Agency seems to have stolen 900 euros of my money - help/ advice needed!!!

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26 Sep 2014 9:57 AM by bawdseyben Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

Hello everybody,

I have big problem that I am hoping that someone can give me some advice about.

From SEP13 to JUN14 I was living in Spain with my ex-girlfriend. We are both UK citizens and English teachers and had a contract to work in a small English school in Figueres, Catalonia. This is a small town and we rented a 4-bed flat through a rental agency recommended at the school. At the beginning of the contract we paid 900euros deposit (2 months rent).

The apartment was pretty old and clearly hadn't been lived in for a while when we moved in. Before we started cleaning I took loads of photos to show how dirty it was. We then spent about 3 days cleaning the place.

During the tenancy we had a problem with a gas bill. When we recieved it, it was excessivley high. It was at this point we discovered that the landlord was difficult as he insisted to the agency that we should pay the bill. After about 2 months of wrangling we got the landlord to agree to pay if there was a problem in the house.

An engineer came out and found that a.) the boiler was broken and excessivley using gas and b.) there was a gas leak. Still the landlord protested and in the end we paid about a third of the bill.

At the end of the tenancy we paid all our bills up to date and gave the apatment a good clean leaving it in a far better state than when we moved in. This was the end of JUN and we moved back to the UK (where I am now).

The agency assured us that we would get our deposit within about two weeks. I left my email for them to contact if there is any problems. My Spanish is not good but there was one or two people in the office who spoke good english.

As the summer rolled on no deposit or email explaining why was recieved. I called the agency a couple of times but could never get anyone that spoke good english.

Mid-Sep I contacted my old boss (English but fluent in Spanish) to go in and find out what was happening. Aparently they had been having more problems ith the landlord and they had decided to take money for the deposit for 'cleaning'.

Eventually on 19SEP I recived a deposit back of 39 euros. I was astounded, they had taken 861 euros for cleaning. This seems utterly ridiculous as as I said the apartment was left cleaner than when it was found (and may I add nothing was broken).

I have asked the agency to give a full breakdown of what this money is for, but I feel completley rinsed. They have taken far too much money without my consent. It is theft.

I will also add when I was in Spain the agency were very nice, polite and helpful and admitted on several occasions that this landlord was particuarly difficult.

I need to know what the best thing to do now is. Can I do anthing? Has anyone had a similar experience? Doesn't the deposit go into a deposit protection like the UK? Do I have any rights in Spain?

If I need to write anything in Spanish I have several friends in the town I am still in contact with who can help me, including one prominent local buissnessman (CEO of one of the biggest employers).

Any help/ advice anyone can give would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Ben

 

 

 

 

 





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26 Sep 2014 10:15 AM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Hi Ben.

I'm very sorry to hear this has been done to you, but it sounds fairly typical. In Spain if someone has to hand you over money you nearly always have a battle on your hands.

I don't know the law, unfortunately, but hopefully someone on this forum will. I think you make a good point about protecting the deposit - as a lot of laws seem to come from Europe these days; so you would expect some deposit protection laws to exist in Spain. If this happened in the UK, they would not have been able to withhold your deposit in this way. It clearly was not protected in any scheme, as if it had been, you would have had to give them a repayment ID for them to now claim it. And if in the UK it had not been protected you could now sue them for up to 3 months' rent for not having protected it (you could even sue if they had not protected it in time and I think the law might now be that it has to be protected within 16 days...). So I would google this and see if any such law exists in Spain and I would then get a letter translated by one of your Spanish friends giving them notice of your intention to sue if you do not receive the money. I have no idea if this is the right course of action, but I'm trying to get the ball rolling here, so that others may think of a better strategy. It is especially difficult as you are now in the UK, but also it is possibly hot air to threaten to sue in Spain as it's just too expensive...

People also often talk about the 'hoja de reclamaciones.' Maybe you should also email them and say you need to make a complaint via this method? Try and be like a dog with a bone and do your best so that they don't get away with it. They'll try and wear you down with stalling tactics.

All the best anyway, and I hope people here will rally around to help you with this.



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26 Sep 2014 10:15 AM by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4556 posts Send private message

Roberto´s avatar

If your businessman friend is willing, ask him to go into the agency and demand the return of your deposit in full. If they refuse, he should demand the complaints book (hoja, or libro de reclamaciones). Obviously, it would help him if he has a written declaration from yourself stating your story clearly and concisely (English is fine), especially that you paid all outstanding bills for utilities up to the date of departure, and that you left the place cleaner than when you arrived (include the photos of when you moved in perhaps) At the very least, this should force them to justify where the remaining €861 went.

Good luck!



_______________________

 

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please"

Mark Twain

 

 

 




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