HELP! Problem with 'fair wear and tear'

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    HELP! Problem with 'fair wear and tear'

    Hi everyone!

    Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

    We are moving out of a flat we have been in for 1& 1/2 years through a private let. At some point we have made a hairline crack (about 5 radiating from the point of impact) to a floor tile in our kitchen.

    The LL wants us to replace it but admits that the tiles were thrown in for free with the kitchen upgrade as they were end of line - now discontinued. The kitchen was modernised 2 years ago.

    We have a builder friend who could do the replacement for us for free, however the landlord did not get a single extra tile when the kitchen was done, leaving us unable to replace it.

    What do we do? Can we put this down to wear and tear. We feel that this damage could not have been avoided without us carpeting the kitchen area.

    And what would be a fair deduction from our deposit? The tile is still perfectly usable and the crack not visible unless you actually look carefully.

    Thanks again!

    #2
    Originally posted by lisatb View Post
    Can we put this down to wear and tear. We feel that this damage could not have been avoided without us carpeting the kitchen area.
    Or by not dropping stuff on the floor, perhaps?

    Comment


      #3
      The tile is not 'perfectly useable' due to all the nasties that can hide in it. It would be an obligatory repair in a commercial kitchen.

      Landlord has a choice - allow a non-matching tile in his 2 year old floor, thus reducing the attractiveness to potential tenants, or re-floor.

      Maybe as a compromise, he would agree to allowing you to supply and fit a product like this (which has a 10 year guarantee) http://www.diy.com/nav/decor/floorin...0-25m-10647884

      Comment


        #4
        It's not 'fair wear and tear', it's damage. What solution is the LL proposing? Is he happy for you to fit a not-exactly-matching tile?

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your feedback. Yes Eric, wish we had not been so clumsy. Unfortunately it was only a small pan with thin metal so it was really unlucky that it made the crack.

          The commercial builder we spoke to this morning (not the friend) said that the landlord should have kept back some spare tiles for such an occasion and therefore it would be unfair to charge us to redecorate the whole floor due to one tile. We are happy to pay a fair amount for our damage if we can't repair it but don't know what 'fair' would be in this case?

          We don't want to disagree with the landlord and feel we have been very reasonable tenants - we have put up with a dodgy boiler which provided no hot water for 10 days when we moved in (in winter) and has subsequently broken down 8-9 times. At no point has the ll offered to come round to the property, so we have had several weekend, early morning interruptions. The boiler was condemned by British Gas, but the ll got a friend of the family to come and 'sort it out' (not very well considering he had to keep coming over every weekend for months). So we do feel that we have been very reasonable during our stay and haven't caused the ll any extra expense. We just want to know what our rights are and how to handle this so everyone can walk away feeling like a fair conclusion has been reached.

          Comment


            #6
            ]
            Unless you can come to an amicable agreement with your LL, you must view the problems with the boiler as unconnected to the cracked floor tile.

            If you cannot resolve the issue, simply dispute any claim he makes on your deposit and let the protection scheme adjudicator decide who owes whom what. They tend to err on the tenants' side, so I doubt very much you would be required to replace the whole floor. A tile in as close a colour as you can get may be seen as a fair solution - I don't know.

            Do you have insurance for accidental damage to the LL's property?

            Does the LL have accidental damage insurance under which he could claim? Offer the pay the excess for him.

            It was indeed ridiculous of the LL not to keep a few tiles back for repairs.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


              #7
              If you are on Facebook then search for your local area groups. Take a picture of the tiles and see if someone has a spare ?

              I bought two extra boxes just in case for my kitchen floor. My daughter can be a clumsy oaf.
              I'm a good tenant with great landlords
              I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.

              Comment


                #8
                Hi everyone.

                Thanks for all your help so far.

                We have spoken to our landlord. He has no spare tiles and doesn't like any of the options we have been able to find to replace the broken tile. Also, he doesn't want to allow us to repair the damage ourselves - despite having a kitchen fitter as a friend. Instead he wants our next door neighbor to do it and invoice us. The tiles we have found are not the exact shade - as there aren't any available, but they are very similar and obviously the same size.

                Also he is now telling us we should be liable to replace the whole floor. I am not certain that he has held our deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme or not.

                We feel that he is trying to pull a bit of a fast one on us, as we can repair the damage very cheaply ourselves, and feel that he will try and charge a huge amount for the neighbor (who is not a builder) to replace the whole floor instead. Where do we go from here?

                We want to maintain as friendly a relationship as possible, but with only a few days left now before we move out we need to progress to a conclusion everyone is happy with.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The LL can't stop you replacing the tile during the tenancy. If you do decide to replace it before you go, take extremely good before and after photos of the floor. Bear in mind the risk that your friend the fitter might cause damage to adjoining tiles when replacing the one.

                  If the deposit is not protected by one of the three approved deposit schemes and/or you haven't been given several pages of information about the deposit protection scheme (this is called the 'prescribed information') then, assuming this is an assured shorthold tenancy in England/Wales, the LL has failed to comply with his legal obligations. This means:

                  Firstly, if the LL withholds the deposit you won't have the option of deposit scheme ADR; you'd have to claim in the county court for a refund (it would be a 'small claim' so you can DIY this). LL would have to counterclaim for the alleged damage/financial loss, and would have to submit evidence to back this up; I think it's very unlikely the LL would be awarded the cost of replacing the whole floor.

                  Secondly, you have a case to claim against LL for non-compliance under s.214 Housing Act 2004 for return of the deposit plus an award of up to 3x the value of the deposit. You would need to get advice from a specialist lawyer* to pursue such a claim, because it's not a 'small claim' type of claim, but if you won you'd [very likely] get your legal fees awarded - so it's something worth considering perhaps.


                  * Ideally, go to a direct access barrister, as this cuts out the cost of the middle-man solicitor. You can find a barrister on the following link; search under 'landlord and tenant' - http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/about-t...ess-directory/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Westminster thank you so much for taking the time to give me some feedback. I do really really appreciate the time you have taken to help us understand our situation.

                    All the best!

                    Lisa

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