Here is a question to the blog clinic from Jane who is a tenant facing a tenancy deposit claim
I am trying to find out if what my agent has done is legal. I left my rented property a week ago and they did a check out inventory about 3 days after I left. They then said it needed cleaning (it was pretty much immaculate when I left it) and so I disputed this.
They told me I had no right to dispute it and that it needed a professional clean, which it does not state in my contract. I requested to go to the property with the manager so that I could see what they were talking about. They refused saying I could not re-enter the property.
The manager refused to discuss it further with me, and said if I continued to dispute it they would add further charges. I opened a dispute with the deposit holding company as I felt I had no choice.
I have today received a new check out inventory, changed dramatically from the first one, with a new list of charges to more than double what they wanted originally. This is to include apparent damage to the property not listed on the first check out inventory.
So my question is, is it legal for them to redo the checkout inventory and add loads to it after already doing one and sending it to me?
These additional things were not noted on the first checkout inventory and were not there when I left the property. These things could only have been done (if they exist) after I left and the first check was done, as I had no access to the property after my checkout date.
This is a big company by the way, not a little tiny one, so its pretty shocking.
To bring a tenancy deposit claim against you, the agents must prove that the damage has been done and has been done by you.
The normal way this is done is by having a checkout and check in report – you are responsible for any damage apparent from the difference between these two reports.
It sounds as if you will have a good case to dispute this claim as your initial check out report does not show any damage.
You should challenge their claim to the tenancy deposit scheme and make sure you send a copy of the first report to the support your claim.
In your submission, make it clear that the other report was prepared after you vacated, and that if it is correct, the damage it shows must have been done by someone else.
Unless the agency have a very good reason for producing such a different report and have other evidence to tie the additional damage to you – and I don’t see how they can blame you for the damage. Particularly as you can show you were not allowed into the property. Make sure you send the emails about this to the adjudicator with your submission.
I also think that this is something you could bring a complaint about to the agents Property Redress Scheme. Tell the agents that you will be doing this if they do not withdraw the second report.