Advice on a DPS deposit claim please?

by Readers Question

10:45 AM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

Advice on a DPS deposit claim please?

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Advice on a DPS deposit claim please?

Hi Landlords I’m looking for advice on a DPS deposit claim, brief outline is the tenant has rented for 4 years the kitchen was new at the start of the tenancy property decorated throughout and new carpets. Apart from being untidy and lived in we have had no cause for concern on inspections, during the pandemic the tenant had asked if inspections could be suspended (to be honest we weren’t too keen either ).

I asked to do an inspection in early December and conveniently the children had been sent home due to a Covid-19 outbreak and the visit was cancelled.

The tenant gave notice late January and moved out last weekend, to our horror on the sign out there had been an obvious leak from his washing machine which has blown all the kitchen base cabinets, two of the cupboard doors and three end panels along one wall, they have also re-decorated the whole house extremely badly painting over light switches, socket points, wall paint on the ceilings paint spillage on the carpets and flicked all over the bathroom vinyl (our tenancy agreement states no decorating without our consent).

Having checked with our kitchen supplier today the range is no longer available base cabinets are, but we cannot match the doors or end panels, so we would have to replace all the other good kitchen doors. kick boards and end panels in a new range, this is all on top of new carpets (we accept wear and tear but paint !!! ) and fully re-decorate.

I should also mention his Father is the guarantor.

Obviously, the repairs will exceed his deposit, we have had the keys back two days and debt letters are already coming through the door.

Should I claim the full deposit against the completely new kitchen which will way exceed his deposit, or will the DPS throw it out saying he is only liable for the damaged cabinets and panels (which can’t be replaced as they are no longer available) or should I claim for carpet cleaning/new carpets, vinyl and re-decoration and only the kitchen parts that are damaged and pursue his Father for the rest?

Any advice on how the DPS would view the claim would be greatly appreciated

Thanks, Simon

Comments

The Forever Tenant

11:12 AM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

Claim through the DPS first. Just be sure to take many many pictures and show your working of how you got to the number you did. I doubt that the DPS would allow costs for the replacement of the entire kitchen but you should be sure to detail everything that is going to require rectification.

The courts may take a dim view if you skip the DPS step as that is what it's there for.

Freda Blogs

11:31 AM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

You will need to be mindful of DPS timescales, but I would suggest approaching the tenants and guarantor asap with the info and try and negotiate a settlement - otherwise tenants/guarantor may feel the debt is fully satisfied if you get some/part of the deposit awarded and you haven’t notified the guarantor in advance.
DPS is very tenant biased. It is not compulsory to raise a dispute through them – instead you can make a claim in the small claims court against tenants and guarantor - who may be more responsive to a negotiated settlement if he fears his credit could be prejudiced by such an action.

Smartermind

13:45 PM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

As it was a leaking washing machine, have you considered claiming on your landlord's house insurance policy under escape of water? The insurance will replace the kitchen cabinets new for old. Then you can claim the excess from the tenant's deposit.

How come you didn't notice the paint job under previous inspections or was this a last minute splurge by the tenant during lockdown?

Seething Landlord

18:23 PM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

I would suggest trying to negotiate a reasonable overall settlement with the tenant and if this exceeds the amount of the deposit you can apply to the DPS for the whole of it to be paid to you which they will do unless the tenant raises a dispute. The tenant and guarantor would then be liable to pay the balance of the agreed settlement to you.

If you cannot reach an agreement on this basis it might be best to to pursue the tenant for the whole amount through the courts but if you do this successfully be sure to get the court to make an order that the DPS are to pay the deposit to you.

Kate Mellor

19:22 PM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

The DPS have very thorough instructions on their website about how to calculate what you can claim.
Ensure you claim for only the things you are confident of getting approved through DPS and claim the balance if necessary as an MCOL.
The suggestion of claiming on your insurance for water egress sounds like a good one.
I feel for the poor guarantor as he might well have signed up already for a second time for his son’s new tenancy!

wanda wang

20:58 PM, 3rd March 2021
About a month ago

I totally agreed DPS is very tenant biased, I had dealing with them recently, total waste my time to submit my evidence. will never use them again.

Kent Landlord

0:32 AM, 4th March 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 03/03/2021 - 13:45
Hi Smartermind during previous inspections the paintwork had been untouched i can only assume the horrendous painting was through lockdown boredom !! the insurance did cross my mind but having had a claim last year at home and a hell of a fight with the loss adjuster and the subsequent renewal stigma that nearly doubled my premium i am loathed claim on it for fear of the increase !!

Ellen

9:46 AM, 12th March 2021
About a month ago

If submitting photos of the current state of the kitchen, make sure that they have the date and time on them. Our (ex) agent had a dispute with one of our tenants (unknown to us) and the DPS dismissed the agent´s photos because they were not part of the official Check-out report and were not dated. Also, I would deduct any "wear and tear" from the cost of a new kitchen, meaning you cannot repair, replace or redecorate to end up with a property in better condition than reasonably expected at the end of the tenancy. Not sure I have explained this very well, sorry.


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