Deposit Dilemma – Please Help!

I received a letter from my previous landlords/agency (they own all of the properties that they let out) and was shocked (and quite distressed.)

My deposit was £400. I left my room in the condition I found it (except maybe a little cleaner!) and cannot believe what I am being charged for. We received a letter outlining fines and costs (i.e unclean toilet – £25) and made sure all requests made by the landlords were completed to a high standard.

So why am I now being told my deposit has had £148.20 deducted because of a so called missing key (that firstly was not for my room, and secondly, was returned,) windows of an unspecified location (mine were bloomin shiny!) as well as blatently ridiculous ‘administration fees’ and a service charge (for an inspection!?!?!?!?!)

The appalling letter from rooms4every1.com

The letter also features incredibly poor grammar and presentation. The word ‘whatsoever’ has been separated into three words, my name has a small ‘f’ and a scribbed out ‘C’ in front of it and also a lack of proper signature at the bottom of the letter. Accounts is not a person and whoever on earth they are, they clearly didn’t do very well in maths class.

My cheque, which I’m unsure if I can post has £251.20 written in the numerical amount space and the written amount is a barely legible ‘one hundred and fifty one pounds’….so they’re trying to keep an extra £100.20 (or get the cheque to bounce so that I don’t get anything.)

If anyone can help me. I’m still a student and not earning much for my current work experience position (so I need this money) please, PLEASE let me know. I’m thinking of making a trip to Birmingham on Saturday (in fact I AM) so that I can go to the office and express my feelings….

The incorrect cheque (bank details covered)

Thanks everyone.

Frankie x

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16 comments

  1. Nick Booth · July 16, 2009

    Did you take any photo’s video when you left, was there a visual record of the place when you started? (Sorry I’m not trying to ask questions that make you go “I wish”).

    They are assuming that the effort isn’t worth it for you. You could talk to your students union. They will have welfare folk who can help, they may also be collecting evidence of problems with renting.

  2. Frankie Ward · July 16, 2009

    The prob is I’m working 9.30-6 in london and the stu union advice isnt open at weekends in the summer.

    Ive checked out a couple of sites and deposit is only for neglect/outstanding rent and bills so what they are trying to do is illegal and I will definitely go and talk to them. If they refuse to pay me the cheque I will take things further.

    Thanks, really appreciate your response

  3. Alex Lee · July 16, 2009

    There are several points I’d like to raise:

    1. Did your deposit get put into one of the Government approved tenancy deposit schemes? If not then the landlord/agency broke the law by taking a deposit in the first place and you should be entitled to a rebate equal to approximately 3 times the deposit amount. You’d need to check your contract and any further paperwork they sent you, but there is a 14 day maximum window for the deposit to be secured in such a scheme before falling foul of the law. Check http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/DG_066373 for further information.

    2. As you live away from Birmingham at the moment, it may be worth seeing if you can get an appointment at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact your local council as they generally have advisors trained to deal with housing issues. The Guild have advisors for housing, etc. but are generally busy at this time of year, what with half of them away for the summer break. Birmingham city council have an office in Selly Oak, on Hubert Road at which you could make an appointment – the number should be on http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/

    3. Do not cash the cheque. I would also write to the landlord/agent immediately to dispute the amount and explaining that you won’t be cashing the cheque; you could also consider returning it. You should also confirm for what the administration fees were charged. These could be legitimate deductions as per your contract, although a court may consider that their inclusion was unreasonable and ignore them.

    Again, I would say get some expert advice, either from the CAB or a similar organisation or from a solicitor. Above all, though, contact your former housemates and work together to get the remainder of your deposit back.

  4. Frankie Ward · July 17, 2009

    Thanks brilliant, thanks very much!

