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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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On vacating a rental property 2 months ago, the landlord is

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On vacating a rental property 2 months ago, the landlord is withholding the deposit and claiming that the DPS should allow him to keep it due to damp issues (condensation) and he’s (in our view) blackmailing saying unless we authorise the release of the deposit of £1,342.50, will persue for the full costs of redecoration.
We realise condensation is possibly the tenants responsibility but after it was mentioned a couple of years ago on inspection, a tumble dryer and de-humidifer was purchased as drying the washing was the alleged cause.
However, within the last couple of years, double glazing was installed and we believe this has had an effect even though the steps mentioned above were taken.
To give an idea of what the landlord is claiming, this is the supposed invoice from the decorators post tenancy (on a word document):
Carried out the following works in the above property
1) Re-paint: 1 x Passage
2 x Kitchen
3 x Three Bedrooms
4 x Lounge/ Dining Room
5 x Bathroom
6 x Bedroom Cupboard
7 x Seven Doors
8 x Cupboard in Passage Two
9 x Ceiling throughout
10 x Replace silicone around the bath
11 x Window sills throughout
12 x Radiators Five
Labour = £ 1100. 00
Materials: 2 x 2.5l Gloss Paint (Water base) = £ 44. 00
1 x Polyfila = £ 9. 00
TOTAL = £ 1153. 00
This is the inspection advice given by the same company prior to decorating:
Having viewed the above property it is my professional view that the property is suffering from damp due to condensation which has been caused by a lack of ventilation over a number of years. There is no sign of dampness in any other areas of the building.
The structure of the property is sound.
The other items they are trying to claim for are listed in their other email as follows:
We have eventually sorted the damp issues our in Mellefont following the end of your tenancy. Its taken 6 weeks. As well as my time stripping walls bare, it has cost the following:
1. £1153 (see attached breakdown)
2. £450 - 2 weeks lost rent whilst making it habitable
3. £1400 - new carpet throughout as damp gone through to floorboards and carpet has started rotting - causing unacceptable smells
(carpet not yet replaced)
4. £150 - various items such as replacing blind cord in bathroom, treating blinds throughout for mildew and replacing rusting window
I would not look to hold you liable for general ware and tear but, as the attached letter confirms, there has been endemic damp issues in the flat caused by condensation build up throughout your tenancy due to a consistent lack of ventilation together with your insistence to dry your laundry around the flat without any windows open. This carried on despite me pointing out the damp issues at various times during your tenancy.
The deposit we hold is £1342.50 - which doesn’t even cover half the cost of repairing the damage.
The above notwithstanding, being cognisant of your circumstances (as I have always been) and the fact that apart from the above, we have had a good relationship (as my reference stated to your new landlord), I am prepared to agree not to pursue you for the balance.
Please confirm by return your agreement for me to retain your deposit so I can send it onto the DPS to release the funds.
It is our firm belief that they are claiming far and above what they may be entitled to. No redecoration was made in 5 years of the tenancy and the carpet was described as worn on departure. The addition of double glazing did reduce draughts in the flat so presumably that could have caused a problem with condensation as the block was never designed for anything other than the single pane wooden frame windows that were removed.
The tenancy was ended with only 7 weeks’ notice, although the local council intervened to ensure a correct 8 week notice. The tenancy had been holding over since February (no new agreement) and they wanted the flat vacant to allow their daughter to occupy. However, we don’t want to pay for what we are not legally liable
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Are you the tenant or Landlord? What is it you are asking me about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am the ex-husband of the tenant. My ex-wife and children have moved and she has come to me for help.

I assume the tenants dont accept this position?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. She thinks the charge is unfair for full decoration, new carpets etc. The property had fair wear and tear in the 5 years but the addition of the double glazing did not help. There was no mention of a problem on the previous inspection either.

All of the items the landlord are claiming for (window handles excepted) are wear and tear or age in our view. The quality of the window handles must be pretty poor too as they've only been there a short time - maybe a design fault?

We think a fair payment maybe the £150 for sundries but redecorating, a new carpet and most definitely 'lost rent' when passing to a family member is excessive. There's not even a mention of replacing floorboards if there really was a damp carpet.

I agree. They should refuse.The matter will go before the Tenancy Deposit Scheme who will consider whether it goes beyond fair wear and tear. Bearing in mind a Landlord would need to replace carpets and redecorate periodically anyway.
So they should refuse and let the TDS scheme consider the issue. They are very tenant minded so I would be hopeful of a good result. But do not let the landlord bully them which is what he appears to be doing. Why if the damage is more would the Landlord settle for less - something doesnt sound right.
So let them raise an issue through the Deposit Scheme and let them resolve it. Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We'll give it a go. Thanks for your help.

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