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  1. #1
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    Default Moving out: Thai landlord having expenses over the remaining deposit?!

    Having been back in the UK for several months now, I decided to email my former Thai landlady about where to send the remaining deposit, giving her my wife's account details.

    An email came back from her detailing expenses not only wiping out the remaining deposit but actually going over it! (Just as well we overstayed a month into the two months deposit!)

    We left in a rush, leaving the place not spotless and there were 3 years of wear and tear so I expected a bit of a deduction but there was a cleaning and repair bill for over 20,000B and an item in there for new wallpaper for over 30,000B (because some spot couldn't be removed or replaced or something). There were photos of some of the items, some I'd admit were a bit dirty and some stuff was simply wear and tear due to bad quality not-built-to-last materials that I saw in many flats in the complex... but 20,000 baht's worth? She obviously used the inbuilt condo office to do this and they're wildly over-priced for anything they do.

    My questions are:
    1. Is it worth trying to get anything back? (My wife has relatives that are willing to try)
    2. What if the landlady asks for extra money to cover her wallpaper costs, etc? She hasn't mentioned anything. Obviously, being in the UK, I'm not likely to pay that if she asks but could it make any problems for me in future or my wife now? (The rental agreement was just in my name)

    Thanks for any help/advice here.

    The funny thing is that she replaces the (what I thought was OK) wallpaper and itemises it as if it's a cost due to us but ignores the rather scummy sofa. (After 3 years of people sitting and sleeping on it, it wasn't looking fresh! ) Perhaps it's just an item to barter with, that she can point to if I came back with moans about the other things wiping out a 20-30,000 deposit I'm due back.

  2. #2
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    You say 20-30,000 deposit due back. Is that after taking in to account the fact you
    overstayed a month into the two months deposit!
    so is it more like 10-15,0000 that is left!

    If that is the case, and you agree that some of the stuff was rather scummy and you didn't bother to clean up before leaving, then i would not bother chasing her to get it back and call it quits.
    Champions 20|13

  3. #3
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    Nah, the deposit was about 57,000, two months rent. We had to stay nearly an extra month, waiting for the settlement visa. The landlady said that was fine, she'd just take it from the deposit. That left around 30,000, minus electricity, water, telephone and cleaning. The utilities would have been about 2000 altogether.

    The flat was OK, not spick and span, but OK. There were some warped sideboards - that happened in every flat I saw in the complex, due to poor materials, bad workmanship. The sofa was a shade or three away from its original colour but it was a fairly cheap one so what else do you expect to happen in over 3 years?

    Most Thais seem to think it's a big cleaning bill!

  4. #4
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    So she owes you £600 by my calculations?

    Even in the UK getting this back would be difficult, if she can back it up with legitimate bills. In Thailand it would therefore be near impossible Id have thought.

    Forget it and move on, sure its only 100 bottles of water in the Heron

  5. #5
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    Simply put;

    Question 1. No
    Question 2. No


  6. #6
    Premium Member Phetchy's Avatar
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    No chance whatsoever of getting a refund. The over-estimate of the clean up and repairs will be grudgingly reduced to exactly match the amount owing to you. Coincidence? No, just opportunistic accounting to make sure that the refundable deposit - isn't. It's not a universal practice, but I've heard about it many times when the person who is owed the refund is 10,000kms away.
    Phil.

    "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment."

  7. #7
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    It happens here as well so as for getting anything out of LOS "write it off"

    colin 244

  8. #8
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    Yes, happened to me in the UK with over £1,500 deposit, there was mention of spots on carpets that were also in the inventory when we moved in, but that didn't seem to matter, butthe biggest mickey take, a large bill covering gardening, when I asked for a breakdown of it the response was something along the lines of a team of 6 gardeners doing 4 hours each at a cost of £25 per hour each :-S I was chasing this further and even got a letter from the neighbour who was retired and head of the neighbourhood watch stating we always kept the garden maintained and detailing visits to the property after we had left (no team of gardeners), but after lots of hassle and aggro eventually gave up

