Inexperienced Landlady - In a bit of a mess!!!

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  • Inexperienced Landlady - In a bit of a mess!!!

    Hi all,
    I'll try and give you as much background as I can!
    I am a very inexperienced landlady, and I am renting out my property as I cannot afford to live there and I have moved in with family! I am loosing money on the property each month (Around £80 pm but better than struggling to pay the mortgage each month!!!)
    Basically I rented the property to a friend for 9 months and they moved out and I advertised privately for a new tenant.
    My new tenant moved in a year ago and moved out a month ago.
    I did a tenancy agreement, but did not do an inventory, as thought that was mainly for removable items, and the property was empty! Except for blinds, towel racks, loo roll holders etc!
    I also didn't realise that the deposit was meant to be in a DPS account (until the tenant moved out and threatened me with legal action). The deposit was put into a DPS account a few weeks ago.
    Anyway the property was damaged very badly. The total of these damages are more than 3 times the deposit so now the DPS are mediating to sort out who the deposit will be returned to.
    The tenant was also illegally claiming housing benefit when living with a partner throughout the tenancy and I am still £200 in rent arrears.
    The ex tenant is now denying all knowledge of any damage.
    The main damage is that she had a domestic argument with her boyfriend and he tried to kick the front door in. She told me verbally that this is what happened but is now saying that the damage to the door was there when she moved in.
    I have had quotes from door specialists and statements from them saying that the damage would have been caused by blows to the door.
    I am trying to get the police report of the incident and also have a statement from the previous tenant saying that when they left the door was in perfect condition.
    Do I need any more evidence to send to the DPS?
    The other incident is a large iron burn mark to the carpet. The ex tenant ripped up half of the carpet and put in a different colour brown carpet in it's place and is saying that this is reasonable repairs. I am getting a statement from the carpet fitter who fitted the carpet 7 days before she moved in to say it was brand new carpet and I also have a statement and receipt from a different carpet fitter who replaced the carpet stating that the replaced half of carpet did not match and was not fitted professionally.
    Anyway my questions are -
    What might happen re DPS, as it has only been in the DPS for the last few weeks and not the whole tenancy. Can I still be fined?
    Also without an inventory what else can I do to prove that the damage was caused by the ex tenant?
    Thanks in advance for all of your advice!!!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Alfiesmum View Post
    Anyway the property was damaged very badly. The total of these damages are more than 3 times the deposit so now the DPS are mediating to sort out who the deposit will be returned to.
    ..... I am still £200 in rent arrears.
    Unless you can prove what state the property was in when you let it to this person, then the DPS will not be able to award you anything for damages (because they have no way of knowing if they happened during the tenants stay). You should be able to obtain the missing rent from the deposit though.

    have a statement from the previous tenant saying that when they left the door was in perfect condition.
    That may help - but it is not the same level of proof as a condition report signed by the tenant himself.

    The other incident is a large iron burn mark to the carpet. The ex tenant ripped up half of the carpet and put in a different colour brown carpet in it's place and is saying that this is reasonable repairs. I am getting a statement from the carpet fitter who fitted the carpet 7 days before she moved in to say it was brand new carpet and I also have a statement and receipt from a different carpet fitter who replaced the carpet stating that the replaced half of carpet did not match and was not fitted professionally.
    If you have a confession from the tenant that they caused te burn, you can show that to the DPS. I suspect they will agree that it is an unacceptable repair. You will need to be able to prove to the DPS the value and age of the carpet. If it was a 5 year old carpet that cost £150 to put in, then realistically, the DPS will award £30 at most.
    What might happen re DPS, as it has only been in the DPS for the last few weeks and not the whole tenancy. Can I still be fined?
    If it was protected whilst the tenant was still in the property - no. If it was protected after the tenant had left - probably not, but that is subject to an Appeal Court hearing - the decision from which should be known shortly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply.
      The tenant wrote me an email stating that she made reasonable efforts to repair the carpet, so I guess this counts as an admission!
      She stated in her email also that the door was reasonable wear and tear caused by her, so does this mean she admitted the damage, but declined it being caused deliberately? The other doors in the building show no signs of damage, so could I photograph the other doors to prove this?
      Also if I got the police report I guess this would show that too?
      With regards to the carpet, it was fitted after she moved in, so she was the only person that would have been able to cause damage to it!
      I didn't realise that the DPS worked it out on % of costs, I would have thought they would have taken the whole cost of a replacement carpet.
      Likewise the door is a fire door so would cost around £700 with fitting to get a new one.
      Would they take % of cost for the door, or will they just take out of the deposit the repairs that I have had done to it?
      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        It's not so much % of costs, but an attempt to take account of wear and tear that has already occured.

