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Please note that this relates to Scottish law.
And it's really long and boring.
My tenancy with my previous landlord ended in October 2018. I lived in the flat with a friend for 6 years. We advised the landlord that we would not be renewing the lease in June 2018. We moved out on the agreed date and the landlord sent us a breakdown of cost deductions for the deposit. My flatmate was present for the inspection and key handover.
Deposit paid in 2012 was £750, they deducted £300 for missing items (oven tray, drawer handle, light bulbs), patch of mould in the shower, broken light fixture (we had no idea about this until after we moved), and their personal time for repairs.
I requested the information for the Deposit Protection Scheme as it was my intention to address the dispute through the arbitration service. This email was ignored.
I checked with the schemes and found that my deposit was not registered with any of them.
Email sent to landlord requesting that they place the full deposit of £750 in my account as they had failed to protect the deposit as required by the law. I also explained that I felt some of the deductions were unfair given the length of the tenancy and they had replaced new for old items (nothing was new when we moved into the flat).
Email received with further issues the landlord was unhappy with. They also said that we'd been running businesses from the address and that my friend's partner had been living there even though it was explained during handover that this was not the case, the business doesn't exist anymore and the address was used for correspondence only.
I did not respond to this and the landlord returned £450 of £750 to my bank account from her personal account.
I submitted an application to the FTT and received a response from the landlord in which they admit they were unaware of the scheme and state that we did not notify them of their obligation. They also provided a list of costs deducted from the deposit, the above described issues including some additional damages that were not mentioned previously.
My previous flatmate and I attended the tribunal two weeks ago. It was agreed at the meeting that both parties wanted the matter to be settled on this date. The landlord admitted failure to pay the deposit into a scheme stating that they would have done so if they had been aware of this.
We then began to discuss the issue of the deposit deductions. I informed the tribunal that I had been denied access to mediation services regarding this and that my application now was regarding failure to protect the deposit and not continuing to dispute deductions over the deposit.
The tribunal responded with Rule 22 (time-frame to submit all evidence for consideration) and set a new tribunal date whereby all submitted evidence will be considered unless both parties can agree to settle the matter before this time.
We met with the landlord following the meeting, they offered to return the remainder of the deposit (£300) that day. We agreed to contact them with a response this Friday (26th April). They were unhappy with this timescale and wanted to settle immediately due to the stress this process is causing them and other personal circumstances.
This is where we left things and Friday is fast approaching.
Any advice would be appreciated.
What's your problem if the landlord offered to return the balance of your deposit why did you not take it and move on. You should have taken the money with agreement that it is full and final settlement and no further claims would be made against you for further costs.
From a LL perspective, that would be the preferable option but from the tenants perspective, why should the OP settle with just the remaining part of the deposit that should have been returned in the first place?
The LL had 6 years to protect the deposit and didn’t. The LL was asked twice about the deposit scheme and given the chance to return the full deposit and didn’t. It’s required a tribunal to make the LL recognise that LL’s have duties and regulations to follow, which they didn’t.
The OP disputes the damages and it sounds like the LL has mediated the dispute themselves, in favor for themselves and billed what they saw fit. Also, the OP said the LL replaced old items with new. If no discounts were made on the charges to account for 6+ years of wear and tear, then the LL has used the deposit for betterment, which is also against the tenancy deposit regulations.
To me it sounds like the LL has abused their power and not spent a single minute to research the duties of a LL. I don’t think a tribunal will look favourably on any of this and the minimum penalty they can award is 1x the deposit.
The regulations are there to prevent these kind of situations and the time, effort, stress, etc it’s taken to fix a situation that should never have occurred should be compensated for IMO. So I’d suggest then for 1x the deposit to be the minimum you’d take for settlement. 2x if you think the LL cannot justify their deductions to the tribunal.