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Moving out decorating dispute

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1204 views 2 replies latest reply: 21 January 2016


I hope someone here can offer me some advice as I’m feeling a bit stuck and don’t know what to do.

I am currently about to leave my first rented property (rented privately) and, despite a great relationship with my landlord throughout, I now have a major issue with him trying to withhold my deposit.

When I moved in 13 months ago it was agreed that I could redecorate as I wanted but I would put it all back to neutral colours if he wanted that before I left. No problems I thought.

Fast forward 13 months…. I decided that now I have split with my girlfriend this place is just too big plus I have a part time job 20 miles away that is killing me in petrol costs and I wanted to move.
I found a lovely little place right next door to my job and decided to take it. I gave my landlord 5 weeks notice as soon as my credit check cleared and my application was accepted as this property is via an agent. That is 1 week more than I was required to give but made it easier to deal with as it was exactly half a month.

I asked him to come round and inspect the property to let me know what needed doing for him to be happy.
He came round 3 weeks later ( this is 2 weeks ago now). I tried to get him round earlier but he was first on holiday and then busy at work. I didn’t mind that much as 2 weeks would have been plenty of time to decorate and do anything else he wanted.

He looked round and told me that I could leave all the rooms as they were on the condition that I also left all the curtains, carpets, blinds and lampshades I had added after decorating (around £350 worth of stuff). I agreed to this as most of the stuff would not suit my new place and redecorating was going to be a big job.

I happily cracked on preparing for my move.
I had arranged to get the new property 1 week before I had to leave the current one so I could sort out decoration and carpets for the new place (they were a bit rough) all with the new agents consent.
I got my new place 2 days ago and have been cracking on sorting it out.

I got a phone call yesterday from my landlord saying that his new tenants did not like the décor and that he would want the rooms repainted after all, I explained that I would not have time now as I was busy sorting out the new place and waiting for deliveries etc and that he had told me (I have this in writing in the form of a text message) that I did not have to decorate.
He is now telling me that I will not be getting my deposit back to cover the cost of redecoration!
Since I was all set to do this and the only reason I did not is because he told me I didn’t have too I find this incredibly unfair.

Where do I stand on this issue? I simply cant do the job myself now as there is no time and I don’t feel I should lose £500 just because he has made a deal with the next tenants and changed his mind.

I would also like to point out that I have now discovered that he did NOT use a government approved scheme for my £500 deposit, it is “securely in a bank account” according to him.

What do I do? Should I withhold the keys until I get my money back? I am due to surrender this property on Friday 20th but I don’t fancy giving it back in a better condition than I got it when I’m being screwed out of £500.


Hi Chris

Your deposit is used to pay for damage and not for redecoration so unless you have damaged anything and left it in that damaged state then the landlord has no right to hold on to it.

Do you by any chance have any evidence in writing to show that he was happy with the state the flat was left in before the new tenants decided they didn’t like it?

Not protecting a tenant’s deposit is not lawful – end of. This landlord clearly has no idea what they are doing. You can apply to a court to compel them to repay the deposit in its entirety and to claim 1-3 times the deposit as compensation for it not being protected. Try mentioning that to the landlord and see if he’s happy to just give you the deposit back without being taken to court.

If he won’t it’s actually very easy to take him to court – the procedure is here. It basically involves a letter before action setting out what you’re going to do if you don’t get the deposit back and why (i.e. because it hasn’t been protected as required by law), gathering proof that the deposit hasn’t been protected (hopefully he told you that in writing) and that you paid the deposit and then filing a form N1.  That link I gave you contains a template letter and a link to the form N1.

Hope that’s helpful.



do    i  need   to  decorate    if  i   live   more  than    3  years   and   9   months  a s  a   tenant

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