Landlord is keeping deposit *and* billing us €10k

newbieineire

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Good day everyone,

I have been reading the past threads with much interest over the last few weeks. We have had the following situation with our ex-landlord ... it will be long, mind you. :) I had typed this but it was lost in oblivion, so here we go again:

We rented a "high-standard" 3 bed-semi detached fully furnished house for 19 months. The rent was agreed via a letting agent but once the contract was signed, we were handed over to the landlord who would then deal with everything. We were never given a walk-through of the property nor an inventory with everything that was in it. Likewise, we were never given a rent book or any receipts of rent paid - though we have proof of the rent paid via bank statements with transfers made to the landlord's account.

The property was clean when we moved in, but in no way was it spotless when we moved in. Considering we are a family of 2 adults and 2 young boys aged 5 and 2, we were not too bothered. What I was bothered about was that the duvets, pillows and bedcovers all had an awful body odour smell. The kitchen also had a roasting tin in the sink full of grease and soapy water. We considered petty to report this, so we just sent the bedding to be dry-cleaned and disposed of the tin. I found it amusing at the time (if I had known...), the fact that the house had an all-round music/multimedia system and a home-theatre sound system, etc, but no kettle, no toaster and no waste bin, to name some things. But then again, since we had no inventory we just thought that was what was in the house and we got the things we needed, such as a toaster, kettle, etc.

We vacated the house on 31st December 2009. Upon departure, we notified the landlord of 3 significant damages to the property: one was three leather dining chairs which had been scribbled with a pen by my youngest son, the other one was a broken DVD player which was replaced with a Blu-ray/DVD player of a much higher specification, brand new in box, and lastly scribbles in the walls in the boys' bedroom. We got quotes for painting these walls and they came to €500. The chairs were €700 for a full set of 5. We then offered him to retain €1200 of the deposit (which is €2,100) to cover for these damages.

In return, we got an email with a list of damages and "missing items" the list is too long to put on here, but it is truly ridiculous, citing €300 for a kettle and toaster that never existed, €100 for a broken velux blind when the velux windows do not even -have- fittings for blinds! €5,000 for repainting the whole house when it was just -two- walls the ones that need repainting ... the list goes on and on. The list of damages according to him amounts to over €10,000, he is deducting our deposit (2,000, not the 2100 euro he's got) and he has billed us for almost €8,000. We told him that if he was not happy with the €1,200 we would then take the matter to a dispute with the PRTB in order to look for recovery of our full deposit and gave him 7 days to reply. Since we heard nothing from him in that time we went ahead and placed a dispute with the PRTB.

This morning we got a letter from his solicitor's giving us 7 days to pay the €8,000. This is so absurd that it is almost surreal, but we are at a loss at what to do next. Is it worth us getting solicitor's advice? The man is completely delusional.

Do we reply the solicitors telling them that a PRTB dispute has been set and they will contact his client in due course? Do we get a solicitor ourselves? I have been trying to contact threshold but they are always busy. :( We pretty much do not what to do next. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.
 

DonKing

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557
I certainly would not be wasting money with solicitor's.

I'm not sure if you are still in the house, but I would take photographs etc before you leave and get a witness to walk the house with you and possibly the landlord.(but it sounds as if you are past this stage)

I don't see why you should necessarily even respond to the solicitors letter. What do they think is going to happen after 7 days??

I'd make sure you have all your facts straight and recorded,including an inventory of what was in the house when you arrived.

If the landlord did not attach an inventory onto the contract/lease then that was his mistake and problem. If you have evidence ie receipts for kettles etc then keep them as well.

I think if/when this goes to adjudication the better prepared you are with facts/figures/documents the stronger your case will be.

I would'nt be worrying about the €10,000 claim for damages, it seems ludicrous.The explanation I can think of is he may be trying to frighten you into not bothering with the PRTB and just let him keep your entire deposit....it seems crasy me
 

samanthajane

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766
Dont even boter with that solicitors letter. I've had dealings with the PRTB in regards to my landlord, slightly different situation, but the rule that they told me was that once you have submitted a complaint nothing more can go ahead untill the hearing has been done by them.

