Help needed re damage to property

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    Help needed re damage to property

    Hi

    Over the last 3 weeks we have been involved in a dispute with our tenant. He contacted us to inform us the spare bedroom was covered in mildew and that items he was storing there were ruined - namely a bed, some personal furniture and clothes. We immediatley took steps to resolve the issue and had a damp contractor come to assess the situation. The report we received stated the issues were caused by condensation and all readings for damp were within the normal range. Subsequentley the tenant called Environmental Health and the report received from them also said there was no issue with damp.

    We informed the tenant that there would be no option to renew the lease at the end of the term (giving proper notice as outlined in the tenancy agreement) and he agreed he would leave. The property was inspected on the day of handover and all looked to be in order. He is still aiming to claim for his personal items and we have now handed this to our solicitors to manage. However we have sinced discovered that the tenant has had a further contratcor in to complete a damp survey and has removed approximatley 8 samples of plaster from walls and floors. He did make some attempt to replaster them but did not seek any permission to do this at all. He has also removed a substantial amount of plaster from a communal hallway outside of the apartment. This has not been replastered and there is huge holes in this wall.

    I am looking for advice on how we should handle this going foward. If the tenant has taken samples to try and prove there is in fact damp how are we to know that the samples removed are in fact those that were tested? And part of me thinks this should be reported to the police as it is criminal damage surely?

    I would really apprecaite your advise. The apartment has been let for several years prior to this young man living there and we have never had an issue with any previous tenants.

    Thanks

    #2
    I should also point out that the carpet in both bedrooms is ruined as is the paint from the mildew. We agreed we would burden the cost of this as we just wanted him to go however our solicitor has outlined in the letter to the tenant that should he proceed with a claim that we will counter claim for these items as well as loss of earnings.

    Comment


      #3
      Are you, or the property in Scotland? Scottish and english renting laws are very different, so you might want to re-post this in the Scottish Letting board - go to main forum menu and scroll down.

      Comment


        #4
        No sorry to confuse. The property is not in Scotland. I am Scottish and so that username sprang to mind.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
          I would really appreciate your advice.
          Is your solicitor unable to advise you?

          Comment


            #6
            He has been up until now but he is off for two weeks holidays and I am not sure I want to sit on the fact that I have no discovered this damage. That is why I am asking for some help here in the meantime.

            Comment


              #7
              It would appear that the damp issue was caused by tenant lifestyle and therefore not your issue. If T does commence any sort of action then that would form the basis of your defence, together with the EHO report which will have more 'sway' than the tenants non-independant contractor looking for work!

              With regard to damage, how long had the tenant been resident and how old was the decor when tenant moved in?

              Did tenant pay a deposit and was that deposit protected by a government approved scheme?

              WRT the communal areas - unless you can prove it was the T, forget it.

              Comment


                #8
                They had been in residence for 5 months and the decor was 1 year old (paint). The property is only 7 years old.
                The deposit was not in a protected scheme as that is not required in my area.
                I thought that might be the case with the communal areas, however another owner say them walking around with the contractor. The tenant called to every property in the building asking them if they had damp issues.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
                  They had been in residence for 5 months. The deposit was not in a protected scheme as that is not required in my area.
                  If as you say the property is in England, it has been the law since 2007 that the tenants deposit must be protected in a deposit scheme.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
                    The deposit was not in a protected scheme as that is not required in my area.
                    The area to which deposit protection applies is England and Wales and, as from 2nd July 2012, Scotland.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The property is in NI and this does not apply here yet. Useful to know that the report from EH will have more sway as this clearly states that all readings are within normal range for damp. I think we just found it shocking that he would have the nerve to remove plaster without seeking permission. I am also shocked that a contractor would do that in a rental property.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
                        The property was inspected on the day of handover and all looked to be in order. He is still aiming to claim for his personal items and we have now handed this to our solicitors to manage. However we have sinced discovered that the tenant has had a further contratcor in to complete a damp survey and has removed approximatley 8 samples of plaster from walls and floors. He did make some attempt to replaster them but did not seek any permission to do this at all. He has also removed a substantial amount of plaster from a communal hallway outside of the apartment. This has not been replastered and there is huge holes in this wall.

                        I am looking for advice on how we should handle this going foward.
                        If the T has caused damage, and you have evidence of it (i.e. a condition report/inventory conducted at check-in and check-out) then you either claim against T for it, or counterclaim. But I'm confused; you say that you have 'since discovered' that T has had a contractor in - are you saying this happened after the tenancy ended? Or that you missed the plaster damage during the check-out inspection? And surely the floors aren't plastered?

                        If the tenant has taken samples to try and prove there is in fact damp how are we to know that the samples removed are in fact those that were tested?
                        That would be up to the tenant to prove.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
                          The property is in NI.
                          The link below offers advice for landlords in NI. I hope it helps.

                          http://renting.housingadviceni.org/

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We found out they had a contractor in the day they moved out. This was communicated to us by two other residents at the development. We discovered this a few days after they left. The samples removed were not initially discovered at the time of inspection. The plaster was removed from the bedroom walls but as I mentioned it was replastered. There was also a number of samples taken from the floors. The original damp specialist we contracted informed us that no plaster was disturbed and therefore he would not be removing any. He instead carried out his inspection with damp reading devices and his observations.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Scotlandlord 12 View Post
                              We found out they had a contractor in the day they moved out. This was communicated to us by two other residents at the development. We discovered this a few days after they left. The samples removed were not initially discovered at the time of inspection. The plaster was removed from the bedroom walls but as I mentioned it was replastered. There was also a number of samples taken from the floors. The original damp specialist we contracted informed us that no plaster was disturbed and therefore he would not be removing any. He instead carried out his inspection with damp reading devices and his observations.
                              I would get the locks changed. T has no right to access the property after the tenancy ends.

                              A replastered area would be obvious, surely? You can't paint over wet plaster.

                              Samples of what from the floors?

                              Comment

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