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Landlord refusing security deposit

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby Smashing » Thu, 11 Jun 2015 6:18 pm

Luckily I have photocopy of the signed list of items need to be repaired at the handover.His agent has ticked all the items in inventory list and mentioned the items need to repair and got signed.
I have few photos of the apartment when I moved in but the claims are on more cushion is dirt, mattress is stained, etc etc which I don't have much photos during handover/entering since its all are already in used condition and I didn't thought so...

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Thu, 11 Jun 2015 7:16 pm

Smashing wrote:Luckily I have photocopy of the signed list of items need to be repaired at the handover.His agent has ticked all the items in inventory list and mentioned the items need to repair and got signed.
I have few photos of the apartment when I moved in but the claims are on more cushion is dirt, mattress is stained, etc etc which I don't have much photos during handover/entering since its all are already in used condition and I didn't thought so...

Does this signed list contain any statement that the list is all inclusive or the LL's requests are only limited to the listed items or that the LL acknowledges that the rest of the apartment is ok?

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby Smashing » Thu, 11 Jun 2015 7:32 pm

don't see any statement but ticked all the inventory list item

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby Smashing » Thu, 11 Jun 2015 7:35 pm

But can he take advantage n inspect on his own without both parties?

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby JR8 » Thu, 11 Jun 2015 7:39 pm

@Smashing
Your post is eerily reminiscent of a very similar thread in this topic from May 2012. My advice then to that poster applies equally to you, re: trying to bring his to reason beforehand, and giving him ‘reasonable’ time to do so, etc.

re: JdeV’s comment about getting a lawyer, you don’t need one. The SCT is designed to be accessible by the average citizen without engaging a lawyer.
I think Smashing has laid out the foundation of his grievance well. Add in dates, hard-copies of any written comms etc., and (IMHO) he’s pretty well set to go.
A departure-inventory signed off by the landlord is pretty bullet-proof evidence of what if any remedial work was required.

ps.
@Smashing 7.35pm post. No, in simple terms, that is not reasonable.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 7:32 am

JR8 wrote:@Smashing 7.35pm post. No, in simple terms, that is not reasonable.

It is as reasonable as the assumption that the tenant damaged something just because he lived in the place for some time. Apparently such assumption is in place.

I expect the LL would not call it an inspection but would just say that he did not notice the problems at the hand-over and only did so at some later time. It would not be an unreasonable approach because typically more time may be needed.

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby Smashing » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 9:39 am

Even he need more time he would have informed and called both parties saying that and check in front of them . Not alone if I'm not wrong.

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 10:58 am

Smashing wrote:Even he need more time he would have informed and called both parties saying that and check in front of them . Not alone if I'm not wrong.

It does not make too much of practical sense. Say, the LL visited the apartment after it was handed over and discovered that the mattress is stained. What he should do in such case? Leave the building immediately and seal it, with 2 impartial witnesses perhaps in place, while awaiting for all the interested party to agree on a new inspection date? C'mon.

That's why having all the evidence documenting the condition of the place (and its content) is so critical. I am afraid your earlier argument that these were some used items would not fly either. Hardly anybody rents anything that is brand new and you are responsible for all the damages exceeding typical wear and tear, brand new or used one, regardless.

I wish you all the best (and I am a tenant too) but I am afraid you may just end up paying for the lesson to be learned.

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby JR8 » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 3:14 pm

x9200 wrote:
JR8 wrote:@Smashing 7.35pm post. No, in simple terms, that is not reasonable.

It is as reasonable as the assumption that the tenant damaged something just because he lived in the place for some time. Apparently such assumption is in place.
I expect the LL would not call it an inspection but would just say that he did not notice the problems at the hand-over and only did so at some later time. It would not be an unreasonable approach because typically more time may be needed.


Well, I disagree with that :) After the tenant left, the landlord might have rented the unit for a week to 5 students. The inventory check-out is a point-in-time exercise that is attended and agreed by both parties. You cannot amend it retrospectively. The onus is on the landlord and tenant to carry out a thorough inspection at check-in and check-out. If there are damages/dilapidation beyond 'fair wear and tear' these must be noted and agreed.

The next step is that if there are deductions to be made, or remedial work required then the landlord must provide copies of the invoices evidencing that such works were carried out. If no evidence is provided, or the costs seem blatantly inflated, then the tenant has Grounds to commence a dispute/action against the landlord.

What is the point of an inventory, or attending a check-in/out, if the LL can keep adding damages/costs weeks after the tenant has left? If that were so I can't see any point in having an inventory at all.

Inventory check-ins/outs do take time, but it's important that they are complete and accurate. A landlord who has proper inventories done cannot say 'he didn't have time to do it thoroughly', in the absence of evidence of 'precisely who caused what' that's the landlords hard luck, he has no evidence. This is why it's important to give the inventory process as much time as it requires, even if the agent is rushing and getting irritated (as happened with me last time). This makes it clear and evidenced to both parties what the condition is at a point in time.

