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Flat deposit return - dispute with agent & expert = options?

Question

Hello,

I left my flat some months ago and have been in long discussions with the estate agent and expert regarding my guarantee deposit.

Basically, we disagree on a number of things.

What steps are there for independent arbitration? Or similar.

If a "justice de paix" route is pursued, what are typically the costs and timeframe involved?

For some of them I had the items already added to my entry report + photographic photos. But the estate agent decided that the entry expert agreement (in writing) with my amendments are not valid as she felt the expert did not agree with the amendments (from the wording of his acknowledgment to accept them..). Some of the items were already paid by the previous tenant (not repaired) so the agent is looking to repeat the same magic of money for nothing.

For some others, the repair was already agreed with the estate agent and landlord (at their costs) before leaving (email in writing). But the position of the agent is that the comparison can only be made at entry and exit therefore anything in between is not accepted. If the repairs were completed before I left then it would have been fine...the repairs were the responsibility of the estate agent. This fails my logic test here...then again one person's logic is not the same as others.

Out of principle, I am not in favor of paying for the wrong reasons.

My Belgian colleague calls it the "expat tax" that some people/companies will unfortunately seek to take advantage.

anon

@ RKing "This fails my logic test here..."

Your post is very confusing and it isn't at all clear what exactly you need.

However, whether it is "logical" or not is largely irrelevant. What is important is what is in your contract and what you may or may not have have agreed to in writing subsequently.

If it goes before the Justice, expect many months of delays and problems. I'd estimate 9-18 months before you get anything resolved right now. COVID has resulted in a massive backlog of cases. If you hire a lawyer, any decent one will charge a minimum of €150 hour, and for a case like this, will probably ask for a provision of €500 up front to even look at the case.

Forget about what you think is logical or not. What is important is are there damages to the property for which you are responsible, and therefore need to pay. If there are, then pay for it, if not, then contest it.

Mar 16, 2021 15:01
J

Housing disputes are handled by the Juge de Paix. You cannot reclaim legal fees if you win.

Pay for another expert.

Mar 16, 2021 15:34
RKing

Thanks makes sense.

I agreed to pay for the damages that I caused since the start. No problem.

In addition, I am asked to pay for damages that I did not cause. For that, most of them I have written (from my entry inventory report amendments) and photographic evidence. However, said evidence is not accepted by the estate agent & exit expert as they feel it does not reflect the real views of the entry expert.

I have agreed to pay for the damages that I cannot prove with concrete evidence. I will take the hit and loss on that so not to waste time on it.

But out of principle, I do not want to pay for something that I did not cause and can prove it. In fact, I even have written proof that the previous tenant paid for it also.....

Therefore how do I go about resolving this? Juge de Paix being one expensive and long option. Not sure if there are other options.

Mar 18, 2021 15:11
anon

If your money is held in a guarantee account at the bank, I would suggest you speak with them. There are procedures for releasing funds from a guarantee account that the bank will know.

But to be honest, it is still not clear from what you're writing, what exactly you are contesting. Either you have an incoming inventory report or you don't. Were you present when the incoming inventory report was done? Did you contest the validity of the report at the time? How did you apply the "entry inventory report amendments"? All of these factors will have an impact on whether you can expect to get your money back.

FInally, what the previous tenant may or may not have paid for repairs at the end of their tennancy is totally irrelevant in this argument. What is important is the condition of the property as described in your incoming report compared to the condition in your outgoing report.

Mar 18, 2021 17:52
RKing

I have the following:

1. Entry report from independent expert
2. Amendments to entry report + photos to support amendments from myself - within 2 weeks of report. By email with estate agent, relocation expert and myself.
3. Written agreement that amendments incorporated into the entry report by the expert. By email with estate agent, relocation expert and myself.
4. Re-confirmed with estate agent that all documents are in order with reply confirmation from agent.

I was not present and a relocation expert took my place.

The current estate agent representative (previous one left) states that the amendment are not valid and only the original report is valid.

Thus the exit inventory can only be compared to the original entry report. Therefore, the additional damages that I recorded are to be excluded and I will be liable for them.

Recently, the exit inventory expert has accepted part of the written and photos as detailed in the amendments. This was so overwhelming evident that it could not be ignored.

So I am stuck in a situation where, the estate agent disputes all evidence and the exit expert is cherry picking (All amendment are either valid or they are not).

I have also asked for proof of one of the reported damage as it is not visible in the exit inventory photo. I also subsequently visited the flat with the new tenants and took more photos to show there is no damage where they have indicated. Requiring replacement of a 2m metal sheet due to damaged surface so it should be large as described verbally by the estate agent. it is not listed in the new entry inventory report of the tenant from the same geometrie expert who did my exit inventory.

Mar 19, 2021 15:07
anon

OK first of all, I will stress that what the previous tenant and the future tenenat may or may not have in their entry / exit reports or may or may not have paid for is entirely irrelevant to your case. Your case is what YOU have agreed with YOUR contract and YOUR reports.

1) Do you have an actual copy of the entry report incorporating the amendments that the expert agreed? If not, then contact that expert and ask for a copy of that report incorporating the amendements he agreed to make.

2) Where is your deposit held? Is it in a guarantee account at the bank or is it held by the landlord or estate agent?

Mar 21, 2021 09:48
RKing

Thanks for the good points.

1) Yes and the estate agent & expert already have copies of the report. They have confirmed they have the report and photos and have reviewed it in assessing the exit inventory.

2) Guaranteed bank account.

Mar 23, 2021 11:33
Emille B.

Justice de paix is not expensive , you can represent yourself without a lawyer . If your landlord has a history , the judge will be aware and is open to documentation from your point of view. After this procedure consider your costs....

Mar 23, 2021 17:35
anon

@ RKing

Your money is held in a bank guarantee account. I suggest you go to your bank and talk to them about how to resolve this issue. The banks have well established procedures for dealing with this sort of thing.

Mar 24, 2021 13:20
R

Send a "mise en demeure" by registered letter (google for text) giving two weeks deadline to sign the documents necessary to release the deposit at the bank. they can deduct the costs you deem fair.
Failing to do that mention that you will pursue the matter with a Juge de Paix. Some landlords might not want to go into the troubles of appearing in front of a judge. As suggested above a JdP is not expensive but you need to have solid documentation to show

Mar 24, 2021 14:00

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