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My landlord wants to take 1,350 pounds from my deposit

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446 views 1 replies latest reply: 14 January 2015
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Tenant

Hi, 

I’ve decided to move out of a flat in london and just invoked the mutual break clause. Now I received an angry letter from my landlord, saying that he wants to deduct 1,350 pounds, which is all of my deposit. The toilet was blocked twice and had to be repaired, and he wants me to pay 750 pounds for the first time and 600 pounds for the second time. Those two sums together magically exactly equal my deposit. 

Now Ihave to say that the toilet is very sensitive and blocks if you throw even only a small amount of paper into it, and this was not outlined in the contract I signed. It should have been in there, because this is not what I understand by “normal use”. 

I hvave a letter from my landlord two months ago confirimng that I will not have to bear the costs. This letter was an answer to my request who will have to pay. But now apparently he changed his opinion.

One more thing: Thee plumber took 4 hours the first time and 1 hour the second time, and I don’t think any “material” was used. This shouldn’t add up to 1,350 pounds. I have not even seen the actual bill. 

I also just asked myself if the deposit is even registered and where it is because i’ve jsut read that it is a criminal offence for the landlord not to register it.

What should I do now?

Thanks in advance

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Administrator

Hi Nils

Your landlord is legally obliged to put your deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme – this is the law and if he or she has not done this then you can apply to a county court to get the landlord to either place the deposit into a scheme or repay it to you. You may also be able to get compensation if that has not been done. There’s more information on this here and here.

The purpose of making this a legal requirement was partly to avoid a situation where an unscrupulous landlord could do exactly what your landlord appears to be doing and create a justification for keeping the deposit. As all deposits must now be registered with a protection scheme, when the time comes to repay the deposit if there is a dispute over how much should be repaid then the deposit scheme has a dispute resolution service. This third party service looks at evidence provided by the landlord and tenant and decides what is reasonable for the landlord to retain and what is not. The deposit remains the tenant’s property until the landlord can justify to the dispute resolution service why there should be a deduction.

Unless you’ve been not using the toilet properly then perhaps the problem is actually with the plumbing itself – it’s the landlord’s job to ensure works properly not yours. You’d only usually be obliged to pay for it if your actions or inactions had actually damaged it – if you want a legal opinion on this then contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.

However, for you the first step is probably to ask the landlord whether the deposit is actually protected. This should have been done within 30 days of moving in and you should have been informed of the scheme where the deposit is held. I’m guessing you weren’t given any information when you moved in. You might find that when you mention this the landlord suddenly agrees to give you back the deposit to avoid you taking any further action. But if not, then you have every right to go to court to get the deposit back if it’s not protected (this isn’t that difficult to do). That could well make the issue of the toilet redundant but if it doesn’t then the fact that you have a letter stating you won’t have to bear the costs will work in your favour.

It sounds very much like your landlord is being a bit of a chancer so don’t be intimidated by an ‘angry’ letter – this often hides the fact that someone knows they’re in the wrong…

Alex

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