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Can landlords charge you more than your deposit when you move out?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by impulce, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. We will be moving into our first home soon (still waiting on a date though!) and moving out of the house we've rented for 3 years.
    We know we are going to lose some deposit - the cats have scratched the wallpaper in two places upstairs. The problem is that the same wallpaper is used upstairs and all the way down the stairs so they would likely want to replace the lot.
    Also the house has a damp/mould problem on internal back wall - in the bathroom, and spare room. We use a dehumidifier and do open the windows when possible, but there is mould over alot of that wall.
    My question to anybody in the know, is can they legally ask us for more money to cover the cost of this - above and beyond our deposit? I think our deposit was about £600.
    Thanks in advance - I hadnt stopped to think about this until now and am now panicking that we will not have enough money for all of this!
  2. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    Yes they can but it doesn't sound like the damage you have mentioned will cost more than that. The mould isn't your fault so I would fight if they mention that one.
  3. bbibbler

    bbibbler New commenter

    Your deposit should be held with a separate entity, In my experience, if you contact them direct, they will roll over and give you the whole deposit back, no matter how much damage you have done, they only seem to be interested in untulity bills.
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Did you tell the landlord (in writing) about the mould? Seems like one of those things that if you have reported, it is then his responsibility.
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Just say he did ask for more - how's he going to get it out of you? I speak as a landlord myself.
  6. landaise

    landaise Occasional commenter

    There are supposed to be allowances for ' wear and tear ' ie you cannot expect paintwork to be pristine after 8 years in a place. You may well have to pay for scratched wallpaper but a mould problem is not your fault, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on if he tried to make you pay for that.
  7. My OH does keep tropical tanks in the spare room so it may be partially our fault, but it is the same in the bathroom despite it having an extraction fan and us often having the window open. We also have a dehumidifier running almost constantly inbetween both rooms.
    Im fully aware the wallpapers our fault, and didnt expect any deposit back at all really, but was concerned about being landed with a bill on top of the deposit! Thanks for all the helpful replies.
  8. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    He can ask but cannot enforce payment except through the civil courts where he will have to establish negligence on your part.
  9. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    We've been in our house 3 years, think they may have been over once if that. Mould isn't your fault especially if you've made them aware. x
  10. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You could be liable for more than your deposit and the landlord would probably go through the Small Claims Court to retrieve it if you didn't pay up and were found culpable.
    However, your deposit should either be in a government recognised scheme (the DPS is the one I use for my tenants' deposit) or it is retained by the landlord and they have taken out an Insurance policy to protect the money. Both routes involve adjudication in the case of a dispute over the return of all or part of the money.
    It's not a matter of the landlord deciding how the deposit monies are treated. Both parties communicate with The DPS at the end of the tenancy and tenants appeal via the insurance company if they landlord retains more of the deposit than they think is warranted.
    You could treat the mould problem yourself by cleaning the affected areas with a special removing fluid (not expensive) and re-grouting/touching up tiling and painting affected walls with anti-condensation paint.
    You could also re-wallpaper (are there any left-over rolls in the attic or other storage area?
    Normal wear and tear on paintwork or carpets should affect your claim on the deposit.
  11. We were planning to do our best with the mould - but with it being on wallpaper I wasnt sure of the best course of action? Any reccomendations of specific products?
    I will check in the attic for wallpaper - we have not wallpapered before though and as it is a patterned wallpaper all up the stairs and throughout the hall it may prove less hassle to just let them take some deposit to cover it!
  12. When I moved from my old place I painted over the mould a week before I moved out - the bedroom was so damp I had puddles. The mould even grew on my teddy bears. The landlord refused to believe that I hadn't caused the damp and told me it was my fault for using the tumble dryer. I suspect the tumble dryer was the issue but he had plumbed it in, not me! The damp was so bad I had to throw all my furniture away when I moved. I tried to clean the walls with bleach which worked to an extent - not sure if you can do that on wallpaper though.
  13. If your landlord has not lodged the deposit with a 3rd party company, you can take him to court to make him pay you up to 3 times the amount!
    Those things sound like what would be covered by wear and tear. I think I would be very careful about the mould - if you leaved a bleached patch, you'll make yourself look responsible and there would be good cause to make you pay for it.
  14. The deposit is protected by a scheme, and im not worried about them using my deposit for necessary things, I was just worried about being billed on top of it :)
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Not quite right. The deposit has to be either lodged with a 3rd party company (Deposit Protection Scheme or similar) or it can be retained (and be invested) by the landlord as long as an insurance policy is taken out that records the money held by the landlord and records the details of the tenants and tenancy dates.
  16. Yes - if the problems have been caused by you (and this can include mould if you caused it or did not report it).
  17. A landlord does NOT have to lodge the deposit with a 3rd party company!
  18. bunty is right
    As a landlord, you can ask a tenant to pay a deposit before they move in. You can then keep all or part of this deposit if they:
    • leave the property owing rent
    • damage the property
    • do not pay their bills
    When you take
    a deposit you must protect it with one of the government-approved
    tenancy deposit schemes and inform the tenant that this has been done.

    when I got my house back from the tenants (and paid their deposit back from the deposit protection scheme) it took 3 hours to scrub the walls of mould. I used washing up liquid and then bleached afterwards to keep it away...I was shocked to see the black walls! I've lived in this house for a decade and never seen mould indoors at all! They never opened any windows, and had clothes drying indoors and so on, according to the property manager
  19. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    buntycat was not right!
    The landlord has to protect the deposit taken but does NOT have to lodge the deposit with a 3rd party! They may choose, as I do, to lodge the deposit with the Deposit Protection Scheme, but they may also hold onto the deposit and earn interest off it ina savings account.
    If choosing the latter, they must take out a recognised insurance policy, offered by Landlords' Associations, for instance, that will protect the deposit for the tenants in the event that the landlord goes bankrupt or fails to return the adjudicated amount to the tenants. The insurancecompany would then pay back the tenants direct and take legal measures to recoup the funds from the landlord.
    I do not use the insurance based option as the premiums I was quoted came to more than I would earn in interest on the retained deposit.
    The DPS scheme is a non-profit organisation and, depending on their overheads and costs of dispute resolution, theyare sometimes able to add interest to the deposit monies they invest. My last but one tenants got back about £20 more than they had handed over. My last tenants got back exactly what they had paid in.
  20. "Within 14 days of accepting a deposit the landlord must enter it into a
    government designated tenancy deposit scheme and provide the tenant with
    prescribed information.
    Presently, there is one custodial scheme and two insurance backed schemes.

    The Deposit Protection Service ( www.depositprotection.com)
    is the only custodial scheme which is free to join for landlords, but
    the actual deposit must be paid over to the scheme. The obvious
    disadvantage here is that the landlord loses control over the deposit

    The Dispute Service (www.thedisputeservice.co.uk) and Tenancy Deposit Solutions (www.mydeposits.co.uk)
    are insurance backed schemes, whereby the landlord registers the
    particular deposit with the service but does not have to hand over the
    deposit. There is a fee for these schemes."
    Ok, so you don't have to actually hand over the cash, but you do have to register it with a third party. lodge is not the right word then, but the meaning as far as the tenant is concerned is the same - the deposit isn't just free cash for the landlord to fritter away, it is a returnable deposit, and it is registered with a third party, even if they don't get the cheque in their account.
    I recall this being a problem that people had when I was a student - no deposit returned over the most ridiculous quibbles, mainly because some unscrupulous landlords just took it as their right to spend the deposit.

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