Damage caused by tenants?

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  • Damage caused by tenants?

    I need some advice on a situation I have with regards to a couple of issues.

    My tennants who have been in my property for around 6 months in my view have not reported a problem, and hence it has got to a stage where costly damage has been done.

    To describe the issue, this all started originally when my letting agent contacted me with regards to a screw thread on the oven door having lost it's thread; I then visited to find that the tennants had taken the door completely off, causing the thread brackets inside to fall down inside the cooker. Before this point (taking the door off), it might have been possible to create a bigger secure thread hole with a bigger screw, but this wasn't possible as the door had been removed and the thread brackets fallen out of place.

    The quote to take the cooker apart and realign the bracket/replace one bracket was not cost effective so I opted to buy a new cooker.
    This is the first issue, in my view the Tennants should not have taken the door off which lead to a more costly scenario, and hence I should be entitled to a percentage of the cost out of the deposit?...

    The second more concerning issue, is the fact that at the same time as reporting the oven, it was reported that there was a large damp spot in the lounge. On further inpsection of the room above this area (the bathroom), I found the seal on the shower door to be out of place, cracked and stained floor tiles, mould on the shower tiles and severe warped bath panels. The damp spot downstairs has black spots which would surely indicate a steady dampening?, as well as drooping soaked wet plasterboard and new artex which has peeled away from the area.

    In my mind, this has not occurred all of a sudden as one of the tennants had said some days after it was pointed out, but more of ignoring the warning signs coupled with not properly looking after the room.

    My letting agent who seems to do pretty much nothing for his cash every month, seemed pretty unconcerned with the events.

    I am concerned now that there will be a fuss/arguments for funds being taken from the deposit to repair at least the damp issue. When my letting agent was pressed, he said he would wonder why the tennants would not report the damp issue when they had reported other issues, my answer to this is that those other issues were more critical to them, whereas constant slow leaking would not stop them from washing their clothes or cooking food.

    I guess what I am asking is that do I have the right to take money from their deposit for this?, and should my agent be doing more, I mean he hasn't done a single check in 6 months, surely I am paying him to do a regular check and bring things like this to my attention before it gets to this stage?.

  • #2
    Apart from possibly accidentally cocking up the cooker after discovering a missing screw (which happens), what actual damage did the tenants cause?

    What is the length of the term of the current tenancy agreement?


    • #3
      The property in question has been lived in for 2 years prior to them moving in; when they moved in it was spotless, now there are cracked floor tiles, stained floor tiles, a damp spot in the lounge which will require the plasterboard to be cut out and replaced and then re-artexed. In my mind according to advice from someone who does bathrooms etc, there would have been tell tale signs there were problems and that the room hasn't been looked after, therefore as it didn't get reported damage has been caused by them not reporting/the agent not doing inspections.

      Of course that is my view, I guess the tennants can deny knowledge of the signs and refuse that it is in any way their responsibility?.


      • #4
        Come on. Be honest with yourself and the forum members. Is the short answer that your tenants did not cause damage but you can see signs of wear and tear and you need to undertake normal repairs?

        Additionally you would appear to have a problem with the observation skills of your letting agent.

        You have not answered my second question. What is the length of the term of the current tenancy agreement?


        • #5
          If this is deemed as normal wear and Tear that I can expect to see every 6 months I am defintely doing the wrong thing letting out a property!!..

          To be honest as far as I am concerned I should not have to go around to the property every 2 weeks checking for possible things that could develop into potential damage...which is what has happened, any potential maintenance issue should have been bought to my attention, I would have dealt with it well before it got to this stage....

          The tenancy is for 6 months which is over and thereafter a month by month basis...


          • #6
            I must agree with Poppy here. Undoubtedly, to my mind, you should be due something(although certainly not the entire amount) towards the cooker. The dampness issue is however not the tenants fault nor responsibility.
            Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


            • #7
              Originally posted by MrShed View Post
              I must agree with Poppy here. Undoubtedly, to my mind, you should be due something(although certainly not the entire amount) towards the cooker. The dampness issue is however not the tenants fault nor responsibility.
              Would you consider it to be an unfair term in a tenancy agreement that it's the tenant's responsibility to report matters that the landlord is then responsible for sorting, and that if the tenant doesn't report in a timely manner that they should then be liable? Again going back to what I've been told is an OLD ARLA agreement, this is what I've found in it:

              "To notify the landlord or his agent as soon as is practicable of any defect, damage or disrepair which develops or occurs at the premises which might be, or might reasonably be expected to become, a hazard or danger to life or limb or the fabric of the premises itself. The tenant must not carry out or authorise repairs himself except to take reasonable steps in an emergency to restrict or diminish such immediate dangers or damage."

              And also:

              "Where the tenant clearly breaks, or fails to comply with, any of the obligations relating to looking after of the use and occupation of, the premises set out under this agreement, the tenant agrees to carry out (at his own cost) any reasonable and necessary corrective measure or action within a maximum of four weeks, or within any alternative timescale agreed with the landlord or his agent, or earlier if urgency requires it, of being asked in writing to do so by the landlord or his agent. After that time, the landlord or his agent may notify the tenant that the landlord is arranging for the work to be done and in such circumstances the tenant agrees to be responsible and liable for the fair costs involved in those arrangements and for carrying out of such works."

              The first clause just puts the onus on the tenant to report which is fair enough (IMHO), the second appears to suggest sanctions if they don't report. I suspect the second one could be construed as a bit harsh, what do you think?


              • #8
                Hi Iceman I've got a similar situation going on just now - see my thread "tenant not reporting problems" posted on 6/09/06 and replies. Briefly, the washing machine was leaking, they didn't report it and now we have a big damp problem!!

                My agent however is being a bit more helpful, there is a clause in the lease which states they should report any problems and the tenant has been informed that as he didn't he will be responsible for a proportion of the cost (if we said the whole cost he may leave and there's no way the property could be relet in its current condition so I would rather he stayed and paid his rent!) or the excess if I manage to claim on my insurance. We have 6 weeks worth of rent as deposit so it could be taken from this.

                My replies are slightly different to those you have received except from Surrey.

                Keep me informed as to how you get on and I'll do likewise!!

                (by the way my tenants reason for not reporting it was that he was very busy working as a chef from 8am to 11pm and didn't get time to phone (now I know Edinburgh is very busy in August but 15hr shifts!!!) despite the fact the agent has a 24 hours emergency contact number and answer phone. He said it had only been like that for around a week but the walls were wet to approx 6ft high and black to around 3ft high and round a socket!! I despair!!)

                Good luck


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