I wouldn't ignore if a court date is set,but all you need to do is turn up and show him proof you have gone to the PRTB. But i doubt it will go that far, i think the landlord is just chancing his arm.

For one by law he needs to provide you with a rent book which he hasnt done, and who in their right mind puts a €300 kettle and toaster into a rented house. I also had no list of items when i moved into this my house just a figure of 15k!! They provided a cooker, washing machine, table and chairs and beds...now i know we live in rip off Ireland but thats some expensive furniture.

The 5k for painting of 2 walls is totally crazy, you can argue even without your son writing on them after you living there for 19 months he would of needed to re-paint the house anyway. Thats just general wear and tear and landlords have to deal with.

It will take around 5-6 months for your case to be heard, there is a long list. The PRTB seems to be pretty fair from the reports that i've read. You should go onto their website and have a look for yourself, you could come across a few cases that are similar to your own and see how they ruled.

I would be totally amazed if he got any of what he is claiming, digging up receipts or credit card statements wouldn't be a bad idea but remember he would need to provide these as well that he purchased them for this house.

Like the previos person has said i think the landlord is hoping that with the thought you you owing him 8k you might just forget about the remaining deposit and withdraw your complaint that you made with them.
 

Bronte

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You mention it was a high spec house. If the children did damage than you are responsible. You mention 700 etc for leather chairs, is that the landlord's figure or yours? 300 for a kettle and toaster might be normal in a high spec house with leather chairs.

Previous poster is incorrect to think that scribbling on walls would be normal wear and tear. Two young kids can do a lot of damage (I know as mine have done so) so maybe the landlord does need to have the whole house repainted. 5K, seems very high but high spec was mentioned.

Most rented property nowadays is furnished but sometimes tenant's bring their own kettles etc. I know of no landlord who supplies duvets. Very unusual.

What have you told the PRTB ? What is your claim with them?

I would not ignore the solicitors's letter, I would contact the PRTB and ask them what to do? I would certainly reply to the solicitors's letter outlining that you have taken a claim to the PRTB (do not say on what grounds) and asking the solicitor to wait until the PRTB makes a decision.

It is not fully clear to me whether a landlord can or can not take a tenant to court but my understanding is that it has to go through the PRTB first.
 

jack2009

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OP calls it a "High Spec" but seems to be indicating that it was nothing special.
 

MrMan

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Check that he is registered with the PRTB and also keep onto threshold no matter how busy they are. 5k for painting isn't acceptable for that size of a house and it looks like he is going in high to compromise to a lower (still high) figure. Prtb is there to watch out for tenants so use them.
 

sam h

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I'd agree with the PRTB (by the way, I'm a landlord and some of the above posters are also)

- it doesn't matter if he is not registered with the PRTB, you can still register a dispute with them
- if he had no inventory of property, I can't see how he can prove he had such items in the place
- dig out all reciepts you have
- you are right that pen on chair & wall not normal wear and tear - but you are not liable to repaint the whole house.
- never hear of a LL supplying duvets - sound like an amateur LL who bought a new house & left what suited them in their old one & now can't remember what was there
- reply to the solicitor stating you are proceeding via the PRTB and all further contact should be through them
 

samanthajane

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Previous poster is incorrect to think that scribbling on walls would be normal wear and tear. Two young kids can do a lot of damage (I know as mine have done so) so maybe the landlord does need to have the whole house repainted. 5K, seems very high but high spec was mentioned.
bronte I wasn't suggesting scribbling on walls is wear and tear, I was referring to the whole of the house. Most landlords would repaint a house after a 19 month lease, and not charge the pevious tennents for it. Even if the scribbles wern't there the landlord would still of had to re-paint those walls anyway. It's something to point out when 5k for painting has been mentioned, thats a huge bulk of the 10k the landlord is trying to get from her.

And i'll still never accept that no matter how high spec you put in a toaster and kettle worth 300 euro. Not when there was dirty bedding and dishes left in the house.
 
M

mercman

Guest
You mention it was a high spec house. If the children did damage than you are responsible. You mention 700 etc for leather chairs, is that the landlord's figure or yours? 300 for a kettle and toaster might be normal in a high spec house with leather chairs.