  9. #9
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    Worse one I had on vacating a flat was you did not dust the top of the doors

    colin 244

  10. #10
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    IMO you are a prime example of a bad tenant who cares little about other peoples property.
    At the end of a tenancy all best effort should be made to return the property to the condition it was in when the tenancy began. If you cannot be arsed doing this then the deposit should be used to repair the faults using the best contractors and every item repaired or replaced.Also the time spent getting the repairs done mean the property cannot be re-let,this should also be billed.
    Any dispute over fair wear and tear if allowed in the tenancy agreement should take place before the end of the tenancy.
    Oh and the sofa that you admit was 3 shades darker because of your dirt - Why should the landlord take the trouble to clean it? You didn't. I would replace it at your cost and offer you the dirty one to take to your next rental it might save you some money.
    The wallpaper if damaged may well need replacing as matching old and new is not always possible- and expensive both to buy and fit here in Thailand.
    From your description of the way you left the property I think you will be lucky you are not being chased for the full amount that sounds like is owed.
    Why do bad tenants always blame the landlord? The property was good enough when they moved in so why not try to keep it that way?

  11. #11
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    poosmate, I assume you're a landlord yourself?

    How am a prime example of anything? That would be someone who shat on the walls and broke everything. You only have my information to go on here. The apartment was returned in more or less the same state as it was when we began living there, less unavoidable usual wear and tear. I exaggerate the state of the sofa. Obviously it can't have been that bad if she didn't claim for it... We didn't do anything special, we just lived in the place for over 3 years.

    A landlord, as in any business, has to expect normal wear and tear and depreciation. I have to expect that the laptops I buy for my business will get wear and tear with my normal use and not try to claim off Dell or Acer for it being a bit less than perfect after 3-4 years of use. That's the nature of your business, I suggest. You'd expect to redecorate, etc, every few years. And if I bought a crappy cheap brand that was unreliable, I'd expect to do it more.

    Of course, you may be a landlord that chooses quality furnishings and fittings to last. This wasn't the case here. This complex was only about a year old when I moved in but soon the window handles were breaking when I tried to open the bathroom window. I looked around, in the outside corridors and noticed that most window handles were broken too, in the same way. When we saw other apartments in the complex, they all had the same problems. Shoddy materials that looked nice at first but corners had been cut. Things came apart very easily, warped easily. I have had no such trouble with UK apartments. Even the sofa was what you'd expect after 3 years. We did try to clean it, several times. It wasn't a quality piece, built to last. The whole complex was that way.

    Things were falling apart or or dubious quality and so were repairs (we had to pay to fix the blinds 4 times, drawers 2 times, shower 2-3 times, toilet water attachment 4 times, sink once. The water from somewhere above leaked into our bathroom and left a stain on the ceiling. The repairs for that were substandard. Etc, etc, etc)

    So in effect we're asked to pay for that - the quality being less than it first appeared. Perhaps you rent out better quality apartments and have had bad tenants. I'd forgive you for being hard there. Otherwise your opinion is the first three letters of your forum name. All the Thais who have actually been in the apartment and know its state were shocked at the bill.

    The wallpaper was completely fine. Why should I have to pay for a landlord wanting to do things up to get a new tenant?

    'The property was good enough when they moved in'
    One thing I didn't mention is that the market is now a LOT more competitive than a few years ago. There are now many new attractive developments in that area, all similarly close to the skytrain. We noticed a lot more flats available in our complex than a few years ago. She obviously has to try a lot harder to rent that property than a few years ago and she'll probably get less than we paid. Again, why should we pay for that?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bifftastic View Post
    Simply put;

    Question 1. No
    Question 2. No


    I know you're right. In reality, there's probably little I can do and I'm just venting. She's just doing it on because she knows I'm out of the country and she knows it's not worth my while to come back. I doubt I'd have had such deductions if I was still there. She was fine while I was in the country. Disappointing but kind of expected. I'm just glad we stayed a month into the deposit!

  12. #12
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    It happened to my friend in Bangkok as well. She's Thai if that makes any difference. She didn't leave the city, never mind the country.

