/ Opportunist Landlord?

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Greenbanks - on 11 Jul 2017
My daughter has just completed her year at uni and is currently in dialogue with the landlord of her rented house (shared with 6 other students) regarding the return of her deposit (1 month's rent)

There is an indication that a large amount of this is to be kept by said landlord, because of apparent 'damage', which appears to be little more than reasonable wear and tear. Its her second year in the house now, btw.

We have been down to the property (when helping her to move out for the summer earlier this month) and feel that many of the demands seem to be unreasonable. To give some idea:

Chairs (Solid Oak) x 4 2 Needs Cleaning
Dining Table, Round - Pine 3 Some small water marks to table Needs Cleaning
Dishwasher – Silver 2 Needs Cleaning plus there appears to be glue on the door
Electric Oven 2 Glass Needs Cleaning & under the door
Extractor Fan (with light) 2 1 bulb appears not to be working
Fridge has 4 Shelves and 2 Containers at the Bottom; Wine
Rack ; Door has 8 Shelves. Freezer has 3 Draws. Freezer door
has a dent. One draw is broken in freezer. Requires a professional deep clean
Glass Chopping Boards x 6 1 Needs Cleaning
Halogen Oven – Black 1 Needs Cleaning
Microwave – Black & Silver 1 Needs Cleaning

(Verbatim extract)

I am aware of the appeals mechanism via the national body, but just wondered what the views were of the cognoscenti on here regarding this. Is it a case of sucking it up and moving on? Or is it worth the inevitable battle?

Cheers in advance
Name Changed 34 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Hi, Ask the question of your self, would you like to take the let in the state you describe? [broken doors , somethings missing / not working and unclean]
summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
Sounds like the 6 of them need to spend half a day cleaning?

Edit. Most credible agencies/landlords and wise tenants take a photo inventory at the start of a tenancy.
Post edited at 07:06
Greenbanks - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Name Changed 34:

Of course not; my question is about what might be expected to be termed 'fair wear and tear' after a year of rental. As I say, I went down and spent a few hours scooping said daughter up & doing general cleaning & tidying. It wasn't in bad shape; by no means 'perfect', but certainly not un-rentable.
2
Greenbanks - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

Yes - we have photos of my daughter's room - showing evidence of earlier damage that is now being used to support the retention of some of the deposit. Includes things like a 'burn' on her desk - she has never smoked (anything), and has followed the landlord instruction that no lit candles are to be used on the property.

I don't want to come across as a whinger, and happy to stump up for anything that seems unreasonable. But surely there ought to be a bit of give and take on the landlords side?
1
summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

As a landlord myself, wear and tear is something they can be fixed by a lick of paint. A few plates or glasses less as accidents do happen etc..

Billable stuff is actual damage that could only come through neglect or stupid drunken events!

If it's furnished to some degree then the landlord is allowed 10% of the rental income value as tax deductible expenses for this wear & tear, regardless of if they do anything or not. Invoiced work repairing something that is part of the house is extra again.
summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Yes - we have photos of my daughter's room - showing evidence of earlier damage that is now being used to support the retention of some of the deposit.

They should blitz the house for half a day.

Then present a written statement to them, with your photo evidence. They sound like chancers and will back down. Brush up on the legal side etc.. too. Try to do it collectively with the other tenants.

Name Changed 34 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Being pejorative let agent can say it is un rentable, they could also say, damage and cleaning are not wear or tear.

I have little problem beveling that letting agents hold moneys back un justifiably, I have also seen agents pre let and its just as bad aka '' we need a new fridge, its got a mark on the out side of the door''

Think you will do well to win, find a bit of law on it, and sound of as Mr/ Mrs irate on the phone, then put it down to taking of good good cash for bad.
Name Changed 34 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

Hi do you happen to know, what the tax position is if the tenant puts the furnishing into storage ?
also '' to some degree'' is this what used to be part furnished.

just trying to keep the tax take to a minimum, although tax is one of the things that gives us GB, and the society we have/love.
Lord_ash2000 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Does sound a bit harsh,

It's not unusual to charge if the house requires a professional cleaner to attend and maybe the broken draw in the freezer could be argued legit but itemising minor little things like the chopping boards need a clean seems a bit extreme to me.