High Spec House ! Says who ?? Not at €2100 rent per month, not that much high spec. €300 for a kettle and toaster ?? Are you crazy ? The landlord knew that the property was to be let and should have furnished it accordingly - not with high spec utensils.

As for the redocoration the property was let as a family home as in this regard the damage you have mentioned would go down as normal wear and tear.

Landlords know the potential problems of renting. And if they don't they had better wake up. I'd write back to noting receipt of his solicitor's correspondence but advising that as the matter is in the process of determination by the PRTB you are unable to pass further comment. And BTW as a note you might advise them that due to the lack of the mandatory rent book you are able to provide dates as to when the payment was made.

That will keep them quiet.
 

Bronte

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Hold on guys, it was the OP who said it was high spec, normal landlords like myself spend our lives painting everything magnolia and I don't charge tenants for this. I even supply paint to any tenant during tenancies if they want to spruce the place up. If the landlord can prove that there is damage and it costs 5K to put it back the way it was, which is entirely possible in a high spec house, well a judge will have to decide on that. I was in a courtroom many years ago where a landlady had let a house to students who had done great damage and she claimed an obscence amount for good carpets which the judge queried her on (why would you have good carpets in a house let to students), she was very upset but was adamant as to the cost of the carpets and the judge found in her favour (This is pre PRTB and they had done a lot of damage).

Any landlord putting in leather chairs is madness but that's what we have here, in that regard a 300 kettle and toaster might be reasonable (in this case these were not supplied). I also find it extremely odd that a person would accept bed linen from someone else. The velux blind thing stinks of a landlord lying. Like another poster said the property sounded like a place the owner had resided in and left not knowing what was in the house, but not the Velux blind?

In relation to the DVD thing, in a box would be no good to me as a landlord, it might not be compatible with the house system and I'd need someone to install it which is another cost. (Of course normal landlords dont have these things either.

I agree with MrMan that the landlord is throwing in a bill of 10K to get say 5K.

Despite the fact that most landlords routinely repaint, if children scribble on walls the landlord is entitled to have it back to the state it was let in minus normal wear and tear. Scribbling is not normal wear and tear. The OP could have repainted the walls herself, that's what I would have done.

Actually this whole story is crazy, we have both an amateur tenant and amateur landlord chancing his arm it seems. OP I'm not trying to be harsh on you but you should have called the landlord over before you left to see everything was in order, I certainly would have if there was damage to chairs and DVD systems. It is strange that you mention a walk through of the property, did you not look at the house before you leased it? If you expected certain items in the house you should have checked before you signed a lease. In your case there is no inventory so I don't see how a landlord is able to bill you for them. What exactly does your lease say in relation to fully furnished?

Do you have pictures of the way you left the house? Did the landlord take pictures after you left to show the damage you did?
 

Complainer

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In relation to the DVD thing, in a box would be no good to me as a landlord, it might not be compatible with the house system and I'd need someone to install it which is another cost.
This is nonsense. You don't need someone to 'install' a DVD thing. Just plug and play!
 

Bronte

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This is nonsense. You don't need someone to 'install' a DVD thing. Just plug and play, for crisssakes.
Well I had a man out to connect up my DVD player to the TV! In this case they mentioned some house sound system so I guess it has to be connected to that somehow.
 

Hans

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I cant believe this - is he living in the real world - unless you are bending the truth and I dont doubt you for a min. all you describe is normal wear and tear. As a landlord of both low and so called 'high spec' property I have seen it all I have to replace beds, a blood stained settee (I didn't ask any questions), and kitchen products after lettings I consider this normal wear and tear especially if tennants have lived there over a few years. I honestly believe some people aren't cut out to be landlords do they honestly expect others to respect their property as if it was there own. Dont get me wrong it would be great if they did but unfortunately that is usually not what happens. I dont consider I'm a push over I have made good money in letting down through the years (too many to mention) but as I said in earlier post I have very few bad experiences as I have always kept in touch with tennants and I hope looked after them and they in turn returned the favour. As said earlier I would ignore all threatening letters and just deal with PRTB. I really hope you get ALL your deposit back and I think it's criminal if you have to pay anything on top of deposit - if it was me I think I'd go to jail first!! Sorry for being so passionate but I think this type of behavour gives other landlors a bad name.
 

