Landlord Damage Request - Fair Price for Painting Polyfilla Marks etc?

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    Landlord Damage Request - Fair Price for Painting Polyfilla Marks etc?

    Afternoon all,

    After 2 years in a property, our landlady has now turned quite nasty and is demanding (what I feel are) excessive 'damage' costs.

    The biggest one I am concerned about:

    *£300 for a 'proportion' of the entire flat being repainted, in order to cover eight polyfilla marks.

    Before we moved out, the landlady advised that she would be repainting the property, considering it hadn't be done for 4+ years. As such, we (stupidly) didn't paint after filling the nail holes with pollyfilla and then sanding.

    Am I right to think this £300 is totally ridiculous? Even if the entire place didn't need repainting (it was in dire need of it, after so many years), I can't imagine the cost of patching up eight marks would be that much. I would be more than happy to pay for a few hours of a handyman's time to paint over the marks, but I feel being asked to cover the cost of an entire repaint totally out of order.

    Secondly, where do I stand on perceived damages that have no impact on the use of the appliance? For example, a small crack in a freezer drawer. We didn't even notice this when we were moving out, but LL is requesting ~£50 for a new drawer, even though it doesn't reduce the lifespan of the freezer. I will totally accept the charge if this is the norm, but just wanted to know where I stand.

    Many thanks,

    SLT





    #2
    I would reckon that 6.5 year old interior paintwork has no residual value.

    I know after market prices for white goods are high, but £50 sounds extortionate. How old is the freezer, and how much did it cost new? I think they can get away with replacement parts if they come to less than remaining value in the whole appliances, calculated using the purchase price, not the replacement price.

    A quick google suggests maybe £27 for the drawer and maybe £6 shipping, so about £33.

    In my view, the freezer drawer is fair wear and tear, but I wouldn't rely on others seeing it that way.

    Comment


      #3
      The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks guide to fair wear and tear gives estimated lifetimes for decoration of walls in rented properties.

      For a family of non-smokers, the expected life of emulsion is 3 years, for smokers 2.
      For sole / dual person occupancy, the relative durations are 4-5 years and 2-3.

      So the paint that was damaged doesn't seem to have any value against which to claim compensation.

      In the past I have charged tenants a proportion of a complete redecoration - and, to be fair, it can be a bit of finger in the air calculation to get to a sensible proportion. But I've never tried to claim for 6 year old paint!

      I don't agree that the freezer drawer is fair wear and tear (but I can see the argument, I've broken a few with what I think of as normal use).
      I buy spares from e-spares and they're as good as the originals. If the landlord quotes you a price based on that web site (or Amazon) I'd say that was reasonable.
      The replacement cost should be adjusted for the expected lifetime. The fridge wasn't new when you moved out, so the drawer had depreciated prior to it being damaged. About half the cost of the replacement might be fair.
      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


        #4
        I'm sure you'll raise a dispute, so leave it to the adjudicator. They usually award landlords buttons. (Hence we ask as much rent as possible to make up for this.)

        Comment


          #5
          Holes in the wall are not fair wear and tear and cannot be cured with polyfilla and spot painting.

          Emulsion in my own home is perfectly good at 15 years plus, and all these things about a 2 year lifetime of a paint-job are frankly nonsense. Yes DPS may assess loss to landlord as zero even though it is substantial, but that is hardly the point. DPS is not the gold standard of costs -- they are the gold standard of what might be recovered against a substantial loss (the rest of which is paid for via rental uplift).

          Comment


            #6
            Painting: I think estoppel applies: LL said she would be repainting after you leave; you relied on that in your decision not to paint; LL cannot then charge you for part of the paint job.
            However, if your repair is of poor quality or the holes have weakened the wall such that replacement is needed, then LL could seek recompense from you to rectify the situation.

            Freezer: small cracks appear in freezer drawers from normal use; I have never had a clear freezer drawer or clear salad drawer that has not cracked.
            In my opinion it is wear and tear.
            If the drawer were broken, then the situation may be different

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MdeB View Post
              Painting: I think estoppel applies: LL said she would be repainting after you leave; you relied on that in your decision not to paint; LL cannot then charge you for part of the paint job.
              I really cannot see how that is the case. In the first place (presuming) the tenancy agreement makes it clear that T cannot just go an randomly repaint a whole room, I cannot see that the landlord declaring a possible intention to paint (which T cannot do anyway) somehow influences the tenant's intent to do something they are not permitted to do anyway.

