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Landlord withholding deposit - advice please

  • 13-08-2015 10:32am
    Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭✭ Early_Bird

    I'm looking for any help or advice on an issue we are having with getting our deposit back from the landlord. We rented a 100-year-old house in Dublin for 2 years and 4 months. Two weeks ago we moved out, after giving appropriate notice and having put in 2 full days of scrubbing the place until it was in an immaculate condition.

    We were aware of the age and history of the property, and expected that the building would have certain issues associated with its age (damp patches, hairline cracks etc.). These issues would not have affected our time in the house and so we did not raise this as something to be remedied by the landlord.

    During our time in the property we had 4 or 5 inspections arranged by the letting agency. Each time photos were taken and the inspectors were very complementary on the condition of the house. Once the inspector even said something along the lines of "I have been coming here for years and this is the nicest I've ever seen it look by far".

    In the later months of our tenancy Bord Gais Networks arranged to replace the gas meter, during which time we were issued with a notice that the boiler pipe flue (in place since before we moved in obviously) was in breach of regulations, a hazard to our health and safety, and would need to be replaced. This was brought to the attention of the agency and works were carried out over a two day period. We had to take time off work to facilitate this and did not seek reimbursement or explanation from the landlord for why they were in breach of regulations.

    After we gave notice of moving out, the agency arranged for a viewing, during which some prospective tenants raised questions about damp patches. At the time of the viewing the agent showing them around put this down to historical damp and said it would be dealt with. We were then asked to facilitate access for an architect (landlord's father, as it happens) and a builder to assess the damage. They both seemed to agree this damp could not have happened in the short time we were there and was probably historical. The builder then arranged to carry out the works.

    We moved out a few days after and a thorough review was carried out by an independent inspector arranged by the agency. He was complementary on the condition and cleanliness of the house, we handed over the keys and left him to it. We have not seen the full report.

    This morning we received an email saying that the landlord (who lives n Australia) was not happy with us terminating the contract and was saying that he was advised of works required which were beyond wear and tear.

    This came as a complete shock to us and I would like to know whether anyone out there had a similar experience and if there is anything we can do to ensure we get the deposit back? thanks!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,893 ✭✭✭✭ Cuddlesworth

    A fair number of landlords either chance their arm or have no real idea on how much it costs to maintain a property. Inform the landlord you are lodging a PRTB case against him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,477 ✭✭✭ runawaybishop

    Request your deposit back immediately and in full, highlighting what you mentioned above and inform the landloard if your deposit is not returned in a timely manner in full you will be opening a case with the PTRB.

    You can submit a dispute here-

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭✭ Early_Bird

    Thanks, Cuddlesworth
    We've raised our concerns with the letting agents, stating that if we don't receive the deposit in full we will take matters further. It's the only way we can get in touch with the landlord. We didn't mention prtb just yet.

    I'm mostly concerned that we don't have proof that issues like damp patches were there before we moved in, and if this doesn't show up on agency inspection reports from before our tenancy started we may have no way to prove it at all.
    To make matters worse, the architect and builder who inspected and fixed the issues were vested interests (architect is landlord's dad and he brought his builder in to fix the patches), so they are hardly going to back up our case with their 'expert opinion' ...

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭✭ Early_Bird

    Thanks, runawaybishop - we did just that, and got a note from the agency saying "we have forwarded your email to the landlord". they don't seem to care either way and we can't contact the landlord directly...

  • Registered Users Posts: 37,527 ✭✭✭✭ the_syco

    Who did you pay the deposit to?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭✭ Early_Bird

    the_syco - I presume it was the landlord, but all are dealings are through the agency so I can't be sure. I suspect what happens is that the agency holds on to the deposit until it is due back and they seek permission from the landlord to either pay us back or not...

  • Registered Users Posts: 312 ✭✭ Gasherbraun

    Early_Bird wrote: »
    I'm mostly concerned that we don't have proof that issues like damp patches were there before we moved in, and if this doesn't show up on agency inspection reports from before our tenancy started we may have no way to prove it at all.

    Were you provided with a copy of the inventory for your comment / agreement? An inventory needs to be agreed by both parties in order for it to be valid otherwise a landlord can just write what ever they wish in it.

    If you were provided with a copy of inventory and for whatever reason did not highlight the ommission of the damp patches this could go against you in an adjudication.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭✭ Early_Bird

    Gasherbraun - I don't think we have the original inventory, I certainly do not recall ever seeing it...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭ dori_dormer

    If all these official inspections were done, surely there's then physical reports to back you up.

    Definitly mention the prtb. It's the only thing that gets these guys nervous. The landlord would actually have to travel back from Australia to attend. Much cheaper to just give you back your deposit!