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Student housing - Deposit return, where do we stand?

JoshJoshJosh Avatar
2y, 5m agoPosted 2 years, 5 months ago
Hi all,

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?

Thanks
Josh
JoshJoshJosh Avatar
2y, 5m agoPosted 2 years, 5 months ago
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Responses/page:
#1
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?
#2
Did you write down the issues you had with the condition of the property prior to moving in, on the contract or was is documented somewhere (do the pictures have dates on them)? If not, I'm afraid you have little if any chance of arguing successfully.
[mod][Mod Team]#3
JoshJoshJosh
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 (?).

If you're in England or Wales, there are only 3 schemes so it should be quite easy to find out whether your deposit is protected. If it is not, you can sue the landlord for 3 times the deposit.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes/deposit_protection_and_tenancy_deposit_schemes
#4
if you didn't note it when you moved in then tough luck.
lesson learnt
#5
philphil61
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?

The landlord was made aware of the slug problems - to which he said 'it happens every year', the mould we have taken photos of, but to be honest the complete extent of problems we weren't aware of until we moved in, such as the broken hobs. We didn't have the opportunity to view the house with nobody already living in it, this obviously masked the smell somewhat. Out of around a dozen houses we viewed this was the best, that says a lot about the student housing market.

Is there any argument to be had in the length of time it took for the broken hobs to be fixed once they were made aware of the problem? Such as not as advertised or not fit for 5 tenants?


Cheers

Edited By: JoshJoshJosh on Jul 04, 2014 18:45: .
#6
JoshJoshJosh
philphil61
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?

The landlord was made aware of the slug problems - to which he said 'it happens every year', the mould we have taken photos of, but to be honest the complete extent of problems we weren't aware of until we moved in, such as the broken hobs. We didn't have the opportunity to view the house with nobody already living in it, this obviously masked the smell somewhat. Out of around a dozen houses we viewed this was the best, that says a lot about the student housing market.

Is there any argument to be had in the length of time it took for the broken hobs to be fixed once they were made aware of the problem? Such as not as advertised or not fit for 5 tenants?


Cheers

Totally empathise with the student accommodation problem - been there. I'd send a letter with copies of your photo evidence and say you'll take it further if you don't get a reasonable amount of your deposit back (what's the worst that can happen?)

In terms of how long it took for things to get fixed: you continued to live there for the rest of your tenancy, so you wouldn't have a leg to stand on with that argument.
#7
Mermoo
JoshJoshJosh
philphil61
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?

The landlord was made aware of the slug problems - to which he said 'it happens every year', the mould we have taken photos of, but to be honest the complete extent of problems we weren't aware of until we moved in, such as the broken hobs. We didn't have the opportunity to view the house with nobody already living in it, this obviously masked the smell somewhat. Out of around a dozen houses we viewed this was the best, that says a lot about the student housing market.

Is there any argument to be had in the length of time it took for the broken hobs to be fixed once they were made aware of the problem? Such as not as advertised or not fit for 5 tenants?


Cheers

Totally empathise with the student accommodation problem - been there. I'd send a letter with copies of your photo evidence and say you'll take it further if you don't get a reasonable amount of your deposit back (what's the worst that can happen?)

In terms of how long it took for things to get fixed: you continued to live there for the rest of your tenancy, so you wouldn't have a leg to stand on with that argument.

Yeah I think that's best route. From initial estimates of the cost for cleaning we should still expect a good chunk back as the 5 of us each paid £300 it's just the fact that it's all so unjustified that makes me want to pursue it further.

I see where your coming from with the fact we continued to live there, although we had little other choice.

Thanks.
#8
BeerDrinker
JoshJoshJosh
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 (?).

If you're in England or Wales, there are only 3 schemes so it should be quite easy to find out whether your deposit is protected. If it is not, you can sue the landlord for 3 times the deposit.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes/deposit_protection_and_tenancy_deposit_schemes

It's not coming up on any of them however I will have to check over the exact date we paid deposits and what not to make sure later on.

Thanks.
#9
I have not long moved into rented accomodation, I got letters from the DPS with all the legal jargon etc. It looks like your landlord may have broken the law.
#10
123thisisme
I have not long moved into rented accomodation, I got letters from the DPS with all the legal jargon etc. It looks like your landlord may have broken the law.


