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Tenants signed different contracts


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I moved into a flat last year with one flatmate. I was out of the area when the contract needed to be signed so the contract was posted to me and I posted it back after signing. My flatmate then went to the estate agents to sign the contract. However, I've just found out that they had him sign an extra clause which states that we will have the flat professionally cleaned and provide the receipts for this to the landlord when we leave the property. This extra clause says that my flatmate is signing on behalf of himself and me but I was never told about it by the estate agents, landlord or my flatmate. Is it possible for the landlord to deduct the cost of professionally cleaning the property from our deposit which we paid jointly) if we clean the flat ourselves rather than paying someone else to do it? I can't afford to get professional cleaners in and the flat is clean anyway.

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I think this comes down to a simple question. Was the flat clean when you moved it (I assume YES). Is the flat at the same level of cleanliness now that the tenancy has ended (I assume YES again) .... in which case the flats doesn't need cleaning - irrespective of what dodgy clauses might have been added to the tenancy agreement after you signed it.

If the landlord tries to make a deduction for cleaning (when the flat is indeed as clean as when you took possession) then you need to reject this claim - in writing - and, if the landlord still refuses to refund all of your deposit, then you need to request that the landlord cleaning claim be sent to arbitration.

Basically - when you moved it I am assuming your landlord protected your Security Deposit in a Government approved scheme. Did he protect it? If so - he should have told you what scheme he used and you should have a copy of the protection certificate. If he didn't protect the deposit - he broke the law and you are entitled to 3 x the amount of the deposit as compensation. Citizens Advice can advise you more on how to sue your landlord if he has broken the law.

Assuming he protected the deposit - then you can request that the dispute (over cleaning) between you and the landlord is referred to the Government approved Deposit Protection company's arbitrator. This is totally FREE OF CHARGE. The Landlord has to prove to the arbitrator (beyond doubt) that the property is less clean now than it was when you moved into the property. 99.99% of all landlords I know would not be able to prove this point.

Also .... over 80% of cases that get referred to the arbitrator .. award in favor of the tenant (because the landlord is not able to prove that their deposit deduction is either valid or fair).

In summary - confront the landlord. Demand the Deposit Protection Arbitrator is involved ... and collect your deposit back!

Good Luck

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