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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Hi there, My landlord wants to deduct money from my deposit

Customer Question

Hi there,
My landlord wants to deduct money from my deposit for damage to the property which I did not do. At the same I want not only my full deposit, but also a refund on rent that I payed for a time period in which my landlord made the room uninhabitable by removing the bed and carrying out redecoration works.
BACKROUND
I ended my tenancy contract on 20 September for a room in a shared house and My landlord has calculated how much of my deposit she feels I am entitled to.
The Landlord has decided to deduct £105 from my deposit because she accuses me of damaging one of the legs of the bed which was provided as part of the tenancy contract.
On 18th August 2014 I informally moved all my belongings purely to facilitate the re-advertising for a new tenant to replace me. I feel that people are more likely to decide to take the room if they visit it when it is empty of my belongings, a fresh canvas.
I gave my landlord consent to enter the room under the premise of showing new prospective tenants the room upon visiting the house.
During my absence she has not only found a new tenant, but took it as an opportunity to fully redecorate the room and replaced the bed with a new one. The landlord did not give any notice/permission to do any of this and this would have made the room impossible for me to live in. I paid full rent in this time period. As mentioned I informally left the house on 18th August and the end of contract was on 20th September. Although I do not know for sure what date it was that the redecorations and taking of the bed started and ended, logically it would have been within this time period.
I was not the one who damaged the bed. However I noticed that the bed was slightly damaged (one of the legs was wobbly) shortly after I moved in in June 2014. At that time I did not take any photographic evidence of this. But before moving out I asked the other tenants in the shared house about it and one of them knew the last tenant that stayed in the room before me was the one who most likely damaged it because this previous tenant repositioned the bed and other furniture several times. On one occasion, the tenant I was speaking to even said that she helped this previous tenant with the labour of re-positioning the bed (lifting it up and moving it around).
On 12 September I took video evidence on my phone proving that the bed was taken away. On 19th September, I recorded a new video in the room upon discovering that a brand new bed has been put into the room.
When speaking to the maintenance manager who inspected the room on 19th, I told her tha I noticed the bed had a wobbly leg just after I moved in, and that I suspect the previous tenant to me was probably the one who damaged it and that I hope this does not come out of my deposit. The maintinence manager assured me that the chances are, that my landlord is most likley aware the the previous tenant damaged the bed and would not be so unscrupulous as to take it off my deposit. Today, I recieved a copy of her report which simple says under the section for damage that - "recommended that tenant could be responsible for the repair of the leg of the bed, otherwise the room is clean and everything is in place".
I think the landlord is simply trying to use this part of the report to reclaim her costs of redecoration by blaming the damage of the bed on me.
I cannot prove the total time my room was uninhabitable. However, since I took a recording of the room with no bed on 12th, and delivery of the brand new bed on 19th, I want full compensation of rent for this time period (8 days) in addition to this I want my full deposit of £500 refunded.
QUESTIONS
Does my landlord have the legal right to enter the room with no notice to replace the bed and redecorate the room when I am paying full rent for the room, after I advised her of my informal leave of the property?
Can I demand to have 8 days of paid rent refunded (the time period for which I can prove event though in reality it was for longer)?
Since the landlord moved the bed out of the house before the end of the tenancy, can I accuse her of damaging the bed herself?
Is it legally reasonable for the maintenance manager to state on her report about the damage to a bed which had been previously been moved before she inspected the room (On the date she inspected the room, the totally different brand new bed was in the room, and she would have had no idea of the previous bed had I not mentioned it to her)?
Considering all of the above, is it worth taking legal action against my landlord for the full deposit and for an additional 8 days of rent (approx £112)?
Many Thanks,
Sunny
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Is this an assured shorthold tenancy?
Was the deposit placed into a bonded deposit scheme?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi Alex,

I am not sure what assured shorthold tenancy means, but It was a contract for 6 months from June - December 2014. I decided to leave the contract mid term due to other practices b the landlord which I did not feel was right. The landlord accepted my request to end early.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
If it was only six months it probably was an AST.
Was the deposit place in a secure Bond? Or was it just put in the Landlord's bank account?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

From looking at the contract, it would have been registered with Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of commencement of the tenancy

Sunny

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I will write a response, it may take me some time so please do not be concerned if you do not hear from straight away.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

Thank you. I await your response.

Sunny

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you
Kind regards
AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I will deal with each point in turn.
1. The Deposit;
- Firstly you need to check that the deposit was actually placed in a secure bond.
- If the deposit was placed in a secure bond then you are entitled to have any dispute over the deposit settled by the https://www.tds.gb.com/
- If the deposit was not bonded then potentially you are entitled to claim three times the value of the deposit - Under S.214(4) of the Housing Act 2004 - for the landlords failing;
- Either way you would have to (i) Found out who the deposit was bonded with or (ii) Make a county court claim for the deposit and damages - https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome
If the deposit was properly bonded then the landlord should have proof of this.
2. Uninhabitable of the property.
- If the property was uninhabitable then the landlord is liable to pay you damages;
- This is a straight forward breach of contract claim;
- 8 days rent in respect of each uninhabitable day does seem reasonable to me.
- Obviously you would need proof in the form a witness statement that the property was not habitable in this period because the landlord was doing repairs. The fact that the landlord had damaged the bed would be a relevant fact.
You could claim in the county court for both of the above losses, but I would try and put pressure on the landlord first to repay you voluntary, to avoid the stress and time of having to go to court.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

Sorry I may not have explained clearly.

* It is not a fact that landlord damaged the bed. I am only guessing she did at least some of the damage during removal of the bed and is trying to hold me liable.

* The 8 days which I have proof of no bed, is proof that the room had no bed only. The rest of the redecoration was completed before those 8 days (12 - 19 September).

* Since my last email I have confirmed that the deposit was held with TDS and I have all references for this so will follow you r advice on this accordingly

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
In any event if the property was not habitable because she had removed the bed and was redecorating one of the rooms, it is still a contractual claim and you would be entitled to claim for your losses.
Furthermore she should not have been entering the property without giving you reasonable notice first.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ

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