        The door should not fall under this rule though.

        Doors's should last absolutely ages, carpets not so much......

        Comment


        • #5
          door - unlikely that DPS will agree it is fair wear and tear - especially with the email. The police report will add to your evidence also.
          As you can presumably provide an invoice for the carpet, you should get the majority of that back - depending on the quality of the carpet, I'd say a years wear and tear is going to be around 20%.
          As jghomer says, the door may have some minor deductions for wear and tear, but they don't wear out in the same way carpets do. If the door is repairable, then you should be able to claim the full cost of repairs. If it is not repairable then the only thing you will have to be careful of is to ensure any quotes you submit to the DPS are for exactly the same standard of door - you are not allowed to replace it with something better at the tenants expense. As it is a fire door, I would imagine it would be very difficult to repair it to the same standards of fire safety.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you again for all of your help!
            With cleaning the property was left absolutely filthy.
            I have a receipt for 10 hours cleaning before she moved in, and I now have another receipt for another 10 hours cleaning as I don't think the property had been cleaned for the whole tenancy!
            Can I forward these costs to the DPS and will I get these back?
            Also the cleaning was done by my Auntie, who isn't a cleaner by trade but she declared the income from cleaning to the tax man and got taxed on it. Is this OK?
            Also there were lots of minor repairs - holes kicked in internal doors, sink pulled off wall causing a leak, crack in internal glass of double glazing. I have builders receipts for all of the repairs, and again a statement from previous tenant stating all was left in a good order, but am I likely to be able to get some deposit back for these repairs? They came to about £400!
            Is it a case of just putting as much as I can forward to the DPS and hoping for the best?
            Thanks!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Alfiesmum View Post
              Is it a case of just putting as much as I can forward to the DPS and hoping for the best?
              Thanks!
              Yes as long as they are all relevant, the more the merrier. If anything is proved to be irrelevant then your case as a whole may wobble a bit. So just make sure you are watertight I would suggest.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK!!!
                Wish me luck! Still have a bit of a wait before I can ask for the deposit back as needs to be in the DPS for at least 28 days!
                The new (and lovely!!!) tenant is also writing me a statement detailing the state of the property when I took her around to view it! She is going to put about holes in doors and walls, sink hanging off wall, cracks in windows etc! Probably not really relevant as she didn't see the property before the damage, but every little helps!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you haven't already done so, get a thorough inventory and condition report for this tenant. It may be worth you paying someone to do it (independent inventories are supposedly believed more by DPS). It will cost you around £100 - google "inventory clerk".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    If you haven't already done so, get a thorough inventory and condition report for this tenant. It may be worth you paying someone to do it (independent inventories are supposedly believed more by DPS). It will cost you around £100 - google "inventory clerk".
                    I was under the impression an inventory compiled after a tenant moved in will not be much good as evidence when they move out.
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If latest T has moved out then a prof inspection now will be of little use to DPS esp without a move-in report for comparison. An OP video of current condition, along with carpet and other repair receipts should 'inform' DPS. Whether they accept is up to them.
                      Fire door is usually a term applied to special internal doors designed to resist spread of fire for x mins. Replacement ext doors should be similar cost/spec for any purchaser.
                      I believe OP suggested she could claim for move-in and move-out cleaning costs from same T. Wrong IMO pre T cleaning may be move-out cost for previous T but it sets the baseline for the next T. LL cannot expect current T to pay to improve the standard and then hold them to the higher standard on vacating (LL enrichment)
                      I have no doubt the OP should be able to retain some, if not all, of the deposit.
                      I would advise OP to regain possession, or sell, her primary residence before she loses CGT exemption and consider getting a lodger to help with mortgage (~£4200 tax free for renting room in home)

