Tenants claiming damaged clothing

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    Tenants claiming damaged clothing

    Hi
    We bought a house which had an excellent surveyors report with no problems at all. The home report had number one next to all the boxes. The house was in tip top condition.
    We stayed in the property from November to march without any problems.

    we decided to rent out the property for one year and live elsewhere.

    The occupants started April and had a one year tenancy.

    We were contacted in November that we had a serious damp issue that they attributed to penetrating damp. They did not have this assessed it was there opinion. They sent some pictures of the damp and 3 pairs of shoes which were damaged in the wardrobe. The was black mould growing on the walls in a few patches. Also inside the wardrobe clear signs of damp and mould.

    Immediately we contacted them and asked if we could send in proffesionels to check out the problem which they declined due to sheltering from corona and stating the problem was not too bad that they would deal with it. We then suggested to send them a dehumidifier or salt traps to capture the moisture. We Also asked if they were dying clothes in the house and were they opening windows. They agreed to stop drying clothes and ventilate the property better. We had confirmation that the salt traps were working. They then contacted us with wanting to extend the tenacy for another 8 months which we declined because we needed to occupy the house again.

    This is where it all started to go a little wrong. They contacted us again saying the damp had returned and we decided to buy a top of the range dehumidifier and send it to them. We again asked to send in professionals to look at the damp but again turned down. We then received a mail saying they were vacating one month early and we needed to pay for damaged clothing that was in a wardrobe. We did not receive any mail concerning this until they had vacated and received their deposit back. Then the mail arrived with photographs of shoes and clothing with mould damage with a price tag of 1700 pounds demanding that we payed. We decided to send in our architect who is renovating the house to inspect what the problem was. The architect has clearly said there is no rising damp and no penetrating damp. The problem in his opinion has been condensation due to not ventilating the property correctly. The walls on the house are non cavity and cold and the tenants had put furniture up against the wall which we had told them to move away because we suspected it was condensation damp. The two rooms with the damp on the walls had opening windows and radiators so tenants could have used these to ventilate the property. We then received another mail showing more garments they had forgotten about with serious mould damage and asking for another 500 pounds. We fully believe the damage has been caused by the tenants and that some of the garments have been added to the list that is impossible that they were ever in this wardrobe.We need to reply but just wondering who would be better to give a report on the damp issue, surveyor or architect?? Thanks for any help out there.

    #2
    Unless it's a solicitors letter I would ignore it.
    They have Zero chance of winning imho.

    Comment


      #3
      Penetrating damp very rarely causes mould, because the moisture is made alkaline as it passes through the mortar and plaster.
      It's why it's almost impossible to get anyone who specialises in damp to inspect a mould filled property, they already know it's not going to be due to rising or penetrating damp.

      You'd be very unlucky for penetrating damp to make it into a wardrobe, unless it was built in against an external wall.

      The practical issue you are going to face is that you seem to want the property back, and that's not going to be easy to achieve if the tenants get bloody minded.

      But I'd be tempted to simply assert that it's damp caused by their lifestyle and you are not liable to compensate them.
      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
        Thanks and very interesting to learn this. The tenants have actually left so no problem there.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by trevor131067 View Post
          Thanks and very interesting to learn this. The tenants have actually left so no problem there.
          In which case, i'd probably simply respond that no one else has ever experienced the problems that they are claiming and that you simply don't believe that they keep "finding" more and more garments.

          It's not as if they can have access to the property to even create some additional evidence to counter the response from the architect.
          They're wasting their own time as well as yours.
          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
            Chancers........ quote the findings of the architect and explain it was down to their lifestyle, wish them well in the future and only respond to any further nonsense if it comes from a solicitor.

            Comment


              #7
              EVEN IF the damage to their possessions is due to something that is your fault (which is probably not the case here) you would you will not be liable.

              Your shelf falls off the wall and smashes their £15 million Fabergé egg and their iPad - that's not your problem (except you have to fix the shelf probably). They can claim of their insurance.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                ...................

                Your shelf falls off the wall and smashes their £15 million Fabergé egg and their iPad - that's not your problem (except you have to fix the shelf probably). They can claim of their insurance.
                Errr surely tenant may have a disrepair claim:


                - landlords are liable under one or more of the following:
                • section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (implied term)
                • fitness for human habitation (implied term)
                • express contractual term
                • liability arising from the torts of negligence or nuisance
                • the Defective Premises Act 1972
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                  Errr surely tenant may have a disrepair claim:


                  - landlords are liable under one or more of the following:
                  • section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (implied term)
                  • fitness for human habitation (implied term)
                  • express contractual term
                  • liability arising from the torts of negligence or nuisance
                  • the Defective Premises Act 1972
                  Yes but which of those say that L is liable for damage to the Fabergé egg?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    id say its a fault with the building design rather than their lifestyle.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The building was designed in 1835 and renovated in 1970. Never a complaint before we had tenants not knowing how to open windows in the building.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Just ignore it unless they get a solicitor on the case, they've had their deposit back, they've moved out after giving notice, just change the locks, ( just in case they want to get back in for some reason ), and move on.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                          Yes but which of those say that L is liable for damage to the Fabergé egg?
                          The 1972 Defective Premesis Act as it happens, but there's a general principle of Tort running in parallel.

                          The issue is does the landlord owe the tenant a duty if care in relation to the thing that caused the loss, was that duty breached and was there a reasonably foreseeable loss?

                          For your faberge egg example, it would depend on two things, whether the shelf was faulty or not and whether the faberge egg being damaged was reasonably forseeable.
                          There are two elements of something being reasonably foreseeable, first the risk of something happening and then the risk of the damage happening as a consequence of the risk arising.

                          For the matter in question, the landlord owes the tenant(s) a duty of care to keep them and their possessions safe.
                          If they failed in that duty and allowed the property to have penetrating damp, I'd say that damage to clothing is definitely within the range of possible outcomes.

                          I just don't think there's any penetrating damp, so the duty has been met.
                          Last edited by jpkeates; 06-03-2021, 10:56 AM. Reason: Took out some possibly misleading text.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by trevor131067 View Post
                            The building was designed in 1835 and renovated in 1970. Never a complaint before we had tenants not knowing how to open windows in the building.
                            Are we saying that the last update was over 50 years ago? I agree with Bob and think you should check the gutters and chimney flashings. A constant ingress of water would build up to be a problem particularly without heat and ventilation to get rid of it. I would be looking at the room where damage to clothing is said to have occurred and I would be checking that first. For example does it have a chimney and if it does I would be checking the flashings?
                            I have resisted claims such as this in the past but you should be on notice that you may have a problem in your Victorian house.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The guttering and chimney was checked with no apparent problem. The rooms have been checked for rising damp and penetrating damp by the architect and reporting non of these are visable. We will have a surveyor report made and thanks for all your help. Im petty sure we are not liable.

                              Comment

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