Pet smells and deposits and no check-in report

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    Pet smells and deposits and no check-in report

    Hi Everyone,

    So after a long tenancy of eight years we managed to buy a home of our own - yippie! (No one but ourselves to blame if something breaks!) We took the decision to have the house professionally cleaned on departure and did our utmost to tidy up knowing full well that there were likely damages and dings around - it was eight years, after all, so we weren't assuming the moon and stars and perfectly returned deposit.

    This morning the landlords copied us into the check-out report, something we agreed to have done independently, for the sake of fairness. Strangely, I can't read the report (another matter) but what the landlord referred to was something I wasn't 100% shocked about - pet urine smells. What sort of shocked me was the claim that they were potentially so bad that the urine smell might have gone all the way into the floorboards. They want professional cleaning done - but I can see 'replacement' looming in the background.

    So, let's get down to the brass tacks - We don't have a check-in report. We don't believe the carpet, when we moved in eight years ago, was new. We were allowed pets and had (still have) said pets and we know full well we had to clean those carpets periodically as pets are pets. (Do we have carpet in our new home? No way! Pets!) The landlords appear to just be focusing on this, which is good to some level as they possibly could've gone to town on walls, garden, etc. so it's nice that we only have one issue. (Possibly due to the lack of check-in report.)

    Should I:
    - State we'll contribute something - a % based on how they never replaced the carpets during eight years?
    - Fight this entirely as there is a lack of check-in report?
    - Take the hit as this sort of thing doesn't do well in adjudication?

    It's important to note at this stage no quotes have been given - it looks in fact that the landlords are hoping the agency (which they decided not to continue with) will go fetch those quotes for them. I doubt as they aren't being paid they will do so. I don't actually intend to respond until an amount of money is put forward.

    One last thing, I saw in some 'form letters' for deposit return that once we send one out requesting said deposit the landlords have ten days to actually come back with real figures. If this runs on and on without a number being given could there be a default judgement in our favour?

    Thanks for your advice.





    #2
    Other than something specifically mentioned in the tenancy agreement, the landlord is entitled to compensation for any loss beyond fair wear and tear.
    If the landlord allowed you to have a pet, the fair wear and tear would include the wear and tear associated with the pet(s).

    Whether pet urine is fair wear and tear is interesting.
    I have pets and I'd suggest it's inevitable, but the landlord may not have the same view.

    If the carpet wasn't new when you moved in, it's probably essentially worthless, so the compensation wouldn't be much - it has to be adjusted for the depreciation over time - and 8 years isn't bad for a carpet anyway.

    Floorboards are a different issue, and I'd wait until they give you some evidence of actual damage.
    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

      Presuming deposit was protected in one of the big 3 schemes then you have the option of dispute resolution (ADR), which is an impartial resolution (by a 3rd party I believe?). Without check in condition report you will do very well here. The lack of check in report will cause the landlord a LOT of bother... What is there to say that the smell wasnt there when you moved in? No evidence!

      Did the landlord give permission for the pet? If this is the case then, as a landlord, we accept more wear and tear.. Including pet related smells... Again, this will count against their claim

      If you believe that you are responsible for the smells AND the landlord hasnt been an ass then make an offer (be careful how this is worded, you dont want to admit fault.. without prejudice i believe is what you need) that you believe is fair.

      After eight years a clerk would likely find the carpets at end of life, especially given being allowed pets. Either £0 owed or a very very small amount (NOT full replacement cost, you pay the % that covers loss of lifetime)

      If landlord didnt protect the deposit properly then it might be payday for you, their is a penalty of between 1x and 3x the deposit AND full return of the deposit per tenancy for unprotected deposits (so 6 months fixed term followed by another 6 months fixed term followed by a rolling month by month is 3 tenancies, so between 3x and 9x the deposit)

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks, guys. So, it is a protected deposit - no payday there! And yes, we were allowed pets.

        I think what I'll do is wait for a number and proof and consider a carefully worded response. We have not had the best relationship with the landlord (exceedingly late or no repairs when we've requested them, no improvements in eight years save a fence being put up after we were robbed, having to have the boiler condemned and my all time favourite - including a response to the effect of "don't go in the part of the garden" to get out of trimming trees).

        Despite all this, I just want to let this all go and move on. I appreciate the advice of considering adjudication if things take a turn.

        Comment


          #5
          I understand wanting to move on, but do you want to just 'give up' and give the LL the deposit in full? Plus extra? Dont think so, especially if he has been a pain and has had good regular payment for 8 years!

          Contact the scheme and request repayment with your repayment ID etc. Puts the pressure on the LL to respond properly and quickly. If you have moved and have no burning need for the deposit money then you don't need to feel the pressure, just roll with it.


          Comment


            #6
            I finally got a copy of the check-out report as I think something went wrong with the initial email. Now looking at it and the landlord requests they've decided to go after the pet urine smell and professional cleaning, leaving the rest behind (for now... we think.) We know the landlords intend to sell so should they try to get the deposit they'd be coming up aces - a hope for minimal investment to get the property on the market (new carpets and freshly cleaned). Maybe even some extra pocket money as they were quite good and providing the cheapest possible fix/replacements.

            I have no actual intention of giving up here, just want to do the best we can with the cards dealt.

            Comment


              #7
              No check in condition report and 8 years, you hold most if not all of the cards... They cant prove condition on move in!