Would it still show on the sites as being protected now that the tenancy has officially ended? Double checked the dates and nothing is showing up, here's hoping.
#11
JoshJoshJosh
philphil61
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?

The landlord was made aware of the slug problems - to which he said 'it happens every year', the mould we have taken photos of, but to be honest the complete extent of problems we weren't aware of until we moved in, such as the broken hobs. We didn't have the opportunity to view the house with nobody already living in it, this obviously masked the smell somewhat. Out of around a dozen houses we viewed this was the best, that says a lot about the student housing market.

Is there any argument to be had in the length of time it took for the broken hobs to be fixed once they were made aware of the problem? Such as not as advertised or not fit for 5 tenants?


Cheers

So you went to college to get a qualification and during that time you also learned a life's lesson - sad that you didn't take the initiative of researching what you should do regarding issues of rental properties and landlords before you took a tenancy.

Oh wait a minute you are a student...enough said!

Maybe the next time before you take a tenancy you will study and educate yourself on what to do regarding tenancies and how to document everything in writing with the landlord (including photos)
#12
philphil61
JoshJoshJosh
philphil61
My first questions would be

Did you document all the problems to the landlord (in writing with photos) when accepting the tenancy? and why would you accept the tenancy if it was in such a state?

The landlord was made aware of the slug problems - to which he said 'it happens every year', the mould we have taken photos of, but to be honest the complete extent of problems we weren't aware of until we moved in, such as the broken hobs. We didn't have the opportunity to view the house with nobody already living in it, this obviously masked the smell somewhat. Out of around a dozen houses we viewed this was the best, that says a lot about the student housing market.

Is there any argument to be had in the length of time it took for the broken hobs to be fixed once they were made aware of the problem? Such as not as advertised or not fit for 5 tenants?


Cheers

So you went to college to get a qualification and during that time you also learned a life's lesson - sad that you didn't take the initiative of researching what you should do regarding issues of rental properties and landlords before you took a tenancy.

Oh wait a minute you are a student...enough said!

Maybe the next time before you take a tenancy you will study and educate yourself on what to do regarding tenancies and how to document everything in writing with the landlord (including photos)



Hindsight is a wonderful thing..
#13
JoshJoshJosh
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Intelligence is a wonderful thing
Common sense is a wonderful thing
Being educated is a wonderful thing
#14
philphil61
JoshJoshJosh
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Intelligence is a wonderful thing
Common sense is a wonderful thing
Being educated is a wonderful thing

Perhaps I've been too busy pi**ing away taxpayers money to get myself an education eh?

I think I actually gave you too much credit with my reply.

We have actually collected evidence of existing problems, some of which have been picked up on, others not. What looks like taking the biggest dent in any cleaning costs is the carpet clean. As there was no stains upon moving in or leaving, short of a before and after with a dulux colour chart beside every square inch I can't see what we could have done?

Whilst a little pep talk every now n then is good, right now I was just after advice from people who had been in a similar situation.

Cheers
#15
JoshJoshJosh
philphil61
JoshJoshJoshHindsight is a wonderful thing.
Intelligence is a wonderful thingCommon sense is a wonderful thingBeing educated is a wonderful thing
Perhaps I've been too busy pi**ing away taxpayers money to get myself an education eh? I think I actually gave you too much credit with my reply. We have actually collected evidence of existing problems, some of which have been picked up on, others not. What looks like taking the biggest dent in any cleaning costs is the carpet clean. As there was no stains upon moving in or leaving, short of a before and after with a dulux colour chart beside every square inch I can't see what we could have done? Whilst a little pep talk every now n then is good, right now I was just after advice from people who had been in a similar situation. Cheers

A "deep clean" cost at the end of our tenancy, for a 4 bed house (rather spacious for a student house IMO) is quoted by the landlord at £194. Although as long as we put the effort in ourselves, it won't cost anything :)
£400 sounds ridiculous.

P.S. Don't accept living in one of those places just because you have the tag 'student'. Mould & infestations should be instant No No's :)

Edited By: Firefly1 on Jul 05, 2014 01:50

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