Tenant Left House In A Bit of A Mess - Were Do I Stand?

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    Tenant Left House In A Bit of A Mess - Were Do I Stand?

    Hi Everyone

    Just after a bit of advice as not had a tenant leave house in a state before.

    Deposit held with DPS - all done correctly.

    Tenants were supposed to move out on 8th, as paid up to then. I was on hol, so my letting agent was doing check out.

    Letting agent told me he could not get hold of the tenants on the 8th and in fact sometime thereafter. He had arranged to show prospective tenants round on 11th (he had a set of keys), but could not get access to the property as the locks had been changed. He finally mananged to contact the original tenants to meet him at the property on the 13th, with a set of keys.

    The property is dirty, and the yard and some rooms full of rubbish. I have before and after photo's, and an inventory. Also the window locks are missing. I had refurbed the property before they moved in and it cost me £90 to have the window locks put in.

    I was going to charge them rent from the 8th to 13th, as well as the cost of rubbish removal (old tyres, car batteries, broken glass etc,),cleaning throughout, getting a set of keys cut,and to replace window locks. Deposit will just cover this I think.

    What I am unsure about it what should be my next step? To write to them informing them of the costs of each item, providing photo's. What do I need to do with the DPS. BTW tenants not been in touch about getting the deposit returned, so I think they know they have not played ball!

    Many thanks for any advice.

    Nessa

    #2
    Just get the agent (or you if you can) to draw up a schedule of dilpidations and if possible get quotes for any work that needs doing. It's that simple!
    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


      #3
      Did your original inventory show the window locks/keys and quantity?

      What did it say about the cleanliness of the place?

      In addition, if Ts stayed beyond the end of a tenancy period, they remain liable until the end of the next tenancy period.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks both for replying.

        Getting quotes at the minute.

        Inventory stated newly decorated, new carpets etc. No mention about the window locks on the inventory, but I have an invoice for the works done just before they moved in.

        Interesting about the rent liability.

        Do I send quotes etc to DPS?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by nessa View Post
          I was going to charge them rent from the 8th to 13th, as well as the cost of rubbish removal (old tyres, car batteries, broken glass etc,),cleaning throughout, getting a set of keys cut,and to replace window locks. Deposit will just cover this I think.
          You can't charge rent after the tenancy has ended, but you could call it a charge for loss of rent (not that you had tenants due to move in on the 9th, but the T's breach of changing the locks and failing to give you a set of keys caused you a delay in remarketing the property). BTW I would consider changing the locks, as it sounds as if T has retained at least one further set of keys if they only gave you one set.

          What I am unsure about it what should be my next step? To write to them informing them of the costs of each item, providing photo's.
          Yes, write to them with an itemized list of deductions. You do not need to send photos. It is possible that they will agree the deductions, in which case you then both agree, in writing, for the DPS to pay £x to you. If they dispute the deductions, they may ask you to provide evidence of the costs, such as quotes/receipts.

          What do I need to do with the DPS. BTW tenants not been in touch about getting the deposit returned, so I think they know they have not played ball!
          If you and T cannot privately negotiate a settlement, then at that point you have the choice of either settling the dispute via the scheme adjudication service (ADR), or a small claim in the county court. Either way, you notify the scheme of how you intend to proceed, and the scheme holds the deposit pending a formal decision by ADR/the court.

          You should bear in mind that, statistically, ADR tends to favour the tenant's side, and appears to place a greater burden of proof on the landlord than do the courts. You do not get a chance to argue or explain your case in person at a hearing, and you cannot appeal a decision. See the download which is the last one on this list - A guide to tenancy deposits etc: http://www.depositprotection.com/doc...processes.aspx

          If you lose an ADR claim, whilst you can still subsequently bring a claim against T in the county court, you then have the additional problem of enforcement (should you win this time) because by then the deposit will have been paid to the T.

          You should, ideally, attempt to negotiate a settlement with T. That is the easiest route by far.

          Comment


            #6
            Further to Snorkerz' comment on rent, can you tell us:

            Date fixed term commenced?
            Length of term and whether an end date is specified?
            Whether T gave notice? If so, what date did they do so and what date did their notice expire?
            What date did T actually move out?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
              In addition, if Ts stayed beyond the end of a tenancy period, they remain liable until the end of the next tenancy period.
              That depends.

