Dirty tenant left house in a mess!

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Dirty tenant left house in a mess!

    Hi everyone, I have been lurking around on and off for a few months and decided now is the time to post! We are reluctant landlords because despite buying a new house before selling the old, we thought we would be able to sell the old house and whack off a load of the mortgage on the new house (we just did it the wrong way round). Well, as you all know this will now be impossible for some time to come, and the signs were evident last year when we had no viewings, so we made the difficult decision to rent out the old house, rent taking up about a third of what our new mortgage is. But that's by the by, you live and learn etc and we won't be making that mistake again! (sorry, I ramble). Anyway, we used an agency just to find the tenant, which they did very quickly, the tenant paid her deposit and then proceeded to hang around and do nothing for a few weeks, then just before taking up the tenancy, admitted she had a dog (we said no pets). We reluctantly agreed to the dog, otherwise we would have had to look for another tenant and money was getting tight, but we stipulated that she not let this animal use the garden as a toilet.

    To cut a long story short, the tenant, a single mother with two children and a supposedly well paid job as a teacher, was always very cagey about letting us enter the property to check it over for maintenance issues, inspect, or even collect a couple of things we left in the loft. It was never convenient for us to visit, so we left her alone to her "quiet enjoyment". She never defaulted on the rent, always paying up on time, but seemed a little bit "dim", for example she drilled the garage door lock out without checking for a key (there was one in the house), she let her boys stick posters on the freshly painted walls with blu-tack, she never cleaned the place, never did the garden AT ALL, let the dog perform its toilet duties in the garden and covering the garden with urine burns, let the shower head clog up, let the outer porch door swing open so it broke the frame, burned something in the gas fire so there is now a sooty flash point around the fire SURROUND, and let so many cobwebs form that the place looks like a haunted house. The stair carpet is ruined, there are dirt and scratches on the interior doors from the dog(s) and the toilet cistern handle is broken. She moved another dog in without asking, she'd had the banister off and not put it back on properly (??). She never reported any problems and if we had to speak to her about anything she was always keen to get off the phone and always said everything was fine. DH did manage to do an inspection once when she had a problem with the heating (she'd just been turning it on and off with the main switch instead of using the timer programmer), and he noted it was dirty but that was no concern of ours so long as she left the place clean when she vacated.

    I'm sorry this is long but I'm just trying to set the scene!

    Anyway, after seven months, tenant vacates and all the damage mentioned above is plain to see. She has breached many clauses in the tenancy agreement and while we were aware of some of these breaches during the tenancy we decided to let sleeping dogs lie because she was paying the rent on time, and we assumed we wouldn't need to do to much to the house other than tidying up a bit. How wrong we were!

    The tenant is now denying that the place is dirty (it is filthy) and wants her deposit back! It is protected under a TDS via our agent. With so many breaches of the agreement and so much cost to put the place right, how can she have a leg to stand on? The agency is in the process of getting quotes for the cleaning, decorating and gardening and it is going to run into considerably more than her £800 deposit. It will no doubt be referred to an arbitrator, as she is not agreeing she has done anything wrong. Would any arbitrator in their right mind tell us to give her her deposit back, given the above? We even wrote a report, included before and after pictures, and gave it to the agency on CD and hard copy.

    I have heard also that if we go to Small Claims Court for the remainder of the costs over and above the deposit, they often find in favour of the poor tenant because of the nasty landlords. How true is this? Is it just a rumour?

    Sorry for the long post and I promise not to make subsequent ones so long, you must all be asleep by now.

    Eagerly awaiting comments ...

  • #2
    Err..........the post doesn't require any comment! It's all too familiar to regulars.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you or the agent have a signed inventory and schedule of condition?

      Kind regards,

      John

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to LLworld
        there's no reason at all to stop you going to a small claims court but bear in mind that you will have to bear the expense yourself, it's up to you ex-tenant to prove she is not liable, judging from your post you have a good case.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


        • #5
          John - yes, we have all that, it is all above board. The agency couldn't believe how dirty the place had got in such a short time.

