Damage to property

by Readers Question

8:06 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Damage to property

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Damage to property

My ex partner leased a house from 2009 until 2012 he then had an affair and left, during our relationship he was violent and caused damage to the property.

I had nowhere else to go and with 3 small children I felt my only option was to take out a new lease In my name to enable me to stay in the property.

I requested that they did a new inventory before I signed the lease bearing in mind this was a totally new lease, they never did and I just signed a tenancy agreement. I later found somewhere else after handing in notice and after 10 month I have debt collectors on my door demanding I pay £4500 in chargeable repairs to the property, this was the first I have heard about any of it. Damage to Property

Where do I stand as I have had no break down an never signed a new inventory with my new lease.

Bianca


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Comments

Mark Alexander

8:12 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

If an inventory had been completed when your ex-partner moved out do you think the landlord would have granted a new tenancy?

Sorry but you were jointly and severally liable and your landlord has the right to claim against whoever he wants to claim against in whatever proportion he chooses. Given that your landlord cannot prove who caused the damage it is easier to go for you to pay for the damages on the basis that you were at the property for 10 months longer than your ex.

If you can prove that you ex caused the damage you may be able to counter claim against him but that's down to you. In the meantime, you need to pay up or suffer the consequences.

I commend this landlord for recovering his losses, some would just write off scenario's like this as bad luck and feel that chasing the money would be throwing good money after bad. In that regard you might consider yourself unlucky but that's the way it is.

I appreciate this response is not going to be the answer you were hoping for but I always try to say it as I see it so that you know where you stand. Sometimes the truth hurts.
.

Jamie M

8:22 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Exactly.

Robert Mellors

8:31 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Well said Mark. I agree completely.
Bianca, why should the landlord be left to pick up the bill? It is right that he should chase the tenant for the cost of the repairs, and the admin and legal costs of doing this. You had 10 months in which to make repairs to the damage done by your ex, but you did not do the repairs when you had the chance so it is right that you are made to pay for them now. However, I do agree with you that morally it is the ex partner who should pay, but like Mark says, if you were joint tenants then you are equally and severally liable. I suggest you make a repayment arrangement, and stick to it.

Industry Observer

8:37 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Whoa everybody - 10 months after the end of the tenancy?

We need more facts has this Landlord been pursuing these alleged damages debts right from the start? If not then as with a Guarantor and seeking recovery months after arrears started it is not quite that open and shut.

Remember Bianca says she asked for a new inventory. Whether or not she then signed Mark she requested one. Surely she did not just re-sign the original inventory, she never would have done that would she? Therefore what inventory was there for ternancy agreement 2 - the first one would fall with the original tenancy.

Was Bianca at the property at the check-out visit? If this is a self managed property with a Landlord trying to minimise his losses that is another factor.

Always two sides to a story and only one person judges the quick and the dead and it ain't posters on P118.

We need more facts, like what happened at end of tenancy and how long has this debt pursuing been going on?

Mark Alexander

8:42 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "27/02/2014 - 08:37":

If Bianca has debt collectors knocking at her door then I think it's probably fair to assume that a judge has already made his decision.

I could be wrong of course, but given the circumstances as explained by Bianca, I'd much rather be assisting the landlord in Court, wouldn't you?

I'd love to hear the landlords side of the story, I suspect a lot more would come out then!
.

Jamie M

8:42 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "27/02/2014 - 08:37":

How many BTL properties do you have Industry Observer? (rhetorical) We landlords are routinely ripped off by wayward tenants, and if your name is on a tenancy agreement, you are liable until you remove it correctly. The rules apply to both sides, not just tenants as the press would have us believe.

Neil Woodhead

8:46 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Bianca It is up to the Landlord to prove the damage was caused by you and without an inventory he would find it very difficult argue his case. He should also have protected your deposit and allow you to go through the laid down procedures to resolve dilapidations. If Landlord is pursuing for previous tenancy he cannot pick and chose which person to pursue, he must pursue all parties. Has your ex been approached by the same debt collector. How do they get their figures....are they reasonable? Without giving advance notice of any issues it looks to me your Landlord has "set the dogs on you" to bully you into submission. I would recommend a visit to your Consumer Advice office

r01

9:07 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

You say the first you heard of a claim was when you had this £4.5k demand but what about your deposit? Was this returned after you left ?? If so, you may have an argument that the return of the deposit was sufficient proof that the property was in an acceptable condition at the time of leaving, therefore, the claim is spurious.

Unfortunately, the law is the law. The damage was done whilst both you and your partner were in occupation and had a new inventory been carried out you would have still had to pay up (at that time) and evicted too, as no doubt your feckless partner who by now was nowhere to be seen would not pay as you are both jointly and severally liable, which means both of you are equally liable for the full cost.

Let's be frank though.... Why should the landlord suffer? Had the landlord been the abusive or violent one I suspect both you and your abusive partner would have called the police immediately. Why did you not do this the moment your partner became violent, especially with three children to protect, they are the ones I feel sorry for as it sickens me to think of any mother allowing a violent man within a million miles of children !!!

Had you called the police the first time he got violent, the damage probably would never have happened or at least would have been massively reduced. The police would have recorded the damage done and you could have had a genuine, enforceable case against him but now, it could just as easily be another man you've picked up with or even yourself that did the damage - how could the landlord or any court possibly know unless your ex admits liability ?

You are stuck with the problem. If you don't want the same to happen again, perhaps it's time to reflect on the choices you make in life.

Bianca B

9:07 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Lets outline a few things
4 staff members from the letting agency have emailed me in the past (I have all the emails) not once do they mention any damage, they then claim 10 months later that they had no way to contact me so went ahead with the "repairs" despite them having my phone number and my email address.

I never paid a deposit

At check out I was at the house and handed over the keys no one from the letting company turned up nor did they phone to say other wise, so I went to the office and handed back the keys.

I have squeaky clen refferances both before, and now after that tenancy, so that should give you an indication of the type of tenant I am.

I phoned yesterday and they refuse to explain there figures nor can they provide me with information. I just got an earful of abuse. I have now requested in writing so will wait and see. I also have an appointment with my solicitor

Yes there were reported domestics to the property.

The letting agency also fausley back dated the tenancy but one month.

They also entred my property with out notice and I also have a few valuable items go Missing witch the police were involved with.
They are the letting agency from hell!

By all means if I felt I was liable I would pay up! But why would I hand over £4500 without explanation

Robert Mellors

9:17 AM, 27th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Woodhead" at "27/02/2014 - 08:46":

I think it is up to the landlord to prove the damage was done during the period when Bianca was a tenant, he does not have to prove it was actually her that caused the damage, as tenants are also responsible for their guests, as well as others in their household.
If Bianca paid a deposit then yes it should have been protected and correct procedure followed.
Landlord can chose which person to pursue for the debt, but if it is at pre-court stage then both joint tenants should be named, but he can enforce against anyone he has the court judgement against. However, is there any proof as to when (or how) the damage occurred?
Certainly the landlord should ensure the figures are reasonable, can be supported by evidence, and are within the terms of the tenancy agreement.
From my experience, some tenants do not give a forwarding address as they know the landlord will chase for rent arrears/damages, so landlord can write to them at their last known address (could be the one they have left), and if tenant is not trying to avoid the debt then they will have their post re-directed to their new address so will receive notification. When tenant fails to respond or pay up then landlord can pursue the debt through a debt collector and/or through the courts. Debt collectors can often trace absconded debtors much better than an individual landlord could do.

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