Landlord turned hostile and deposit in threat – help!

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Landlord turned hostile and deposit in threat – help!

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Landlord turned hostile and deposit in threat – help!

We have recently left our previous home 31/3/15 as our landlord decided to sell after 18 months of us being there. She had told us long term 7 years, but obviously circumstances change. hostile

Anyhow after a perfect relationship throughout and us being responsible tenants it has all gone very sour. She is being very critical of everything. Mainly a log burning stove, having virgin/sky fitted, drilling to fit a tv on bedroom wall…

We painted the log burner, simply to improve the cosmetic look, she carried out an inspection we had a chat regarding it she told us what paint it would need etc, she is now in denial of this conversation and is accusing us of completely damaging her property and insisting the whole thing is stripped back, taken out and re-installed.

Insisting on electrical report on house saying we should not of drilled anywhere. We were told to live there and enjoy it. She is I feel attacking our integrity. Apparently we should of got sky/virgin to contact her for permission, we did ask her at the start of tenancy and were told no problem. She is asking to retain a proportion of our deposit, there is also talk of a spare fridge which was not named in contract, it broke and we got rid of it, she is accusing us of selling and not allowing her to inspect and insisting on purchasing a new one for value of one which broke, she claims to have a purchase receipt although told us her friend had given her.

We are now left feeling devastated and upset that we are being portrayed in such a negative way, she has basically accused us of lying, fraud. We will obviously contest this via DPS but feel we will struggle to provide “evidence” as all these things were conversations which she is now denying. She used viewings re sale of house to gather her photographic evidence that we had fitted the TV on wall etc.

We allowed access as agreed in contract for viewings not for an invasion of our home. My husband after removed returned all wall surfaces to a high standard as in how we found them, no damage was visible. We were not allowed to obtain independent advice re log burner, she is saying one person she has approached for advice has said will need whole new fire, their motive is obviously financial, we cannot prove we have not damaged it.

We have emails from her regarding all her points, we have not risen or entered into any discussion/disagreement with her as from the tone of her emails she is hell bent on making us pay. We have a contract which was drawn up by her solicitor which says no where that we not permitted to paint fire/drill walls/ fit sky tv. We have no separate itinerary list. Can you offer us any advice at all?

We are at our wits end, we now have to await her to disclose the amount she wants to retain to the DPS she will not tell us the amount, we have to contact DPS on Tuesday as she has told us the website wont allow her to process as we raised a dispute prematurely when she first started making accusations. She said once see advises DPS what proportion of deposit she intends to hold back then we either agree/disagree.

There is no room from her side for negotiation, any attempt by us would be fruitless this can be easily seen from the tone of her emails, condescending is a word I would use.

Please please can you guide us in any way. We are a lovely happy working family people who cared for even loved her property and paid our rent on time without fail for duration. No positive comments have been forthcoming from her just constant attack and criticism.

Look forward to hearing from you.
Many Thanks
C & J



Comments

Neil Patterson

3 years ago

My Advice is don't panic, however upset this has made you feel.

I have friends that are extremely house proud and were once criticized about the condition they left a property and it too affected them and caused distress.

However the burden of proof falls on the Landlord if your deposit is being claimed upon. It also sounds like you might not have had an inventory done when you moved in so I don't then see how there will be proof of damages which sound minor.

Wait for the DPS as you will find they are normally very fair 🙂

Joe Bloggs

3 years ago

you shouldnt gave got rid of fridge. however, the rest seems unfair, espec if she is selling.

Chris Davies

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "09/04/2015 - 14:16":

Thanks Neil for your reply..We have since been informed by DPS she is trying to claim £1000 if our £1,850 deposit. .she would not tell us!!! £500 to install new log burner as she obtained 2 quotes & 1 quote said easier to install new rather than stip back & recoat!!!! £250 for new fridge although she the 1 she left was given to her & was probably 5 years plus in age & also £250 for electrian she paid to check electrics & also included in this figure was cleaning & clearing rubbish although she never gave me option to clean the bit i missed & remove rubbish..we were never given an itinerary on how to care for logburner & all i ever did was repaint with correct paint & in contract she had drawn up said Cooker & small larder fridge must be replaced with similar if they break..& if washing machine broke she would not replace..No conversation about replacing the fridge that was given to her been replaced if broke which it did, it was kept in garage & when broke i replaced with a fridge freezer as kitchen was not big enough could only house a small under counter fridge..

Connie Cheuk

3 years ago

I have heard of unfair landlords and feel they tarnish the rest of us who leap to fix and repair whenever something breaks. I have also told tenants that I would not replace the fridge and washing machine in one property, though I did end up repairing the waste unit (sink) when tenant flooded my kitchen. If you have replaced like for like, that is surely more than fair, and more than I expect from my tenant. If my property ends up minus said white goods, so be it. I'll assume they broke (as appliances do) and were disposed of (hopefully sensibly). What a shame that you have been put through this.

Rob Crawford

3 years ago

Hi C&J, my advise would be to talk to the DPS and request that it is dealt with through arbitration. The DPS will then ask the landlord to provide evidence that justifies any deduction in the deposit due to you. You do not have to prove anything! DPS will also check that the landlord has issued all the required prescribed information and will also want to see the AST and inventory. It is for the landlord to supply this information. Once they have all this and assuming the landlord has a case they will contact you for your views. If there is no case they will award the deposit back to you. I would contact them asap. There may be terms in your AST that states you need written permission to do certain things (painting, drilling holes etc) but these may be written as unfair terms. DPS will judge this in their assessment of the facts presented by the landlords - hope this helps.

Anthony Endsor

3 years ago

To be honest, considering the damage done to the property, I'd say you've got off lightly with £1,000.
Drilling through electrics is extremely dangerous and could have done thousands of pounds worth of damage in itself.
You should have asked the landlord to dispose of the fridge, as it was hers to begin with, if only to cover yourself.
The log stove should have been discussed with your landlord, who should have given you written permission before going ahead.
It never ceases to amaze me the number of times tenants do things then come the victims when their landlord takes action. Sometimes landlords can be victims as well.

Michael Barnes

3 years ago

This shows how important it is for tenants to get the landlord to give (or deny) permission in writing before making changes to or disposing of the landlords property. Also to send the landlord a written statement of understanding following any conversation where tenant believes they have been given oral permission to do something. (as a landlord I always follow up such conversations with an email stating what I believe was said)
To mangle a well-known saying "a landlord's word is worth about as much as the paper it is writen on".

However, if there was no inventory and no prohibition on making holes in the walls, then it seems to me that there is little that the landlord can do in this case.

It is good that you have not replied to the landlord whilst you are angry; it is good in such cases to allow a couple of days to see things more-clearly and not antagonise unnecessarily.

Michael Barnes

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anthony Endsor" at "10/04/2015 - 14:27":

IF the facts are as stated, then I feel you are being rather harsh.

It does not state that any damage was done to the electrics. If the electrics were damaged, then it would be reasonable to charge the tenant for repair


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