Damage to residential house

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    Damage to residential house

    Hi,

    I rented out my 5 bedroom house to tennants for a 7 month contract on AST. The deposit was held with DPS and I performed an inventory before they moved in which was signed for.

    However the property is in a really bad condition now, they had a dog which was not allowed and it scratched the leather sofas. They also ripped curtains and have a large burn in the carpet.

    When I asked them to explain they just said its normal wear for this property, all the items were quite new and in good condition. The last tennant would also vouch for that. I am worried now how I can get funds from DPS as I need to buy a new sofa and curtains etc.

    Its also very dirty with mud from the dog etc on carpets.

    Its willful damage and the tennants are taking no responsibility. I would like to hear from landlords who have suffered this type of loss.

    Thanks

    #2
    Did the Letting Agreement prohibit the keeping of dogs?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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      #3
      Originally posted by mfezza View Post
      Hi,

      I rented out my 5 bedroom house to tennants for a 7 month contract on AST. The deposit was held with DPS and I performed an inventory before they moved in which was signed for.

      However the property is in a really bad condition now, they had a dog which was not allowed and it scratched the leather sofas. They also ripped curtains and have a large burn in the carpet.

      When I asked them to explain they just said its normal wear for this property, all the items were quite new and in good condition. The last tennant would also vouch for that. I am worried now how I can get funds from DPS as I need to buy a new sofa and curtains etc.

      Its also very dirty with mud from the dog etc on carpets.

      Its willful damage and the tennants are taking no responsibility. I would like to hear from landlords who have suffered this type of loss.

      Thanks
      Your tenants are wrong. This does not sound anything like 'fair wear and tear', although it will be up to you to demonstrate that the property + contents were in good condition at the start but were damaged during the current Ts' tenancy.

      Raise a dispute with the DPS and be prepared to justify all the deductions you need to make, by means of detailed check-in and check-out inventories, estimates/invoices/receipts. You will need to be rigorous about this since judgements tend to go in favour of the T unless you can prove clearly that there has been damage and it was caused by them.
      '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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        #4
        Damage to house by tennants.

        Yes, there was also a clause rxpressly forbidding animals apart from small ones.
        Also a clause to keep the landlord`s property in good condition. There is also damage to the furniture which was caused through the tennants willful neglect, they do not care.

        But i wonder why DPS will not be fair, I have inventories and pictures. Is it simply their word against mine. I could speak to the old tennant though as they knew the condition when they got their full deposit back.

        How does the DPS arbitration process work? It would be good to hear from people who have gone through this process.

        Thanks for all your help.

        Comment


          #5
          I did not say they would not be fair, only that the onus of proof is on the LL to prove the T caused the damage - you would struggle to do that without a good inventory, etc. This page of the DPS website describes the process:

          http://www.depositprotection.com/Pub...px?section=ADR

          Your other option is to sue your T through a moneyclaimonline https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome. This may eventually involve a court hearing, where the decision as to who pays what would be decided on the 'balance of probabilities' - which is usually more in the LL's interest than the DPS arbitration service, but the latter is probably simpler.
          '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


            #6
            Thanks for your advice. So is it best to always have a third party complete an inventory so that you have impartial reports.

            Do most landlords use inventory providers? I am just wondering if that is normal as I have not seen many companies that undertake it.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mfezza View Post
              Thanks for your advice. So is it best to always have a third party complete an inventory* so that you have impartial reports.

              Do most landlords use inventory providers? I am just wondering if that is normal as I have not seen many companies that undertake it.
              Best? I wouldn't go that far, although many agents would probably disagree with me (possibly because they make money out of them). Compiling a detailed written inventory supported by photos is not that difficult - there is no mystique about it, although some inventory clerks would have you think there is. I do not know how many LLs use independent clerks, sorry.

