Hi Joshua. This is the claim filed through court by the lettings agent:
Particulars of Claim
On vacating a rented property (7 Clarke Close..) there were the following dilapidations to be paid by the defendant – gardening 72.00, painting 288.00, carpet cleaning 216.00, oven cleaning 100.80 and cleaning property 24.00. we tried to defend our case with the TDS but there was a problem with their upload system so that they never received our evidence and 100% of the deposit was paid to the tenant.
The claimant claims interest under section 69 of the county courts act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year from 01/11/2014 to 11/03/2015 on 700.80 and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgement or earlier payment at a daily rate of 20.40.
This is my defence that I issued:
Tenancy ended 31 Oct 2014. Thurs 30 Oct I still hadn’t received any communication from the agent or Landlady so I emailed the Landlady asking what to do with the keys. I advised that everything would be cleaned to a professional standard, didn’t think there was any need to chemically clean the carpets after 6 months as I did not have pets, had not worn shoes and vacuumed them all. The lawn had been freshly cut and the shrubs pruned. On the last day of the tenancy I rang the Landlady's work. I was advised that she was away for a few days and not to bother ringing her mobile as she never answers it but I could leave my keys there. I sent a follow up email Sat 1 Oct reiterating that the cooker hob and splash back had been cleaned to a professional standard as had the internal windows. If she is not in agreement please let me know so that I have the opportunity to inspect the house with a third party as in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). 12 Nov I emailed the agent to say that It was now over 10 days since I vacated the property and as required under the Tenant Deposit Scheme, please would he arrange for the return of my deposit. Sun 16 Nov the landlady emailed me saying that the deposit is held by Matheson's and when the condition of the house has been reviewed by the independent company she will be asked to agree the release of the security deposit less any deductions. I replied that I’m surprised after 16 days that the house has still to be inspected. I’m sure you will agree with me that I left it in excellent condition. Sun 23 Nov she said I suggest that you speak to Matheson's because I do not hold the deposit. There will be deductions from the deposit in line with the contract you signed when you moved into the property ( e.g. for cleaning of the carpets and oven) and further deductions , if any, will be in accordance with the report from the independent party employed to check the condition of the property so any further queries should not be addressed to me. So 25 Nov as I was clearly not getting anywhere closer to seeing my £2,100 deposit returned, I raised a dispute with the TDS. On 2 Dec I wrote to Landlady/agent saying it’s been 10 days since I wrote my formal complaint to you and I still await a reply. I entered into an assured, short hold tenancy agreement on 7 Clarke Close for 6 months from 1st May to 31st Oct 14. Mathesons were the Lettings agent. I vacated the property on 31st Oct 14 , leaving the property in excellent condition. I have exchanged numerous emails with both Matheson (the agent) and the Landlady asking for the release of my deposit. No deductions have been advised yet, 32 days since the end of the tenancy and no steps have been made to return my deposit. I would also like to point out that you have not complied with the Property Ombudsman’s code of practice. For example:-15c On giving or receiving notice to bring a tenancy to an end, you must provide a tenant with general written guidance as to what steps need to be taken relating to preparation of the property for the final checkout, handover of keys and other matters. You must actively flag and draw the tenant’s specific attention to any specific clauses or obligations within the tenancy agreement relating in particular to proposed deductions from the tenancy deposit but also for example, to specified standards of cleaning etc. 16a Where appropriate to the services being provided and unless you have instructions to the contrary, you must arrange for, or carry out, the final check-out as soon as is reasonably practicable after the tenants vacate and at the lawful end of the tenancy, preferably during daylight hours. The outgoing tenants should always be offered the opportunity of being present to observe the final checkout. Also I notice in my contract, reference to a leaflet entitled What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme which I didn’t receive. Clause 7.7 of my tenancy states “The Agent/Member must tell the tenant within 10 working days of the end of the tenancy if they propose to make any deductions from the Deposit. This didn’t happen so I assume there are to be no deductions and my deposit should be returned. Thurs 4 Dec reply from landlady saying I do not hold the deposit and any deductions from your deposit will be after inspection of the property by an independent party. I have told Matheson’s to deal with this and return whatever is due to you without further recourse to me. Please address all further queries to Mattesons . 22 Jan TDS issued report in my favour. I notice from the Court Claim Form 18 March a charge of £100.80 for oven cleaning. When I moved into the property the agent arranged for a company called Oven Bright to clean the oven. I kept their price list which is £52 for an oven. I dispute all of the charges made because they are either fictitious or exaggerated charges, I have never received any details of these claims. Regards ***** ***** for interest, why would I be responsible for interest at 01/11/2014 when all of my deposit was being held by the agent and the agent was making no steps to return it or advise why it was being kept? The Landlady and Agent acted unreasonably and against their professional code of conduct causing me unnecessary stress which I would like to be compensated for.
I don't know whether I should go to court I.e. whether I am likley to win outright or accept mediation offerred. Its the Small Claims Mediation Service. My contract said I would be responsible for payment for cleaning windows inside and out, carpets, the oven. However I recieved no bills, no chance to discuss and the charges made are extortionate.
Yes it was protected under the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme).
I approached the TDS to get my deposit back. Yes the landlord agreed to use the service offerred by TDS. The TDS found in my favour. I spoke to the TDS and they found no record of a problem with their system at that time or a complaint from the agent saying they couldnt upload.
After the full return of my deposit the agent filed a claim as above to the small claims court. I wrote a defence as above. Then the agent forwarded a copy of their completed form N180 which states they agree to this case being referred to the Small Claims Mediation Service. I have to respond by 8 May file with the court and serve copies on all other parties. Presumably that means just the agent as they are the ones taking me to court.