Protecting floor from tenant's furniture

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  • Protecting floor from tenant's furniture

    I have completely refurbished my late mother's house and have now let it to a tenant.
    I laid a brand new laminate floor in the living/dining area and my tenant has installed his own dining table and chairs. The chair legs have no protective caps on the bottom so they will scratch and damage the new floor. I asked the tenant's partner if I could fit protective caps and she agreed. My tenant is outraged that I have done this. Can he force me to remove the caps and if so, who pays for the damage when it eventually occurs? He has not even moved in yet but I now wish to end the AST at the end of the term. Also he says he wants to "do his own thing" yet he has signed a tenancy agreement with the usual clauses about repairs, decorating, etc. (though I don't think he bothered to read it).

  • #2
    Originally posted by trescasas View Post
    I have completely refurbished my late mother's house and have now let it to a tenant.
    I laid a brand new laminate floor in the living/dining area and my tenant has installed his own dining table and chairs. The chair legs have no protective caps on the bottom so they will scratch and damage the new floor. I asked the tenant's partner if I could fit protective caps and she agreed. My tenant is outraged that I have done this. Can he force me to remove the caps and if so, who pays for the damage when it eventually occurs? He has not even moved in yet but I now wish to end the AST at the end of the term. Also he says he wants to "do his own thing" yet he has signed a tenancy agreement with the usual clauses about repairs, decorating, etc. (though I don't think he bothered to read it).
    Is your tenant outraged because of the chair caps, or because of the way you went about it? Did you call unannounced, for example, and just fit them? They are his chairs, after all.

    Having said that, I do not think it is unreasonable to insist on having anti-scratch measures in place and it would be a good idea to inform your T in writing that the laminate was brand new at the start of his tenancy and that is it is scratched when he moves out, you will claim the cost of replacement from his tenancy deposit. Ask him to keep the caps on the chairs and not remove them except to apply an alternative kind of anti-scratch pad/cap of his choice. Also make it clear to him that he must not decorate without your consent. It may be his home but it is your property and he cannot 'do his own thing' to that extent.

    Do you have a full check-in inventory signed by the T?

    Is his deposit protected?
    '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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by trescasas View Post
      my tenant has installed his own dining table and chairs.
      seems to contradict
      He has not even moved in yet
      But anyway; you need to stop regarding the rental propery as 'your late mother's flat' and start understanding that it's the tenant's home, in addition to being your rental investment property.

      Damage may well by caused by this or future tenants. What you do is protect yourself by taking a six week deposit, and having a thorough inventory check-in carried out when the T moves in. Then, if T causes damage, you either raise a dispute with the deposit scheme to recover your loss or it gets settled in the small claims track.

      Trying to be a control freak about keeping the floors unscratched, whilst understandable, will end in disappointment sooner or later.

      Also he says he wants to "do his own thing" yet he has signed a tenancy agreement with the usual clauses about repairs, decorating, etc.
      The usual clauses about repairs would usually be the LL's repairing obligations under s.11. Decoration isn't really an issue in the average short term let - T shouldn't be allowed to do it, and LL has no obligation to do it mid-tenancy.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by trescasas View Post
        who pays for the damage when it eventually occurs?
        if you supply flooring that is not capable of resiting heavy table and constant movement of chairs, why should the tenant pay for scuff marks when a carpet would not give you any problems.

        There are many threads on here about laminate flooring, and I for one would never entertain a laminate flooring due to sound problems and the problems you mention. ( Floor not fit for purpose )

        Polished, shiny floor for your own home is o.k., but not for renting out.

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        • #5
          I did not call unannounced, I rang him and in any case he's still at his old property so the house is unoccupied. His furniture has moved in but not him - that will be on Monday. I have not yet received the deposit but T's father is acting as guarantor.
          Yes, he has signed the check-in inventory.

          He likes the laminate floor so I will suggest putting a carpet down unless he agrees to leave the caps on - his caps or mine, I'm not bothered. I laid the laminate floor because that's what everybody seems to want now.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by trescasas View Post
            I did not call unannounced, I rang him and in any case he's still at his old property so the house is unoccupied. His furniture has moved in but not him - that will be on Monday. I have not yet received the deposit but T's father is acting as guarantor.
            Yes, he has signed the check-in inventory.

            He likes the laminate floor so I will suggest putting a carpet down unless he agrees to leave the caps on - his caps or mine, I'm not bothered. I laid the laminate floor because that's what everybody seems to want now.
            You would be strongly advised not to let the tenancy go ahead (i.e. to let him occupy) until the deposit is received. Presumably it is one of the conditions of the tenancy as describe in the contract?

