Guest blogger and deposit dispute expert Tom Derrett talks about three of the worst cases he has seen …
Three nightmare cases
In my time I have seen some very unusual claims on protected deposits. Here are three reasons to claim that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
This one beggars belief and has to go first.
The landlord was trying to sell the property. A friend of his wanted to buy it and the two of them agreed that the friend would become a tenant, living in the same property for a few months while the sale went through.
The tenant was something of a DIY enthusiast and had great plans for extending the property that he was soon to own. In fact, the tenant was so eager to get going that he started work well before the sale went through.
The tenant half built a two story extension on the back of the house and, by all accounts, didn’t do a terribly good job of it. When the mortgage company came to value the property they spotted the half built extension and turned down the tenant’s mortgage application. Needless to say, the chain fell through.
The tenant, perhaps realising the extent of his mistake, stopped paying rent and ran away leaving his ‘friend’ the landlord out of pocket and with an unsaleable house. The local building control department made him pull down the extension at his own expense before he could even re-let the property.
Thankfully, on this occasion the deposit protection scheme paid him the deposit, which was a drop in the ocean compared to the expense.
The House of Ill Repute
The dispute actually hinged around the installation of a podium and lap dancing pole in the living room of a city centre apartment. The pole had been installed so that dancers could provide a little entertainment for clients waiting there. The tenancy had been turned into a brothel.
The landlord said that the girls had kept the property quite well and he was prepared to overlook some unusual stains because it was time to redecorate anyway but, unfortunately, the way the pole was installed caused structural damage to the building and the landlord had to pay thousands to sort it out.
This time the tenant knew what they we doing and the landlord was told by the deposit protection scheme that he didn’t have adequate evidence and the whole deposit was repaid to the tenant.
The Cannabis Farm
This story is repeated again and again across the country and is a very good reason to be extremely suspicious of tenants who offer to pay for the whole fixed term in advance.
The typical scenario involves a landlord re-entering, after the tenants stopped paying rent weeks ago, to find all the dividing walls knocked down, the floors ripped up and the underfloor subspace and loft filled with cannabis waste. Any carpets or laminate floors will be ruined by water damage and the meters are usually bypassed, leaving the utility companies to chase the poor landlord for a massive estimated bill.
Tom is the author of How to Win Deposit Disputes sold by Your Law Store.
Click here to find out more and also download the first two chapters of the book.