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Claire D
Claire D, Property Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3086
Experience:  BSC (hons) 14 years experience in property
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Hi Claire, We are havng an issue with our letting agent

Resolved Question:

Hi Claire,

We are havng an issue with our letting agent / landlords with regards XXXXX XXXXX (30cm x 30cm) on the hallway carpet.

We left the property (and did the check out inventory) hon the 26th August.

When the removal company left on the 25th August, there was no stains.

The cleaning company came on the 26th August morning and there was a stain when they left. The cleaning company advised they would come back to process additional cleaning if the agency / landlord requested to. This was communicated to the agency.

The agency now wants to retain from the deposit:
- £10 for acid cleaning (with a different cleaning company)
- £325 for carpet replacement

The issues we have are:
- the agency did not contact the cleaning company we contracted with the make the additional cleaning to remove the stain
- the landlord (through the agency) did not provide the proof of age of the carpet. The agency says the landlord advised them the carpet was brand new when we moved in (in May 2012) but it did not look brand new. I asked for a proper proof of age on many occasions - 4 or 5 times, for the past 3 to 4 weeks, but have not received anything yet.
- the quote for the carpet replacement does not detail what it covers other than "removal of old, replacement with new and fitting of the new carpet. I would like to know what area is being replaced (which I asked on few occasions) as we feel it is being overpriced.

Could you please let me know what can be done in order to recover the deposit?

Regards,
Olivier
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Claire D replied 1 year ago.

Claire D :

Hello and welcome. If you have any questions following my answer, please let me know and I will be happy to assist further.

Claire D :

Is your deposit protected?

Customer:

Yes, our deposit is protected with DPS

Claire D :

Thanks. You can go through the arbitration service of the DPS, but of course this is going to take some time. It also means that the deposit won't be released to the landlord/letting agent unless you say that is ok. The landlord/letting agent has to prove that the stain was made by you and if they can not then this will not go any further. I suggest that you contact DPS and ask for your deposit to be released. The landlord will have to agree, but this will also then go to arbitration and slightly forces the issue with the DPS. The landlord has the burden to prove that the stain was made by you and that in fact there is a stain there (if you have not seen it).. It does not help that the check out has already been done and no stain was noticed then. The amount deducted will require the landlord to prove that the carpet was new and also explain the staining. I would also be asking why cleaning first and then replacement.

Customer:

Thank you. Actually the stain was noticed after the cleaning company came and before the inventory took place.

Customer:

Also, I thought that the carpet to be replaced was the area of the stain, not the whole room / area. In this case, the stain is quite small, but the hallway is very big, this is why I think the replacement cost is being over evaluated.

Claire D :

I know from previous experience that parts of a carpet can not be replaced. It has to be the whole room. When you say after the cleaning company came, did they notice it when they cleaned?

Claire D :

However, to get your money back, I think that it is important to resolve this issue quickly and tell the letting agent that you will ask the DPS resolution service to address the issue as you are not prepared to release any money. Do they have any photos of the stain and before?

Customer:

Whem we arrived (after 2.5 hours cleaning), the cleaning comapny said they had not noticed the stain before - although it was on the hallway on a visible place.

Customer:

Is there a discount done to the quote if the carpet is not new?

Customer:

They have the picture of the stain after, but not before as there was nothing

Claire D :

Usually it would be old for new. Obviously normal wear and tear is taken into account, but this is all down to negotation.

Claire D :

I think that they have a problem that there is no picture before you moved in so they can not prove it wasn't there.

Customer:

What do you mean by normal wear and tear. If the carpet is more than 5 years old, it may be good for replacement, therefore we should not be paying for it to be replaced.

Customer:

With regards XXXXX XXXXX before, there was noting noticed during the check in inventory. If the had been a stain, the inventory clerk would have noted it on the check in inventory report.