            Whether the tenancy deposit is received from T, G or Great-Auntie Beryl is immaterial, but do not rely on the idea that at the end of the tenancy, G will cheerfully pay up for any damage T causes, without having to be dragged through the courts. He probably will not. Plus, unless some quite particular and stringent conditions were met with regard to G's viewing, signing and the independent witnessing of of the Deed of Guarantee (it was a Deed, wasn't it - not just an Agreement?), then G may be able to escape his 'commitment' in any case. I am not trying to scaremonger, but it is very unusual to allow a T into a property before the deposit is taken. Once he is in, how do you propose to get the deposit out of him if he continues to say he does not have the money?

            Has he been paying rent for the period in during which his furniture (but not he) has been in the property? Does he have the keys?
            '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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ram View Post
              if you supply flooring that is not capable of resiting heavy table and constant movement of chairs, why should the tenant pay for scuff marks when a carpet would not give you any problems.

              There are many threads on here about laminate flooring, and I for one would never entertain a laminate flooring due to sound problems and the problems you mention. ( Floor not fit for purpose )

              Polished, shiny floor for your own home is o.k., but not for renting out.
              I do not entirely agree! I appreciate what you are saying about noise, however..

              In many cases good quality laminate (rather than carpet) is an excellent choice for rental properties, especially for high-traffic areas which gather more dirt and where spills often occur. Its appearance can be softened and its insulating qualities improved with rugs; laminate is easily and cheaply cleaned; increasing numbers of tenants are allergic to house dust mites in carpets; as OP says, tenants seem to like it.

              Real wood and laminate will both need protecting from the feet of items of furniture such as dining chairs, which are frequently moved/scraped along. At home, with a wood floor in the dining area, I have gone for the little rubber caps on the feet of the dining chair as I got fed up with scraping off and replacing those little sticky felt circles. Having said that, in a rental house full of six students, the original felt circles are - amazingly - still in place (I think the student must remain seated, inertly, for longer periods than my kids. They must think more. Or perhaps they lift the chairs up when moving them. It's a mystery to me).

              OP's T strikes me as a bit unreasonable, to be honest.
              '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

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              • #8
                Would agree that L can offer T advice to prevent damage but T is under no obligation to heed the advice and there is little L can do to force them.

                Secondly I agree with Westerminster on both counts 1. it is the tenants home not the OP's late mothers 2. OP must take a deposit to cover damage, they must however protect that deposit in one of the schemes

                OP must also be aware of "fair wear and tear" it is reasonable for some normal damage to take place during the term of a tenancy plus there own repair obligations

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by trescasas View Post
                  I did not call unannounced, I rang him and in any case he's still at his old property so the house is unoccupied. His furniture has moved in but not him - that will be on Monday. I have not yet received the deposit but T's father is acting as guarantor.
                  Yes, he has signed the check-in inventory.

                  He likes the laminate floor so I will suggest putting a carpet down unless he agrees to leave the caps on - his caps or mine, I'm not bothered. I laid the laminate floor because that's what everybody seems to want now.
                  Is this your first rental property?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by matthew_henson View Post
                    Would agree that L can offer T advice to prevent damage but T is under no obligation to heed the advice.

                    Secondly I agree with Westerminster on both counts 1. it is the tenants home not the OP's late mothers 2. OP must take a deposit to cover damage, they must however protect that deposit in one of the schemes

                    OP must also be aware of "fair wear and tear" it is reasonable for some normal damage to take place during the term of a tenancy plus there own repair obligations
                    I disagree. The scratching of new laminate flooring by dining chairs is not fair wear and tear; it is entirely preventable and LL is not being unreasonable here. It is much more reasonable to insist that T protects it by using the felt chair feet protectors (which cannot be seen) than have to embark on a protracted battle at the end of the tenancy to make him pay for the laminate to be replaced.

                    There is an environmental issue here too : what a waste of laminate flooring (which would otherwise last for years before having to be replaced), just because T decided to be precious and take umbrage at being asked to fit protectors.

                    Tenancy contracts for rented homes require T to behave in 'a tenantlike manner'. That means taking the simple kinds of precautions against damage to the fabric of the building which a rational adult would, in their own home, like not playing football indoors and not allowing your pets or children to swing from the curtains. If T refuses to fit protective caps on the chair feet and insists on being allowed to scratch new flooring quite unnecessarily, it is difficult to see how that is behaving in a tenantlike manner. It is no more unreasonable of OP to insist on the chair caps than to insist that T chops vegetables or cuts bread on a chopping board, rather than on the kitchen worktop.

