Loophole in Tenancy agreement?

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    Loophole in Tenancy agreement?

    I have left a two bedroom property that I privately rented for 6 years. Prior to my tenancy there was a tenant for 6 months and otherwise the house was a new build. Everything was in good condition when I moved in, complete with washing machine, oven and fridge freezer. Everything was fine for first three years then Landlord (with whom I was friendly) moved from local area to run a pub and barely had contact since. I have not wanted to bother him with minor repairs such as light fittings not working, slight sink leak, and worn lino. He has not undertaken any checks during this time either. I replaced lino with new laminate floor. The property is very tired, I left it clean but on removal of furniture it is clear that the whole property needs redecorating, recarpetting and all the appliances, although functional, are very dated. My Landlord is now claiming I must restore the property to the same state it was in when I took occupancy. Is this reasonable? It would cost me thousands to do this and surely it is his responsibility to redecorate and replace appliances for the incoming tenant? I would be very grateful for some advice on this, he has given me seven days to complete the work or prove it will be done by 31st March. I have pictures of the empty property if of interest, and letter from landlord. Many Thanks!

    #2
    No it is not reasonable for you to be expected to restore the property to 'as new' status.

    Do you have a protected deposit or any inventory?



    Freedom at the point of zero............

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      #3
      There was an inventory. I was not present at check-out but had a friend there who went through everything. The Landlord wants the whole place decorated. He even wants a shower curtain putting up. I threw the shbby one he had in place away 4 years ago. By rights, could I not have asked him for a replacement if it came with the property and the existing one was not fit for purpose? AS for the deposit, it was before the law changed regarding deposits. I dont expect to get the deposit back but what he is demanding I replace far exceeds the amount of the deposit (Deposit = £750)

      Comment


        #4
        Meant to ask in last post - what does your agreement say about decorating etc?

        If nothing I would write and tell landlord that you have paid rent as requested and acted reasonably and detail the replaced light fittings etc with their cost and ask him for that money. Remind him he has not inspected the property since whenever but relied on your good will to keep the property sound and therefore expect a full refund of your deposit as decorating is his responsibility (if it is).

        Finally I might consider sending or threatening to send a copy of your letter the Inland Revenue - just in case he has not declared your rent and deposit for tax. Give him 7 days to reply.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Jeelsy View Post
          My Landlord is now claiming I must restore the property to the same state it was in when I took occupancy. Is this reasonable? ... I would be very grateful for some advice on this, he has given me seven days to complete the work or prove it will be done by 31st March.
          No, it is not reasonable.

          You are not liable for fair wear and tear. The landlord is not entitled to 'betterment'. Whilst you should leave the property as clean as it was when you first moved in, you are not liable for redecoration (unless you actually damaged the decor).

          You are, however, liable for a portion of the cost of a replacement shower curtain (only a portion as LL is not entitled to new for old). However shabby it was, it belonged to the LL and you threw it away. (Surely you bought a replacement though, when you threw it away four years ago)?

          If the LL refuses to return the deposit, then you can claim it via Money Claim Online. The case will be allocated to the small claims track, where you don't need a solicitor, and court fees are low (and are added to the claim). If LL claims against you first, then you must counterclaim for the deposit as part of your defence.

          BTW, you shouldn't have replaced the lino without the LL's permission. And it was inadvisable not to report the sink leak; whilst you may have had it fixed, if the repair had failed and it had perhaps continued to leak without you realizing it, you could have been liable for any damage caused.

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            #6
            Thanks. I suppose the problem lies in the definition of " fair wear and tear " and my idea of that differing from the LL. There are no major, if any, stains/burns/snags to the carpets, paintwork is scuffed in heavy use areas such as the hall, but not badly.