I checked in the members section of the National Landlord's Assctn [uk] if they had any info on retrospectively amending a inventory check-out. It seems not, but it could be that the situation doesn't make sense in the first place. Note re: references below to 'TDS', it is a national deposit holder and arbitrator in disputes - something this country is dearly in need of.

Note the last point in 'General Tips'. It is my understanding, and it would seem to be common sense to me, that that (legal) position applies equally to the check-in, as to the check-out, and also equally/each-way to the landlord and tenant.
Here are some excerpts, this from a landlords perspective, of what they say:

----------
Introduction to Subject
Inventories have always been an important part of seeing in a new tenant. They have come of age with the arrival of Tenancy Deposit Schemes.
They enable landlords to create a situation where the tenant is fully aware that the state of the property at the time of the commencement of the tenancy is fully documented.
There are so many ways of creating an inventory, and we are all so different in the way we think and act, that there are no fixed instructions on how to create the ultimate inventory. However, there are suggestions as to some does and don’ts.

Why create an Inventory?

An inventory is simply an itemised list of goods and this is our starting position. An inventory for a tenancy has to be more than just a list and we need to bring in detailed descriptions regarding the list of goods as to age and condition.
The importance of this is the fact that the tenant knows at the commencement of the tenancy, that you have all of this evidence showing the condition of the property at the time of occupation.
This will mean that the tenant is more likely to maintain the condition of the property during the tenancy and, at the end of the tenancy, there is unlikely to be any dispute regarding bond charges.
Furthermore if there is any dispute, you have all of the evidence you will need to prove your case.

Types of Inventories
Written
Generally, a simple listing, usually in a table document which has columns showing the name of the item, the condition when the tenant moved in and the condition when the tenant moved out.
These are easily produced using a word processor but can also be handwritten.
Writing down the condition of every item could be laborious so you could state that generally the condition is regarded as fair unless otherwise stated.
Invite the tenant to point out any scratches or dents to any item that should be actually written on the inventory and make the necessary notes.
It is important to take particular note of the condition of any soft furnishings i.e. sofas and easy chairs. Concentrate on the inside of the cooker and the inside of any fridge or freezer. [snip re: other formats of inventory]

General Tips

Whatever type of inventory you choose, there is a need to be consistent in your approach. It is good practice to approach each room in each property in the same way.
The first view of each room is the decor. Ensure you describe the colours in each room, i.e.
“ white emulsion painted ceiling, magnolia emulsion painted walls, white gloss woodwork”
A frequent argument is one where the tenant has decorated. If the tenant claims that the colour scheme is the same as at the commencement of the tenancy it is only your word against the tenant, unless you declare the colour schemes in your inventory.
Have a pattern for your listing. For example:-
Look at the ceiling and describe and list the light fittings, then look at the floor and list the type of floor covering.
Start with the wall which has the door in it and rotate clockwise around the room noting the items standing against the walls. If one of these items is a cupboard or other storage piece, return to it separately to list any contents.
The biggest inventory room is always the kitchen. If you are providing cutlery and crockery, the inventory can be a nightmare. Do not over supply. If you must provide such items, keep to the minimum. Not more than, say, four of anything.
List the model types and numbers, at least of the appliances and see that they are clean at the commencement of the tenancy and that you can say so in your inventory. In this way you may have a chance of them being clean at the end of the tenancy.
It is useful to have a cover sheet for inventories. This has some comment sections for the tenant to complete on the day of occupation such as
What do you think of the property?
What is the condition of the appliances?
What is the garden like?
Are you happy with everything?
List of keys received at commencement of tenancy
When they have placed their answers to these questions and signed at the foot of the sheet, it is very difficult for them to claim that anything was wrong at the time they moved in.

At the end of the tenancy
When the tenant gives notice, make an appointment to visit about ten days prior to the end date. In this visit, address the tenant verbally, and then write to the tenant, with information of any dilapidations that may cause a charge to the bond. This will be strong evidence to provide to the ADR arbitrator of your assistance if the tenant does not comply.

------------------
Somewhat related: Another article on the issue of inventories that I came upon. –> http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe ... 10428.html
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby martincymru » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 4:30 pm

1. In my extensive experience if one side is going to play tricks then whatever you have in place (unless belts and braces to the nth degree = impractical) is useless.
I prefer the old way; no paper needed, we trust each other.
2. UK, where buildings are more complex, the arguments over fabric damage are more intense than here in Sg.
3. Postscript: I am still not 100% sure if my trust position above is the right way forward lah but if anyone knows a better way......

