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Contesting UNITE STUDENTS unfair maintenance charges- need advice! Watch

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    Hello!
    This thread is likely not unique, as many people on TSR will have experienced, UNITE (or UNITE STUDENTS, if you care for their identity crisis) are not the cleanest company to run student accommodation.

    As you've read in the thread title, I'm having an issue with them- they're effectively demanding £65 for two small dents present on a wall, and as someone who cannot pay that after what seemed to be an already costly stay I'm left in a difficult position.

    I stayed at New Medlock House in Manchester, from 7th September 2013, until today. I hadn't lived in the room since April, as by then I could only just afford the train fare back home. As is intelligent practice, they hand you a piece of paper that you use to tell them of any damage to the room. Memory fails at this point as to whether it was handed in, but I chalk that up to it being my first time holding the reins and dealing with overbearing family members taking charge at the same time as to why I can't remember.

    My dad came with me and took photographs of my room and the common areas, and of the dents in the wall. Unfortunately, he neglected to remember that they were evidence and deleted them not long after that with no chance of recovery. This is where the problems really start. I had taken a picture of the damaged wall the first morning there, but I am unsure if that counts.

    Fast-forward to the week of posting and I cancelled a re-booking I made in February after trying to save money by booking when the price wasn't due to increase, which they then did anyway (An increase of £4 is still an increase). I then lost my £250 deposit because of the rather paltry fortnight grace period. I personally think this was deliberate.

    So all of that combined has made me want as little to do with them as fast as possible, and I would like to share my thoughts on how the charges are unjustified. I'll do a list- I'm a fan of those.


    ● It makes no sense for someone who is paying £100/week for a room, no matter it's quality to willingly damage it. I understand that some people are genuinely brain donors so this wouldn't hold water on its own, but it should be clear by my pointing that out that I would not.

    ● If I am saying the damage was already there then they should have it on file, since they have proved they inspect after every tenancy and keep a record of it.

    ● The damage had to have been deliberately done, because of where it is. The damage is on the wall behind the bed and has some reasonable height to it, and the fact that my hands are undamaged shows that I couldn't have just punched it. See list item 1 for why I wouldn't have used an object.


    I can't say for sure if my reasoning is solid, but I'd like some advice as to what I can do before I deal with them in person. As someone in this post explains, they hang up a lot. If I go to them in person, there can be no shenanigans, which gives me the upper hand if I'm thinking straight. I will also add the picture I took once Android devices can play nice.

    Cheers!
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    Hey,

    I hate places that do this, they take advantage of students because they think we'll just give up and take it on the chin. But there's a few things that could help you:

    - Is your deposit registered with a deposit scheme such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (it should be), if you can't reach a resolution with the agency you can take the dispute to them to resolve.

    - "This is where the problems really start. I had taken a picture of the damaged wall the first morning there, but I am unsure if that counts." That picture of the damage that you took the first morning there is fantastic! That is your proof that the damage was not caused by you.

    - The agency cannot expect to get the flat back in the exact same condition it was when you moved in, general wear and tear is to be expected. They also cannot expect for you to pay for damages that existed when you moved in.

    - If you are unfortunate enough to end up having to pay, demand to see copies of receipts and paid invoices for work done.

    "Fast-forward to the week of posting and I cancelled a re-booking I made in February after trying to save money by booking when the price wasn't due to increase, which they then did anyway (An increase of £4 is still an increase). I then lost my £250 depositbecause of the rather paltry fortnight grace period. I personally think this was deliberate."

    This is a separate deposit you're talking about right? One for a flat/house you booked then pulled out of? Do you have it written on any documents that they can take the full £250 from you for what happened?
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    Hey! Thanks for replying, I thought it had gone unnoticed!

    They used a company called MyDeposits to secure it, but the tenancy agreement allows them to keep it if I cancel any booking. The deposit I lost when I cancelled the re-booking is the same, which seems to be an extremely underhanded practice as far as I'm concerned.

    The picture I took was in the early hours of the morning the day after I moved in; this falls under the two day period where tenants can report any damages and not be charged for them. This means it should work since both are evidence of the same thing. To deny that is to deny both, and at that point they may as well decorate the hole they're putting themselves in.

    That's a good point about seeing reciepts for the work done- I'll do the same for a tenancy inspection log from before my tenancy.
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    You're welcome, I guess sometimes it just takes a while for someone to come along haha.

    With your deposit if it says in your contract then you are kind of stumped there. Unless it would have saved you more than that £250 you lost in the long run that may not have been a good move. You would have been better off trying to find someone else to take over your tenancy booking slot instead of cancelling, if that makes sense? This one will have to be a learning curve unless you find a written loophole in your contract.

    If you have the photo's from the day you moved in that's good, and also if you did send the damage sheet when you moved in that's even better. I can't imagine them not having a record of the damage before you moved in either. Check your deposit is registered on the my deposit site and that they've registered you under the correct address and postcode too!

    Definitely get the receipts because they can't charge you for anymore than it costs to get a piece of work done. They can't profit from claims from your deposit.
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    The photos taken on the 1st day IS good evidence that you did not do it.

    Only a moron would say that you moved in, made the hole and then took a photo !

    No .
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    Ugh, everyone needs to see this thread. Unite are an overpriced piece of sh1t. Do NOT go with this company.
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    Well for comparison's sake, a train from where I am to Manchester for a year is equal to four months' rent- around £1600, so it was a better move to cancel. Regardless of this, them keeping the deposit was a **** move but my contract allows them to do so because I cancelled out of the grace period. Nothing I can do about that and am prepared to cut my losses if I must. If I remember correctly, you would lose your deposit if you had to leave before the tenancy ended and get someone else to fill the room.

    Sadly, I don't know what else can be done if they refuse to see photographs as evidence and they don't have maintenance logs/ receipts.

    I'm thinking someone needs to make a megathread detailing every TSR UNITE tenant's problems and sticky it in the appropriate section- that would help a lot of people.
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    Wow, unite seriously suck there then, I don't think my contract has a clause like that (although it is still full of stupid things). I guess it must be chalked up to a loss and learning experience again then.

    You said your deposit was registered with mydeposits, unite should have given you information on that when you moved in and also a deposit protection certificate, which will have the deposit protection number on that you need to make a dispute (they have to have given you this by law). Then both you and Unite provide all your evidence, photo's, emails & written argument and they'll evaluate your case and make a decision. If you say Unite claim not to have maintenance logs (which is extremely poor on their part), they can't prove that you are lying about the dents already being there.

    Here's the link with more information about how to make a dispute:

    http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/...ster-a-dispute

    I hope you win, these agency's need to learn they can't get away with ripping students off!
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    Yes I believe they did give me that, although I think it may have been displaced somewhere or it could be on my account on their site. Heh, this isn't even about the deposit anymore- I just don't want to be taken advantage of any more than I have already. I'll do some asking around with people I lived with to see if they were given one once they're awake- my memory is always shoddy after a while.

    Sadly, they are still around because some students don't have a choice but to use their services- New Medlock House had a large number of students from the other side of the planet and outside of other housing firms and university owned residences, they wouldn't have stood a chance. UNITE know this sadly, and they still exist because of it.
 
 
 
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