    Lost 18,000 as the landlord did basically the same as yours. Claimed that redecorating, replacing furniture etc. had eaten the deposit, where in fact, it had probably been eaten as soon as it had been deposited!

    She complained bitterly, tried everything she could to get it back, all to no avail.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by livingwithathaigirl View Post
    She's just doing it on because she knows I'm out of the country and she knows it's not worth my while to come back.
    Don`t even know about that mate, as others have said here it happens a hell of alot in the UK - its happened to me in virtually every flat in London to some extent or other.

    Even if you were in Thailand you`re options to reclaim the money would be very limited.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    Quote "We didn't do anything special, we just lived in the place for over 3 years."

    Yes I am a landlord both here and in the Uk. I expect a tenant to take care of a property and its contents and demand redecoration and upkeep as part of a tenancy agreement ensuring leaving tenants return the property as it was before they moved in.
    Fair wear and tear of the fabric of the building and fixed fixtures and fittings is my problem but dirt and damage to furniture and wall/floor-covering is not.
    I stand by my previous comments regarding a bad tenant as all issues should have been agreed on or before moving out. The landlord is within his rights to ensure he receives his property back in a fit state so it may be re let.
    Complaining that you had to repair consumables does not wash as this should be part of using a property should it not ( unless you were in a serviced apartment)?
    If there were previous issues regarding repairs and other items these too should have been discussed prior to vacating not used to fuel a defense of your deposit being used because of your failure to have the property inspected by the landlord before you left.
    In a nutshell if you leave a property without getting agreement that all is well as I presume you did before you moved in then you have only yourself to blame. This simple procedure also protects against future dispute and unscrupulous landlords

  15. #15
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์
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    I am so glad we have a rent deposit scheme in this country it makes thing so much easier.

  16. #16
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    Never mind tenant and landlord if there is a letting agent involved as well the tenant has no chance on anything being refunded after the end of the tenancy

    colin 244 (with experience)

  17. #17
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    Chaps, you are more than welcome to pursue a landlord in the UK through a small claim at the local County Court.

    I'll add that I once went after a landlord through this legal process and will admit that it ultimately amounted to months of stress for little sense of victory or one upmanship. The small financial gain hardly compensated either.

    I'd consider not bothering in future. Not sure that the time to emotional stress ratio is worth the outlay.

  18. #18
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colin244 View Post
    Never mind tenant and landlord if there is a letting agent involved as well the tenant has no chance on anything being refunded after the end of the tenancy

    colin 244 (with experience)
    Old experience Colin, see the above post re: rent deposit scheme.

    I was once a landlord. 1st years tenants were great, 2nd lot not so. I felt pretty bad about not returning the deposit to the two of three that paid their rent, but the third was a bit hit and miss and there was only one tenancy agreement for the three of them. I felt less sorry for the two when I realised that one of the previous good tenants had failed to cancel her BT account which was abused by the new tenants, racking up enormous bills they clearly had no intention of paying. I passed the forwarding address of one of the girls to BT to chase and contacted the father of two of the earlier tenants (guarentor) to warn them to check for anything else. He called me back a few weeks later to confirm all had been sorted with BT and there were other issues and his daughters had been taught a big lesson - he also thanked me, which was nice. I didn't like being a landlord and sold the flat. From a financial viewpoint, the single biggest mistake of my life.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by poosmate View Post
    Fair wear and tear of the fabric of the building and fixed fixtures and fittings is my problem but dirt and damage to furniture and wall/floor-covering is not.
    Mate, that's all it was - fair wear and tear. There was no 'damage' or ingrained dirt. To give you some idea, it was a 2 bedroom apartment and the smaller bedroom hadn't been used by anyone in over 3 years (because there were only 2 of us living there). And yet they (the condo office/landlady) somehow found 3 invisible 'problems' in the room! On the photos we couldn't see any problem and we couldn't remember any. No one used the room!