              A T is obliged under contract to return a property in the condition they received it (minus fair W&T) -- however that does NOT mean that a tenant is always able to themselves repair damage they cause even if they want to. If a T smashes down a wall, the fact of such smashing does not entitle a T to employ builders to rebuild the wall without consent.

              A stated intent to do something after a contract has ended does not oblige a person to do that thing.
              If L were to say that he intends to demolish a property, T might cause any damage without potential claim -- if the L does indeed go ahead and demolish the T might have a case - but unless there is both a contract to demolish, and L does demolish it is impossible to tell what L would have done.

              Comment


                #8
                If the tenancy agreement says on the one hand says that the tenant is not to decorate the interior, but on the other says the tenant is to leave the interior of the property in no worse decorative condition than it was at the beginning of the tenancy, I think the latter obligation has to prevail. If it does not then I do not see how the landlord can claim damages for a failure to comply with an obligation the tenant cannot comply with without being in breach of the obligation not to decorate.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Lawcruncher,

                  I suspect it rarely says that the property must be left in no worse condition. We'd have you telling us that was an unfair term, as it does not allow for fair wear & tear.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                    I suspect it rarely says that the property must be left in no worse condition. We'd have you telling us that was an unfair term, as it does not allow for fair wear & tear.
                    I took that as read.

                    Many tenancy agreements do not hang together properly.

                    What the tenant's obligations are depend on the tenant's repair clause (and the common law and statutory intervention).

                    Misconceptions abound.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                      If the tenancy agreement says on the one hand says that the tenant is not to decorate the interior, but on the other says the tenant is to leave the interior of the property in no worse decorative condition than it was at the beginning of the tenancy, I think the latter obligation has to prevail.....
                      But that is not the conundrum. It would be an unusual AST that says that "the tenant is to leave the interior of the property in no worse decorative condition than it was at the beginning of the tenancy" -- it would say that the tenant is not to damage the property beyond fair W&T. The latter has nothing directly to do with "decorative condition" but may include decorative condition as a component.

                      There is no inconsistency between "You shall not damage" and "You shall not redecorate"

                      But that would not apply to all types of loss where the T **is permitted**

                      You shall not leave dust -- you may not vacuum or use a duster

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think it comes down to precisely what the tenancy agreement says.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I read it as 'holes were present on last T move in and noted on the Inventory, which means LL accepted them as 'move in condition'.
                          My understanding of AST requirements is that the T has to return the Property in same decorative etc order to move in, less allowance for FW&T.
                          I do not allow T to make any decorative changes, even spot repairs, as they can up cock it or paint rooms in unacceptable colours..
                          They can live with any colour scheme they want. I will pursue cost of prof remedial action which they can contest via ADR.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            For the filled holes I would mark it as "See file for information" as I wouldn't know what your AST says. But at most I would expect it to be a proportional compensation charge for any wall that needed redecorating. Not the whole property. That, with 6.5 year old decor, could be nigh on £0, if you filled them and flattened them. But yes, that's for arbitration as it is not a yes/no decision.

                            The cracked drawer, I hate these. Neither side ever accepts my suggestion. As far as I am concerned it is damage: AIIC guidelines: If handles are broken and not just loose this is damage, as are cracked crispers, door racks or freezer drawers and flaps over and above fair wear and tear

                            So I would work out a cost using the usual compensation formul:

                            (cost at new / life expectancy) x number of year life left.

                            £50 new / 10 years life expectancy (though if good quality that could be 15 years) = £5 a year left.

                            Dispute her costs, make her an offer. Then take it to arbitration.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Stef Cooke View Post
                              (cost at new / life expectancy) x number of year life left.

                              £50 new / 10 years life expectancy (though if good quality that could be 15 years) = £5 a year left.
                              Stef, why do you and JPK keep (erroneously in my view) pushing the view that repairs to an appliance should have a deduction for life expectancy?

                              The owner would not normally replace his fridge drawers every few years, like he would other things. They would just get replaced when he changed the fridge. See my comments in Unintentional humour about JPK's car.

                              Comment

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