Deposit Disputes. Would I win my claim?

11 08 2011

Hello from a windy and showery Stoke-on-Trent.
 
We have been faced with some issues around maintenance and deposit deductions recently and thought you might find some interest in gaining an insight into some of  these cases below, with help from our legal team 🙂
 
 
Question
A Tenancy has just ended with some dilapidations and deductions from the deposit for these. The Landlord is doing some of the work himself and has organised the rest. He is trying to claim for his own time at £200 per hour, including cleaning and administration. The deposit is already used up anyway excluding the landlord’s labour costs.
Answer
It is very difficult for a landlord to charge for his own time and in any case cannot charge his ‘normal’ work rate, particularly when it is much more than the normal cost of administration and support with regard to contractors’ work. If the landlord wants to take this to the small claims court he is unlikely to succeed.
 
Question
A tenant has moved out of a property. There are rent arrears and deposit deductions to be made. The tenant says that it is unlawful to take rent arrears from the deposit and we must return the deposit within 10 days.
Answer
The deposit is against the tenant not fulfilling their obligations under the tenancy. The deposit is usually allocated first to any damage or repairs and then there is no reason why the whole deposit (if there are no such deductions) or the remainder of the deposit should not be allocated to rent arrears.
 
Question
On check out, the foot well area of the carpet by the front door was frayed due to the  door having dropped. The tenant did not notify us of this. There was no evidence of wear at the time of the start of the tenancy. Should the charge for this be deducted from the tenant’s deposit?
Answer
Ideally a 50/50 settlement would be advisable as the tenant did not make you aware of the fault with the door to enable it to be repaired before causing too much damage. Suggest a repair, cut out, and insert a new piece to mend.
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