Reclaiming Flat Deposit

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Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby ElmiraFudd » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:52 am

I've just moved out of a flat and the letting company are trying to take a massive chunk of our deposit for cleaning services. I'm hoping someone can advise?

Basically our deposit was £550 altogether. We received this in the email-
I can confirm after carrying out the End of Tenancy inspection that the following deductions are to be deducted from the deposit currently held.

-£279.00 for thorough cleaning throughout, including oven clean, and disposal of rubbish.


This is nonsense. The flat did not need a 'thorough clean' or any clean at all. I have pictures on my phone of every room on the day we moved out and I can prove it was clean. The oven did need a clean admittedly. And the 'rubbish' consisted of a small box of cardboard in the hall (that I left inside because it was raining heavily and the bin was full). It could very easily just be placed in the bin outside during the inspection - it would not cost any money to remove.

It gets worse from there:
As your deposit is currently held by Deposit Protection Services (Scotland), we will request this £329.50 to be repaid to us.


Where has the extra 50 pounds come from?? It's 279 now it's 329.50?

All that needed cleaning was the oven. Even if the flat did need cleaning, it's a very small flat - 4 rooms and a short hallway. How on earth could it possibly cost that much?


I just want to see if I'm following the right course of action. I was going to contact them first and ask if they can provide proof of receipt and inform them we have photographic proof the flat was clean (and of the amount of rubbish in it). I intend to do this in person so I'll know if they have a receipt then and there (in case they intend to have a false one written up). Even if they can provide a receipt, surely they can't justify that amount of money being spent on cleaning? It's absurd.

Anyway, basically I want to negotiate them down to a more realistic price. Because, as I understand it, the third party company holding our deposit won't release till both parties agree on a price. What is a realistic price? And if they refuse, what procedure should I then follow?
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Bassmonger » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:01 am

I think we should set up the Jez benevolent fund, and every time someone asks a question like this, they have to put a fiver in.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Duncan » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:28 am

I'd be questioning their definition of a 'thorough clean' if it didn't already include cleaning the oven. And asking for a job at their cleaning firm.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Jez » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:16 am

Just on the phone to a gas company. I'll read and respond in 5 mins.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Jez » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:30 am

ok, I don't really 'do' scotland as I'm only versed in the English laws. However we'll assume it's the same as England (as it probably will be).

If you're unhappy with the cleaning that was required then I would raise a dispute. This should see that you get the balance returned whilst the dispute is looked into.

From a personal perspective, when looking at these things, I would be wanting to look at the inventory at the start of the tenancy (incl. any photos), the inventory at the end of the tenancy (incl. any photos) and then looking at the difference excluding anything for normal wear and tear.

The burden of proof lies with the landlord to show that a clean was required, which you are saying it wasn't, so the above would be the basis for any claim. The landlord saying "well I thought it was dirty" doesn't really hold any weight. I would hold off on mentioning that you have photographs until you mention arbitration.

I would then ask to see quotations of the work and, of course, a receipt or invoice. You are able, even though you don't have access, to phone other companies and give them a description based on the receipt to give you a quote. If it's wildly high then game on.

Going back to the orignal question. I can't give you a price, but if the oven is dirty then I'd say no more than £50-£100. I'd say a house clean is no more than that. We had the house cleaned across the road last week (2 beds, 2 recep rooms, kitch, bath, hallway and stairs) for £125.

If they don't want to settle, then the answer is that it goes to arbitration. Your landlord would be expected to provide evidence at that point (and you would show yours).

If it goes to that stage then we'll talk more about it then.

Hope that points you ion the right direction. £5 please! (joke)
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Wrecktheplacefantastic » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:55 pm

As far as I'm aware of the Scottish Deposit Schemes, the deposit is to be paid directly back to the tenant by the scheme. Both parties (tenant and landlord) have to agree on the amount, and if that amount isn't agreed on, then a 3rd party mediator will come and inspect the property and the alleged discrepancy. So the landlords are a bit out of line to just state "We will arrange for XXX amount to be paid". It's not solely up to them, and these schemes were introduced to protect the tenants from rogue landlords adding on mysterious and extortionate cleaning bills at the end of tenancies,

Another thing which would be worthwhile doing would be to ring your local council's Private Sector Housing Unit (I work for Aberdeen City's respective department) and find out if your landlord is registered with the local authority, as they should be legally. An unregistered landlord can void alot of things for landlords for not being legally compliant, from landlords insurance to disputes likes this. Tenants and former tenants is one of the biggest sources for Councils finding out about unregistered landlords, so if he turns out to be unregistered, not only does that practically void the landlords side of the dispute, but also the respective local authority will begin proceedings against the unregistered landlord, which could be anything from fines to a rent penalty notice, which will prevent the landlord from receiving rent until he becomes legally compliant. RPN's are badass.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby ElmiraFudd » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:09 am

Oooh, they're both really thorough answers, thankyou!

I'll check about the landlord being registered but it''s through a letting company so I imagine they are. It's them I'm communicating with so I'm unsure as to whether it's them who were responsible for the clean or the landlord. But I shall see them personally on Monday and will hopefully have some more answers.

Thanks Jez and Wreck, I'll start negotiating it with them and I'll update this thread after Monday hopefully. If it goes to arbitration / mediation, then I guess that's what happens.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Wrecktheplacefantastic » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:15 am

The letting agent will probably be registered. I'd be surprised if they weren't. They are also responsible for making sure their landlords are registered as well. They shouldn't be advertising properties owned by unregistered landlords, though many still do, so if the actual owner of the property isn't registered, that puts the agent in the shit aswell. They are acting unlawfully if that is the case. The letting agent will only be registered to act as agents. They will most likely not be registered to be landlords, so the owner of the property does need to be legally compliant too.

Contact the deposit scheme directly though, and state you wish to dispute the amount being deducted. You can do that without involving the landlord at all - assuming that they have actually lodged the deposit into the scheme. Did you ever receive a certificate saying that your deposit was lodged with a deposit scheme. Again, this is a legal requirement.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Rob_RDG » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:19 am

Can we get an update on this? I love seeing money grabbing landlords get their comeuppance.

One of my girlfriend's former landlords in Edinburgh kept making the papers because he would call people pretending to be the police and come round threatening to shoot people and now he's been banned from letting property... although I'm sure that won't stop him. Anyway.. get sorted?
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Milli Vanilli » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:31 pm

we all love a tale of the little man sticking it to the bourgeois powers, it's a classic tale worthy of a song by Billy Bragg
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Rob_RDG » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:52 pm

I don't think this man could be classified as bourgeois:
Image
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby Milli Vanilli » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:23 pm

he looks like he's carved out of a single piece of mahogany. i think he's magnificent.
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Re: Reclaiming Flat Deposit

Postby <3 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:22 pm

Agreed, he looks like a seriously great geezer.
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