This summer, over a dozen G4Lets tenants successfully withheld their final month’s rent payment to claim back their tenancy deposit. G4Lets are notorious deposit thieves, usually taking most or all of a deposit for dubious and inflated charges that take months to challenge through their chosen deposit protection scheme, MyDeposits.
A tenant in Eastbourne has won back £100 by challenging deductions to his deposit. The tenant’s landlord was attempting to make various deductions for replacement items that had been subject to fair wear and tear.
The tenant contacted Brighton SolFed for advice on what he could do in this situation, given that he had already moved out and was unable to gather his own evidence. After some brief discussion about the different ways that deposit theft can be challenged – such as by checking whether your landlord has correctly protected the deposit, and challenging your landlord to produce invoices for items that they allege needed replacing – the tenant opened correspondence with the landlord about the deductions. The landlord immediately agreed to return £100, which the tenant was happy to accept.
Brighton Solidarity Federation recently assisted a tenant whose letting agent, Ashton Burkinshaw, were attempting to make unreasonable deductions from their deposit. We were contacted by the tenant after their letting agent tried to deduct nearly £200 for unnecessary (maybe never done) work. We advised the tenant what their rights were and helped them use one of our template letters to send to their agent. The agent could not provide an invoice for the work and had to back down.
Every person who has rented a home has experienced their letting agent trying to steal part or all of their deposit. There are many ways to fight back and sometimes the most effective one is also the simplest.
Since September 2018, we have been organising with two different groups of tenants – one who had their deposit stolen by G4Lets, and one living in accommodation in a serious state of disrepair. We’re pleased to report that both of these situations concluded well, with the first group of tenants receiving £1000 back from their stolen deposit, and the second group receiving a rent reduction for the poor quality of their accommodation, and with the works being carried out. Below is the story of these two disputes, particularly how they relate to our previous disputes with G4Lets and the tactics we used in these two most recent disputes.
A tenant organising with Brighton Solidarity Federation has had £450 of her deposit returned following erroneous deductions by The Property Shop. After a long and arduous process, the Deposit Protection Service (MyDeposits) found in favour of the tenant and demanded that a portion of her deposit, which had been withheld by the agency, be returned.
In September-October 2017, Brighton SolFed Housing Union successfully organised with a tenant who was facing a £510 deduction to her deposit. The amount was repaid in full after a roughly three week campaign. Below, the tenant explains the situation she was in, as well as her experience of the campaign and the affect it had on her.
In October 2017, Brighton Solidarity Federation was organising with a tenant who was facing a £344 deduction from their deposit after moving out of a house administered by the lettings agency The Property Shop in Kemptown. The tenant approached Brighton SolFed for support to organise a public campaign against this, which concluded successfully with full replayment to the tenant after around one month of actions. Below, the tenant tells the story of their experience of this situation, as well as of the public campaign.
Brighton lettings agency Brand Vaughan is facing a growing campaign by Solidarity Federation, after the agency deducted £390 from the deposit of a student tenant for cleaning and redecoration. The tenant left her room clean, and the deductions made by the agency contain a number of problems, including not evidencing an attempt to procure the most reasonable deal, as they should, and not all of the deductions being sufficiently costed. Moreover, the tenant reported serious concerns regarding the behaviour of her housemates to the agency during her tenancy, which was pertinent to the issues that the agency claim require deposit deductions, and which was the source of a great deal of distress for the tenant, who had to move out because of them.
Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with Town and City Residential Lettings, operating out of English Business Park, near Hove Cemetery. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after the agency failed to address severe mould and damp issues, which the tenant lost several belongings to, and then took the cost of necessary refurbishment and repair out of the tenant’s deposit. The tenant, a single mother dealing with anxiety, has suffered repeated harassment and bullying by the agency. This has come to a climax with the agency demanding at first £200 from the tenant’s deposit, arbitrarily raising this figure to £780, and then making a final, ludicrous demand for £1030.
A tenant has been organising with SolFed after deposit deductions were made from their joint-tenancy deposit, despite the fact they left the property in a clean condition. The deductions were unreasonable, not costed in enough detail, and, on top of this, service from the agency was poor throughout her tenancy. This even included not being provided keys when locks were changed during the tenancy.
Brand Vaughan’s response to the demands for £390 to be returned from the deposit, and for £541 compensation, has included making legal threats, as well as claiming that the problems with the tenancy were not their responsibility. The landlord of the property is in-fact Tom Ghibaldan, chief executive of Brand Vaughan. Deposit deductions claimed by Brand Vaughan were in the service of their own chief executive.