            Fair point on the sink, but the LL had said fine to replacing any flooring as we saw fit as long as not purple with yellow spots! (It isnt)

            So I should make an offer to him of an amount I agree to pay towards shower curtain and anything else I am prepared to compromise on? I am sure he will not agree and will demand complete redecoration, recarpetting and replacement appliances, but I suppose I should try if only to show willing if it goes to court?

            Comment


              #7
              For reference see OP posts here http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...iewing%29-nbsp
              Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Jeelsy View Post
                Thanks. I suppose the problem lies in the definition of " fair wear and tear " and my idea of that differing from the LL. There are no major, if any, stains/burns/snags to the carpets, paintwork is scuffed in heavy use areas such as the hall, but not badly.
                Scuffed paintwork is typical fair wear and tear. After six years with a two bed property, the LL should expect wear and tear to the extent that he might well need to redecorate. He is NOT entitled to get the property back in the same fresh condition it was six years ago.

                Carpet stains/burns would be damage, but even so LL would not be entitled to the full cost of replacement, only a portion, depending on the quality and 'life expectancy' of the carpet. E.g. if carpet were new at move in date, and of a quality expected to last 10 years before needing replacement due to normal wear and tear, and you had damaged it beyond repair/cleaning, then LL's loss would be four years' worth of use. So he'd be entitled to 40% of the cost of a replacement carpet.

                So I should make an offer to him of an amount I agree to pay towards shower curtain and anything else I am prepared to compromise on? I am sure he will not agree and will demand complete redecoration, recarpetting and replacement appliances, but I suppose I should try if only to show willing if it goes to court?
                It's always a good idea to behave reasonably, but don't offer/compromise too much. The LL's claims are excessive and he is quite simply not entitled to betterment or 'new for old'.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for that advice, will write to him based on your suggestion and hope for a compromise.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Loophole in Tenancy agreement?

                    Having requested a copy of previous tenancy agreement, I find that it is between myself and my LL's Ex-wife. They divorced years ago, approximately 2 years into my 6 year let, and she sold him the house. Should he have updated the agreement at that time? We are currently disputing wear and tear (*sigh*) and awaiting his response to my most recent offer of compromise, but I wondered if this could make a difference to his stance seeing as there is no official document between he and I and as far as I am aware his wife is estranged. Thanks for advice...........

                    Comment


                      #11
                      He needed to notify you, but not adjust the agreement. Even if he didn't notify you, I think a civil court may consider that your regular payments to him indicate a tenancy has been formed - they don't have to be in writing.

                      Interestingly, failure to comply with section 3 is a criminal offence with a fine of up to £2,500 (scale 4) but good luck in trying to get anyone to take notice

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks Snorkers - sorry to be an ignoramous but section 3 of what?!

                        In fairness he DID notify me at the time and I changed payment details accordingly. I just sort of hoped that the "schedule of conditions" might no longer be watertight in light of the fact I agreed it with his wife at the time, and her name and (old) address are on the document. I guess I will just have to go through the process after all.

                        Thanks again

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                          Interestingly, failure to comply with section 3 is a criminal offence with a fine of up to £2,500 (scale 4) but good luck in trying to get anyone to take notice
                          You could mention it to the PM over dinner...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            You're not being an ignoramus - I edited my post and deleted the bit that refered to the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act!

                            #jjlandlord - ?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I do not think a failure to comply with s.3 LTA1985 means that the wife is still the LL. For example s.3(1) refers to the new LL having to give notice to T, which means he *is* the new LL in the period before giving the notice, if an assignment of the LL's interest has taken place.

                              The consequences of non-compliance are firstly, that the husband has committed an offence because he's failed to serve the notice within the required period, and secondly, that both old LL-wife and new LL-husband are both liable for returning the deposit to T until such time as OP is informed of the assignment and given the new LL's details either by old or new LL (see s.3A/3B).

                              It doesn't follow that the new LL may not claim against OP for alleged damage.

                              It is also possible that, in the past four years, new (or old) LL has, if not 'officially', given OP the required info in writing, perhaps in a letter about something else.

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