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I just found this website and wondered if someone might be able to help me.

This is quite long so I apologise for this in advance but you need to read it to believe it and hopefully some one can offer some advice

We have been renting a house for 5 1/2 years from a private landlord, it was originally with a management agent but the landlord broke from them after a year claiming it was better for all involved and the money he saved from the agent he would be able to out back into the house.

Unfortunatly that never happened, and the time we have been here it has been absolute hell. We of course could have moved, but we onlyh came to this area to my near to my daughters school and we did not want to uproot her during her GCSE's which are now finishing this summer.

We have had numerous problems in the house, for example, when we moved in (we were forced in a month earlier than we wanted by the agents) we discussed all the carpets throughout the house were rotten from previous tennants who had allowed thier animals to do what they liked in the house. (those tenants not surprisingly did a runner oweing rent etc). Anyway within a week of moving in at the start of december, it was decided by all that the carpets would be pulled up and with us having animals as well (dog and cats) that the floors would be laminated throughout. However on pulling the downstairs carpets up all the floorboards were rotten with wood worm and had to be replaced. This was done over a two week period just before christmas and should have been a sign of things to come.

Anyway they decided to lay new floorboards, but have them sanded and varnished instead of laying laminate on top. however becasue it came to christmas, they left the boards and we ended up doing the sanding and varnish. However they had left 1" gaps between all the baords and this caused majot drafts, and severe lost of heat, so after 6 months, we actually had to pull the boards up and shift it all along to close the gaps. Admitted on this occassion the landlord did come and help us for one day over a 3 day period.

They never touched the upstairs, and too scared to ask in case it lead to more unrest, we asked if we could remove the sticky carpets laminate over what was there. This was done in all 3 bedroom and the hallway upstairs at our own cost and labour.

In addition to this and to keep this as short as possible, in the time we have been here, we have redocorated all the rooms upstairs (previously there was 1980's wallpaper!) with netral paint colours like blue/cream and pastel colours (not all in the same room B) )

We also painted the hallway downstairs and made the place an acceptable home as we knew we would be here for at least 5 years. The landlord at the time was happy with this.

Not let me come to the electrics, when we moved in, it was supposed to have a power shower, it did, but it dribbled cold water and we discovered the reason was becasue the voltage rating was incorrect. When we were told this we were also told that all the electrics in the house were "rubber wiring" and should be replaced. We informed the landlord and after 12 months he finally go it changed, however, he did the job himself !. He is not a qualified electrician and he did it over a 6 - 8 month period. During this time he chiseled walls, and although he made the good after, never repainted them. Worst of all was that he pulled up all the laminate flooring upstairs to get to the electrics and then tried to put the same flooring back!. Anyone who has laid this stuff knows it never goes back the same.

We have been left with uneven flooring and decor that defeats the object of us making the effort in the first place.

In addition to this (yes there is more!) the bathroom had a leak, that went into the utility room downstairs, the celing fell down and we were left with a hole in the ultility room looking striaght in to the bathroom for 18 months in total. (they did fix it once but did not replair the leak so it all came down again !).

There has been other events, the front garden wall fell down and the lanlord just collected the bricks together and left it !, the back garden was a jungle when we moved it, he did cut this down but left all the junk in the back and didn't put any weedkiller so it all quickly grew back to the point where we paid £300 to have it all cleared just so we could use the full garden. The windows all around the house are now so rotten that you can put your finger right through the frames if you wanted. In fact the windows at the front of the house are so bad that you actually have to have one person inside pulling and one person outside pushing to shut them properly. The same almost applies to the back door and door to the garage.

In all it's been a diaster, so we were due to move out this summer, however I suffer from a mobility problem and after 2 unsuccesful operations I am now resigned to eventually losing the use of my legs and with other medical problems (diabetic and thryroid) I am now classed as disabled and half way through the tennancy we had to switch to housing benefit as I was taken off full time work. This did cause a delay in rent and the landlord was quite understanding, however all the monies were brought up to date within a few months. Because of these problems we asked the landlord back in March of this year if he would mind extended the contract to Feb 2007, to allow us 12 months to find another place to live as we would be looking for a bunglow as I am now having trouble getting up stairs. He verbally agreed this and we though all was fine. However 3 weeks ago he phoned and said we had to leave by August no exceptions.

Fortunalty we have since found a wonderful place (although not a bungalow it has been the best we can do in short notice) and a really understanding letting agent and are in the process of moving now. We should be out of this hell hole by mid July, but here is my problem, the Landlord now does not want to give us back our full deposit, he only wants to give half at most, and then that will be a cheque.

The house is in need of severe work, however we feel that is down to the landlords neglect over the last 5 years and all the work we have done (which we felt improved the property, has been undone by him) I realy need that deposit back as we have had to borrow money from family and friends to scrap together the money to get the new place.

What is the best way for me to get my money back? Incidentally I must also add that as of yesterday the last contract expired, we have not signed a new one and as yet we have not had an official notice of eviction (despite asking for this 3 times in writing). I don't really want to cause major hassle as this will not do my health anygood, i just want our £900 deposit back and we can all forgot about this sorry affair, am I being unreasonable or am I going to have to drag this through the small claims court, and if so how long is it likely to take?

Sorry this has been so long but i needed to write it all down to give you an idea of the situation.

Any help really appreciated

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Hi GWKent,

Simply put, the landlord has offered to refund £450 (of your £900 deposit) and is withholding the rest - it is not clear why he is withholding the rest and this needs clarification. The fact that the landlord will pay you the deposit back via cheque is 1) normal and 2) irrelevant.

The thing to remember is that the £900 belongs to _you_ and not the landlord.

If the landlord is withholding ANY of that secrity deposit money then the landlord needs to clearly detail 1) why he is withholding the money, 2) explain what repairs etc need to be undertaken and 3) provide receipts for all work undertaken.

I would write to the landlord and demand an explanation - together with detail and receipts - on why he is proposing to withhold £450 of the deposit.

Regarding the easiest way to resolve this ..... if the landlord is going to withhold the return of the security deposit (without explanation or receipts etc) then I don't see why the tenant shouldn't withhold the final rent payment until this matter is resolved. Or have you already made the final rent payment ?

Feel free to email me - mark.trenfield@btopenworld.com - if you want to discuss further.


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