If I were you, I'd say look, what you've basically said is it needs a bit of a clean, there isn't really anything broken and I think what you're charging is over the top. Then offer a much lower amount, the landlord will probably reject this. Then come back, maybe offering a lightly higher amount and say it's this or y you're happy to go through the deposit protection thing because you think he's being unreasonable. The landlord will probably back down then and accept the smaller figure because they can't be arsed with the hassle.

1
wercat on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I'd like to know how many unscrupulous landlords claim cash from the tenants for something they then claim against tax as a legitimate business expense, and what the total being stolen from the taxpayer in this way
1
summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Name Changed 34:

> Hi do you happen to know, what the tax position is if the tenant puts the furnishing into storage ?

No idea. At a stretch I'd say the storage cost could be a business cost, but you can't claim the wear & tear if it's not in the house.

> also '' to some degree'' is this what used to be part furnished.

It's still called that, but I've never read what constitutes 'part'.


Luke90 on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

Not much, I wouldn't have thought, now that claims on deposits are going to have a paper trail through the deposit protection scheme. I'm sure there are all kinds of other potential dodges but that one doesn't seem likely to be common.
Xharlie on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Is it the landlord or is an agent involved?

We had a similar experience, moving out of our flat in Surrey, and we simply called the actual landlord directly and he was appalled by what the agent had tried to pull. He told us not to worry and that hed give the agent a right talking-to.

Our conclusion: landlords are often human and have actually lived in houses. They understand that life leaves marks. Agents simply want to maximize profit and the personality type that enters that trade is entirely unscrupulous.
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MeMeMe - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/disputes-and-problems

Raise a dispute with the deposit scheme (the deposit is in a deposit scheme right?)
There's a time limit so do it earlier rather than later.

We've got some money back this way when we disputed some charges with our landlord when we left our rented house.
Greenbanks - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

thanks - it is an agent, acting on behalf of the landlord
Spartacus on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
We had exactly the same thing with a landlord when my daughter finished university. All items were normal wear and tear, I suspect some landlords see the extra month as a Brucey bonus to be kept on all occasions and that people will just pay it to avoid complications particularly with multiple occupancy.

We went to an official Onbudsman who delt with the matter effectively, we kept all of the deposit and landlord got warning about future conduct.
Xharlie on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Name Changed 34:

> ' we need a new fridge, its got a mark on the out side of the door''

People are wierd about fridges, though. We bought a poncy fridge worth €1000 for about €250, second hand. The price was lowered because it had a tiny dent in one side and so the owners obviously *needed* a new one. It was barely one year old!

Add €25 for the rental of a van to move it and a couple of bucks to buy some friends a beer, each, and we had a right bargain.
jethro kiernan - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

shared house with 6 people rent £400 each PM? £2400 kept back, cleaner for one day £200, your daughter and her friends are being ripped off.
As for the fridge, if the landlord has supplied a bottom of the range fridge then it is not suitable for the use sustained by six occupants (is it of commercial quality?) if that is the case you could argue that a broken draw is just wear and tear.
3
Greenbanks - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to jethro kiernan & Spartacus:

Thanks for these observations. We like to think we are pretty fair-minded and would certainly have underwritten any undue damage caused by student 'excess'! But we are certainly left with a feeling that what's being demanded is quite beyond the cost of any 'restitution' to contents.

Jim Hamilton - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> thanks - it is an agent, acting on behalf of the landlord

The agent may use someone who specifically checks inventories, and they have to justify what they charge by going through it all with a fine toothcomb.
radddogg - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
I'd expect to lose £50 for the freezer damage - still in working order and £50 for the cleaning. The bulbs are the landlords responsibility.

As already suggested, they should clean the house and then you're left with the freezer damage.

Edit: £2400!!!!! Tell them to do one!
Post edited at 13:32
timjones - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

> I'd like to know how many unscrupulous landlords claim cash from the tenants for something they then claim against tax as a legitimate business expense, and what the total being stolen from the taxpayer in this way

Surely this is only an issue if they don't declare the income?
wercat on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to timjones:
It would surely be an issue if deductable expenditure is declared after already having claimed reimbursement (from someone else's taxed income) for that very expenditure.

effectively claiming someone else's expenditure as your own tax-deductable expense
Post edited at 15:08
jasonC abroad - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

All rental deposits should be lodged with a third party and there is an omsbudman to resolve disputes.
If they haven't they can be in trouble

https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview

On another note this happened to a friend of mine, her son's landlord tried to keep the whole deposit (plus all the flat mates) but she threatened him with legal proceedings and suddenly they got the whole deposit back.
Bellie on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to radddogg:

In many tenancy agreements bulbs have to be replaced by the tenant.

