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Landlord deposit reductions

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Landlord unreasonable deposit deductions

    Hi

    Our landlord is making deductions from our deposit which we do not agree with (namely one item of furniture he says we have damaged - he raised this a week after we checked out and returned the keys and a week after THREE people inspected every single detail of the property for an hour with us for a checkout where this was not raised and we both signed a form agreeing to the state of the property upon the check out date) Ideally we would like to dispute this in small claims court, after receiving the rest of our deposit back. Our contract says he has to return the deposit within a month of checkout. He is saying if we want the rest of our deposit back we have to go to his lawyers office to sign a settlement form which states we will not raise any claims against him in future. Is it right that the landlord can force us to sign such a form at his lawyers? Even if we weren't disputing the deposit he says we would have to go collect a cheque from his lawyers. This seems like intimidation - why can he not just do a bank transfer? Is this normal behaviour for returning deposits in HK? Surely he cannot force us to sign this form and has to return our deposit (with or without his deductions) within 30 days whether a form is signed or not? Appreciate any advice. Also, landlord is a company. Not sure if this makes a difference.

    Last edited by TJ2020; 12-08-2020 at 02:13 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    If as you said the landlord is "a company", this seems "normal".

    You'd be surprised how many large property companies hold smaller parcels of property behind shell / BVI type outfits.

    The best you can do is ask them for a photo of the damage and with a timestamp that shows the photo was taken during the checkout / handback inspection.

    ArrynField likes this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Thanks for your reply. Yes it's a company owns the whole block of apartments. So the guy we are dealing with isn't the landlord but an employee/ middle man for the landlord whoever that may be.

    Will we be forced to sign the letter and go to his lawyer's office then to get our money back?


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    2,254

    Did you damage the furniture?

    If you didn't, just notify the LL that the damage was not caused by you. If the deposit is not returned within the month, submit a claim with the small claims.

    gigglinggal and JLDean like this.

  5. #5

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    Aug 2020
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    No we didn't. He sent us a photo of a small tear / fraying of fabric along the seam of a chair. We hadn't noticed it - if anything it's wear and tear as we believe the furniture is 5/6 years old and wasn't brand new when we moved in last year. He says he needs to deduct money to replace the whole chair for $2,000.

    Ok, so you think don't go to the lawyers to collect any of the money and just file a small claim if its not returned within the month?


  6. #6

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    Appoint your own lawyer to negotiate with them.


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paxbritannia:
    Appoint your own lawyer to negotiate with them.
    DO NOT DO THIS ....

    For a small amount, you're going to end up spending $X000 per hour.

    Your lease might have something about paying the company's legal costs in some circumstances. Our office - company owned property - lease had this and more...

    Unless you're into the whole fight 'em at all costs, "because I'm right" type person...
    Mr Chips and Hkemail888 like this.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Yeah. Total deductions are $6k so i don't think worth paying a lawyer. It's enough to be annoyed about but not enough to spend a fortune on legal costs. I just really don't like the idea of feeling intimidated into signing something in front of his lawyer and then not being able to raise a small claims if I wanted to. I would rather he just did a bank transfer but at this stage he's not even replying to our emails. I have a feeling this landlord does this all the time to silence people and they know most people won't bother to go to small claims unless it's really large amounts. They made us sign a legal fee for their lawyer to witness us signing our contract when we moved in, which was a bad sign to begin with, really.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    If you really want the 2000 back, why not sign the form? It's not like you are going to file any claims against the landlord in the future. I would do it just to get my 2000 because they are betting you won't bother and they will keep your 2000. 2000 x 100 tenants per year, easy money...

    Do it just for the inconvenience it will cause the landlord (and maybe legal fees the landlord will have to pay out...).


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    2,495
    Quote Originally Posted by TJ2020:
    No we didn't. He sent us a photo of a small tear / fraying of fabric along the seam of a chair. We hadn't noticed it - if anything it's wear and tear as we believe the furniture is 5/6 years old and wasn't brand new when we moved in last year. He says he needs to deduct money to replace the whole chair for $2,000.

    Ok, so you think don't go to the lawyers to collect any of the money and just file a small claim if its not returned within the month?
    Some LLs take the cake here! Trying to get you to foot the bill for a new chair but really I'll bet the chair won't be replaced and they pocket the money.

    Going to make sure I do not hand back all the keys to my LL until I get my deposit and any silly claims, like I should paint the place etc., are discussed right then and there.
    TJ2020 and AsianXpat0 like this.

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