              There is a useful DIY template on LLZ in the 'forms and agreements' section of the site, but if you lack the time or the inclination to make your own, it will cost you between £75 and £300 to pay an independent inventory clerk to do it for you. LLs who have had to sue for damages will tell you it was worth every penny - but most LLs do not end up suing for damages. I suppose you can use the same one, modifed as necessary, with subsequent Ts. I think the important thing is not that the inventory is produced by an independent third party but that it is very detailed (down to the state of the plaster on the walls in each room) and presented in a professional way, not handwritten on the back on an envelope. For a check-in inventory to carry enough weight, it must of course have been agreed with and signed by the T at commencement of the tenancy.

              Some LLs make video inventories. See:
              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...eo+inventories
              '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


                #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Best? I wouldn't go that far, although many agents would probably disagree with me (possibly because they make money out of them). Compiling a detailed written inventory supported by photos is not that difficult - there is no mystique about it, although some inventory clerks would have you think there is. I do not know how many LLs use independent clerks, sorry.

                There is a useful DIY template on LLZ in the 'forms and agreements' section of the site, but if you lack the time or the inclination to make your own, it will cost you between £75 and £300 to pay an independent inventory clerk to do it for you. LLs who have had to sue for damages will tell you it was worth every penny - but most LLs do not end up suing for damages. I suppose you can use the same one, modifed as necessary, with subsequent Ts. I think the important thing is not that the inventory is produced by an independent third party but that it is very detailed (down to the state of the plaster on the walls in each room) and presented in a professional way, not handwritten on the back on an envelope. For a check-in inventory to carry enough weight, it must of course have been agreed with and signed by the T at commencement of the tenancy.

                Some LLs make video inventories. See:
                http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...eo+inventories
                As well as signed, I would suggest every page is marked with a page number (3 of 14) and initialled by all tenants.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Post from the landlordlaw blog:

                  I have received an interesting e-circular from the Deposit Protection Service. It is essentially correcting a circular they sent earlier to dissociate themselves from a company. However apparently they also said in that earlier circular:

                  The DPS would recommend landlords obtain an independent Inventory because one conducted by a landlord or agent would not be considered independent in the event of a dispute”.

                  This has obviously caused behind the scenes problems, and no doubt vociferous complaints on behalf of landlords unwilling to incur (or unable to afford) the additional expense of an inventory clerk, as they now say:

                  With regard to the statement concerning the validity of self-produced inventories, The DPS wishes to make clear that its Adjudication Service is obligated to consider all evidence placed before it when considering a Dispute and that there is no reason why an Inventory properly produced by a landlord or agent, which is duly signed by all parties in the correct way, should not be considered entirely valid.”

                  However, notwithstanding this, I think the first statement is very telling, and probably reflects the real attitude taken towards landlords’ own inventories. Landlords should take note therefore that independent inventories conducted by an inventory clerk are likely to be given greater weight at arbitrations than one done by themselves.
                  http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/200...d-inventories/

                  The rather mealy-mouthed* turn of phrase - "there is no reason why...should not be considered entirely valid" - implies that the second statement cannot be wholly trusted.

                  Only relevant if you intend to resolve any dispute via adjudication rather than via the court; I have won a claim for damage in the court and relied on the check-in inventory I did myself, signed by tenant.

                  *Word of the week.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Damage to property & unpaid bills

                    Thanks to everyone for this advice. I think Court will be an option as we are looking at thousands of pounds of damages here.
                    I would hope the arbitration process would be fair as there is a considerable amount of work involved, we have detailed inventories down to model numbers for white goods.

                    I have not got a level of details such as the bathroom door handle has a scratch, but we are not contesting small items here. I would have thought that DPS know most landlords would not go through this process unless there were real problems and with pictures (dated) and witness statements it should help.

                    Court would be the next step if DPS is unsuccesful.

                    If a tennant has not paid bills during the tennancy, should this also come off the DPS arbitration? As it has now come to light that some bills were stated 2 weeks before departure date to utility companies.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mfezza View Post
                      If a tennant has not paid bills during the tennancy, should this also come off the DPS arbitration? As it has now come to light that some bills were stated 2 weeks before departure date to utility companies.
                      No, in principle, assuming the bills are in the tenant's name, not yours, it is up to the utility companies to chase them for the debt. There is however nothing to stop you passing on Ts' contact details and new address if you know it, to the utility providers.
                      '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

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