Flooring removed. Who "owns" it

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    Flooring removed. Who "owns" it

    Hi,
    Looking for some advice/opinion or even legal answer please
    My tenant who has now left my house, laid a solid oak parquet effect floor in the hallway, having removed a carpet. The flooring was in place for 4 years, but having been told I needed the property back to live in myself, he became a little "tetchy" over various issues.
    The floor was paid for by the tenant.
    Approx 6 weeks before leaving, he lifted and removed the flooring, replacing it with a poorly fitted black laminate floor.
    When asked whaere the floor had gone, he replied "It was mine, it was damaged and I replaced it"
    Do I have any rights in the floor, with the posibilty of keeping some of his rental deposit.
    Thanks

    #2
    No, unless you had some prior agreement about this flooring then you only have a right to some of the cost of replacing the original carpet (less allowance for wear and tear).
    Also the cost of repairing any damage to skirtings etc. that he may have caused fitting/removing his oak flooring.

    Comment


      #3
      I have been a landlord for 40 years and whatever your position at law, it can be difficult to achieve at times. In reality, your tenant would be obliged to replace the flooring with what was there before ( unless you agreed otherwise) so it would be hard to argue that he leaves the oak floor if he was replacing the carpet. Then the argument about the condition of the carpet would begin. It could have been down a few years before he moved in, plus the 4 years it was down, so it could be deemed unreasonable of you to request a new carpet when you should make allowance for fair wear and tear. If you had dealt with the deposit under the deposit schemes it would go to arbitration and you would need to submit evidence by way of photographs etc. it is such a tedious procedure my agents 'fall over backwards' to avoid entering into dispute with tenants. Trying to enforce payment with small claims courts is also risky you might win but enforcing it to obtain payment is adding costs that you might not recover. In my personal experience, although I am usually out of pocket, coming to some agreement with the tenant is usually a preferable route it will save you a lot of angst.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks very much for the 2 responses............looks now like a simple matter

        Comment


          #5
          I agree with the practical solutions offered above.

          However, if it helps when agreeing a solution, the tenant is not correct about the flooring being theirs.
          The property is the landlords, and anything fitted to the property becomes the landlord's property when it becomes a fixture.

          A wardrobe introduced by a tenant is the tenant's, If it's a fitted wardrobe it's the landlords.

          As it happens a carpet is technically a furnishing (and isn't a fixture), but a wooden floor is.

          To test this, you can imagine the situation of buying a property. The property includes the fixtures and fittings (the seller can't take a bath with them), while furnishings are detailed separately (the buyer and seller agree what will remain and what will be removed). Curtains and carpets are covered by the latter approach, wooden floors by the former.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Intersting response........seems to be slightly contradictory.
            The advice seems to be that for simplicity, I should just roll over and accept what the tenant has done, and return his deposit in full, whereas in reality, I do have a a legal right to challenge the removal of the floor and ask for an amount in recompense.
            The money is not an issue for me as I will be re-furbing the property throughout, it is the principal that matters.

            Comment


              #7
              It's complex.
              You're entitled to compensation for any loss in value of your property beyond fair wear and tear.
              Fair wear and tear is the reduction in value that a reasonable person would have expected to happen while the tenant was renting the property from you.

              The issue here is that the tenant has done two separate things.
              They've removed a carpet and replaced it with black laminate flooring. Whether that's a loss isn't easy to determine (the carpet wasn't new, the laminate may not be a reduction in quality etc). Hence the advice above.
              They've also added a floor and then removed it - which they're not actually entitled to do, because once the floor had been added, it belonged to you. But, again, any claim for compensation for removing "your" floor is going to be based on what you have lost - which will be tricky. Assuming you aren't going to accuse the tenant of stealing your floor.

              Hence my point that "your" floor is probably best used as a negotiation point, as it puts the tenant on the back foot, while you agree a figure based on the compensation for your actual loss (if there is one).

              I'd also suggest that this is a business and principle matters less than money.
              If you're not out of pocket, the tenant's attitude and actions aren't really going to matter in a few weeks - he'll still be a crappy person and you'll never need to worry about them again.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8


                " I'd also suggest that this is a business and principle matters less than money.
                If you're not out of pocket, the tenant's attitude and actions aren't really going to matter in a few weeks - he'll still be a crappy person and you'll never need to worry about them again. "

                Thank you for that ...........absolutely correct!! I'll have a stiff drink and forget about it. !!

                Comment


                  #9
                  The bottom line is, you supplied accommodation with a carpet in the hallway, and tenant stole the carpet if you do not have the carpet to refit, or carpet has been ripped on removal.
                  Forget your claim on the wood "effect" floor

                  Deposit reduction for a new carpet.

                  Job done, but you only have a few days left to inform the deposit guys to stop them giving the whole deposit back.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by janeygee View Post
                    Thank you for that ...........absolutely correct!! I'll have a stiff drink and forget about it. !!
                    Absolutely, should have mentioned the need for a stiff drink.

                    Business is all about the P&L and the G&T.

                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      G&T favourite tipple !!!
                      Ram : I have already rejected the full return of the deposit to the DPS, the tenant responded with " I have decorated the whole house " .
                      The tenant has categorically refused to accept arbitration with the DPS, saying I'm getting nothing and I wiill have to take him to court. I did point out to him the full procedure with the DPS and also I had no intention of taking him to court, leaving the matter with him to stew over. I have asked him to "make me an offer" with no response.
                      In actuality, there are other matters including light fittings and electrical work that has not been certificated , so I will be rejecting his second application for the return of his deposit.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Next time someone chucks your carpet of woteva away, stiff letter to them & if not sorted promptly, report theft to Police.

                        Probably too late to report theft, but you could try.

                        Follow deposit dispute process
                        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                          I agree with the practical solutions offered above.

                          However, if it helps when agreeing a solution, the tenant is not correct about the flooring being theirs.
                          The property is the landlords, and anything fitted to the property becomes the landlord's property when it becomes a fixture.

                          A wardrobe introduced by a tenant is the tenant's, If it's a fitted wardrobe it's the landlords.

                          As it happens a carpet is technically a furnishing (and isn't a fixture), but a wooden floor is.

                          To test this, you can imagine the situation of buying a property. The property includes the fixtures and fittings (the seller can't take a bath with them), while furnishings are detailed separately (the buyer and seller agree what will remain and what will be removed). Curtains and carpets are covered by the latter approach, wooden floors by the former.
                          Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit (Latin, "whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil") is the legal maxim that applies here.

                          Presumably you consented to the disposal of the carpet and its replacement with oak flooring four years ago? And didn't consent to cheap vinyl? That being the case, oak flooring is how the property must be returned.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Just a quick note about my understanding of the deposit arbitration process. It is'evidence based' and it is usually up to the landlord to prove the case. You send in your evidence, the tenant sends in his, and someone makes a decision. If you do not have ample evidence, such as photos etc, which might be challenged anyway, you will have problems proving your case. It seems to me the landlord rarely receives due recompense. Please post up how this was eventually resolved. Has anyone reading this had hand experience of dealing with the deposit protection schemes?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Nigel Nicholson View Post
                              Has anyone reading this had hand experience of dealing with the deposit protection schemes?
                              One or two of us.

                              Completely pointless exercise in my view, as any award is at about the same level as the cost of the inventory clerk.

                              Comment

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