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Landlord withholding entire deposit

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    Landlord withholding entire deposit

    I've got a couple of questions about going through the small claims tribunal to get my deposit back. I'd be grateful if anyone who has done this or experienced being unfairly treated by their landlord could share their thoughts.

    The basic situation is like this:

    My agent inspected the apartment once I had moved out (twice actually) and returned the key to the landlord. (Yes I know trusting the agent and the landlord was my first big mistake). The landlord is refusing to refund my entire deposit and is not answering my messages. He wants the entire apartment redecorated, which includes removing all the paint from the walls, repainting them and the ceilings, and repolishing all the floors.

    There is some paint missing from some of the walls which came off while I was washing the walls with bleach to remove mould (which the landlord told me to do). There are some additional marks on one wall made by tape (my helper stuck balloons on the wall for a party, sigh). There are some holes for IKEA shelves which my removal men filled in for me but didn't smooth over or paint over. There is one scratched stone tile. And there are some marks on the floor which appear to have been made by furniture (the table and the sofa) sitting on the floor for some time.

    The landlord has refused me permission to have a handyman come in and repaint these things at my cost (although to be honest I am not sure just what the scope of fair wear and tear covers). He has not responded to my last two messages, and in the last one I said I would go to the small claims court to get my deposit back if he didn't respond by the end of this weekend.

    I have considered employing a lawyer to help me file the claim but reading more about it I am beginning to think maybe I am capable of doing this myself (thereby saving 8,500+ that the lawyer is charging)

    Some specific questions:

    1) when I file, should I claim back my entire deposit, or should I claim for the amount back minus what I think I might have to offer to pay in the end?
    2) do I need to get statements from witnesses etc before I file or can I wait until a later stage before doing this (because it's a hassle and the landlord might pay up once I have filed in the court anyway)
    3) can anyone recommend any handymen who I could contact?

    Thank you for any information or experiences you have to share.

    Last edited by njstone9; 16-05-2021 at 09:44 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    831

    I’m sorry for your negative landscum experience. You have to understand that owning property is all they have ever achieved in their life and they probably think you are the pushover that will also pay for upgrades to their run down building.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    3,886
    Quote Originally Posted by njstone9:
    I've got a couple of questions about going through the small claims tribunal to get my deposit back. I'd be grateful if anyone who has done this or experienced being unfairly treated by their landlord could share their thoughts.

    The basic situation is like this:

    My agent inspected the apartment once I had moved out (twice actually) and returned the key to the landlord. (Yes I know trusting the agent and the landlord was my first big mistake). The landlord is refusing to refund my entire deposit and is not answering my messages. He wants the entire apartment redecorated, which includes removing all the paint from the walls, repainting them and the ceilings, and repolishing all the floors.

    There is some paint missing from some of the walls which came off while I was washing the walls with bleach to remove mould (which the landlord told me to do). There are some additional marks on one wall made by tape (my helper stuck balloons on the wall for a party, sigh). There are some holes for IKEA shelves which my removal men filled in for me but didn't smooth over or paint over. There is one scratched stone tile. And there are some marks on the floor which appear to have been made by furniture (the table and the sofa) sitting on the floor for some time.

    The landlord has refused me permission to have a handyman come in and repaint these things at my cost (although to be honest I am not sure just what the scope of fair wear and tear covers). He has not responded to my last two messages, and in the last one I said I would go to the small claims court to get my deposit back if he didn't respond by the end of this weekend.

    I have considered employing a lawyer to help me file the claim but reading more about it I am beginning to think maybe I am capable of doing this myself (thereby saving 8,500+ that the lawyer is charging)

    Some specific questions:

    1) when I file, should I claim back my entire deposit, or should I claim for the amount back minus what I think I might have to offer to pay in the end?
    2) do I need to get statements from witnesses etc before I file or can I wait until a later stage before doing this (because it's a hassle and the landlord might pay up once I have filed in the court anyway)
    3) can anyone recommend any handymen who I could contact?

    Thank you for any information or experiences you have to share.

    1) Pretty easy question.

    Claim for your ENTIRE deposit plus anything else you can think of. The judge (when they eventually find in your favour) will make appropriate deductions as they see fit.

    I've never been to small claims for the return of rent deposit, (though I have helped many people to avoid being in this situation in the first place) but I have been twice for disagreements with contractors.

    I should add, that neither case was heard by the court, in both instances a settlement was agreed when meeting in court to file our respective cases. This is a common outcome. You have to build your case thoroughly (paperwork, contracts, photos, whatsapp chat logs etc etc) and expect to argue it in front of a judge, but instead you put it to the opposing party and show them how there's no way you're not going to lose. This then becomes the basis for your negotiation on how much they will have to offer to settle.

    SO..... if you have an additional expense that they could be on the hook for if they lose (for me in one case it was loss of rental income due to contractor delays in finishing the work), this can greatly affect the amount they are prepared to settle on. But also it's dependent on your skill as a negotiator and a knowledge (or good guesstimate) of what a judge might grant in terms of your demands.
    Last edited by Sage; 16-05-2021 at 10:22 AM.

  4. #4

    Sad to say but I would go with the lawyer, this instantly takes a lot of the stress away as he/she is now the wall between you both. As far as what you are describing with actual damage caused to the apartment, it does seem minor and easily remedied with some small handyman works.


  5. #5

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    Bear in mind that small claims court rulings are almost impossible to enforce. Once you win the ruling the landlord can just ignore you.

    chuckster007 likes this.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    3,886
    Quote Originally Posted by njstone9:
    I've got a couple of questions about going through the small claims tribunal to get my deposit back. I'd be grateful if anyone who has done this or experienced being unfairly treated by their landlord could share their thoughts.

