Damage & Deposit

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  • baud2death
    started a topic Damage & Deposit

    Damage & Deposit

    I have recently moved out and have 3 outstanding disputes with my landlord
    Firstly there is a small piece of laminate flooring missing from the kitchen floor but we have not done anything to cause this and suspect the weather to have caused it.. but they dont accept this

    Secondly, at the top of the stairs we have a crack which grows when pressure is applied to the top step and is basicaly a case of the staircase pulling away from the wall. At the time the landlord asked us and we guessed it might have been caused when me were moving items up the stairs when we moved in, he took this to be an admission of guilt. We however believe it is a structrual problem.

    Thirdly there is the bath with which a crack formed within our first week of moving in.

    Let me highlight as well that we are not small people. I weigh 15 stone and my wife 24 stone.

    Point 2 was resolved by the landlord at the time by adding sealant, asking us to paint it and it would "be alright".

    Point 3 was resolved by the landlord fibreglassing the bottom of the bath and using sealant.

    The wall has continued to crack whereas the bath which was used 1 or 2 times when it crack has been used for 6 months since and has not seen another problem occur.

    The landlord also left us with his "quick repairs" on this for 6 months and did not make any effort to seek proffesional aid to resolve the problems and only seeks to dispute this now that we have moved out.

    With all that said we dispute these 3 points, primarly the bath and wall. We see it through the point that for the bath, since the repair it has been used every few days for 6 months and has not seen a repeat of a problem that occured after 1 week... shouldn't this be a case of the bath not being in a fit state to support us in the first place?

    Then the stairs, as we did nothing on purpose to the wall and only moved in furniture like any tenant would, can we be responsible for this fault?

    I look forward to hearing back from anyone who can help us battle this as the landlord have already withheld our 700£ deposit and will be "billing us for further costs" when they get this work carried out.

    Thanks

  • RichieP
    replied
    there could be mice in there
    If you've got mice that can chew through laminate flooring, get out of there. QUICK!!

    I've just put some laminate down and I've never known anything blunt jigsaw blades so quickly. I ran out and even used a handsaw that got blunted as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • charger
    replied
    I could understand about the craks/bath etc.. but with of laminate floor missing....
    However there could be mice in there, you never know

    Leave a comment:


  • baud2death
    replied
    I have consulted legal advise through my home insurance legal protection (good idea for me to fork out the extra £10 a year for it!

    They confirm that through normal use no matter the weight a bath should be able to support 2 grown adults standing in it let alone just 1.

    They also confirm that the stairs fault seems structural and a staircase should allow support for more than one person scaling it.

    They also confirm that as you guys said I would only be liable for the value of the bath not a brand new bath (they can not profit from the accident by getting a new bath or a new suite fitted just an exact version of that bath or something as close as possible)

    As my legal cover in this regard only covers advice then I am following the next stage in the dispute. I have alerted my landlord by letter (please see below) and offered them 7 days to reply otherwise I shall take this to small claims court.

    Oh, and the bonus as well is that she said any fault of ours must be proved by the landlord to the case not by our denial of it.

    Thank you very much for your help. If anyone else has any more advise or is familiar at all with the process of small claims court, please let me know. You have helped 2 worried people out of a hole because after all, we are not people who destroy any home we come into contact with and argue at the slightest ounce of responsibility, we feel that house has acted against us and is not friendly for people like us and we are reassured that we have helpful people to combat this.

    Dear Landlord:

    After consulting legal advice I need to make clear the following points are would appreciate your thoughts on the matter as requested.

    On the issue of the bath: The bath is not a new bath as is confirmed by the suites décor but even were it a brand new bath it should be strong enough to support the weight of more than has been used with it and still to suffer no damage. The fact that this occurred through normal use and no other act (such as dropping an item in the bath for example) then this does not fall within our responsibility and we will not be paying for any repairs for the bath.

    On the issue of the stairs: A staircase should support the weight of more than one person using it even as large as ourselves. I do not dispute that this fault occurred whilst we were there but this is a structural fault as opposed to any intentional damage on our part and we should not be responsible for this and will not be paying any repairs for this.

    On the issue of the floor: We believe that the cause of this can only be down to something similar to shrinkage through weather effects (damp, cold etc.) and the floor has pulled itself away from its previous position. We do not believe this to be our fault and will not be paying for any repairs for this.

    On the issue of the cellar door, the dining room cable hole and the main bedroom holes we do admit to this being through our action and we would be happy to pay for reasonable repairs for this but as previously stated in an earlier letter we would appreciate notice on costs before any work is carried out.

