Q&A Letting agent is refusing to refund deposit, what can I do?

Q:      I have recently moved out of a rented house and the agent is refusing to return my deposit because he says the place needed a deep clean, including carpets, new mattresses and a new hob. He says I damaged them, but the hob was scratched all over before I moved in a year ago, and the mattresses were already stained. The place needed decorating when I moved in too, but it was never done. As for the carpets, they were filthy. He produced a so-called check-in report which I have never seen before and certainly didn’t sign, and the photographs on it were clearly taken well before my time here. Also, there was no actual check-out report or photographs. What can I do?

A:       The agent will have registered your deposit with a government approved deposit protection scheme, so firstly you should put a complaint in writing to them asking them to resolve any dispute.

As you did not sign an agreed condition report when you moved in the agent may be in difficulty. There is no proof that you were ever given a copy of the report and if the photographs are undated, they may not be representative of the condition of the property at the time you moved in. Also, unless there was a specific clause in your tenancy agreement stating that you were responsible for deep cleaning of carpets etc on vacating the property, you should not be responsible in the absence of evidence that you caused such damage during your occupation.

When renting property, it is important for new tenants to receive an accurate report on the condition of the property at the time they move in, complete with photographs of any defects. The tenant should check it thoroughly and add anything that the report has missed, before signing and dating every page.

This question has been answered by Rod Waters, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194