Tenant: Dispute of damages

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    Tenant: Dispute of damages

    Hi all, first time poster here

    We are having some trouble with our LL after moving out of a property we have rented from them for nearly 3 years.

    We have a £1k deposit in DPS and the LL wants it all for damages/repairs which we are unhappy with.

    We have no formally signed inventory. The LL sent us a copy to do ourselves and we sent a 2 page list of amendments we wanted making before being happy with the inventory. We never heard anything more on this.

    We are a family of 3 (little one born at start of tenancy) non smokers.

    We moved out 5/11/12 with no checkout report. Our LL had delivered an original inventory with none of our notes before time and warned us they had photos of the house before we moved in.

    On moving out we received an aggressive email listing a number of things they were unhappy with. This included house not being clean enough, damage to some dining chairs (3), damage to a leather sofa, damage to a plastic conservatory roof, damage to one wall where blutak had been stuck, damaged and mouldy blinds and an area where we had fitted a stairgate

    They felt this would require the full cost of the deposit which we disagreed with. We admitted that the cleaning in the kitchen was not upto scratch and that we had damaged 3 of the dining chairs and accepted responsibility. We stated the blinds were already damaged and mouldy as we had claimed in our inventory amendments. Paintwork was damaged on one wall where blutak had pulled the paint away (nasty lesson learnt for me here, never again blutak). We had filled and sanded the stairgate screwholes but admitted it would need repainting. We denied ever having been on the roof (they said it was where we put on a sattelite dish but we used cable throughout tenancy and no sattelite dish was ever mounted). We therefore asked for some estimates.

    LL responded in 10 days or so with a series of receipts for £1700 of damage including extra charges. This included an ENTIRE new laminate floor where he said we had scratched a small part of it which in fact was from a sofa foot which he, the LL,had put in the room. We did not notice the scratches (from where we had sat on the sofa and it had moved slightly) until leaving when we moved to clean so could not do anything about it then, a scrubbing of the outside wooden decking, a full interior repaint including ceilings and glosswork and a vague receipt handwritten about cleaning whole house throughout due to being dirty for £400. We also were billed for the oven clean which is fair in our opinion.

    After a cpl of days he sent an agressive email stating if we didnt accept his claim in 24 hours he would take us to court and also bill us for a full months rent as loss of rental whilst making good his damages.

    While we accept there was some damage and cleaning needed we didnt feel it was for £1000. We stated we would email asap after getting some advice as we have no idea about our position here. He has promptly told us he will issue CCJ proceedings against us and present a full damages and rent costing in due course.

    There is no accomodation of wear and tear reductions in any of his cost estimates, we have had extra damages billed after his initial checkout letter, he refuses to provide us with an inventory with our amendments (whether he doesnt have it or is withholding I dont know).

    I have stated I would like to use the DPS ADRS but given his claim of lost rent I suspect he will not want to. We have not been in this situation or pursued so aggressively before and are a little uncertain of where we stand. We are also struggling as he has never given us a complete costing his claimed damages. We also ahve the issue of the inventory/check in. He has photos of the damages he is claiming after we left. He also has some photos of the house before we moved in, general pictures of each room.

    Are we being unreasonable and this guy has us bang to rights and we should accept his costs or are we right to argue at his new for old replacements and general hapahazard damage claims?

    Sory for the long post, thanks for persevering anyone who makes it through this

    What a bully! Amazing stuff.

    Anyway, of course you have every right to dispute his costs. You have every right to demand a detailed list of costs, so that you can discuss on that. In the absense of it, its impossible to agree on anything. He is basically threatening you for the full amount.

    You can raise a dispute with DPS. if he refuses to accept it, then the case will have to go to court. Either way, the onus for proof falls on the LL and not the tenant to prove he didnt damage something. Without an inventory he would struggle to prove damage. Photos could help though, although judges are aware of technical skills with photos. Even if you were liable for the replacement cost of an item with finite life, you wouldnt be liable for the full cost, as you would be paying for old with new. Anyway, even if you lost the court case, that wouldnt result in a CCJ. At worst you could be asked to pay (even on top of the £1000, the deposit is not the cap of your liability) but if you paid, that wouldnt result in any CCJs. By the sound of it, he would struggle to get anything out of it, given the quality of his 'proof'. Not even the things you admit to be responsible for, if you denied your responsibility (which I am not suggesting you do - just saying you are probably doing him a favour, being willing to pay for some of the damage)
    All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


      Msaxp is quite right - but an additional point or two.

      If the matter ends up in court, with you as the claimant, you COULD end up with a CCJ if the landlord puts in a counterclaim in excess of your deposit, wins an amount in excess of your deposit and you do not pay within (irrc) 28 days.