              Comment


                #8
                So now what I'm down to (though I intend to sleep on it) is the response. I could be very form letter - or possibly insert some level of emotion. Namely around the surprise of these charges being laid out with no check-in report or proof of invoicing/quotes/receipts. In both cases I intend to close out with the request that if we can't resolve we go to adjudication.

                Form letter is likely less to give a wiggle towards them being in any way right... but calling their move brash and not thought through is something to consider as I think they have power here... and if we wanted to play fair this should be considered a two-way street.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by xaviercat View Post
                  (snip) or proof of invoicing/quotes/receipts. (snip)
                  You wouldnt be resposible for the cost of replacement, your responsibility (if my understanding is correct) is around the loss of value beyond fair wear and tear of what was fitted..
                  Carpets that are over 8 years old (not new when you moved in) in a property with pets will probably be considered as end of life anyway, regardless... So what you owe the landlord for 'loss of life' would be 0% of the original cost (NOT cost of replacement)


                  Think of it like this (theoretical, not based on your case).. If you became a tenant, good check in condition report logs everything accurately and it had new carpets on move in that cost £500 to be fitted (and landlord can prove this with receipts). You leave after 4 years, check out report shows damage beyond fair wear and tear, carpets are destroyed and need replacing and its decided that carpets were reasonable quality so should have a 10 year life.. Landlord agreed pets so reduce life expectancy to 8 years.
                  Carpet is 50% through its life, so you owe landlord 50% of the original cost of £500, so £250
                  The fact that the new carpet fitting costs £1000 is not your problem, you owe 50% of what was there, not what it is being replaced with.

                  BUT no condition report, so no idea of what it was worth when you moved in, so no ability to calculate what you owe.....

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi Guys - Thought to awaken this post after a long slumber. So we never really got any numbers from the landlord on repairs, and the agency has put their hands up stating that they just hold the deposit and need instructions on what to do. We decided we would go to ADR - see if we could speed the landlord up as we know that shortly after our departure a painter moved in (literally, neighbours saw him and his car for several days). There is also now a skip filling with all the flooring (the laminate and the carpet) as well as bathroom tiles. So regardless, they are moving ahead with renovations to sell or let again. Yesterday was the last day they could respond to our requests and right now there is still a 'Dispute in progress' though there appears to (currently) not be any materials uploaded for us to review or respond to.

                    I'll update you on if the ADR continues, if we get a default, or if we have to go to court.

                    Thanks to everyone for their advice.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      After three months, start the single claims process.
                      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


                        #12
                        Thanks jpkeates. Turns out they submitted no evidence so we don't have to respond. We now commence the 28-days for review. Question if anyone knows - could the LL stop this process at any point or are we just moving along with the system? Our claim is simply that they have withheld the deposit but given us no reason why - and I think we've been reasonable in requesting materials.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Okay everyone... things just took a turn for the weird. So we're in the same neighbourhood as our old house. Today my partner is outside when he is approached by our former LL. He is supposedly 'still getting numbers' on the pet smell, carpet, floor, walls, who knows what else. He states that the agency didn't tell him about the ADR until 5 to 7 days (depending on when we saw the contribution window close) until he could give his evidence. For reasons unknown he doesn't appear to have contacted the agency or the ADR service to notify them of this and as of today the site reads "The Casework Scrutiny manager is satisfied that all the information the adjudicator needs to reach a decision is present. We are now arranging for the case to be sent to an adjudicator."

                          So - he clearly knew we were off to ADR, he didn't contact anyone (that we know of), the ADR is now at the next stage. He attempted, but failed, for my husband to 'agree to a number.' He attempted, but failed, at trying to talk about all the delays with the repairs - which aren't our issue. So - here's the thing. Can the arbitration be stopped if he contacts TDS? If not, what is the next path? I thought of politely informing him that due to the amount of time that has passed we feel we were firmly reasonable to discuss everything. If he feels so compelled our easiest path would be through the courts where I think we would have advantage. Thoughts?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If your pet did ruin his floorboards and he can show this then I think you owe him some money. The court may also reach this conclusion, the lack of a check-in report notwithstanding and then you will be faced with expensive court costs as well as the cost of repairs. I think you should ask to see the floorboards and then decide

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hello! So with the LL turning up physically and stating things I had to call TDS because it's really confusing (let alone distressing). Here's what I know so that you know:

                              1. The LL has basically claimed he had no knowledge of the ADR request and TDS confirmed that the communications line (which apparently goes from LA to LL in this case) had been broken. As such:
                              2. The LL has until Monday (20th of August) to upload materials/evidence or state he refuses ADR.

                              Right... so let's say he refuses ADR. We can then:
                              1. Try to settle.
                              2. Go to the courts.

                              We can reopen ADR through 29th September - or three months after end of tenancy (basically). If this lapses we only have options 1 and 2 above.

                              If the LL lapses in response /choses not to respond on ADR from Monday then ADR continues.

                              With the floorboards and smell - here's the thing - they've had A LOT of workers in the house. We have no idea what they are doing. We haven't had a quote. We haven't had anything given to us to have a reasonable discussion. All they do is say things and I have a small bit of email saying it was a potential issue. That's why we went to ADR - we hoped it would force documentation - we hoped it would force a sensible conversation. That's why we did what we did.

                              So there's where we stand. I'll update the post on Monday.

                              Comment

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