tenant wants me to compensate for furniture ruined by damp

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    tenant wants me to compensate for furniture ruined by damp

    My T has asked for compensation for furniture she says has been 'ruined' by damp in the house. There has been an issue with damp which we have taken steps to remedy in the past and will be making more repairs this week whre another issue cropped up. Previously she has not been quick to report issues, and I suspect (based from reports by my builder and a council inspector) that part of the issue is due to condensation. The property is remote from me, fully managed by an agent who is non-committal. Have other members had a similar issue and how have they addressed it?

    #2
    Is the tenant still in situ? I think the first thing you need to do is get a couple of specialists in for a damp report and quote. Also get the agent round now to take pictures of the damp and the damage that has supposedly been caused.

    I thought I had damp at one of my properties once, I got a specialist firm out who did a detailed report and said it was not damp and that it was condensation due to the tenants lifestyle and the fact they had other people staying at the property creating even higher humidity. I then got another firm out and they said exactly the same thing. Both specialist recommended electric humidity fans and a long list of suggestions for the tenants, such as not to dry clothes inside, open bathroom window to let out steam, keep an airflow open etc.

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      #3
      If the tenant's property was damaged in full or in part by something that you did, or should have done, but didn't, they may be entitled to compensation for their loss.
      If part of the issue is theirs, not all of their loss is attributable to you.

      I'd normally try and understand what they have in mind - legally compensation is a bit of a minefield, and the tenant is probably at one end of a spectrum and what they're entitled to be another.
      It's a bit like the reverse of most landlord claims, where the landlord wants a new replacement for something that was damaged and the tenant is only liable for a small element of lost use.

      You can reasonable ask that someone is allowed to check the furniture - if you are remote, google loss adjuster or claims managers.
      They are the people insurance companies would use to assess the losses arising from a claim.
      You might find that when you suggest this, the tenant goes quiet or is reduced to claiming the stuff's been thrown away.
      Or it might be a legitimate claim.
      Last edited by jpkeates; 29-11-2016, 15:09 PM. Reason: spelling
      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).

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        #4
        The tenant is still there - has been for 2 years. My gut feeling, based on past behaviour of this T, is that she is trying it on. That said, there has been rain water ingress (which we have dealt with and are dealing with). An indepedent report sounds the best idea

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          #5
          I am waiting for pictures from the T. I just wonder why they are only claiming now. The claims manager idea seems a good one

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            #6
            Issue s21 and s8 with any valid grounds.

            You acknowledge damp problems - get fixed either with tenant there or during void & ensure it's really fixed before re-letting.

            If her stuff is damaged then yours (decorations, carpets etc) will be damaged also.
            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...

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              #7
              If thd previous issues had been addressed and you started to remedy the rain ingress as soon as you were notified by the tenant then i dont think you would be responsible for th damage and tenant should claim on insurance

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                #8
                Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                Issue s21 and s8 with any valid grounds.

                You acknowledge damp problems - get fixed either with tenant there or during void & ensure it's really fixed before re-letting.

                If her stuff is damaged then yours (decorations, carpets etc) will be damaged also.
                A maintenance issue has been reported (and by the sound of it, a potentially serious one).

                S21 runs a legitimate risk of being invalid.

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                  #9
                  S21 runs a legitimate risk of being invalid.

                  On what basis? Did T inform Council of suspected damp/water ingress prior to damage?
                  Did Council inspect Property at T request? What did they conclude?
                  T should have personal contents Insurance then LL & T Insurers would apportion liability

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Perhaps not, but as this is still relatively new legislation (and, as far as I know, untested in court) I wouldn't like to take the risk of the tenant claiming retaliatory eviction, even if he (tenant) hadn't followed the correct procedure.

                    The landlord has acknowledged that there is an issue.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The law is very clear what procedure is required to make a s21 invalid.
                      There's not much scope for a court to extend it.

                      And there's not much need.
                      If the tenant makes a complaint in writing to a landlord, and the response is "unsatisfactory", it can be escalated to the local authority.
                      Lord knows how long it would take them to reach a decision at the moment.
                      And while they decide, a valid s21 isn't possible.
                      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).

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                        #12
                        All I'm saying is that I wouldn't want to be the first one to test it in a court.

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                          #13
                          I dont think we know enough of the circumstances of this case to comment much further on the potential liability. I think that a lot of it turns of the facts of the history of damp in the property, its causes, what was notified to/by whom and what was done to remedy the situation.

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                            #14
                            I don't know whether the council came at the T's request or just as a routine inspection (it is in a licensed area). Their report said the landlord is to 'investigate the cause of dampness in areas x yz.' They told me they had spoken to the T about lifestyle and condensation. My builder is rebuilding chimney and cleaning blocked rear gutters where water is running down rear wall. So yes, I am addressing issues that arise. Two years ago we had a damp proof course put in. Last year the whole front of the house was repointed and front roof tiles replaced. There is still wet inside and mould. Builder said he had seen clothes drying in the house. I am booking an independent surveyor.
                            Have thought about the S21 route but as other posters have said, it may appear retaliatory, so think that establishing once and for all the cause of the damp is the first step

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Seeing as her tenancy was before the changes came into effect, you will be fine if you proceed down the route of the S21.

                              Clearly your property has suffered problems but you have addressed them when notified. Reading between the lines, your tenant is part of the cause - the Council state they have spoken to the Tenant about lifestyle and condensation. Your tenant must not dry any clothes indoors unless she is using a condenser tumble dryer. She probably isn't keeping an adequate airflow. By any chance is the tenant on a low income?

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