    This letter highlights our commitment to you upon leaving the home to address the concerns you raised in your previous letter. We would appreciate confirmation in writing within 7 days that you agree to the above and following agreed upon repairs for the cellar door, dining room hole and bedroom holes that you would be happy to return the remaining monies from our deposit to us.

    Should we fail to hear from you or receive notice that you are not willing to commit to resolution of this issue as explained in this letter then we will be filing a case with the local courts to recover our bond minus the agreed upon costs. If you feel you need to get in touch with me via telephone.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon

    Leave a comment:


  • MrShed
    replied
    I really wasnt sure with regards the bath, and think I have misunderstood what the "strut" was to be honest. Having read Eric's and Energise's answers, I believe they are probably correct about the bath.

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  • Ericthelobster
    replied
    Originally posted by baud2death
    In reference to the bath what would a like for like replacement be if not a new bath? (the suite in question is 15+ years old)
    Arguably, the bath is near the end of its useful life, and even if you were deemed to be 100% liable for the damage, you couldn't be held responsible for the full cost of a new bath; rather, the proportion of useful life which was left which is considerably less.

    Originally posted by baud2death
    Also does it help my case if after the fault my father in law inspected the bath and noticed the strut was lying on the floor under the bath?

    The contention of the landlord is that he checked out the bath before letting it out and the strut was in place. Ours would be that for the crack to occur with no intentional force and for an inspection to reveal the strut was resting on its side not in place that either the strut was not present or it was not secured to the bath.
    As per my original post, if that strut was not in place, then that is the cause of the damage. They should be fixed so that both top and bottom are screwed in place, ie they can't become dislodged. It makes perfect sense that the bath could have survived for many years like this being used by a standard-sized person, but that it succumbed under the weight of your wife. The fact that with the strut now in place, the bath is working OK, suggests to me that the bath is perfectly OK for someone of your wife's size, if fitted properly. The LL's assertion that the strut was in place all along doesn't make too much sense to me. If he says the problem was your wife's weight, then the crack would be expected to re-occur, wouldn't it? I would guess that a judge would go along with that, if it got that far.

    I don't think it matters a damn that you didn't notice and record this in the inventory, nobody is expected to have to grovel around under tha bath to check if it's fitted properly! No doubt there is a side-panel in place, hiding it? if a tradesman had come round to fix it, he would have observed the missing strut and that would have been that; as it is, it's now your word against the LLs. I don't think your father in law's word is worth too much as he's not impartial, like a tradesman would have been.

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  • Energise
    replied
    I disagree with Mr Shed about the bath, there is no way a tenant would be expected to check on whether a bath had been installed correctly, there is no way your wife is to heavy to be using a bath. If the landlords repair was not good enough then it was not good enough to be left like that for you, he decided it was good enough.

    "The instance at which the landlord thinks it occurred is when 2 moving men, we and my wife were hauling something upstairs."

    Then the landlord needs to provide an alternative way of getting furniture upstairs (if the property is that unsound to be damaged by 2 large people undertaking everyday activities maybe the landlord should be weighing his next prospective tenants

    Leave a comment:


  • MrShed
    replied
    Originally posted by baud2death
    No of course and your a great help

    I try it is difficult in situations like this, as not only can the issue of repairs and state of items be quite subjective, it is difficult to comment without seeing the actual items in question.

    What difference does not signing the inventory mean (i am unsure as to if we have or havent until i find the documents)

    It means that, theoretically, there is no basis for deductions from the deposit. Without you signing the inventory, the landlord has nothing to show that you agreed to the condition of the property as listed, and that it is JUST his opinion, and of course he could have made it out to be better than it was.

    They have already agreed in writing to only charge for a replacement bath. I have also requested that they start no work until I have seen the quotes for this work.. Is that fair?

    Fair, perhaps. Him legally obligated to do so? No. He must send you receipts. But the issue is, you asking to see quotes is like saying that he needs your permission to carry out the work and deduct from the deposit, and he does not.

    Also does proof of other defects in the house add to the weight of my argument regarding the stairs. A key one is that in the dining room there is a gap half the width of your finger between the skirting board and the wall... There is for sure some strange goings on in that house

    Also i remind myself that a day prior to them inspecting the house the landlord agreed to write us out a cheque for the deposit whenafter they visited. Since they knew this problem existed before this statement is it fair to say that they are not remaining consistent with how they expect us to be liable for these repairs?

