offering some friendly advice, that happens to right.

    Not for the 1st time this has happened, i will not be posting on this thread anymore.
    to the OP: if you want you can email me

    toys19
    Member

    barkm – I don’t diasgree that they should ask for their deposit back, but I disagree that they should make it conditional that if they recieve it then they will let the landlord off pursuing them. This is the mistake I see on Steve Austins advice. There should be no letting off.

    barkm
    Member

    Yes I see what you’re saying. No problems, I may or may not be wrong I’m no expert and I’ve no interest in debating it really, just sharing some opinion etc. As always standard disclaimers apply with any imparted advice on the internet and I am no exception. The reader should always carry out due diligence before drawing any conclusions 🙂

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    I know that this doesn’t apply in this case but anyone offering the “withhold the rent for the last month of the contract” advice is an idiot. Takes away any moral / legal high ground you might have had.

    I’ve been a tenant in the past and been lucky (mostly) with landlords playing fair. I am now a (reluctant) landlord and try to play fair with my tenants. Its pretty much 50:50 as to how they treat me. Moral being – there are as many dick tenants as there are landlords.

    OP – your landlord falls into dick territory. You appear to be a good tenant, even being honest that some minor jobs need attention. I’m sure he will cave when you fight back.

    toys19
    Member

    I’m no expert either. But it is all there in plain english the socttish gov website so hopefully the op can navigate it easily and at the very least get his deposit back, maybe a little bonus, and importantly teach his landlord a lesson.

    grum
    Member

    I know that this doesn’t apply in this case but anyone offering the “withhold the rent for the last month of the contract” advice is an idiot. Takes away any moral / legal high ground you might have had.

    Moral/legal high ground is all well and good, but I’d rather have the cash in my pocket. We actually took legal advice on this from a free clinic with a solicitor when we were severely messed around by a landlord who refused to deal with serious damp and various other issues for months on end.

    While the solicitor didn’t exactly tell us to do not pay our last two months rent, he didn’t advise against it. This was before the protection scheme came in.

    toys19
    Member

    I don’t think witholding rent takes away legal high ground.

    The withholding of rent and serving of notice arguements are irrelevant at this point. We paid our final month’s rent like responsible tenants and we vacated the property on 26th March 2013. Interesting points so far though. Currently awaiting a reply for our DPS scheme information, which I think might be a long time coming….

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    Toys – Contracts state the value of the rent and the rental period. If you don’t pay it, you breach the terms of the contract. Its no different to stealing. If the property is left immaculate (or at least in the same condition as it is found) then the net effect is zero. However, if there are remedial works required then the landlord has been screwed. Generally speaking here – not in this instance.

    Many of these disputes (excluding this one as we seem to have a fair level of detail) are based on opinions as to what is acceptable. Very few people seem to read the contract thoroughly before agreeing to sign it. They tend to be pretty informative and can be questioned up front.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    Grum – you wanting “money in your pocket” is no different to the landlord wanting the same. You can’t expect others to play nice if you behave like that.

    grum
    Member

    Toys – Contracts state the value of the rent and the rental period. If you don’t pay it, you breach the terms of the contract. Its no different to stealing.

    How’s the view up on that high horse?

    So what hysterical hyperbolic description would you give it when a landlord totally fails to deal with serious problems for months and months, and refuses to discuss any possible rent abatement? He couldn’t even be bothered to come and look at the issues – he’d say someone was coming round and they never did.

    cb – Member
    Grum – you wanting “money in your pocket” is no different to the landlord wanting the same. You can’t expect others to play nice if you behave like that.

    Ridiculous. We only did that after months and months of him not ‘playing nice’. Your attitude seems typical of many landlords tbh.

    Sorry OP I know this is irrelevant to you.

    ebygomm
    Member

    We have disputed claims against a deposit successfully. It took a few emails mentioning things like betterment. They tried to use going to the dps as a threat but i was confident that the dps would find in our favour so said fine. They then agreed to the deductions we proposed – £75 rather than the £650 they suggested.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    Grum – I’ll admit to not seeing the months of issues bit in your particular case so I’d agree that you didn’t get what you paid for. In your case the breach had already occurred via your landlady’s ineptitude. My mistake – I think its clear that I was talking generally – so many people think its a ‘right’ to withhold the last month of rent.

    Hysterical hyperbolic – you sure?

    I think that you describe me accurately in that my attitude is typical of many landlords…that being fair and reasonable. 😉

    toys19
    Member

    cb – I think you are confusing legal and moral. Breach of contract does not erase your rights, and some contract terms are unenforcable/not legal anyway.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Interesting thread, as I’m currently renting for the first time since the early 80s! Have been told the agents can be buggers for getting deposits back.
    Can you get them round in advance of moving out – to tell you what needs sorting and thus avoid arguments about the deposit later?

    toys19
    Member

    Interesting thread, as I’m currently renting for the first time since the early 80s! Have been told the agents can be buggers for getting deposits back.

    Not any more, learn about DPS and hold them to account.

    Can you get them round in advance of moving out – to tell you what needs sorting and thus avoid arguments about the deposit later?

    I do this with my tenants, I write to them 2 weeks before about a pre leaving inspection, raise all the issues (almost always cleaning) get them to solve it, havent had to keep any deposit money for years.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Thanks for that. Stupidly, I wouldn’t have thought to ask on here about this stuff. Duh!

    They did an inspection about 2 months after I moved in and said they would produce a report for the landlord and I’d get a copy. I’ve seen nothing though.

    toys19
    Member

    DezB have you been given your prescribed information? (Are you scotland or england?)

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    The reason they changed the law is because of landlords widely taking the piss when it came to deposits.

    So OP stand your ground.

    Toys – I’m glad there are still decent landlords like yourself.

    toys19
    Member

    Ha a couple of my current tenants do not think so:

    One said:

    “It was unprofessional of you to not answer my text I sent you last night at 7pm”

    Another one – I had to fix a dripping rad, had made an appointment 3 days in advance, when I arrived there was no answer, so I let myself in to get on with it. When I got up to the room the girl was sick in bed, so I volunteered to come back another day (there was a cup under the drip and it took about a week to get half full) . She said her mum was coming to collect her that night so tomorrow would be fine.
    So I duly returned the next day, no answer so I let myself in again. Got on with the job went home. That night one of the other tenants (shared house) sent me a shitty email complaining that I should not come around and do repairs without notice…
    In theory she may have had a point, I dunno if the other girl telling me it was Ok to come back tomorrow was enough for it to be OK, but the point was unreasonable IMHO, and now I treat them with kid gloves as a paranoid person would say they were trying to stitch me up…

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    DezB Did you take photos when you moved in? I do this with my tenants – present them with a folder of before pictures and ask them to sign. Do the same when they move out. Any problems are easier to solve. Its not foolproof but its an aid to understanding the terms of the contract i.e. what is and isn’t expected.

    toys19
    Member

    cb – it is virtually compulsory to have photos with mydeposits.com.

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