I see a lot of assumptions on this thread, when the OP hasn't stated how much the cost is to the tenant. (just an indication of a large amount) It is right that in cases where things need doing that the landlord tells the agent that the deposit needs holding back until costings are agreed. Some things are minor, but when its in the tenancy agreement, they should be done.



timjones - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

> It would surely be an issue if deductable expenditure is declared after already having claimed reimbursement (from someone else's taxed income) for that very expenditure.

> effectively claiming someone else's expenditure as your own tax-deductable expense

I'd say that you put the money that the tenant pays down as income and the coSt of the repair down as an expense?

You are then taxed on any difference. That is how accounts work?
timjones - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Bellie:

> In many tenancy agreements bulbs have to be replaced by the tenant.

I'd say that it probably applies in the vast majority of agreements.

It is hardly realistic to expext the landlord to pop round every time a bulb blows.
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Bellie on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to timjones:

Ah yes, I should have been clearer. It was in relation to end of tenancy stuff.

timjones - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Bellie:

> Ah yes, I should have been clearer. It was in relation to end of tenancy stuff.

No worries, we are thinkin along the same lines. I was merely.pointing oit the practical reason for bulbs being the tenants responsibility.

I suspect that you are unlikely to be penalised for blown bulbs at the end of a tenancy as long as everything else is in order.
Bellie on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Just to add to the OP that that list doesn't sound too onerous. You should see some of the inspection and inventory reports, which can run to 30 pages or so.

It seems that its a case of they have left the place not quite as clean as it should be. Vague attempts at cleaning are always a bugbear. So unless sorted you might find the landlord chooses to get a professional cleaner in to get it ready for new tenants.

The agent will give you the costs for any work anyway. So then at least you know where you stand re the deposit and any subsequent grievance you may have can be sorted from there.

L bearman68 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Easiest way to avoid conflict and hassle. Ask the Landlord what professional cleaner he has used. Hire the same one for a day to complete the cleaning. Prob £100 each.
Landlord will have terrible trouble claiming it's not clean enough then, as they have been cleaned by the same people.

I'm a landlord myself, and I would be delighted if someone offered me this option at the end of a tenancy.

jethro kiernan - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Im not a landlord or Tennant, but surely as part of your service you would clean your property before re-renting it and surely you shouldn't dock a deposit for that. if I hire a car when I return it I make sure any crisp packets and rubbish are cleared out etc and if its tank full on return I fill her up, I don't expect to receive a bill in a months time for hoovering and "deep cleaning" of the car and a new interior lightbulb. The hire company factors reasonable cleaning into their hire charge, likewise a landlord should factor this into their monthly rent.
3
Bellie on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Its part of the usual terms and conditions of occupancy that you leave the property as you found it. Irrespective of what further lengths a landlord does to get the property ready for occupancy after the tenant has left.


1
timjones - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jethro kiernan:

It would seem reasonable that a tenant should leave a property clean and tidy when they move out.

Why should it be the landlords responsibility?
2
Deadeye - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

> If it's furnished to some degree then the landlord is allowed 10% of the rental income value as tax deductible expenses for this wear & tear, regardless of if they do anything or not. Invoiced work repairing something that is part of the house is extra again.

hasn't that automatic 10% gone now?
summo on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Deadeye:

Not on my online return for 2015/16. Have not done the one for year ending apr17 yet, so can't say with 100% certainty.
Greenbanks - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to timjones:

thanks for the continued responses.

Leaving a property 'clean and tidy' is a phrase that is open to all sorts of interpretations. I'm quite OCD about stuff like that & hate (for example) leaving a hotel bedroom in an untidy way etc; my guideline is to leave stuff as I'd like to find it. So, having done a fair clean around the place I felt that what was being left to the landlord was a room in reasonable nick. £10-15 here or there is OK I'd say as part of a tenant's deal to maintaining the fabric of the place. But to be going down the route of claiming greater damage seems improper and mean & gets reputable landlords a bad name.