Claire D :

The landlord has to take into account normal wear and tear. Basically every day use. If however the landlord is using this as an excuse to replace the carpet because it is worn (and they happen to have found a stain) this is also not acceptable. I really believe that the best way to go is through the dispute resolutation service at the DPS. In most cases they will find in favour of the tenant. In particular where there is a doubt. I agree with whay you say about the inventory. However photos are invaluable for inventory purposes.

Customer:

How do you suggest we contact DPS with regards XXXXX XXXXX resolution?

Customer:

Also, when we left the flat after the check out, the stain was wet and we could not say whether it was a stain or a wet mark.

Customer:

The issue we have is now we have left the UK, we said the cleaning company would come back to make additional cleaning if necessary - which the agency refused to do - and we are unable to veryfy in person whether the stain was still there or not.

Claire D :

You can call then on 0844 4727 000 with your ID number and they will discuss with you.

Claire D :

I see what you say about being overseas now. Do you know someone who could inspect for you?

Customer:

Not really.

Customer:

This is a problem.

Claire D :

There are professional who can check these for you, but obviously there is a fee.

Customer:

I think the agency / the landlord are using the fact we are away.

Claire D :

I think that you best bet is to either call +44 (0)(NNN) NNN-NNNN (as you are overseas) and discuss the issue with the DPS. This is the webpage to look at. http://www.depositprotection.com/help/tenants.aspx Hopefully you can resolve this through the DPS Alternative Dispute Resolutation Service.

Customer:

Can the agency / landlord refuse? Or what happens if the landlord already changed the carpet?

Customer:

I mean refuse to have the flat checked.

Claire D :

They can refuse to have it checked, but if they agree to arbitration then they need to produce evidence. Even if the carpet is changed already it does not mean that they can just take your money. They can only do so if you agree.

Customer:

Also, the agency refused to have the cleaning company to go back to clean the flat, I doubt they will agree to have a third party to come back.

Claire D :

I don't think that will help much anyway. If they agree to arbitration it will be resolved.

Customer:

Is there a best was to approach DPS for the arbitration? Will we have to produce a report? Evidence?

Claire D :

As I mentioned, give them a call and discuss what to do next. Tell them you have a dispute and ask how it can be refered to their Dispute Resolutation Service. You won't have to provide a report, just tell them the facts. The landlord should provide evidence as they seek the release of the deposit.

Customer:

way

Customer:

We already asked for the dispute resolution

Claire D :

What was the outcome?

Customer:

We ask for the release of the dispute

Claire D :

Sorry? Do you mean you asked for the release of the deposit? That is not the same thing. If you have a disagreement you use the dispute resolution service. They assist with problems.

Customer:

The status on the DPS site is "In dispute resolution, awaiting landlord evidence"

Customer:

We asked for the release of the deposit

Customer:

with the expected amount

Customer:

The agency received it, and the landlord put the amount they want to release

Customer:

and now it is in dispute resolution

Claire D :

In that case, all you can do is wait. They have 14 days in which to submit evidence. You will then receive this evidence and have a chance to respond within 14 days.

Customer:

When we answer, what would be the best way to say the stain was there (or not when) we moved in. Also, on the check out inventory report there is only a picture of the wet stain (this is mentionned by the clerk) and it is difficult to say whether the stain will remain or not and it is not difficult / impossible to check in person.

Customer:

Could you please provide some wording as what we should tell write the DPS dispute resolution service?

Claire D :

It is important to say that the stain was not there when you moved out. There is no evidence that it was there when you moved out.

Claire D :

I am afraid that i can't really provide wording. All you can really say is that you believe that the stain can be removed by cleaning and the costs of replacing the carpet are disportionate to the stain and the age of the carpet.

Claire D :

I'm sorry but I have to sign off now. Is there anything else for the moment?

Customer:

The evidence might be the check out inventory

Customer:

Ok, thank you

Claire D :

You're welcome.

Claire D, Property Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3086
Experience: BSC (hons) 14 years experience in property
Claire D and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

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