    The basic situation is like this:

    My agent inspected the apartment once I had moved out (twice actually) and returned the key to the landlord. (Yes I know trusting the agent and the landlord was my first big mistake). The landlord is refusing to refund my entire deposit and is not answering my messages. He wants the entire apartment redecorated, which includes removing all the paint from the walls, repainting them and the ceilings, and repolishing all the floors.

    There is some paint missing from some of the walls which came off while I was washing the walls with bleach to remove mould (which the landlord told me to do). There are some additional marks on one wall made by tape (my helper stuck balloons on the wall for a party, sigh). There are some holes for IKEA shelves which my removal men filled in for me but didn't smooth over or paint over. There is one scratched stone tile. And there are some marks on the floor which appear to have been made by furniture (the table and the sofa) sitting on the floor for some time.

    The landlord has refused me permission to have a handyman come in and repaint these things at my cost (although to be honest I am not sure just what the scope of fair wear and tear covers). He has not responded to my last two messages, and in the last one I said I would go to the small claims court to get my deposit back if he didn't respond by the end of this weekend.

    I have considered employing a lawyer to help me file the claim but reading more about it I am beginning to think maybe I am capable of doing this myself (thereby saving 8,500+ that the lawyer is charging)

    Some specific questions:

    1) when I file, should I claim back my entire deposit, or should I claim for the amount back minus what I think I might have to offer to pay in the end?
    2) do I need to get statements from witnesses etc before I file or can I wait until a later stage before doing this (because it's a hassle and the landlord might pay up once I have filed in the court anyway)
    3) can anyone recommend any handymen who I could contact?

    Thank you for any information or experiences you have to share.
    2) No, you only have to have these for the date of first appearance, when you file your full case to the court (and hopefully settle with the LL on the same day).

    The LL is not so likely to settle before an appearance at court is required (but they may) and you'll need to have those statements on that day, so expect that to be a requirement.

    However buliding your case (even a simple one) takes preparation time - don't underestimate this. Get working on it long before the day arrives as the thinking time to how you can present your case is important in coming up with new approaches and arguments.
    Last edited by Sage; 16-05-2021 at 10:30 AM.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,886
    Quote Originally Posted by njstone9:
    I've got a couple of questions about going through the small claims tribunal to get my deposit back. I'd be grateful if anyone who has done this or experienced being unfairly treated by their landlord could share their thoughts.

    The basic situation is like this:

    My agent inspected the apartment once I had moved out (twice actually) and returned the key to the landlord. (Yes I know trusting the agent and the landlord was my first big mistake). The landlord is refusing to refund my entire deposit and is not answering my messages. He wants the entire apartment redecorated, which includes removing all the paint from the walls, repainting them and the ceilings, and repolishing all the floors.

    There is some paint missing from some of the walls which came off while I was washing the walls with bleach to remove mould (which the landlord told me to do). There are some additional marks on one wall made by tape (my helper stuck balloons on the wall for a party, sigh). There are some holes for IKEA shelves which my removal men filled in for me but didn't smooth over or paint over. There is one scratched stone tile. And there are some marks on the floor which appear to have been made by furniture (the table and the sofa) sitting on the floor for some time.

    The landlord has refused me permission to have a handyman come in and repaint these things at my cost (although to be honest I am not sure just what the scope of fair wear and tear covers). He has not responded to my last two messages, and in the last one I said I would go to the small claims court to get my deposit back if he didn't respond by the end of this weekend.

    I have considered employing a lawyer to help me file the claim but reading more about it I am beginning to think maybe I am capable of doing this myself (thereby saving 8,500+ that the lawyer is charging)

    Some specific questions:

    1) when I file, should I claim back my entire deposit, or should I claim for the amount back minus what I think I might have to offer to pay in the end?
    2) do I need to get statements from witnesses etc before I file or can I wait until a later stage before doing this (because it's a hassle and the landlord might pay up once I have filed in the court anyway)
    3) can anyone recommend any handymen who I could contact?

    Thank you for any information or experiences you have to share.
    3) Yes, err me.

    As I wrote in my first comment, I have helped many people avoid being in this situation in the first place - Filling holes so they are more or less invisible, re-painting (spot touch-up and whole wall repainting etc), assembly and disassembly of furniture, fixing scratches (not always possible), replacing floor boards etc

    I'd be happy to send you my card and offer further advice on how you can resolve this if needed and a quotation for works if appropriate.
    njstone9 likes this.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    305

    Have PM'd you.

    Sage likes this.

  9. #9

    If u fail in getting your deposit back it would be your duty to start a cockroach infestation and rumours of ghosts


  10. #10

    Sorry you had to go through that. You got screwed.

    How long did you lease for ?

    In your contract there is a term to keep the apartment in good condition (except for general wear and tear).

    What you should do is ask the agent to contact the landlord and tell him send you photos of the damage you caused , just in case there are EXTRA damages which were not caused by you (use your imagination why)

    If the agent ignores you, go to see him in his office and plonk yourself down and talk to him . (He won't be happy with you bitching away when there are other potential clients in the office hearing about your misery).

    When you get the pictures, go get official quotes from 3 companies about how much it costs to fix.

    Then whatsapp the quotes to the agent and ask him to pass to the landlord and to return your deposit (less the highest quote) and give a deadline or you will take further action.

    See if the landlord ignores you.

    Also, you can complain to the agent. The agent is "representing the landlord"
    so you need to get in the first place whataspp evidence and ask the right questions to get the agent to say
    "Yes, I represent the landlord"

    In which case, the agent accepted the property as it is on behalf of the agent .

    " When you inspected the property on behalf of the landlord, you accepted the property as it was with general wear and tear and took back the key. You did not verbally mention about the wear and tear and that you were going to deduct two months deposit for fixing it." You accepted the property .

    Sage and Drunken Master like this.

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