    I stand by my previous comments regarding a bad tenant as all issues should have been agreed on or before moving out. The landlord is within his rights to ensure he receives his property back in a fit state so it may be re let.
    It was in a fit state. Everyone who'd been in the flat was shocked by the bill and called it a rip-off.
    I think you're thinking of 'bad tenants' as in the people in the flat opposite who had 4-5 people inhabiting a similar 2 bedroom apartment. They vacated some time before us and, walking past an open door as workman tried to do it up, we saw broken light fittings, clear damage on the door (where they'd locked themselves out before and tried to force their way back), etc. Ours wasn't like that. It was fine.

    Complaining that you had to repair consumables does not wash as this should be part of using a property should it not ( unless you were in a serviced apartment)?
    Blind mechanism broken (by gentle use a few weeks after 'replacing'/repairing. Get it done again. Repeat. 3 or 4 times. They were fundamentally bad.

    If there were previous issues regarding repairs and other items these too should have been discussed prior to vacating not used to fuel a defense of your deposit being used because of your failure to have the property inspected by the landlord before you left.
    I'd told the landlady about the issues I'd seen, including warped side/floorboards before, noting that we'd done nothing to cause it and that other flats we'd seen in the complex had the same thing. She must have known she'd bought a bit of a dud from this company. (It's done a few developments since, I'll give the name to anyone interested so you can avoid them. I've heard other bad things since about floors disintegrating, general poor quality being discovered after a while.

    In a nutshell if you leave a property without getting agreement that all is well as I presume you did before you moved in then you have only yourself to blame.
    Yes, I'll blame myself a bit for trusting a landlord's basic sense of decency... There has to be room for that, doesn't there? If I leave the room in a decent state, you give the money, or most of it, back, right? If the building has issues, like damp, subsidence, whatever, is looking a bit dated compared to the new competition, you're supposed to dig into your own pockets to fix those things, not take advantage of your last tenant. That's part of being a landlord. We'd paid her a decent rent for years, above the other rents we'd seen recently for similar flats in the same complex.

    You should have seen this place. Then you would have been likely to agree with me! 20,000 for 'cleaning'? It was 400B for the team of maids while we were there!

    It's yet another thing that's left a sour taste in my mouth about Thailand.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Phetchy View Post
    No chance whatsoever of getting a refund. The over-estimate of the clean up and repairs will be grudgingly reduced to exactly match the amount owing to you. Coincidence? No, just opportunistic accounting to make sure that the refundable deposit - isn't. It's not a universal practice, but I've heard about it many times when the person who is owed the refund is 10,000kms away.
    It does seem like that, with the added bit that the condo office want their share and are over-charging her for having their workmen do anything. She had been nice but she does work for a bank and have a new car to pay for, also realising that she has a lot more competition now around where we were staying. It is opportunism and it does leave me with more cynical feelings about the country I left. Which, on the positive side, I guess, leaves me more glad to be here!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bifftastic View Post
    It happened to my friend in Bangkok as well. She's Thai if that makes any difference. She didn't leave the city, never mind the country.

    Lost 18,000 as the landlord did basically the same as yours. Claimed that redecorating, replacing furniture etc. had eaten the deposit, where in fact, it had probably been eaten as soon as it had been deposited!

    She complained bitterly, tried everything she could to get it back, all to no avail.
    I wonder what you can try in Thailand to get it back? I'd think the UK laws would be more helpful, with small claims, etc but I can't think the Thai system would be.

    I think so many even relatively rich Thais live hand to mouth. When I first looked at the flat I thought it was strange how she hadn't yet bought a TV and fridge, cooker, etc, to go in there to make it look more rentable like the others had done. The agent explained that she didn't want to spend money until she had a tenant!

  20. #20
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    Your views on the country, and it's people, are well documented on this forum.

    In this instance you feel that you have been hard done by. You also admit that you didn't finalise this agreement before you left the country, as in settle the issue of the deposit.

    As for my friend, she spoke to her uncle, who is a lawyer, and decided against persuing the matter through the courts as it would have been expensive, taken time, and as has been pointed out by someone who went through a similar procedure in this country, ultimately pretty pointless.

    It's their word against yours and you left without sorting it out. What did you expect would happen?

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