Hi. Just before Christmas, I moved out of a rented property. The landlady’s agent came around to carry out the check out inspection – it was a new agent as the landlady had been dealing direct with each other throughout my 18month tenancy. The agent was invited to inspect the outdoor/back yard area, but refused because it was raining and she had inappropriate shoes. I also told the agent that I had lost the shed key, but it was open, and she told me not to worry because all the locks, including the shed, would be changed anyway as the landlady’s husband was a locksmith. The check out report was agreed, the agent said everything was fine and we both signed it. However, I NEVER received a copy of the report. New tenants moved into the property the same day I moved out.
I didn’t get any deposit returned to me, and as it was Christmas ad New Year I assumed this was the cause of the delay. However, 2 weeks after I moved out, I received a text message from the landlady stating that she wanted to charge me for replacing the shed lock and that a window in the shed was broken and I should pay for it. To cut a very long story short, it took me a month to establish how much the landlady wanted to retain and I had to explain that she legally had to allow the undisputed amount of deposit to be returned to me. She did this reluctantly. I opened a dispute through the Deposit Protection Scheme and it went to ADR. I argued that the fact that the check out report was agreed and signed off, and that it took 2 weeks for the landlady to contact me about any concerns, meant the accusation could not be upheld (and I actually truly didn’t break any window). I also felt aggrieved that I had NEVER received a copy of the check out report, which I highlighted to the DPS and I believed the report had been doctored. I asked the agent for a copy 4 times, but was never sent one. I also received misdated estimates/quotes with differing amounts of money to those received by the DPS. However, the DPS found in favour of the landlady, and seem to have completely ignored ALL evidence I provided including witness statements and text messages.
I want to know what the weighting is of a check out report, because if mine was signed off, then surely the agent/landlady cannot prove anything unless the report had been fabricated. Does anyone have any advice/suggestions? I am making a complaint to the DPS because they have also completely failed to follow their own guidelines in adjudicating my case, which is patently obvious in the written decision I received. It is quite shocking really, and I am livid!