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1294 views 1 replies latest reply: 25 March 2015

Hi all,

My story starts in december 2013. Me, my partner and 2 children including 2 dogs moved to a rental property. When we first went in i noticed the decor was woodchip(dated), doors where also old and the boiler had the name Potterton on it(definitely old). We decided that even though the house needed some modernisation we could live with it.

The owner showed us around and was very pleasant, we found out that she was very protective about her family home and the previous tenant had changed the bathroom carpet due to damage but as it wasnt an exact match the owner changed it and charged her. Sign of things to come………………….yes.

We reported many issues to the letting agent, some where sorted some where not. The second toilet had a broken flusher and didnt get fixed until december 2014(many emails and phone calls).

In May 2014 there was a serious gas leak and Transco deemed the gas fire and gas pipework immediately dangerous. There was a leaking stop end that was behind the electric cooker(Owner was not aware there was a gas pipe there). The fire never got checked again and the gas certificate was never done after this. First done December 2014 then again February 2014. Our daughter ended up in intensive care due to excess fluid on her lungs, we didnt link the 2 until someone mentioned the affects of a natural gas leak in children.

Putting all that aside we we gave our notice in and had a meeting with the letting agent and owner at the property before we gave the keys back. My partner went through everything with them(45 minutes) before we left. We where shocked to receive the list of issues the owner is claiming.

Re-painting, cleaning of the property, garden maintenance, carpets x3, light shade broken. Over £1500(£695 Deposit).

We touched up walls before we left and have pictures, had a full tenancy clean which included Flea treatment and carpet cleaning, had raked the leaves out of the garden and took pictures(not the weather to be cutting grass), had claimed 3 carpets where bad enough to be changed(changed before the property was let out 1st march, we left 14th February), the electrics where on the old red and black wire fuse board, a leak had caused a faulty socket in the kitchen(reported to letting agent) and bulbs where blowing out of the metal fitting(pictures) and on one occasion the bulb smashed the glass bowl surrounding it.

The lady seems to be claiming betterment for her property and the letting agent has sided with her.

Does this seem to be a kick in the swingers????

Any advice??

Much appreciated.


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I think, first of all, you can assume that the letting agent will always side with the landlord – they are being paid by the landlord after all.

Is your deposit protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme? It’s them who will decide what is reasonable in terms of retaining the deposit, not the landlord or the agent. Find out which scheme it is protected with and then raise a dispute. If it’s not protected then the landlord has broken the law and you can take her to court for the return of the entire deposit and apply for 1-3 times the amount as compensation – info here.

Just for reference, things like painting and maintenance are never covered by a deposit – the ‘damage deposit’ is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s to pay for damage you have done to the property and that’s it. Landlords get tax breaks against the cost of things like redecorating a rented home so it’s very much their cost to bear.

If the landlord can successfully prove that you have done damage then you should only pay for a percentage of replacement of carpets etc. Betterment essentially stops a landlord from putting themselves in a better position at the end of the tenancy than they were at the start. For example, if the tenancy started with 10 year old carpets that had seen better days and the tenant stains those carpets only lightly then the landlord couldn’t charge the tenant the entire cost of those 10 year old carpets.

If your landlord didn’t get a gas safety certificate then you can report her to the Health and Safety Executive and she could be criminally prosecuted and fined up to £20,000. You could also consider seeking compensation for the disrepair that caused your daughter’s health problems. I’m not a lawyer but it seems like you would be well within your rights to try.

So, first find out if the deposit is with a scheme and then prepare your evidence to prove to them that she’s being unreasonable. If the deposit is not with a scheme consider taking the landlord to court for recovery of the deposit (actually a very simple process, just filling out a form) or remind her that you could sue her and/or report her to the Health and Safety Executive so it would probably be cheaper for her to just return your deposit.


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