Knuttell

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I would not consider a blood stained settee wear and tear.who were you renting to Jeffery Dahmer?
 

Hans

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My point is as a landlord 'you have to bend the 'Terminology' from time to time or you would drive yourself mad as I said earlier I'm not owed anything from tennants so I'm not greedy!!
 

canicemcavoy

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300 for a kettle and toaster might be normal...
...in one of those houses on "Cribs". Seriously, the most expensive toaster + kettle on Argoes doesn't come up to €300 combined.

As for the DVD player - you plug it out, you plug the new one in. All the connections are at the back, and they're standard no matter what the make.
 

dtlyn

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Well I had a man out to connect up my DVD player to the TV! In this case they mentioned some house sound system so I guess it has to be connected to that somehow.
Yeah, the landlord could contract out the younger of the OPs two kids to do this at a rate decided by the OP......such is the chancery going on here.

In relation to the DVD thing, in a box would be no good to me as a landlord
Are you seriously saying you'd pull up a tennant on this? Our landlord left a morphy richards toaster and kettly fully boxed and new in our apt when we moved in. Plugging it in was a bit of a struggle, I'd have to say, because of partially obstructed plugs, not to mention inconvienent disposal of the packaging. Do I have a case?

This is the kind of logic that puts tennants unnecessarily on the defensive.
 

newbieineire

Registered User
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Thanks everyone for your replies - it is a relief in a way to see that we are not wrong in thinking this is crazy.

Oh yes, and for the record - we are amateur tenants and have no intention of going pro. ;) We moved from the UK 2 years ago (husband was transferred here) and we have a hefty mortgage over there- we were unable to sell the house, this is why we are renting. First time we did it.

The house we currently are in was let to us by a family who gave us a complete walk through of the property, showed us how everything worked, and gave us an extremely detailed inventory of everything that is in the house and oh yes, a rentbook. :) We signed it and both parties have copies. Our previous landlord never showed any interest in meeting us ... he had to be chased up for weeks before he did anything about things.

Re: the kettle and toaster - they could be €25 or €2000 for all we know, but the point here is that we don't think we have to pay for something that plain and simple -was not in the house- when we were there. Same goes for the alleged velux blinds ... if the windows did not even have fittings for them, how on earth can he be charging that? We challenged everything that he had on the list and sent a copy of it to the PRTB. And of course have stated that we there is no inventory or rent book.

Re the duvets - when we were shown the house we were told that what we saw is what we would get... of course the fancy top bedding was removed and they only the smelly duvets were left ... bugger. ;) Seriously, as first-time tenants we did not know what to expect in many ways.
And well, the house is considered "high standard" by the landlord .. it is in a very nice area (golf course) and it is indeed a very nice house, but we are getting the idea that the landlord wants to make some improvements and make us pick up the tab for it - regarding the repainting of the house and the fitting of velux blinds. We are also renting our house in the UK - we had tenants who moved out after 18 months of living there ...the agency who deals with the letting told us there would be a cost of painting and cleaning the property and we thought nothing of it and paid for it of course.

Regarding the scribbling of the walls and chairs - that has been offered to be paid for and we let him know when we gave our notice. He quoted them at €759 for the set of five when only three were written on. Despite this, we agreed. We asked him on numerous ocassions to come over so we could talk about this but he just told us to leave the house and post the keys through the letterbox.

I had a chat with my husband last night and the course of action that we will take is to reply to the solicitors telling them that we have placed a dispute with the PRTB and that they will be contacting their client in due course.

I will keep you posted on how we get on ... it will make for very interesting (and amusing) reading!

Thanks so much :)
 

newbieineire

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*edited* see following message - sorry guys! been using the internet for many years but am relatively new to using fora. Learning fast though ;)
 
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newbieineire

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Sorry for being so passionate but I think this type of behavour gives other landlors a bad name.

Thank you for your message and for being an honest landlord. It is bad form though that sometimes tenants have not respected your property. We have done our best, but with young children this is difficult but we always offered to pay for the damage. But it's good to know that there are good landlords out there. :)
 
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