    Well, I would say that is a very silly thing for the landlord to say. However, it is not binding in any way, and I assume that he did not say the "entire" deposit?
    His inspection of the strut would have to be confirmed, realistically, by the inventory.

    I would bve interested to see another persons opinion on these repairs, as I think they are all fairly grey areas to be honest.

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  • baud2death
    replied
    In addition after consulting my wife:

    The contention of the landlord that:

    He inspected the strut before letting is in doubt as the bath is covered with a wooden fitting that was screwed on, sealed with silicone and painted over. My wife says that this paintjob did not look new.

    ... I think i need to get legal advise on this because i can see this getting out of hand quickly

    Thanks

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  • baud2death
    replied
    No of course and your a great help

    What difference does not signing the inventory mean (i am unsure as to if we have or havent until i find the documents)

    They have already agreed in writing to only charge for a replacement bath. I have also requested that they start no work until I have seen the quotes for this work.. Is that fair?

    Also does proof of other defects in the house add to the weight of my argument regarding the stairs. A key one is that in the dining room there is a gap half the width of your finger between the skirting board and the wall... There is for sure some strange goings on in that house

    Also i remind myself that a day prior to them inspecting the house the landlord agreed to write us out a cheque for the deposit whenafter they visited. Since they knew this problem existed before this statement is it fair to say that they are not remaining consistent with how they expect us to be liable for these repairs?

    Leave a comment:


  • MrShed
    replied
    Originally posted by baud2death
    Firstly, I am looking for the inventory now but the wife says we never signed it.

    That would make a big difference.

    In reference to the bath what would a like for like replacement be if not a new bath? (the suite in question is 15+ years old)

    I mean that he would have to charge for the replacement of the bath with a bath of the same type, and same age. Obviously it is difficult to do this, so it would probably end up being a percentage of a new one. If it is around 15 years old, I think it would be difficult for them to charge you more than around 15%, although I will probably be corrected here. However, you raise another point, in that they may try to charge for an entire replacement suite.

    Also does it help my case if after the fault my father in law inspected the bath and noticed the strut was lying on the floor under the bath?

    No. Please do not take this the wrong way, merely saying what the landlord may say. He may say the weight of one of you in the bath has dislodged the strut. It is impossible to use an examination after the event to say that an object was not present prior to the event.


    The contention of the landlord is that he checked out the bath before letting it out and the strut was in place. Ours would be that for the crack to occur with no intentional force and for an inspection to reveal the strut was resting on its side not in place that either the strut was not present or it was not secured to the bath.
    Just my opinion of course!

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  • baud2death
    replied
    Firstly, I am looking for the inventory now but the wife says we never signed it.

    In reference to the bath what would a like for like replacement be if not a new bath? (the suite in question is 15+ years old)

    Also does it help my case if after the fault my father in law inspected the bath and noticed the strut was lying on the floor under the bath?

    The contention of the landlord is that he checked out the bath before letting it out and the strut was in place. Ours would be that for the crack to occur with no intentional force and for an inspection to reveal the strut was resting on its side not in place that either the strut was not present or it was not secured to the bath.

    Leave a comment:


  • MrShed
    replied
    OK. This puts a slightly new light on things. Just my opinion, but here we go:

    - Flooring - sounds to me as if you are not liable. There are two possible causes from the point of view of the landlord, judging by the description of the fault. Either weather conditions, causing fair wear and tear on the floor, or a spillage could cause similar. It would be virtually impossible for the landlord to even suspect a large spillage, and hence your responsibility, so you aren't IMO responsible for this.

    - Bath - you could be responsible for this. For you to use the "missing strut" issue as a reason, you would, IMO, have had to mention it and have it marked down on the inventory. As you fairly obviously have not, you have basically accepted that the strut was in place, and as such the damage to the bath is your responsibility. It is quite a difficult one, but I think that is where the chips will lie.

    - Stairs - I see no responsibility on your part for the stairs.

    Bear in mind with regards to the bath(as I believe this to be the only area you may be responsible for), they cannot charge you for a new bath, it must be a "like for like" replacement.

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  • baud2death
    replied
    An inventory was carried out and I can imagine we signed it but I am unsure as to if we have a copy of it.

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  • MrShed
    replied
    The very simple answer to your question is no the landlord does not have an obligation to do what you say....your bond is exactly for the purpose of rectifying repairs.

    However, you have not answered the first question I have put....I suggest you answer, as it will have a major bearing upon your obligation to pay for repairs.

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