I'm a student, recently finished my 2nd year, and my first year in private housing. The problem with student housing and deposits is well documented, at least in student circles. We have just received the check out report for the house we have been living in since September and the list of cleaning/complaints is frankly shocking.
Firstly, a little about the house when we moved in:
The house was infested with slugs, slug trails throughout the downstairs of the house and we had to deal with the problem ourselves, they have since returned. Deep black mould around some window/door frames and thick cobwebs - covered in dust - in every nook and cranny. To give an idea of the extent of the dust the lampshade which was actually cream appeared completely grey. From day 1, only 2 out of 4 hobs were working, in a house shared between five of us, it wasn't until around 5 months into the tenancy that this was sorted, after multiple cancelled visits. There is probably more, but I'm sure you get the point, the condition of the house was already pretty poor.
Now, post -moving out an inspection has taken place and they have noted lots of things down, many of which I feel are not justified. To my knowledge there are no stains on any of the carpets however every room in the house is down to have a 'deep carpet clean', including removing slug trail marks. Comments have been made about black mould around window frames, the vast majority of which has been removed or at least reduced to some extent - not our doing in the first place. They are blaming the mould on inadequate heating and ventilation, I could understand this if it had not already been there. The whole house smelt strongly of damp when we moved in (still does), they are blaming this on the fact we haven't used the dishwasher. Petty comments about cleaning the gloss work are also part of the report.
It would be naive of me to expect every penny of the deposit back, having heard so much stories about similar situations, regardless of the true condition of the house, but they are quoting cleaning costs of around £400. I have some photos of existing mould and slug marks on the floor when we moved in, but the majority photos have been lost by another tenant. There is also a comment about there being 'more blu tack marks on the wall than last year'.
The contract allows for 'acceptable wear and tear', what does this constitute? Can they justify these cleaning costs when it is clear from the state of the house when we moved in that many of the problems they are talking about already existed? We have actually left the house in a better condition than how we found it
I'm aware of the DPS in place for both tenants and landlords, if we do challenge any bills how does the whole 'coming to an agreement' process take place? We haven't actually been made aware of which DPS they have used so here's hoping they haven't used one at all, in which case they've broken the law (?).
I know that's rather long winded but I guess I'm just after any advice from anyone that's been in the same situation. What happened? Did you argue a case and get a reduction? I'm also sure that if there's any landlords reading this that you've probably had a horror story or two but I assure you in this case we are not at fault ;)
TL;DR Cleaning costs quoted for a student house seem excessive and unfair, house initially very poor, what case do we have?