NWR Dodgy landlords? Advice!

My daughter has recently vacated her Maida Vale flat. They were rushed out of it in order to make way for the new tenants - i.e. they were asked to go by 12 as new tenants were coming in at 1. Obviously, this meant that not all the flat was as clean as it could be eg. compared to a furnished flat. The new tenants decided not to move in as a result and the landlord wanted £250 for a professional clean. The unfortunate thing for my daughter was that she'd forgotten to cancel the rent standing order, so he's got her money and has deducted the £250 from that. There was no formal check in or check out process and I know that the way the law favours the tenant is usually enough protection (he would struggle to get it deducted from deposit). However, when it comes to her "accidentally" giving him more money, I suspect that she's on a sticky wicket and, despite what he did being illegal, her only remedy would be to take him to court over the £250. Presumably the banks won't be able to get involved (it's not a direct debit). Any suggestions for an efficient way to get her £250 back? Or just put it down to experience?
 
I don’t believe the landlord can deduct the cleaning costs in that way.

Was there a tenancy agreement in place?
Was there a deposit paid into an approved tenant deposit scheme?
Was there an inventory completed on check in and check out?

Edited to add context. The AST (if one was in place) will clearly spell out the process for this which if it is a standard AST will say that any breakages or cleaning will be deducted from the deposit. You have a right to question the charges if not specifically quoted. If no inventory was carried out then it makes it difficult for the Landlord to claim for breakages, decorating etc. However if he took pictures of the cleaning that he felt was necessary then that may suffice (before and after) because the AST will almost certainly require the property to be handed back clean… it may even have a specific requirement for a professional clean written in.
 
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Did she transfer the money before or after the demand for £250 for a professional clean?

Plus i would want to see the professional clean invoice, as that is high.
Was it through an agent and then managed by the landlord?
 
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Thanks both... I think you're right.
Yes there was a tenancy agreement in place.
The standing order probably did reach him before they left and the demand was made.
Yes, the deposit scheme would have been a proper one via Hamptons.
No inventory check before or after (all very sloppy). Mind you, it's an unfurnished flat - so more about condition than what's there?
The main thing is that he has the money....
So it was sold via an agent (Hamptons) but rent was paid direct to the landlord. And I think "management" (if one could use such a term!) was via the landlord.
Hopefully Hamptons will be able to help!
My guess is that the £250 will be a lot for what they actually get! Agents have a way of charging a lot of money for shoddy service ;-)
 
Given he will know the money was transferred in error as it relates to the full amount of monthly rent, and he is refusing to return it, I would be very tempted to report it to the police as theft if he still refuses to return it personally, especially as he will have known he was not due that money as the rental agreement had ended

Admittedly the police may not be interested, or may claim it is a civil matter, but probably still worth reporting.
 
It sounds as if Hamptons just rented out the flat for and on behalf of the property owner and didn't manage it. So they won't be much use.

From a legal point of view, any monies should have been administered through the deposit scheme. I would first of all contact them to see how much clout they have, if they can force the landlord to return the monies and deal with the issue of cleansliness through the scheme.

It appears the issue has all come about due to the rapid change over. Your daughter should have dug her heels in and not ceded the keys until all parties were happy to do so. Personally speaking as a landlord, I would as a matter of course got cleaners in to do a quick once over before new tenants came in. £250 is steep, my last one cost £100 for a 3 bedroom house. But maybe that's London rates. More likely, he saw the £250 go in and said "that'll cost £250 please".

What goes around comes around Alex, he'll get his kismet in another way. He'll probably buy a case of corked Musar which was cooked out in the sun after delivery. If you want to make an issue of it with a strongly worded letter and a threat of SCC, my tact would be his dishonesty in not returning the overpaid monies and that if he wanted to make an issue of the cleansliness, then that was an issue to be decided with the Deposit scheme. That's the tact I would use in SCC as well.
 
It sounds as though Hamptons were paid for a tenant finding service and the property was then managed by the landlord (to save the landlord the ‘management’ fee).

We have recently had an unfurnished property vacated by a tenant. The property required decorating, cleaning and some minor repairs. The inventory showed that the property was immaculate when the tenant took residence last year. It also showed that the huge sofa he left behind in the living room was not there when he moved in (as he tried to argue)

Just as a point of reference the cleaning bill was £125 for two bed flat.. and the tenant was offered the opportunity to get another quote which he declined and all ended well.
 
Yes, the £250 seems extreme (it's a 2 bed flat and had already been partly cleaned pretty well - kitchen and one bedroom), but strangely that was a service organised by Hamptons, with the "Hamptons tax" on it. Probably the cleaner is only getting £50! ;-)
 
Worth chasing up as the amount is too high and lots of parts of what's happened are not quite right. Absolutely not worth police etc, they won't be interested and at the end of the day your daughter will learn about the importance of being on top of admin. Hopefully can be sorted with polite but persistent communication with the landlord.
 
Alex, I don’t know the size of the flat your daughter was renting but we were charged £420 for professional cleaning of the very small 2-bedroom cottage we vacated as tenants. We had a newborn at the time and weren’t able to clean ourselves. Post-tenancy professional cleaning charges in London are always ridiculously high.

If the cleaning charges were to be deducted from the deposit, the deposit protection scheme would have allowed your daughter to question them but I’m not sure what she can do if the landlord has deducted the charge from her overpayment of rent.

On a side note, although the deposit protection scheme protects tenants to some extent, it is extraordinary how little a landlord is required to do without offering any compensation if, for example, a property is severely infested with mice as ours turned out to be!
 