          JTA: I'm not sure her £800 deposit is going to cover all the redecoration, gardening and door frame repair costs! I have never activated a "small claim" before so this is all unchartered territory. Meanwhile we have to wait and see how the arbitrators find, given the overwhelming evidence we have.

          I actually feel rather guilty because these tenants were a nightmare according to our ex-neighbours, chucking rubbish over the fence into our neighbour's garden, playing loud music till all hours and letting off fireworks. Nobody told us until after they'd left, and also we were never allowed to enter the property for inspection while she was in there (quiet enjoyment????!!!) so we were ignorant of the real facts. Had we known they were that bad we might have tried eviction proceedings but that may have brought its own problems - at least she paid the rent on time, every time and is now gone. Ho hum. Live and learn.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you are going to get her deposit into your hands and the costs are not too much more than that you would probably be best to just let it go and mark it down to experience. At least you had the rent out of her. Do you have any insurance on the property that might cover some of the damage? I am thinking of the broken door frame.
            Going the small claims route is going to entail at least some expense and you are unlikely to get all you ask for.
            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

            Comment


            • #7
              I think you are right, and my husband said the same. At the end of the day, although we have spent a lot of time doing the garden, we haven't spent that much money (we did it ourselves in the end), but the redecoration costs and cleaning costs will certainly take up most of her deposit, as there is a lot to do. The remainder will go towards paying for the door frame, though we actually intend to knock the whole thing out and leave it as a recessed porch, as originally built. That would be at our expense.

              Time is getting on because our new tenants want to move in on 2 May and the contractors are going to want paying and there is no sign of the outcome of the dispute yet. It seems to be taking much longer than anticipated, but the agency said they have to leave a paper trail to show they've tried to get an answer out of the ex-tenant (who is being a bit uncooperative). I think she is embarrassed because the silly woman wrote a really nasty, poisonous and personal letter to one of the agency staff who had initially told her that the house was not cleaned when it should have been. Surely that will not help her case for wanting her deposit back???!!! Silly woman.

              Comment


              • #8
                We're feeling you

                Just found out ( the hard way) what you went through. Only your place sounds like the Ritz Carlton, compared to ours. Even livestock could have left us with a cleaner unit than these last tenants. Thing is the law does everything to protect them. This is the year of 2009, technologies are so advanced, and yet even with proof of pictures and contracts. The law is unwilling to help the true victums, which is the Landlord who does everything by the book. Did you learn anything else, that could help. Or have I pretty much nailed it on the head.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by crazy renter View Post
                  Just found out ( the hard way) what you went through. Only your place sounds like the Ritz Carlton, compared to ours. Even livestock could have left us with a cleaner unit than these last tenants. Thing is the law does everything to protect them. This is the year of 2009, technologies are so advanced, and yet even with proof of pictures and contracts. The law is unwilling to help the true victums, which is the Landlord who does everything by the book. Did you learn anything else, that could help. Or have I pretty much nailed it on the head.
                  Please don't whinge. If you have 'done everything by the book' as you say, then the Law is on your side if tenants trash your house or leave it filthy. I think the problem arises when LLs go into renting with their eyes shut, expecting it to be the goose which lays the proverbial golden egg for them. IThat is probably unrealistic, but if you are professional about it, keep on top of problems rather than letting them accummulate, and learn from your mistakes, it can provide a profit. But your tenants do not owe you a profit, just the rent.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Donething View Post
                    I have heard also that if we go to Small Claims Court for the remainder of the costs over and above the deposit, they often find in favour of the poor tenant because of the nasty landlords. How true is this?
                    The court will work on facts, backed up by proof. If you have the starting inventory and leaving inventory you will be fine. T will be ordered to pay the costs of repairs less wear & tear.

