How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

Need advice about Landlady who did not return all of my

Resolved Question:

need advice about Landlady who did not return all of my daughters full deposit.
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: was Shalford in Surrey now in Milford
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: In the process of writing a letter to her. in our opinion the actions of the landlady are theft.
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: will it cost me?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I ask was this an assured shorthold tenancy or a lodgers agreement?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Lodgers agreement.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. On what grounds (if any) has the landlord refused to return all of the deposit?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Claiming that there smoke damage from a candle to the fabric of the interior room. This is not true
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The black marks on the walls are from where mould was washed from behind my daughters headboard!!! We have photos to prove this
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My daughter had lit a candle but as it was it was nearly finished some black soot from the candle went onto the curtain. The candle was not near any fabrics or anything to cause a any damage to the room. The landlady at the time made no fuss and washed the curtains. That was it.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.
  1. Thank you. Did the landlady prepare a detailed inventory at check in and checkout evidencing the damage and if so did your daughter sign or otherwsie have access to such inventories?
  2. Do you have evidence that the deposit was paid to the landlady?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
34;Deducted the money needed for redecoration necessitated by the use of candle and subsequent smoke damage to the fabric of the interior room throughout "
Redecoration materials and labour £150 refund 3 days £48. Total returned £398
No to question 1
Yes, via bank account.
Email sent 27 Aug stating "the return if your deposit"
Email 1 Sept giving explanation as above. No opportunity to dispute or agree
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No proof of candle damage.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Plenty of proof of mouldy washed walls claiming to be smoke damage
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Daughter signed a Excluded Licence agreement for letting a bedroom and facilities to a lodger. No inventory
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Landlady knew room was mouldy but didn't tell my daughter. My daughter even helped her wash the walls!!
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

thank you. The burden of proof is upon the landlady to evidence any damage she claims your daughter caused. It is not for your daughter to prove that she did not cause such damage. If the landlady did not have professional inventories prepared when your daughter moved in and moved out, the claim is likely to struggle as it will be nothing more than her word against your daughters which is rarely sufficient to allow claim to succeed unless a judge feels that a tenants' evidence is not credible (this can sometimes be the case where a judge catches a tenant in other lies and as a result finds them to be an incredible witness but that will not be an issue here). Anecdotally, the overwhelming majority of land claims fail in court due to lack of evidence on the landlords part.

accordingly, your daughter can consider putting the landlady on notice that she puts the landlady to strict proof in respect of the damage she claims that your daughter has caused and if she has not already done so, to deny absolutely that she caused the damage the landlady claims.. Your daughter can go on to say that if the landlady is unable to evidence that your daughter caused the damage claimed, she requires the return of the balance of deposit within seven days failing which she will issue a claim in the county court for recovery of money together with court costs and interest at 8 per cent per annum under section*****act.

If your daughter needs to issue proceedings in the County Court The simplest way to do so is by using the courts online issuing service:

http://moneyclaim.gov.uk/

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
you are saying if the landlady cannot provide proof of candle damage then she has 7 days to return the £150?
It is basically theft. Making accusations without proof. Also making deductions without prior agreement so we can dispute it.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

It would not be theft as there is a contract dispute in play but she is likely to be in breach of contract which is the claim your daughter would be able to make in the small claims court as above. If the landloady does not have evidence to back up her claims the court is likely to find against her and order costs.

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It sounds like we are helpless. Using the washed mouldy walls as candle damage, that is being devious.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Do we have a goid enough case to go through the courts?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Forgive me but I don't see that you are helpless. From what you say if the landlady cannot evidence her claim then your daughter would have the basis of a strong claim for recovery in the county court. Of course there is a degree of form filling to recover the money through the courts and it would be simpler if the landlady just returned it voluntarily but there is no reasons to think that you daughter would not be successful on the above facts and if so she can recover the court fees (which are £25 plus a hearing fee of £25) plus interest at 8% and any expenses she incurs in attending a hearing (e.g. lost income) which is just hear in the judges office and is quite informal.

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
we can ask her to refund the £150 within 7 days of receipt of the letter? If she doesnt then we could suggest court proceedings as she doesn't have proof.
Just feel like the landlady has taken advantage of her position knowing my daughter has very few rights as a lodger.
Question is will it be worth it? Just feel very strongly how the landlady can get away with it if we don't go to court.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Exactly so. A simple letter or email putting her to strict proof in respect of the damage she claims was caused or that the depositis returned in full failing which your daughter will issue proceedings in the county court as above will be sufficient. In the absence of evidence the landlord is unlikely to succeed in court and she may capitulate if she realises your daughter is serious about issueing proceedings if she is an experienced landlady. Though if not your daughter would appear to have a strong claim. As I mention above, I read one statistic recently that suggests that some 85% of landlord claims fail at court due to lack of evidence if it gives you any sense of reassurance though this statistic is not confirmed by the courts service.

I'm glad you have found the above useful. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback. Please come back to me if you have any further queries.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
could you please elaborate on the landlady being in 'breach of contract' please.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

There will be either an express term in the contract or an implied term that the landlady must account to your daughter with regards ***** ***** deposit and if she unreasonably witholds the deposit without evidence of damage she will be in breach of contract. It is not necessary to specify this though on any claim form. A judge will apply the necessary law from the facts.

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
express or implied?
"Security deposit shall be refunded to the licensee within 7 days of the termination of the license and the return by licensee of all keys, less compensation to the licensor for reasonable costs or losses of any breach or failure to comply with their obligations or against any outstanding licence fee"
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

There you have an express provision so it is an express term of which your daughter claims she is i breach of contract as above.

Is there anything else I can help you wit?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
my daughter did not sign any inventories other than than the Licence Agreement. Just noticed a paragraph which states "as detailed in the inventory attached to this licence"
Would this help our case?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

If not inventory was supplied this does not aler the position.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
finally, has the landlady breached her contract with my daughter and on what grounds?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

She has failed to account to her with the balance of her deposit without producing evidence to support any claims for deductions. Your daughter claims landlady is therefore in breach of contract. Landladys defence is produce a professional inventory report agreed by your daugther on check in and another showing damage on check out. From what you say she has not done so so is unlikley to succeed in any defence against your daughters claim in court. Your daughter would tehrefore appear to have a strong claim. I hope the above has been of help

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
thank you. Armed with the above information i will write and ask for the £150 to be refunded within 7 days of the receipt of the letter.Failing that with photographic evidence i will suggest court proceedings. Hopefully this may sway her to pay as she doesn't have any evidence regarding the alleged candle damage my daughter is being accused of. The landlady was wrong to deduct the amount first then five days later give an explanation. The original email was very misleading suggestion we would receive all of the deposit. "The return of your deposit" That is when the explanation should have been given, not 5 days later when we were not consulted.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Good luck with your daughters claim. I'm glad I was able to be of assistance.

Joshua and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you