Deposit Issues- Please help

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    Deposit Issues- Please help

    Hi to all of you,

    I have a 2-bed house, which I let out for a while to two guys, room by room rather than as a whole house.

    The first guy moved out beginning of July and the second at the end of July. I moved back into the house mid July.

    Just before the first guy moved out, I went to inspect the property and found some water damage to the ceiling in my front room (the bathroom is directly above). The ceiling was badly bowed and there were black mould spots.

    I mentioned the damage to the tenant who was moving out, who said he hadn’t even noticed the damage. He then called me a few days later to inform me that he had created a hole in the bowed ceiling due to his inspection of the damage. Shortly after this the other tenant emailed me to say that they noticed the damage a few weeks before I inspected the property nand found the damage for myself. He stated that he had tried to contact me to inform me but couldn't as I was on holiday. This statement is absurd as I had my phone on while abroad and was set to receive messages and calls- I had no missed calls or messages from either of them and I have my bill to prove I had overseas calls added. Both their stories don’t add up. As a result of this, I have no clear definite time/date when this damage took place.

    I had a builder round to quote for repairs. Once I had passed on the information to the tenants they asked for a second opinion, which I then obtained from another builder. This builder inspected the property and bathroom thoroughly and informed me that the damage was due to a cracked tile in the shower. He explained that the damage must have been recent as if it had been cracked for a long period of time, the tile would have come away from the wall. Due to the one cracked tile and the ceiling being damaged, I would have to replace all the tiles (as I don’t want my bathroom to look like a jigsaw) and the whole ceiling would have to be done as it is artexed and impossible to match.

    I called the insurance company at the tenants’ request to see if they would pay out for this. As I had changed insurers in June, they advised me that as I could not definitely say when the damage had occurred they were not going to pay out. Due to the fact that I have received two very different versions of events from the tenants as to when this damage was discovered by them, I believe they are trying all they can to get out of paying for the damage.

    The tenants keep mentioning the fact that I need to claim from my insurance and they are only happy to pay out from their deposit what my excess would have been. This baffles me, as there is nothing mentioning insurance excesses in the contract, and something stating that if the insurance company won’t pay out due to anything the tenants have or have not done, then I am able to pay for the damage using their deposit. Their deposit doesn’t cover the whole amount of the quote, so I am going to have to pay out of my own money from my own pocket to cover this.

    I have spoken to a CAB solicitor who says I am well within my rights to keep their deposit and that they are being ludicrous in suggesting that I only take the excess out of their deposit (which I hold). Does anybody know if I am required to take just the excess from their deposit or maybe where they may have got this unusual information/ advice from? Also, am i obliged to go through the insurance in the first place?

    Any advice gratefully appreciated.

    Consider the following:-
    1. Did either of your tenants sign an inventory?, because if not you can kiss their deposit goodbye.
    2. If the broken tile was caused by one of the tenants, which you will incidentally have to prove, then you might have some sort of case
    3. You can retain their deposits and run the risk of their taking court action against you but you are more than likely on to a loser!
    4. Why are you trying to have sharers who might have a room each but share the rest of the accommodation on different tenancies? It complicates things no-end! How do you otherwise prove who is responsible for what aspect?
    5. The CAB solicitor won't be there in court to stand at your shoulder
    6. Either your current insurer or previous insurer should cover this so you should approach both. They might agree to pay half each! One way or another you must be covered by one of them!
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


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