              If the 8th was the last day of the fixed term or the last day of a tenancy period in a periodic tenancy (and T had not given notice), and tenant did not vacate until the 13th, then yes, they'd be liable for rent in lieu of notice, at least up to 8th of the following month.

              But if this was a periodic tenancy, and T served valid notice to quit expiring on the 8th, their notice would end the tenancy (whether they moved out or not). If they held over and moved out on the 13th, I don't think they'd be liable for a further period. This is a situation where the Distress for Rent Act 1737 would come into play, with 'double rent' charged on a daily basis.

              Comment


                #8
                EDIT (as posts are no longer editable)

                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                If the 8th was the last day of the fixed term or the last day of a tenancy period in a periodic tenancy (and T had not given notice), and tenant did not vacate until the 13th, then yes, they'd be liable for rent in lieu of notice, at least up to 8th of the following month (and arguably the 8th of the month after that).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for such a comprehensive answer Westminster - much appreciated.

                  Date fixed term commenced? Tenancy started on 29 November, 2010
                  Length of term and whether an end date is specified? Term was for 6 months, the end date given was 28 May, 2011 - however ast goes on to say after that fixed term tanancy becomes periodic.
                  Whether T gave notice? If so, what date did they do so and what date did their notice expire? Tenant gave notice verbally, even though ast states it should be written, and did not expire before a rent due date as per ast. I was not too concerned about the rent due date, andI did email them with a letter attached, comfirming the date they had given notice.
                  What date did T actually move out? Not sure - it was supposed to be the 8th July, and they were supposed to post keys through my front door, but that never happened. Following this they would not make contact with the letting agent until 13th July when they handed over the keys.

                  Nessa

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I sympathise with you. My tenant caused so much damage, refused to pay the months rent, knowing I would take the deposit for the damages. Now i have to accept the deposit for the rent and take her to court for the damages, or I could take her to court for the rent and let the TDS deal with the deposit and damages. I am so angry with the tenant, I did everything a landlady could possible do for them. They were in 6 months and cost me £3,000. I wish it was legal to take the deposit for the rent(but really for the damages, which is a lot more than the deposit anyway) and still take her to court for the rent! But that would make me as bad as her, it would just save the hassle of the TDS. Anyone any suggestions? They have also kept my garage keys and one set of keys for the entrance gates which are electronic.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You do not need to involve TDS if you don't want to - just refuse arbitration (as is your right) and sue for damages and rent in the county court. So long as the total claim is less than £5k it will be dealt in the small claims track where the costs and risks are relatively low.

                      Do you have proof of the condition of the place when the tenancy started? Both TDS and courts will require a detailed comparison of the difference between start and end of the tenancy. For instance, if there is a burn on the worktop, you will need 'proof' that there was no burn to start with.

                      You can include the cost of replacing both the garage and entrance locks in your claim so long as you keep those costs to a minimum.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by markspain View Post
                        I sympathise with you. My tenant caused so much damage, refused to pay the months rent, knowing I would take the deposit for the damages. Now i have to accept the deposit for the rent and take her to court for the damages, or I could take her to court for the rent and let the TDS deal with the deposit and damages. I am so angry with the tenant, I did everything a landlady could possible do for them. They were in 6 months and cost me £3,000. I wish it was legal to take the deposit for the rent(but really for the damages, which is a lot more than the deposit anyway) and still take her to court for the rent! But that would make me as bad as her, it would just save the hassle of the TDS. Anyone any suggestions? They have also kept my garage keys and one set of keys for the entrance gates which are electronic.
                        If the deposit exceeds the unpaid rent/cost of damage, then opt out of TDS adjudication (which isn't compulsory) and claim in the county court. (I recommend you buy/borrow a book on the small claims procedure, the one I have is by Patricia Pearl).

                        As a novice landlord many years ago, I claimed against a tenant like yours and won, even without knowing anything about small claims, and with a one page home-made inventory of condition at the start of the tenancy.

                        I also managed to enforce the CCJ against the tenant. In retrospect, I regard the whole episode as a useful learning experience.

                        So don't lose heart, but in future, limit your risks (if you didn't with this one) by 1) getting thorough reference/credit checks, 2) taking at least the equivalent of six weeks rent as deposit, 3) carrying out a proper inventory/condition report at check-in, and getting T to sign it off, 4) insisting on a home-owning/long term employed guarantor if the T is a risk in terms of trying to enforce a CCJ (e.g. no income, no assets, non-UK resident etc).

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