On a side note, although the deposit protection scheme protects tenants to some extent, it is extraordinary how little a landlord is required to do without offering any compensation if, for example, a property is severely infested with mice as ours turned out to be!
Funny you should mention mice! ;-)

I've a few friends who are landlords and they get wound up by other landlords who try to pull fast ones, as they know that means the rules will change to increase the rights of tenants. So you get to a situation where (in law) tenants have a very strong position. However, most tenants don't realise this, and landlords exploit that ignorance. The worst horror stories I've heard are from aggrieved landlords rather than tenants!
 
Doesn't this sound like a scam from the start? Bully the tenants into leaving early so they have little time to clean and then spring the bogus extra cleaning charge. I bet the new tenants didn't turn up at 1, possibly not even the same same day. If the landlord refuses to return the money I'd sue in small claims, but before/after photos would be useful.
 
Use Money Claim Online (MCOL). Basically the Small Claims Court. In my experience they always pay up rather than go to court for things like this.

Provide them with 14 days’ notice and let them know the claim fee (£25) will be added to the claim so the total she’s owed will then be £275.

If they don’t pay within 14 days go ahead and process the claim online - it takes no time at all and I suspect the chances of getting the money back that way are extremely high.
 
Doesn't this sound like a scam from the start? Bully the tenants into leaving early so they have little time to clean and then spring the bogus extra cleaning charge. I bet the new tenants didn't turn up at 1, possibly not even the same same day. If the landlord refuses to return the money I'd sue in small claims, but before/after photos would be useful.
Oooh you cynic you!!

Imho, I think the photos are irrelevant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost the issue for return of money should be the accidental over payment made by Alex's daughter. Secondly the likelihood of either parties is remote. So really it's a he said she said situation. Alex's daughter's case is strengthened by the fact that the landlord didn't deal with the issue of cleaning in the right way, ie through the deposit scheme. Which strengthen's Alex's daughters case of the non return of the over payment as it goes to character.
 
Landlords perspective:

Noon doesn’t sound too onerous to expect the tenants to clean.

£250 is high for an end clean but not crazily so. Assuming you agree that it wasn’t left clean then I’d say you are arguing over £100 max not £250 and probably not lose too much sleep.

Inventories are there to protect both parties but the tenant can’t pay for them (explicitly) any more IIRC So self managing landlords are more likely to avoid bothering.
 
Doesn't this sound like a scam from the start? Bully the tenants into leaving early so they have little time to clean and then spring the bogus extra cleaning charge. I bet the new tenants didn't turn up at 1, possibly not even the same same day. If the landlord refuses to return the money I'd sue in small claims, but before/after photos would be useful.
I don't think photos would really give an impression of cleanliness. They had to clean the place when they first moved in. There were other issues that were never resolved (eg. windows that wouldn't open) so the goodwill was at a low ebb. Mind you, my wife would always clean something even if it was already spotless "just so I know it's clean"...
I suggested that she offer to contribute half of the cleaning bill.
I'd like to know how long the "professional clean" actually takes/took.
 
Stop press - the landlord has now returned the excess money.

It's now up to Joanna to decide if she wants to be nice and contribute to the cleaning costs. I gather that the most offputting thing was that her smelly (male) flatmate didn't even remove the sheets from the bed in his unventilated bedroom! Part of that is landlord's fault for not providing functioning windows, and partly down to boys being boys...

They were pretty good tenants apart from the departure, so IMHO, the landlord should feel that a £250 cleaning bill when set against nearly £20,000 of rent isn't too bad.
 
My daughter had a dispute over a stained carpet after she left a rental last year. The deposit scheme found in her favour and she got all hers back.
Alex, was there a deposit place with the rent deposit scheme? You might find some joy there.
I’m my opinion from what you said the money taken is robbery and as other say the small claims court might help.
I’m interested in what the original agreement said about the end date. It’s odd to have an hour between tenants in the middle of the day. I’ve always taken days between to make sure things are right. This an agreed change in the end date?
 
Yes, there was a rent deposit scheme - I think they're all like that these days.
As he's now sent her the money, I think even he realised that it didn't look good.
I think they left exactly one year after moving in, so no change - I guess he was just being greedy in looking to slightly overlap the tenancies (I think legally they have to begin at midnight) and that has come back to bite him. I'd want to inspect property between tenants - not just rely on the new ones complaining!
The place had been empty for a few weeks before they moved in. The landlord did put a spot of paint here and there, and fix some broken stuff (eg. curtain rail) and said he would fix the sash windows (but never did).
I believe the new tenants were fortunate enough to be in a position to say "We'll try again next week".
 
Sorry crossed post with yours. Glad it’s at least mostly fixed.
As another aside. My Becky has just left another rental (professional student). The landlord was so laidback. Even so, the lad they shared with managed to break a patio door in the last week, then stayed on after the end date, then returned twice for left stuff including his wallet, so the landlord had to meet him.
Luckily he did confess to the patio door so that’s down to him. Lads!
 
Funny you should mention mice! ;-)

I've a few friends who are landlords and they get wound up by other landlords who try to pull fast ones, as they know that means the rules will change to increase the rights of tenants. So you get to a situation where (in law) tenants have a very strong position. However, most tenants don't realise this, and landlords exploit that ignorance. The worst horror stories I've heard are from aggrieved landlords rather than tenants!
I’m not sure that tenants have such a strong position except for when it comes to the deposit, when both parties have to agree on deductions or go to arbitration if using the deposit protection scheme.

A lawyer I spoke with about the mice said that the landlord only has to show basic effort to remedy any issue and could potentially take months doing so without offering any compensation, all within the law. Meanwhile we had mice coming out in the daytime, scratching on our bedroom walls in the night, and leaving droppings in and around our bed. (Rentokil said the issue was essentially structural to the property.) I was told the council would have had to deem our property uninhabitable to have a leg to stand on legally regarding any rent reduction etc.
 
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