      Also, the landlord has to prove the damage and it's value. He is under no obligation to actually have the repairs done. Therefore, he may not be able to provide you with a receipt to prove how much repainting a wall has cost.


        Agreed. I am not as eloquent but that is what i meant with the below

        Originally posted by MSaxp View Post
        ...even if you lost the court case, that wouldnt result in a CCJ. At worst you could be asked to pay (even on top of the £1000, the deposit is not the cap of your liability) but if you paid, that wouldnt result in any CCJs.
        All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


          Thankyou for the replies.

          This is part of our concern, if we lose it could end up costing us a decent chunk of money and of course we would need to pay promptly to avoid ccj but we do feel some degree of injustice here.

          We are aware its only estimates for damages but we feel he hasnt made any consideration of FWT in his estimates and hasnt accepted any of our explanations or concerns. In all of our 3 years there he never once inspected the property, just sent a contract each year with a new date scribbled onto it for us to sign, I kinda wish he had been a bit more diligent in inspecting as he may have noticed scuffs and things that we may not have as we were living in every day so to speak. To us the house is tired but not unduly damaged, for him after 3 years I guess there are quite some changes.

          Has anyone got thought on loss of rental charges? I cant find much online about it on google searches except mentions of dilapidation orders and american sites talking about it. He never inteded to charge us for this initially, it caught us by surprise that he has then added it in.

          The LA contacted me today and said if we just let the deposit go to the LL he was certain he could stop all this happening which seems a bit more like intimidation again.


            It just doesnt sound right. Sounds terrible.

            I dont know anything about loss of rental income but IMHO he would have to prove a loss directly attributable to you. Very difficult and I have never heard of it. Sounds like the place needed some work done anyway and doesnt sound like it had excessive damage. Most LLs expect some work to be required every now and then and after a 3 year tenancy you cant expect the house to be lettable the next day. And even if it was, nobody can prove that it would already be rented by now. Sounds like another intimidation statement to me. From what you had told us, the LL would struggle to prove ANY damage, let alone such claims about income loss.
            All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


              Slight updates and yet more questions here guys I'm afraid.

              LL has decided he wants to take us to court as mentioned and will apply for CCJ against us for 'breaches of Tenancy agreement and costs therein'. After refreshing myself with this agreement we had a few points of concern ourselves.

              We had a gas certificate when we moved in but are unaware of any gas certification being performed on the property for the 3 year duration we were there, certainly we didnt receive a certificate and were never informed of any tests being done, is this illegal?

              Whilst we were there the boiler broke down repeatedly and the LL was often unavailable leaving the house untenanble for days at a time, at one point I sent wife/baby to her mothers for 7 days due to no heating/hot water in subzero temps and LA 'not being able to authorise repairs' and LL not responding. Didnt make much of an issue of it but thats certainly an area where he broke contract with us.

              We also had an eviction notice served from legal team representing his mortgage company as he hadnt paid mortgage and we were illegal tenants anyway as it wasnt buy to let. He later assured us he had a court order allowing this but thats when we took notice to leave, he was offended we had even talked to the legal reps but denied being uncontactable.

              None of this is specifically relevent I admit but is it worth investigating these things with him as a subtle threat back at him?

              I am sending him an email and physical letter stating our side of the story and asking for at the very least a clear list of what he feels we damaged and what he feels the costs are along with FWT deductions. I am also stating we would be keen to avoid court and use ADRS, lets hope he will take it but I'm doubtful tbh.


                He sounds nasty. And a liar. He seems to be in the wrong on quite a few accounts. Gas cert is mandatory every year. He needs explicit permission from his mortgage provider to let. That comes at an increased cost. You have some decent cards there, although I'm never in favour of threatening anyone. Just make sure you are not bullied by his threats and you've done your research too. Obviously neither of the above is a defence against damage to the property but they could inflict pain if he took it too far. Ah and he can't "apply for a CCJ" that is just....! He can just sue you for the damage. If you pay whatever the court awards, you won't get a ccj. He just doesn't want to go to court because he will most probably lose so he is trying to threaten you with it. You can try speaking to your local citizens advice bureau if you want.
                All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


                  Yeah I had a chat with them, they felt he was being a bit unfair and unrealistic in what he was demanding. They suggested start with the ARDS request and take it from there.

                  We dont want to go to court at all if possible and dont want to resort to making threats and bullying back. We just want it sorted fairly, we dont have much experience in this as previous LL have been clear and open about what costs they want to deduct and have always been happy to discuss them in over 10 years of renting property but it just all seems wrong in this case which is what got us into it all! We shall see


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