Tenant damage and DPS

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    Tenant damage and DPS

    I have just been given back my 2 bedroom property after a 17 month let. Young couple with child about 8, baby born soon after start of tenancy and then another a month or so ago. They are on benefits and qualify for a larger property, hence they wanted to move on.

    They gave their month's notice and at the same time said that they had painted some of the walls in the house, but had already started to put it back as it was. In it self, I think if a tenant decorates without permission it's only fair they put things back as they were. I tend to use Dulux Calico to decorate living areas and it was painted immediately prior to them moving in. They painted it brown.

    10 days before the end of the tenancy they wanted to meet up to settle up the outstanding rent and check out of the property. Meeting took place, rent received. The house had been painted with white paint over the brown walls. Apart from the fact that the brown had not been covered up properly, it would have still looked like a hospital ward. Not good at all. Poorly decorated and DIRTY. I pointed out my disdain for what they had done and it was agreed that they would stay on to the end of the tenancy to put right what needs doing. I had my doubts about their ability to put things right so suggested we come to an arrangement, where I received some of the deposit to put the house back as it should be. They declined.

    End of tenancy, keys given back, but I am really still not happy. The walls have been repainted by him and are to the same standard that that I would decorate, so that's good. Previously she had done the painting. (Not sure why he didn't as she is the one who clearly looks after the kids and he hasn't done a days work since he's been there). Her decorating is still evident, IE both the brown and the white paint used to cover it up, are on the ceilings, as well as switches and sockets. There is also paint splatter on the laminate as well as other places including carpets. Over-painting goes onto the wooden window frames, as well as the dark wood of the banister. Why, I don't know, but some of the woodwork has been repainted. This was last done about three years ago. What has not been painted is clearly more an off, rather than a brilliant white, (but not looking too tired for it,) coupled with the fact that I use a satin finish rather than full gloss, the painted areas, (IE one side of doors, parts of door frames,) looks awful. House is still dirty. The carpets, although she says she had hired a carpet cleaner are disgusting. The worst being the main bedroom of all places. The carpets are a wool mix, put down by the tenant previous to these because they had replaced some brand new carpets that I had put down. These carpets are only about 3-4 years old and other than the second bedroom, (used by a child,) spotless and as good as new at the start of this last tenancy. I cannot see any way round it, other to replace at least the main bedroom carpet and possibly the hall also.

    I suggested that I could do what was needed for half the deposit £285. I think actual cost will be a lot more. They have declined. He has said he would like to go back into the house to repaint where necessary. I do not want this. As far as I'm concerned the tenancy is over, they were told prior to handing the keys back that the house was not satisfactory and they still managed to leave a mess. What I don't want to do, is put right the damage and make a claim against the deposit, only to lose my claim because I would not give them the keys back to rectify the problems.

    Sorry this has turned out to be a bit long winded, but any thoughts appreciated and thanks in advance.

    #2
    Firstly, is the deposit protected?

    Do you have an inventory that has been signed by the tenant confirming condition at the start of the tenancy? If you dont then I am afraid you dont have a leg to stand on and you must give them back their deposit in full.

    If you do have a signed inventory and have protected the deposit then you must inform the tenant in writing of your intention to make deductions from the deposit. If they dispute these deductions then they must submit a dispute via the appropriate scheme.

    You have no obligation to allow them back into the house to do the work.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, deposit is protected. Yes, detailed inventory signed by tenants at start of tenancy. I put on inventory when areas were last painted and if there are marks any where I list them.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Steve C View Post
        I suggested that I could do what was needed for half the deposit £285. I think actual cost will be a lot more. They have declined. He has said he would like to go back into the house to repaint where necessary. I do not want this. As far as I'm concerned the tenancy is over, they were told prior to handing the keys back that the house was not satisfactory and they still managed to leave a mess. What I don't want to do, is put right the damage and make a claim against the deposit, only to lose my claim because I would not give them the keys back to rectify the problems.
        As poppy35 says, you have no obligation give them access now that the tenancy has ended, and refusing would not cause you to lose a claim.

        Yes, detailed inventory signed by tenants at start of tenancy. I put on inventory when areas were last painted and if there are marks any where I list them.
        However, it sounds like you did the inventory yourself, and there is evidence that deposit scheme adjudicators give less weight to DIY inventories, see
        http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/200...d-inventories/

        And overall, there is a consensus that adjudication tends to unfairly favour the tenant, so in your position I would refuse to settle the dispute via adjudication. See
        http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/200...s-keep-losing/

        You have a better chance of winning if you settle the dispute via the county court, where cases are judged on a 'balance of probabilities'. (I have won a claim with a home-made inventory). And go for the actual cost of repair, not a compromise, given that T has refused what sounds to me like a reasonable offer.

        So, firstly raise a dispute with the DPS for the actual cost of repairs, then either wait for T to claim via the county court (then counterclaim for the damage), or claim against them (via Money Claim Online). The disputed sum would meanwhile be held by the DPS until a court order was obtained directing them to pay out to either party.

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