                    Originally posted by jta View Post
                    Welcome to LLworld
                    there's no reason at all to stop you going to a small claims court but bear in mind that you will have to bear the expense yourself, it's up to you ex-tenant to prove she is not liable, judging from your post you have a good case.
                    Actually, it isn't up to the T to prove she's not liable - the onus of proof is on you, BUT, it would seem that you'd easily be able to do that. Innocent until proven guilty

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Don't just sue for the £800 deposit - go for the whole enchilada. If the damage was £10,000 - go for it - and if, by chance, you win, get an attachment on her earnings.
                      ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

                      Comment

                      Latest Activity

                      Collapse

                      • if we haven't signed the renewal are we still liable?
                        Lexy333
                        Our 6 month short term assured tenancy agreement ended on the 2nd August. We are with a reputable agency. We were invited to renew for a further 6 months back in July and were asked to email our confirmation that we wish to renew in writing. This I did. We were sent the renewal tenancy to sign. We have...
                        22-08-2017, 14:00 PM
                      • Reply to if we haven't signed the renewal are we still liable?
                        mariner
                        I would say your original AST continues as SPT.
                        If now a new verbal AST, you may have a new fixed term and you cannot serve NTQ during fixed term (6 months?).
                        Talk to LL directly, rather than LA.
                        Why did you agree to a new AST, rather than request rolling over to SPT....
                        23-08-2017, 00:30 AM
                      • 6 year deposit claim
                        MaliaZ
                        Hi guys, I know that a tenant can claim a penalty on an unprotected deposit but I just wondered when the 6 year clock starts ticking.
                        22-08-2017, 16:43 PM
                      • Reply to 6 year deposit claim
                        mariner
                        As memory fades over time, can someone provide a 'sticky' for dates when key elements of LL&T Legislation changed? I believe Apr 2012 predates later deposit timescales.
                        23-08-2017, 00:08 AM
                      • NTQ during fixed term?
                        vpltd
                        Hi,
                        Can a LL issue a valid NTQ during the six-month fixed term of an AST agreement?
                        (A residential let in England.)
                        VPL.
                        11-08-2017, 14:53 PM
                      • Reply to NTQ during fixed term?
                        Wright76
                        It's worth noting that guidance is under part 4 where tenant obviously is given notice to end of a period and therefore apportionment would not be applicable.

                        The reference to the notice to quit ending the tenancy on the notice date does not change the fact that it obviously does however,...
                        22-08-2017, 23:24 PM
                      • Reply to NTQ during fixed term?
                        Wright76
                        I think thats exactly what the section I have just quoted confirms.

                        And thereafter, if you choose not to accept they are leaving as a result of the section 21 you must insist on a notice to quit or await a court ordering possession (where you will be ordered to apportion anyway)
                        ...
                        22-08-2017, 23:13 PM
                      • Reply to NTQ during fixed term?
                        mariner
                        A lot of energy has been expended in this debate. It has been suggested a LL has no need to take Court action if T apparently vacates after receiving a s21 but with no Notice. LL cannot safely assume has vacated without Court confirmation, to avoid a T allegation of 'illegal eviction'. Equally I would...
                        22-08-2017, 23:00 PM
                      • Reply to NTQ during fixed term?
                        Wright76
                        If someone could copy and paste section 21 (4) a and b (I'm really not technical!), the law seems to recognise that a tenancy CAN end as a result of a section 21 and before a possession hearing.

                        21(4)b........the tenancy could be brought to an end by notice to quit given by the landlord...
                        22-08-2017, 22:38 PM
                      • Reply to 6 year deposit claim
                        KTC
                        Assuming that the money originally paid had been used as a deposit for the single tenant tenancy, then 6 years and 30 days from when the 2012 tenancy started. And... if that was a fixed term tenancy, then 6 years and 30 days for any subseqent renwal and likewise from when it went periodic.
                        22-08-2017, 22:22 PM
                      Working...
                      X