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 5:55 pm

JR8 wrote:
x9200 wrote:
JR8 wrote:@Smashing 7.35pm post. No, in simple terms, that is not reasonable.

It is as reasonable as the assumption that the tenant damaged something just because he lived in the place for some time. Apparently such assumption is in place.
I expect the LL would not call it an inspection but would just say that he did not notice the problems at the hand-over and only did so at some later time. It would not be an unreasonable approach because typically more time may be needed.


Well, I disagree with that :) After the tenant left, the landlord might have rented the unit for a week to 5 students. The inventory check-out is a point-in-time exercise that is attended and agreed by both parties. You cannot amend it retrospectively. The onus is on the landlord and tenant to carry out a thorough inspection at check-in and check-out. If there are damages/dilapidation beyond 'fair wear and tear' these must be noted and agreed.

I overlooked the fact that there was an inventory list. If yes, It certainly improves the OP's chances. Is all the stuff the LL wants to "fix" included to the list?

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby JR8 » Fri, 12 Jun 2015 7:27 pm

@X9:
OIC, well thank heavens for that, you're normally so... forensically precise you had be 2nd guessing myself :lol:

It's been said before, but perhaps worth repeating for any people new to this country:
- Have a clear understanding of what permitted 'fair wear and tear' means. Roughly/loosely, it is the degradation of the the decor/fixtures/fittings that results from time and normal (responsible) occupation.
For example, after your rental term, a few hand marks on walls, scuff marks on floors, the arm of the already quite old upholstered sofa getting a bit thread-bare, and so on is FW+T, generally is not damages meriting deductions.

Gauging 'fair vs unreasonable' can be subjective and the source of disputes. This is why using an independent professional inventory clerk is useful, it removes the subjectivity.
Here are some professionals definitions of it:

-------
'Wear Tear - What is Fair Wear and Tear

Normal wear and tear is damage or deterioration by ordinary and reasonable use of the property.

The word 'reasonable' though must be interpreted differently, depending on the type of property and who occupies it.

Landlords should therefore keep in mind that the tenant’s deposit is not to be used like an insurance policy where they might get full replacement value or new for old. The landlord also has a duty to act reasonably and not claim more than is necessary to make good any loss.

Replacement of a damaged item may be justified where it is very much damaged beyond repair or its condition makes it unusable. Repair or cleaning will be more likely where replacement cannot be justified. In cases where an item has had its value reduced or its lifespan shortened, for example by damage, the compensation may be appropriate.
[Continues - and the rest is equally note-worthy, esp. if this issue is coming into play for you]
http://www.tenantstips.com/Home/Tenancy ... Xq8RUZcvBN
-------
'Wear and Tear - What is fair?'
https://www.mydeposits.co.uk/sites/defa ... 0Guide.pdf
From a UK government agency, and again the whole thing (4 pages) is worth a read if this issue is impacting you)
---------
How a professional inventory clerk assesses FW+T
http://www.chaseinventory.co.uk/article ... -overview/
------
There's some cross-over happening with the information above, but this is one page. It is from ARLA, the professional Association of Residential Letting Agents.
http://www.arla.co.uk/info-guides/prope ... -tear.aspx
------

The above should give any tenant a solid feel for how to gauge FW+T.

The danger in SG with unregulated tenancy deposits, and going from some years of past posts on this forum:-
- The landlord has taken the deposit and used it to pay off his debts, and later can't pay it back.
- The landlord is looking opportunistically at the deposit as a means to bring the property back to an 'as new' condition [=> unreasonable].
- These can be compounded by the landlord knowing the tenant is leaving the country, and hence will not be in any position to initiate a dispute. I would suggest that a tenant leaving the country does not explicitly tell his soon to be ex-landlord this. At the least, if you feel it is warranted, suggest instead that you're staying with friends locally for a month or two... or something that suggests you're not gone and out of the picture next week.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Mon, 15 Jun 2015 8:14 am

Probably my only concern related to the inventory list would be if this is all the same you got back in the UK. The standards (quality) are surely different and in a legal context it does not matter how the thing is called but rather what it is about.

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby JR8 » Mon, 15 Jun 2015 9:24 am

Tenancy law here is based directly on UK Statutes.
How would you define Fair Wear and Tear, in SG, in 'local terms', if not in the way the above links do?
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Landlord refusing security deposit

Postby x9200 » Mon, 15 Jun 2015 11:04 am

JR8 wrote:Tenancy law here is based directly on UK Statutes.
How would you define Fair Wear and Tear, in SG, in 'local terms', if not in the way the above links do?

No idea, but I was talking about the inventory list. From my experience it is something done typically in a very lousy manner without any proper attention to the conditions of the items. It is more like 0 or 1 relation of movables inside of the apartment. A ceiling lamp in the BR3, is it there? yes, then tick the box ... etc.
Is it what the Inventory is about in the UK?


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