Deposit deductions

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    Deposit deductions

    Hello,
    I would really appreciate your experienced advice please with regards to potential claims from a tenant’s deposit.

    Facts about the tenancy:
    • 12 months AST (the agent’s standard one)
    • Inventory and Check-in/Out reports were conducted by independent inventory clerk.
    • The flat was newly decorated immediately prior to this tenancy

    The issues in question:

    1. Washing machine – drawer and door seal mouldy.
    The machine isn’t new but in full working order. Its condition at check-in was: ‘in clean used order’. The check-out report states: “heavy mildew to the seal....and soap tray. Remains dusty” (photos support this).

    I had the drawer cleaned but the mould on the door seal couldn’t be removed. The door seal needs replacing.
    (N.B. the machine was never returned with mildew in previous tenancies)

    Q1: is this classed as a repair? Or, a replacement of ‘old with new’- even if it’s for a part of the appliance?
    Q2: is this something the tenant has any responsibility for? – say, for not ensuring the machine was regularly cleaned/hot empty washes?
    Q3: is it an allowable claim and how the claim amount could be determined?

    2. Bath glass screen - bottom and vertical seals missing
    The seals were replaced prior to the start of the tenancy as part of the redecoration work. They were thrown away by the tenant at the end of tenancy who now insists that 'they perished' (!) and didn’t see it s an issue to throw them away.
    (I was never contacted about it and I obviously haven’t seen the seals at the end of the tenancy)
    The check-out report notes the seals are missing.

    Q1: how the useful life of such an item is determined objectively?
    (in my home...I know , I know this isn’t my home :-) ....4 year old screen seals look brand new, but I regularly clean/descale the bathroom fittings)
    Q2: Is this classed as removed / missing items? If so, does the tenant's sole opinion on their alleged condition have any relevance?
    Q3: Can this be claimed for?

    Thank you in advance!

    #2
    How long were they there for? How old is the washing machine?

    Comment


      #3
      1.
      The The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks publish a handy guide to "Understanding Fair Wear and Tear:
      It says of washing machines, specifically "If the seal was in good clean undamaged condition at check in, and heavy blackening and mould is present after only a short tenancy, this is not wear and tear but tenant neglect."

      However, the claim is going to be negligable.
      Washing machines are notorious for short life times (I know, mine go on forever as well) - so you have an expected lifetime of about 5 years (same publication), so the tenant's neglect has cost.
      (7 years minus the age of washing machine at the end of the lease) divided by seven multiplied by the cost of the washing machine seal and fitting for the new seal.
      If the washing machine is six or seven years old, the claim is pointless (unless you're just hacked off by the tenant and want to make a point).

      You can claim the replacement and fitting cost against income for tax purposes, regardless of the above.

      2.
      The same guide gives rubber shower attachements an expected lifetime of 12 months (which again seems short to me), so there's no claim there because there's no loss beyond fair wear and tear.
      I don't know how much the missing ones cost, but you might want to be cheeky and claim for half or two-thirds of the cost.

      You might find that if you explain the deductions clearly (within the constraints of the web site text limits) and the amounts are low, the tenant will accept them just to get their money back.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        I believe JPK is wrong to be deducting the age of the washing machine. We don't replace a whole washing machine due to a mouldy seal. You are entitled to a full repair of the washing machine.

        I would also ask the full cost of the shower seals.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Notyetagain View Post
          How long were they there for? How old is the washing machine?
          Hi
          The tenant? 12 months. The washing machine is c6 yrs old

          Comment


            #6
            I'd buy a new one:

            6 years in a tenanted property I'd be content with for white goods. And charge tenant nothing.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Claim something for everything, the more the better as long as it sounds reasonable enough. Any appliance in working condition has a value even if smallish so there is always a loss.

              Adjudicators will only lower the claim so don't pitch too low.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                Claim something for everything, the more the better as long as it sounds reasonable enough. Any appliance in working condition has a value even if smallish so there is always a loss.

                Adjudicators will only lower the claim so don't pitch too low.
                Thank you jjlandlord
                Will remember this when claiming....;-)

                Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                I believe JPK is wrong to be deducting the age of the washing machine. We don't replace a whole washing machine due to a mouldy seal. You are entitled to a full repair of the washing machine.

                I would also ask the full cost of the shower seals.
                Thank you JKO
                That was my thinking (and common sense, I'd say) before I read a few case studies and hence the post here... shouldn't have to suffer a loss resulting from neglect regardless of the age of the machine - this isn't a mechanical fault. But I'm not experienced with DPS claims, haven't had to claim against previous tenants..

                With the screen seals , I'm regarding these to be components of the screen (fixtures/fittings) and it shouldn't be down to any tenant to take the decision to remove and dispose of a landlord’s property, their alleged condition according to the sole opinion of the tenant should be irrelevant...they are missing, simple as that ...it should be simple ... but who knows how the DPS deems the situation..

                Will certainly give it a go and see what happens ....at least I'll know for next time :-)

                Comment


                  #9
                  The thinking is, if something's due for replacement anyway, a repair isn't an appropriate solution.
                  I don't particularly agree with that logic, because average lifetimes are indicative, not mandatory - but the people deciding the cases use a set of policies and guidelines and apply them.
                  I imagine they have a lot to get through in a short space of time.

                  However, as I said, make the claims on a rational basis and explain them.
                  Once people see you're not being greedy and just want to cover costs you've incurred as a result of their (in)actions, it seems to help.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    By that logic, tenant could steal all landlord's working appliances, and there'd be nothing he could do, as they were 'due for replacement'.

                    There is no wear & tear deduction to be made in this case because it isn't wear & tear.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      My experience of going through DPS ADR twice (as a LL) is that when the LL can evidence that something has been damaged by the tenant and can be repaired, the ADR will agree to withhold the cost of the repairs if these are considered reasonable. However, if it need to be replaced completely, then they will take into consideration the age of the item.

                      For instance, our tenant broke the handle of a window. This cost £75 to repair and we were awarded the full amount. They also ruined the extractor fan (as totally covered in grease beyond repairs), we got £50 for this on the basis that it was quite old, however fully functioning when they moved in.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                        By that logic, tenant could steal all landlord's working appliances, and there'd be nothing he could do, as they were 'due for replacement'.
                        Not quite, the argument was that repairing the item was not the most effective way to resolve the situation - it wasn't worth the £x that the repair would cost given the age of the item.
                        These are losses and the landlord should mitigate them.

                        A tenant removing items that worked wouldn't be the same situation.

                        I like the thinking though...
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment

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