How to Fight Back Against Landlords Who Won’t Pay Your Deposit Back!


Having Good Evidence is Key to Defeating Bogus Claims for Damages

elegant-apartment-building-in-notting-hill-londonRecently we worked on recovering a large deposit for a renter in our Ongoing Support program.

The case highlights (among other things) the crucial role that evidence (usually in the form of paperwork) can play in deciding who prevails where there’s a dispute over deductions that can be made by a Landlord for alleged damage to the home.

The Landlord in this case tried to hold on to £800 (of a £9,000 deposit) on the basis that the kitchen walls had been damaged.

We pointed out to the Landlord the fact that the inventory check-in report said the walls were marked when the renter moved in.

We added that, in any event, the £800 claimed was excessive. In an effort to dispose of the matter amicably for our client (the renter’s Employer), we offered £200.

Fortunately the deposit was protected by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).

The Landlord ignored our offer and tried to get the DPS to send her £800.

We objected and the DPS sent the dispute to be ruled on by an adjudicator. Both parties were asked to make written submissions. We made a robust submission supported by documentation that included the inventory check-in and checkout reports. The waters were muddied by the Landlord reaching out behind out backs to the inventory checkout provider, who consequently went back to the property days after the actual checkout.

As a result of that further visit, the inventory checkout provider was persuaded to provide a further report that was more favourable to the Landlord’s position. We, for the Tenant, pointed out that this was improper and we suggested that the second checkout report should be ignored.

The adjudicator agreed with us and ruled that the Landlord was only entitled to make a deduction of £25 from the deposit instead of the £200 which we had offered for an amicable settlement.

Our tips for renters that arise from this experience are:

  • do make sure that you have a check-in report that accurately records ALL problems with the home when you move in
  • keep good records of reports you make to the Landlord of problems encountered during the tenancy
  • make sure you’re present or represented at the checkout to ensure that any problems take account of the condition of the home as recorded in the check-in

Of course, it does come to having to fight a bogus damages claim the renter will need professional representation which can get expensive because it involves hours of work, legal knowledge and a lot of experience.

Fortunately, this case was dealt with for the Employer and the renter under Saunders 1865’s Ongoing Support service, so our representation was free of charge. It was clearly crucial that the Landlord’s conduct in coercing the inventory provider to provide an amended checkout report was challenged. Absent the evidence provided by Saunders 1865, it is highly likely that the outcome would have been far less favourable to the Tenant.

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