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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3497
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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landlord difficult - inventory check appt / hand back keys

Customer Question

Hi there, I am a fully paid up tenant with existing landlord. This landlord served 2-mths notice (been here for 4yrs 7mths already). Found a new property to rent / secured and move in tomorrow (24th June). Landlord lives/works in Rep. of Ireland (we are living in UK) -- advised 2.5 weeks ago that I am wanting to hand the keys back this wednesday (26th June) and that I have the inventory checked then (as house ready to hand back - moved out, carpets cleaned etc as part of the tenancy agreement requirements). Landlord wanted to meet this weekend in the midst of house preparations -- could not arrange that as too busy with house moving / preparations. This landlord advises me know that he wants to meet the following month (around 23rd July 2013) -- our tenancy expires then (as we were given 2-mths notice period), but we were able to secure a new property via estates agents quite quickly in the end, although not that many new 4-bed houses are available in our area to rent (quickly go). Didn't want to risk waiting a couple more weeks and not get anything. We advised our existing landlord immediately of securing new property and confirm intentions to leave his property as advised above. The question I need to ask is how do I get this inventory done and hand the keys back ? What about leaving the house empty for that period of time. The Landlord started off with an estate agents, then took over himself directly (pay directly / maintenance etc). The served notice was done via original estate agents. Inventory was done by the original estate agents as well. Can I not simply request (I pay for) an inventory done by the same estate agents (as they have the original inventory list also I believe) and hand the keys back to them. We are NOT abandoning the property but have advised and requesting the possession to stop immediately (as secured new property). The remaining month's rent, financially not an issue. This is not about reducing costs etc... about handing the keys back/inventory done and no liability to an empty property unnecessarily. Hope I have explained clearly enough. Many thanks.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer.

Do you have the original inventory from when you signed be property off? Who is holding your deposit?

How much will the old estate agents charge to do another inventory?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi AJ,


 


Thank you for getting back to me. Apologies for slight delay in responding - due to moving home! and waiting for responses from existing Estate Agents.


 


They (Estate Agents) are hopefully today (as advised), will be forwarding an email copy of the original Inventory.


 


Deposit is held with TDS (6 weeks rent).


 


The old estate agents advised as they do not 'manage' the property, any inventory for property is arranged via Landlord only - i.e. they only accept Landlord requests to do such a task, not tenants.


 


Many thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

The one certainty you have here is the deposit is properly bonded.

If you not so concerned about the financial issue why don't you suggest to the landlord that you will split the cost of appointing another local agent to do the checking out inventory. That will cost max £150 and in all likelihood you probably would have had to pay for it under the lease anyway if the old agents were still appointed.

Your liability will only extend to what can be proved and you have an agrees check in inventory that already attest to the condition of the property.

Are you concerned that the landlord will pursue you for other costs?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi AJ,


 


Have received the original Inventory from Estate Agents now.


 


Not sure about splitting the inventory costs with the Landlord as he is insisting doing the inventory himself and through this I expect him not to be wanting a 3rd party to be doing this.


 


He claims to be a lawyer himself (ex-Policeman and then trained legal), and has been quite aggressive / intimidating over the phone to my wife and I. We feel threatened to be honest and hence not wanting to be there in person with him (never met him before as an overseas landlord).


 


This landlord just seems to want perfection in the property in return, but clearly the original inventory doesn't indicate that condition 4yrs 7mths ago.. and who knows what he is wanting to try and claim / pick up on.


 


In short, we are nervous about this because of his legal awareness (of how to use the law to his advantage).


 


This is why I am trying to gain some knowledge prior to equip myself in case he asks / states certain things (to try it on). A 3rd party inventory would have helped.


 


Also, we have moved out now - with just over 3 weeks to go to end of tenancy - can that property be left alone, do I need to advise the local police station its empty (will still visit each day to open and close curtains for example).


 


The Landlord changed his mind about meeting this week for inventory / hand over keys -- and then indicated the weekend of 21st July 2013 -- i.e. end of tenancy term. Just making it more difficult I think.


 


Later today / tomorrow we will be paying the final rent payment.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

You only have to return the property in the condition you left it, if it is just an assured shorthold tenancy. He won't be able to hold you to ransom. If there is a dispute over the deposit then it will be determined by TDS.

I would check the lease again because if it was written by an agency there is probably a contractual requirement for a third party inventory.

Also of the lease says you need to give it a clean and leave it in the same condition subject to reasonable wear and tear then he won't be able to sadle you with loads of repairs.

You don't need to report it to the police station. When he has done his inventory check that will be your opportunity to contest it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The property is as before (just over 4.5 years ago) -- just wear and tear mainly on the stairs carpet (edges worn) and some small chips on sides of doors (moving related mainly).


 


What about handing back the keys ? The landlord decided to cancel the June inventory meeting and reschedule for weekend 21st July 2013 -- this means the property is empty until then. (we moved out 24th June)


 


As the landlord is offshore, cannot simply give him the keys in the meantime. We don't want to responsible for an empty property unnecessarily or treat is as abandoned.


 


Can we not simply hand keys back to original letting agents ?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

confirming the tenancy agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy.


 


what does this mean ? "He won't be able to hold you to ransom."


 


are you referring to outline of basic responsibilities from both parties are already included in agreement?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

When I mean he won't hold you to ransom - I mean that if the property is in a good condition and you have paid all the rent then he won't be able to get any more from you than the deposit.

Ideally you will want to deposit returned. In order to do that you will either have to reach an agreement with the landlord or have the TDS settle the dispute.

Has the landlord arrange an inventory yet?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

AJ,


 


The landlord (overseas in Ireland), has just advised today that they can arrange for one of their Fathers to pass through on Wednesday (the last day of tenancy) to hand over the keys.


 


But, they mentioned (via same email) that they will have to get back to us confirming when about doing the inventory.


 


What is the recommended way forward in this instance -- as handing over the keys (the final tenancy date), is surely handing back the property?


 


Does an inventory need to be done before handing over the keys? - otherwise, anything could happen to the property from that date to the inventory being executed.


 


Is there a legal limit in days the Landlord can delay an inventory (after the tenancy has ended).


 


Also noted on the TDS document (download via their site) -- our ending date is 24th Sept 2013 (although our actual tenancy has ended in writing 24th July 2013) - is this something that needs to be updated (via Landlord contacting TDS?) of end of tenancy earlier that that date?


 


Wouldn't this also delay the TDS deposit being concluded? (no inventory done yet)


 


How does TDS know our new physical address (do we contact TDS? or this landlord ?)


 


All meter readings have been done and photos of entire property/garden done also.


 


Just handing over the keys and inventory left to do.


 


What is the best way forward please.


 


Many thanks.


 


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

If you have confirmation in writing that the tenancy ends on the 24th then you can supply this to the TDS.

Is the landlord planning to immediately re let the property?

Kind regards

AJ

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