                    I agree that in practice if T insists on being a pillock about these things, there is little (legally) LL can do to prevent him - but the LL has a right to be very clear with the tenant that it is not OK for him to 'do his own thing' with impunity.
                    '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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                      I disagree. The scratching of new laminate flooring by dining chairs is not fair wear and tear; it is entirely preventable and LL is not being unreasonable here. It is much more reasonable to insist that T protects it by using the felt chair feet protectors (which cannot be seen) than have to embark on a protracted battle at the end of the tenancy to make him pay for the laminate to be replaced.
                      I do agree with you but I have been in the situation where I have been the T to an unbelievably precious LL, in that instance I protected the feet of all furnature without being asked (lots of orignial 100 year old pitch pine floors), but as a tenant you do feel you are being infringed upon when requests like this are made badly.

                      I see both points of view and as a LL I did once remove the carpet spikes off the T's large speakers that were sitting on the laminate kitchen floor (I was in to repair of the heating btw)
                      Last edited by matthew_henson; 11-04-2010, 09:39 AM. Reason: extra comment

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by trescasas View Post
                        I did not call unannounced, I rang him and in any case he's still at his old property so the house is unoccupied. His furniture has moved in but not him - that will be on Monday. I have not yet received the deposit but T's father is acting as guarantor.
                        Yes, he has signed the check-in inventory.
                        As MTG says, bad idea to let tenant have keys (if that's what you've done) and move in furniture before obtaining the deposit, one month's rent in advance, and a signed deed of guarantee. You may already have created a tenancy, in which case there is nothing you can do to if T fails to hand over the money or the guarantee on Monday (except issue a s.8 notice as soon as the next month's rent is owing and unpaid).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                          I disagree. The scratching of new laminate flooring by dining chairs is not fair wear and tear; it is entirely preventable
                          You are right in your belief , But - - - -

                          Where do you draw the line.
                          what about your new HIGHLY POLISHED sink/drainer. Does the tenant have to frightend of placing any plates and sharp metal objects on the drainer, to drain, for fear of scraching the surface, and being told to put felt round knives and forks to prevent the highly polished surface from being scratched ?

                          it must be in your contract that no suffs or scratches are allowed on your floor, but you cannot stop the odd scratch.

                          So many threads, so many discusions, so much heartache about laminate flooring. This is a problematic item, so to prevent heartache for the Landlord, fit carpet, and the heartache and forseeable problems dissapear.

                          .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ram View Post
                            You are right in your belief , But - - - -

                            Where do you draw the line.
                            what about your new HIGHLY POLISHED sink/drainer. Does the tenant have to frightend of placing any plates and sharp metal objects on the drainer, to drain, for fear of scraching the surface, and being told to put felt round knives and forks to prevent the highly polished surface from being scratched ?
                            Clearly that would be silly. However nobody in their right mind would fit a highly polished stainless steel sink/drainer whether in their own home or a rental property. It is poor design. Well-designed stainless steel sinks are not highly polished; they have a matt or 'brushed steel' finish so as to avoid the problem you describe. It is not possible to prevent 'normal use' scratches on sinks (except ceramic ones) - even the very expensive stainless steel surfaces/sinks in restaurant kitchens will pick up scuffs and scratches eventually. However they are all brushed steel, not high-shine finishes. It is not a sensible comparison.

                            Originally posted by ram View Post
                            it must be in your contract that no suffs or scratches are allowed on your floor, but you cannot stop the odd scratch.

                            So many threads, so many discusions, so much heartache about laminate flooring. This is a problematic item, so to prevent heartache for the Landlord, fit carpet, and the heartache and forseeable problems dissapear.

                            .
                            No. Carpets are fine for bedrooms (although they will become filthy there too if Ts do not remove outdoor shoes, which many do not. Laminate on the ground floors or rented properties can be a very good choice, for all the reasons I enumerated in my earlier post. Here are some of the things some tenants do to carpets:
                            • they fail to vacuum clean them for months on end
                            • they walk on them with muddy footwear
                            • they wheel bikes and even motorbikes over them
                            • they drop food on them, especially curry
                            • they spill alcoholic drinks on them, especially red wine
                            • they do their ironing on them and burn them
                            • they infest them with fleas from their pets
                            • they allow their pets to urinate on them as part of the house-training process


                            Whilst one would not endorse any of these behaviours they would certainly cause less damage on a laminate or tiled floor!
                            '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


                            • #15
                              Good laminate doesn't get scratched by chairs/tables?
                              Mine was mid range and specifically came with a 25 year warranty against scratching by "pets and furniture" -- would have thought this was fairly standard on new laminate flooring?

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