White gloss on woodwork - do we raise TDS dispute?

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    White gloss on woodwork - do we raise TDS dispute?

    Hi....we have had tenants in a property for the last 2.5 years. They have just moved out. The property had all the original woodwork throughout (floors, stairs, balustrade, bannisters, spindles, skirting, door architraves and window sills) stripped to their original state, varnished and polished.

    The tenants who have just left have painted all the woodwork with white gloss practically all the way through the house (except the varnished floors, which they have carpeted in some rooms - but the stairs and landing haven't been carpeted). It's not professionally done and looks shoddy. There is a clause in the tenancy agreement saying not to paint any of the stained wood and not to decorate in any way without consulting with us first and getting our written agreement.

    Their actions will also incur costs for us further down the line now too with extra decorating and carpeting expenses.

    We are considering taking this to dispute with the TDS as it is going to cost a lot of money to put right - especially the stairs where they have just painted the sides and not cut in properly and we now have white gloss on all the treads and rises with a stained wood area up the middle. The cheapest way is probably to lay a carpet to cover up the mess and just accept the gloss on everything else (skirting, architrive etc).

    As well as the TA, I have a check in inventory with photos (unsigned by tenants), a checkout inventory with photos that combines the check in inventory with it so you can compare the difference. This is signed by the tenant on every page and also at the end.

    The tenant admits the damage but wants their deposit back as in their opinion it 'looks better.

    Are we doing the right thing going to dispute? I hate confrontation, but it really is an eyesore what they've done especially on the stairs.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Do you have move in/out condition reports for evidence?


      Hi mariner... Thanks for replying. Yes we do have condition reports signed off by the tenants.


        I would have been absolutely gutted. I feel for you.


          Ah thanks amazondean. I can't believe they've done it. I thought my hubby was going to cry when he first saw it :-(


            Absolutely make a claim for this. I had a similar case but it was before the days of deposit protection.

            Ordonarily you will expect to get a proportion of the cost of decorating based on the expected lifespan of what was there, it’s age when the tenants moved in and how much lifespan their actions have deprived you of.

            However, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more Han just redecorating to get it back to how it was. It’ll need to be stripped right back, probably with a heat gun and many hours of labour, before it’s then prepared and restrained. You may never get the white gloss out completely.

            I’d be asking three different tradespeople for detailed quotes about the scale of the work and claiming for the lot.

            Givrn what the tenants have done, and their attitude toward you, I’d be looking for anything else I could claim for too (cleaning, gardening, etc.)

            Bear in mind you are unlikely to get the full cost of what you claim (ADR is a lottery and they seem to have a natural bias towards tenants), claim for as much as you can.


              Hi HantsAgent....Thank you for replying and I will definitely follow your advice to get three quotes. I'll do some ringing round today. I was going to try and meet the tenants halfway by looking for the most cost effective solution which is to just carpet the stairs and landing and then accept that the rest is all glossed and live with it - but having given it the overnight test and also reading yur advice I'm going to inestigate full restoration costs. Thank you again


                terrible situation. really feel for you.

                how frequently did you do inspections in the 2.5 years they were in?

                to the more experienced: is this a case of suing the tenants for what the deposit doesn't cover?


                  It is not "wear and tear", it is damage.

                  Claim the full cost of rectification. Deposit is unlikely to cover it all, so possibly small claims court also, if they do not pay up.

                  Do you have their acknowledgement that they caused the damage in writing (email)?


                    Thank you so much for your replies - I really appreciate your advice. The only thing we have in writing that acknowledges that they did it is the check-out inventory / condition report. It states that they did the glossing during their tenancy and has acompanying before and after photographs and combines the check-in inventory / condition report with it so a comparison can be made. The report was done room by room and the tenant signed off each page and also signed at the end to say the document was accurate.

                    I've managed to get three tradespeople to come and give me quotes on the cost of full restoration and I'm going to submit these with my claim along with:
                    1. The tenancy agreement - that has a clause not to paint any of the stained woodwork or decorate in anyway without consulting with us and getting written agreement from us
                    2. The check-in inventory / condition report with photo's - ufortunately unsigned by the tenants (lesson learned there!)
                    3. The check-out inventory / condition report which combines the check-in report details so that the differences can be compared - this is signed off on every page and at the end by us and the tenants.

                    Thank you again for taking the time to give your advice - I'm very grateful


                      Hi Pishpash. I'm a tenant and thought you may appreciate my point of view.

                      I like to make properties my own (family with 3 kids). That means decorating, drilling some holes, putting nails in etc. I also have pets, 2 dogs and 2 cats. Ive put sheds up in gardens that has meant digging up/covering lawn. I've attached washing lines to garden walls. I've had an outside tap installed.

                      I absolutely realise that this means additional wear/tear, means some things will need fully rectifying when I move out, means that I may need to re-decorate back to as it was if/when I move out, means that some things will absolutely count against me and will come out of my deposit. These are costs I factor in to my decision making when making a rented house a long term home.

                      I also make sure for anything major or significantly cosmetic I run it past the LA and LL and sign all the amendments to the contract (having place professionally cleaned, paying for the outside tap myself which will obviously benefit the next tenants etc)

                      Simply put - I think a tenant should and in this case probably does know that they have taken a course of action that may have suited them for the duration of their tenancy but went in direct violation of their contract and your wishes. They will simply hope you don't mind as much as you do. They are entirely at fault and will know it, and will spin anything to try and save themselves the cost of putting right. They took a gamble and in some cases like this you could argue there's no real material loss, but it seems in your case that there is based on the standard of the property you want to be (re)letting and the lengths you went to, to make sure something like this didnt happen.

                      Good luck


                        I feel that I don't even need to inspect this property to realise the pain that the OP is going through. To have a house that has stained woodwork that should look good for many years, turned into a white mess that may never be the same again is criminal and something I don't think I would get over in a hurry.

                        I fear you may never get compensated for the cost of trying to put this right. There is no excuse for any tenant acting in this way.


                          Hi vandamme....Thanks for the post and I agree 100% that long term tenants should be able to feel comfortable in their home.

                          We let another property and have had the same tenants there for many years. They have done many of the things that you mention like putting up sheds, changing the garden, drilling holes, installing decking and a hot tub, wallpapering and emulsioning etc. It has never been a problem, because like you they are good tenants who always keep us in the loop as to what they're planning. All the alterations they've done are things that haven't essentially altered the 'fabric' of the house unlike the woodwork damage to the property I've posted about.

                          Our model with the damaged property was one where when tenants moved on we could simply wash over the woodwork and floors (revarnishing if necessary) and it would be good to go. Now, unless full restoration is done we are going to have the added expense of re-carperting and glossing the entire house every few years or when tenants move on.

                          I like to think we are reasonable landlords who have always said 'yes' to anything our tenants have asked for or wanted to do to our properties.

                          In this case it was emphasised to the tenant on check-in that the woodwork was a 'no go' area and pointed out to them in the contract before they signed. They mentioned about glossing about a year into the tenancy and we said no but they went ahead and did it anyway. It's just a good job we found out what was going on when we did as she was going to gloss all the wooden internal doors next! I'm so sorry we are having to go down this road as in every other respect they were good tenants.

                          You sound like a great tenant who has a good relationship and communication with your landlord. I'd happily take that any day of the week. Thanks again for posting - it's always good to get different perspectives.




                              Just to give you an idea, the photo shows a small section of the stairs. The whole house is like this with white gloss on the polished original floorboards and all on the stairs and landing. The white piece of wood up the side of the stairs was once the same colour as the brown bit.


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