BTW. I purposely did not say that said landlord is offshore (Jersey) - so I've tried hard not to let that influence my feeling that my daughter is being taken advantage of.
Jenny C on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Thank goodness I no longer rent property, I get the feeling that deductions for cleaning is an easy way of making a few extra £'s out of tenants.

I am now of the conclusion that if/when I am forced to deal with rental property as a tenant I will either:
a/ pay a professional cleaner to do a deep clean (including oven and carpets), then return a copy of the invoice together with the keys as "proof"
b/ walk out the door without making any effort (I don't mean leave it dirty, just not spend hours spring cleaning), and simply write off my deposit

The only time I have rented and felt that we were treated fairly was a private student rental, landlord was great and accepted accidental damage as fair wear and tear and to our surprise returned the full deposit. Lettings agencies have always left me feeling ripped off.
Toerag - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> BTW. I purposely did not say that said landlord is offshore (Jersey) - so I've tried hard not to let that influence my feeling that my daughter is being taken advantage of.

If they're a UK person moved to Jersey to dodge tax then I'd say you're right. However, if the 'dirty' items are not as clean as they were when they moved in then they should have cleaned them properly.
Toccata on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Not all Landlords are like that. One (in Glasgow) gave me my deposit and and extra £250 for looking after the place so well (over 3 years). I did a bit of decorating (painting, plastering etc) but nothing expensive or involved.
Greenbanks - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Toccata:

Certainly agreed. My oldest lad's landlord has been absolutely brilliant. I'm in no way tarring everyone with a negative brush.
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Greenbanks - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Toerag:

As I say, I'm especially squeamish re. dirt and mess; the rental place seemed ok to me when I did the parental 'scoop' at the end of the university year
owlart - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Bellie:

> Just to add to the OP that that list doesn't sound too onerous. You should see some of the inspection and inventory reports, which can run to 30 pages or so.

When I moved into my place, I had to return a two page list of corrections and additions to the 'professional' inventory. It conveniently missed off any areas of damage (iron burn to carpet, blown plaster around a cable coming through the wall, curry stain to carpet...). Far be it from me to suggest that this might have been an attempt for them to claim it back off me when I moved out!

My landlord has subsequently sacked the Letting Agent (Martin & Co) following a complaint and Ombudsman's report which stated that they were "Unprofessional", "unsatisfactory" and "confused"!
Dauphin on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Spent days on a clean plus had a professional come in and do it again, inspector failed us on soap residue in washing machine drawer, dust in top level of built in wardrobe and I'd had a shower on morning of handover ( water in shower ), wanted to charge us £200 for a cleaner, told to do one and we would come back and do it ourselves.

D
jethro kiernan - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to timjones:
I agree, I would expect a house to be clean and tidy, it does seem that lots of landlords unreasonably pass on their cleaning expense onto the previous tenants. That is if you expect a landlord also has an obligation both financial and time wise to prepare a house for upcoming tenants and not pass all that onto the previous Tennant. There does seem to be a tendency for landlords or agencies to charge the full deposit it's striking the right balance. My recent experience is limited, my college day experience was pretty reasonable with most of the deposit returned after a pretty thorough clean and no discussion about "deep cleaning"
1
alx - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I had this occur and we took it to the deposits agency national body whom were very fair and level headed, saw the landlord for the money opportunist they were and ordered my deposit (£3k!!) returned in its entirety.

I wouldn't hesitate again in referring it again and the threat of a referral could change the landlords stance.

climbwhenready - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Hi,

Lots of opinions on this thread. This sounds like it's a list of demands from the landlord made before you move out. The legal basis for holding back deposit is: what is the difference between the start and end inventories? You should have signed an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy stating the condition of all these items. At the end of the tenancy the landlord will have to get an independent inventory done again. If they are asking you to do anything where the condition of the item is not stated on the entry inventory, and you claim the damage is pre existing then you will get the deposit back on appeal. On the other hand if the entry inventory states pristine freezer, you'd better make it so on exit.

If there was no entry inventory, the landlord is flying by night and is unlikely to be able to hold on to any of the deposit.

As a side note, you are right that the landlord is probably trying hold onto the deposit as some cheeky extra income. The question is whether they are able to! The deposit protection scheme is pretty fair and they need documentation to prove damage.

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