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My landlord is currently trying to charge me for professional cleaning even though the property was cleaned thoroughly prior to moving out and the inventory of the house says that many rooms were of a poor domestic standard prior to moving in. I have pictures of before and after from an independent inventory company.

After I stated this, the landlord switched tactics by saying that I did not inform them of a water leak while in a 6-month tenancy. The inventory demonstrates the water damage prior to us moving in as well as some black mould where the water leak was, which I cleaned with bleach and a sponge. There are watermarks on the concrete and the drain junction has a plant growing up it, all evidenced by the prior inventory.

Does the law permit charges by a landlord in circumstances like this? The landlord or agent must have known of the leak previously.

I'm in the UK.

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  • Laws vary around the world, so which jurisdiction (country, province, state, principality etc) does this relate to?
    – Rick
    Sep 2 at 13:18
  • 1
    UK, Wales, Flintshire Sep 2 at 13:19
  • Are they invoicing you or simply deducting from a deposit?
    – Unfair-Ban
    Sep 2 at 13:27
  • Deducting from deposit Sep 2 at 13:29
  • We cannot advise on the specifics of a particular situation, so the pictures are not relevant, nor are other problems not related to the propped charges by the landlord. We can only discuss what the law permits or requires, and what the legal procedures are. As edited, i do not think this is a request for specific legal advice. Sep 2 at 15:21
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You have a reasonable case factually that the landlord is not entitled to make this charge, which would be a disputed factual issue if it were contested in litigation. And, being the U.K., if you prevailed, you would also get your litigation costs including attorney fees, if you prevailed.

This said, the amount of money at stake is very low to justify fighting over, you could be hit with the landlord's litigation costs including attorney fees if you lose (and cases like this, in my experience, in U.S. landlord-tenant litigation can easily go either way no matter how clear it seems to you). If you lose, you will be much worse off than if you didn't fight the issue at all. Also, being in litigation gets in the way of you going on with your life, and you wouldn't be compensated by the court for your personal time devoted to fighting this issue in court.

Since there is a security deposit, the impetus is on you to sue the landlord to get the amount deducted back. If you do nothing, the landlord wins.

You could try to negotiate the dispute without going to court, but unless you can convince the landlord that you will go the distance to sue the landlord and win, if you don't get an acceptable settlement, this will probably not be effective.

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  • There’s no litigation and no costs. Residential tenancy disputes have a free dispute resolution pathway in the UK.
    – Dale M
    Sep 2 at 22:18
  • @DaleM I used the term "litigation" rather than a more specific term, to specifically include binding dispute resolution by means other than ordinary courts. It sounds like post-dispute arbitration by mutual consent by a government appointee with no arbitration process fees if the landlord "protected" the deposit, that some cases still have to go to court, and it looks like lawyers are allowed by not required. But I could be missing something. gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/disputes-and-problems
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 2 at 23:50

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