Landlord nightmare

A friend of mine recently moved out of her rented property. She managed to clean up and decorate the property as much as she could but was prepared for the possibility she would not be getting all of her deposit back. You can imagine it was a shock to all of us when she did get feedback from the landlord via the estate agent who not only was not returning the deposit but was also requesting more money on top.

The work to the property had already been done without my friends knowledge the first she heard of everything was when the estate agency contacted her a week later with the list of repairs / decorating / cleaning needed and the money request.

Not having experience of landlords before my friend authorised the release of her deposit. After I had spoken with a work colleague who has rented in the past and a bit of research we found out a few things.

       The landlord was meant to present his list of things that needed to be done to the property to my friend before he went ahead with everything.

        Technically speaking he should not be requesting any more money other than the deposit as that is the purpose of a deposit. Despite this he can ask for more money but I don’t think the tenant has to pay this, in which case the landlord can take the case to court.

        Taking the case to court would be a daunting experience if he had the evidence to back up his claims.

I relayed all this information back to my friend who was ready to pay the extra money. At first she wasn’t too sure as she was scared about being taken to court and the possibility of legal costs, which is understandable. She is a single parent and didn’t want the addiotional stress and headache. Later on she told me she was writing a letter requesting more information and highlighting the fact she had not been informed beforehand about the work needed to make the property fit to rent. She requested invoices and evidence backing up the landlords claims which I don’t think is unreasonable.

The landlord response was he needed to do the necessary work asap otherwise he would have suffered a loss of profits, new tenants had already viewed the property whilst my friend was still there and were due to move in a week after my friend had moved out.

With the exception of one invoice and a photograph that had not been date or time stamped the landlord was not able to provide any other proof and my friend did not think to take any photographs of her own before vacating the property.

I understand both landlords and tenants have a responsibility to each other but in this case I think the landlord is trying to take advantage of my friend. The landlord has the deposit but where the additional money request is concerned, my friend is going to speak to the citizen’s advice bureau to see what her options are.

The landlord’s claims may or may not be genuine but for someone who has experience of renting the way this situation has been handled I have my doubts.

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