Can this be construed as damage to the carpet?

by Readers Question

17:27 PM, 1st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Can this be construed as damage to the carpet?

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Can this be construed as damage to the carpet?

Since moving into the house the washing machine has been leaking. The tenant has used a large number of bath towels to save the carpet, but can any related over-spill be construed as damage to the carpet caused by the tenant?

None of the above electrical items seems to have been PAT tested, although the lettings agent’s maintenance team says they inspected electrical points.

Any advice on how the tenant should proceed?

“Please note that the washing machine,flat-screen tv and fridge freezer are left at the property but the landlord holds no responsibility for upkeep, maintenance or repair.
signed JP(Tennant)
date 19/12/2019″

Many thanks




Kate Mellor

0:36 AM, 4th January 2020
About 6 months ago

I’m not certain I’ve entirely understood your post, but the basics of the issue are as follows:

If the goods were left by a previous tenant and the landlord has offered to leave them for the new tenant to keep (ie they become the property of the new tenant) then the tenant becomes responsible for any damages caused and for maintaining or replacing. (Assuming the incoming tenant had the option to refuse the goods and have them removed).

However if the landlord expects the items to be left in the property at the end of the tenancy then they belong to the landlord and any damages caused by their malfunction becomes the landlord’s problem...

UNLESS the issue has been an ongoing one which wasn’t reported to the landlord, thereby the landlord wasn’t given the opportunity to remedy the malfunction resulting in an increased level of damage than would otherwise have been the case.

Dylan Morris

11:20 AM, 4th January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 04/01/2020 - 00:36
According to the OP there hasn’t been any damage.

Kate Mellor

11:46 AM, 4th January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 04/01/2020 - 11:20
Hmm, that’s not how I read it. The question appears to me to be specifically about damage to the carpet caused by the leaky washing machine & whether the tenant can be held liable. Apologies if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick...

Robert FitzHerbert

12:32 PM, 4th January 2020
About 6 months ago

Irrespective of who 'owns' the washing machine, a sound tenancy agreement should contain a clause that requires the tenant to notify their landlord or agent, as quickly as possible, that a serious event has occurred within the property that may cause damage to the property itself. At this point the landlord can take action to repair, replace or remove the item. If the tenant doesn't notify the landlord in the first place then the landlord cannot take any remedial action to mitigate any losses and the tenant becomes liable.


17:51 PM, 4th January 2020
About 6 months ago

It is true that absolute liability depends on who owns the washing machine. The incoming tenant could be considered the owner only if you can prove they accepted ownership.

However, I agree the real focus should be on the big picture. A disagreement over £200 ish is not worth risking losing a reliable tenant.

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