                      I would add legality of Ts HB claim re live in partner is not resp of LL but status of partner re AST may be.
                      The next people knocking on OP door could be mortgage lender for OP poss failing to notify them of renting out whole property and HMRC for tax due on profit from rental income and posss failing to declare rental income. If OP intends to continue to rent out she needs to improve her legal knowledge by joining NLA etc. 'Amateur' LLs rarely survive these days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks all!
                        Just to clarify I am not trying to claim for moving in and moving out cleaning. The previous tenant paid for the cleaning costs when they moved out, so i'm trying to say that I know the property was immaculately clean when she moved in!
                        My question was if I show the DPS the cleaning receipts before she moved in to prove the property was clean when she moved in, can I then put in the cleaning costs when she moved out?
                        Is there any other evidence I can put forward? I'm debating talking to other residents as I know that a couple of them witnessed the domestic and door damage, but i'm unsure whether the residents would be prepared to come forward!
                        Regarding moving back into the property and getting a lodger, it is still not financially viable!
                        Will still be looking at at least £400 per month to live there, and as I am on low wages at the moment with a lot of debt I am much better off living for free with family trying to clear off my debt!
                        I also cannot sell the property as I will loose about £5000 on it.
                        Talked to the mortgage company and asked if I could simply hand the property back over to them, and they said no!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alfiesmum View Post
                          Regarding moving back into the property and getting a lodger, it is still not financially viable!
                          Will still be looking at at least £400 per month to live there, and as I am on low wages at the moment with a lot of debt I am much better off living for free with family trying to clear off my debt!
                          I also cannot sell the property as I will loose about £5000 on it.
                          Talked to the mortgage company and asked if I could simply hand the property back over to them, and they said no!

                          Really sorry to read your story: Please don't take this suggestion as my wanting to upset you or insult you but, with respect, your situation doesn't look like it will get better soon...

                          Have you considered declaring yourself bankrupt, then you could start again with a "clean-sheet" and no debts, no property, no negative equity etc etc?? It has worked for some people...

                          Best wishes, hope it works out..
                          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well done you for keeping your property, not declaring yourself bankrupt and having the good sense to move back in with family until things improve. Your home is your greatest asset . Some of us lived through the last major property crash - back in the 80s. The people who sat tight, kept their homes and toughed it out were the winners - and the situation was every bit as gloomy then as it is now except we had the added thrill of 15% interest rates. I personally think you are following a very sensible course of action, just make sure you cover yourself with rental guarantee insurance because you can't afford not to in your position. Best of luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The main damage is that she had a domestic argument with her boyfriend and he tried to kick the front door in. She told me verbally that this is what happened but is now saying that the damage to the door was there when she moved in.
                              I have had quotes from door specialists and statements from them saying that the damage would have been caused by blows to the door.
                              I am trying to get the police report of the incident and also have a statement from the previous tenant saying that when they left the door was in perfect condition.
                              Check whether you can claim insurance for that, as it is an attempted break-in not vandalism (which may be excluded).

                              You would then be able to apply the deposit to the rest of the damage.

                              I'm not sure about the "overlap" if DPS award you monies for the door that you later get on insurance, when there is as much again that D doesn't cover.

                              ML
                              Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

                              Comment

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