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Spotlights and deposit disputes

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Author Topic: Spotlights and deposit disputes  (Read 130 times)
Posts: 1

I like property

« on: April 04, 2022, 03:35:11 PM »

Hi Guys,

Made an account to query this. My girlfriend has just moved out of her central London flat. A check out inventory found 3 spotlight bulbs not working in the bathroom.

She is responsible for replacing lightbulbs as per the contract but the agency is trying to charge 150 for her failure to do so. This seems exorbitant to me. I'm pretty sure agents can only charge for the cost of the bulb.

I am no expert on this matter and as such am posting here. The communications with the agency looks like they are trying to steamroll over her: acting like they can take the money without her agreement, no breakdown of costs etc.

I have suggested she dispute the deposit deduction with the independent arbiter. Is she likely to get much success with this and is this good advice? She will presumably have to pay something but 150 seems like a pisstake
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 06:59:56 PM »

This seems exorbitant to me.


I'm pretty sure agents can only charge for the cost of the bulb.

Are you? Who fits them for the new Tenants? Who goes out to buy bulbs that are matching in type and colour temperature and wattage? No-one wants mismatching bulbs, do they?

Quote they can take the money without her agreement, no breakdown of costs etc.

They cannot. But the question that arises (as it always must) is why didn't your girlfriend just replace them? She knew it was her responsibility. She had plenty of opportunity (and it's unlikely all 3 bulbs went just before the day she moved out. So, is she just lazy? Does she just assume that people will clean up after her? What is it that makes a person behave this way? What do you think? You say that a Check-Out found 3 deceased bulbs... well, not really... right. She wasn't unaware, right? Does she use the bathroom without lights generally?

I have suggested she dispute the deposit deduction with the independent arbiter.

Very likely to get a good outcome here... but an even better approach might be for her (or is it you who will do it for her, as she doesn't quite seem on-the-ball when looking after her own interests) to write to the Agent and suggest that this be assessed by the Deposit Scheme's Alternative Dispute Resolution process... and then - at the same time - offer an olive branch whereby, say, she offers the Agency an amount that will tempt them (for an easy life for both parties, you understand?)... maybe something like 5 per bulb and 35 for sourcing and fitting? All-in... 50. This could be a short-cut, because actually going through with a Deposit dispute is likely to yield good results, but will take time (and some effort)... and who wants that hanging over them when you can just move on... and groove on.

Faced with 50 in the hand, or possibly 150 (but likely less, probably not zilch) in the future I reckon the Agency might jump at it.

50 is still a lot for 3 bulbs. Sure. But doesn't your girlfriend probably need to learn something at the same time? No better way to learn than through the purse.

Maybe next time she'll actually be bothered to try and hand the property back in the same state it was when she took on the tenancy.
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2022, 10:16:52 AM »

It does seem a lot.However,if the landlord  is unable to go round and put new bulbs in (because she could not be bothered) or if they use an agent,they could justify the cost. In central London I would not be surprised to get an invoice like that for a handyman (maybe even a sparks?) to cover a call out fee,time and VAT.As Hippogriff says,she would probably win the dispute because they tend to favour the tenants. I am a bit fed up of people who think some fairy will magically appear and sort out their chores for them.
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2022, 01:14:27 PM »

It seems a lot to me.  If the agent or landlord has their tenancy agreement written correctly they can certainly charge a call-out fee plus the cost of the bulbs.

I used to work as a property manager in London. Our contractors call-out fee was 78 then they charged for the bulbs.

They might be charging a bit too much but why didn't you just change your own light bulbs and expect someone to go to the time and effort to do such a simple task for you?
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