  5. Barnard · July 18, 2009

    Hi Frankie

    I was going to say much the same as Alex above

    The deposit should have been held by a third party by law and
    it looks like the landlord/agent is trying to pull a fast one and
    could well be illegal

    Here is a phone number for BCC Housing who should be able to help
    0121 303 4125

    They also have an online enquiry form here

    http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=18407&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=11971&EXPAND=310

    Best Wishes

    Barnard

  6. David · July 21, 2009

    Hi Frankie,

    Have you had any luck in your enquiries? I’m in the same position! I got my deposit back last week and had the same admin / service charges so they took £145 of my £300 deposit!

    I’ve written to the Advice Centre in the Guild at Birmingham Uni but am thinking of using some of the links in the comments above too!

    Let me know how you get on.

    Dave

  7. Frankie Ward · July 21, 2009

    Thanks Barnard!

    Dave, are you with Rooms4Every1 too? I’m basically not going to accept my cheque (can’t anyway cos it wouldn’t work) and have sent them a letter informing them that I am not happy. If they do not respond favourably then I will put in a claim via the small claims court…

    good luck

    Frankie

  8. Nick Petrie · July 21, 2009

    Frankie,

    it is probably also worth dropping James Ogden / Ed Sparkes an email at hcvp@guild.bham.ac.uk to see if there is anything they can to do help – any advice they can give.

    Nick

  9. Frankie Ward · July 21, 2009

    Thanks Nick. I need to get through to other students to make sure that my ex landlords don’t get anyone else!

  10. James Williams · July 22, 2009

    The email Nick was trying to give you is actually vphc@guild.bham.ac.uk
    hope you get it sorted

  11. Ed Sparkes · July 22, 2009

    Hey Frankie,

    there are some really good comments up here so make the most of them.

    For my part i’d suggest you check the original contract etc see if you can find any evidence that those admin charges were always part of the deal. I know for my deposit i paid 300 but it was made quite clear that after admin fees there was only ever 250 up for grabs at the end of the year.

    Basically you dont wanna come all the way up to Brum and then get smacked by red tape so do as much as you can beforehand.

    If you need any help im happy to do some chasing this end for you before you come up then im happy to do that and i can talk to Oggy if you like to try and get some solid contacts for you. I’ll show this blog to someone in the ARC tomorrow if you like to get some professional opinions so watch this space.

    If you need just text me 07743516535.

  12. Stacy · August 18, 2009

    Rooms4every1 is the WORST estate agent in birmingham. I rented a property from 1st July 08-1st July 09. they told me that I would get my deposite 2 weeks after I have moved out however its been 1month & 3weeks and I still have not recieved my deposite. I have phoned and sent e-mails to the staffs and the resoponse I get is excuses. I am a student who lives on a limited budget and the last thing I need is the my Landlords taking money from me when I did not damage the property and I left every thing in tact. Please advice me on what to do.

  13. Ronald · August 18, 2009

    Rooms4every1 are DEPOSITE STEALERS!
    Beware. The dentist who owns the place need to realise that stealing from students deposite is wrong. For you to become a dentist you started as a studnet so please treat your tenants fair and with respect.

    Someone should contact the watchdog on you guys

  14. Teena · February 18, 2010

    I have the same problem with rooms4every1. On my contract it says £25 admin fee but they have deducted £120 in total as admin. They have charged £7.50 for vaccuming the floor which I left as clean as possible with the useless vaccum machine they have given us. Also they are charging for wear and tear which is not really the tenants fault.

    I have never received any deposit certificate from them. So I am disputing the matter and would join you guys to make it loud and clear that rooms4evry1 is a money ripping agency. Warn prospective students in Uni by complaining about them to the student guild.

  15. Tom Thomas · December 17, 2010

    Sounds like your landlord does this with all of his tenants and hopes that nobody complains. These types of people give landlords a bad name. If it happens again just issue a county court summons against you landlord and they will soon pay up. Hope you managed to get all of your deposit back.

  16. Tabaria Chowdhury · January 12, 2012

    During this period the owner ought to make certain he’s the authorized duplicate of the tenancy, book plan facts,… See this free of charge report ; foreclosure Do’s and don’ts in ga ; Reporting Bad Landlords

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