Can my old tenant claim compensation?

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    Can my old tenant claim compensation?

    Hi All,

    I have recently agreed with my old tenant that they surrender the lease as the property is uninhabitable due to flood damage caused by the flat above.

    They have moved out and we agreed the surrender of the lease on on the 1st Feb 2018 and i have now repaid the deposit.

    In my mind my business with them was concluded!

    However they have now written to me requesting that i give consideration to a claim from them for compensation as a result of the flooding. This was the second flood caused by the flat above in the space of a few months.

    They are seeking loss of income, inconvenience, contribution towards the cost of having to move and put their possessions into storage and also contribution towards the meals they had to eat out as they could not find any accommodation with a kitchen for a short term let!!

    My question is this. Do they have a leg to stand on or should i speak with the owner of the flat above as this is, i believe, their issue.

    Comments gratefully received thank you.

    #2
    I'd tell them no.
    They may be entitled to compensation, but they should seek it from the upstairs neighbour (who probably isn't liable either, unless the tenant can show negligence).
    Two floods in a few months sounds negligent to me, on the face of it, but it'll take a lot of effort if the neighbour declines to accept responsibility.

    You didn't cause the problem and they'd have to show that you were negligent or had broken the contract and failed to remedy the problem in a reasonable time. Which, hopefully, they can't.

    If you feel sorry for them, you could make them a without prejudice offer.

    You'll not be able to recover from the upstairs neighbour either, unless you can prove negligence.
    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


      #3
      So they have a right to compensation then. Thats worrying.

      Comment


        #4
        "Agreed to surrender" are the key words. What did the surrender agreement say?

        How long did the tenancy agreement have to run?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by LondonLandl0rd View Post
          So they have a right to compensation then. Thats worrying.
          I didn't say that.
          There's no general right to compensation.

          There's possibly compensation for a loss arising from a breach of contract - which may be the case here - that would be their claim against you.
          There's possibly compensation for a loss arising from a breach of duty of care (if the loss was reasonably foreseeable) - which is their claim against the upstairs neighbour (unless you were negligent).
          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
            Are you also the landlord for upstairs?

            Was the surrender document drafted by a solicitor?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
              "Agreed to surrender" are the key words. What did the surrender agreement say?

              How long did the tenancy agreement have to run?
              Was a standard surrender agreement provided by the letting agent. dont have a copy to hand. However the agreement had three months to run.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by wfd_property View Post
                Are you also the landlord for upstairs?

                Was the surrender document drafted by a solicitor?
                Morning, no the flat upstairs is owned by another party who lives there.

                The document was provided by the letting agent. Was pretty standard from memory and only released us from our obligations to each other under the tenancy with specific reference to payment of rent.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is usually a clause in a tenancy agreement saying the Landlord must return to the tenant a reasonable proportion of the rent for any period while the property is uninhabitable by reason of any insured risk. So first look at your tenancy agreement. If there is such a clause, did you refund the rent for the period from when the property became uninhabitable until the date of surrender? If you did then I don't think the tenant is entitled to anything from you unless you were negligent, which seems unlikely if the leak came from a property over which you have no control.

                  If you do have such a clause in the tenancy agreement and you haven't refunded the rent, the tenant would be entitled to claim this amount from you. However, you need to speak to your buildings insurance, as that will most likely have a clause for alternative accommodation/loss of rent in the case of the property becoming uninhabitable due to an insured risk. They should pay the tenant this money or, if you have paid the tenant, you should be able to recover the money from your insurance company. The insurance may also be prepared to pay your tenant some of the associated expenses they are claiming. This may be the best solution.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They are seeking loss of income, inconvenience, contribution towards the cost of having to move and put their possessions into storage and also contribution towards the meals they had to eat out as they could not find any accommodation with a kitchen for a short term let!!
                    Even if they try, loss of income is probably not claimable.
                    Inconvenience is something you can claim for, but the inconvenience would have to be associated with the negligence, as it's not arisen from a contractual breach - moving somewhere else is bound to be slightly inconvenient.
                    You can defend the move costs on the basis that they were going to move at some point and you've just brought that cost forward. They possibly have a case if the costs were higher than usual or they have now moved from temporary alternative accommodation into a new permanent home. In that case, there is arguably an additional cost as a result of the contractual breach.
                    Possessions into storage is as per the moving costs, but possibly a stronger case.
                    The meals is a mickey take.

                    Realistically, they have a better claim against the upstairs neighbour, but there's nothing to stop them making a claim against you.
                    Small claims court fees are low.
                    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

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