Excessive charges for HMO damage?

by Readers Question

13:49 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

Excessive charges for HMO damage?

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Excessive charges for HMO damage?

I was guarantor for my son when he had a room in a shared house. He caused some damage to the room so when he left, the landlord sent me a bill. However he has charged over and above the cost of replacement furniture, and labour costs. (£800 to paint a bedroom ) total was £1500.

I paid half, which to my mind is still more than the actual costs.

He has now threatened to take me to court. I am confident that the amount I paid covers the cost of furniture and labour.

My question is, will a court agree that he can charge me whatever he wants?
If a hearing goes in my favour, will I have any court costs? He is not a private landlord but is a letting agency.

Many thanks

Morag



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:54 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

Hi Morag,

I am assuming in this smart phone age your son or the landlord has pictures of the damage?

If you do have any pictures I can add them to the article to help guide you.

James Barnes

15:47 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

I think I'd be asking for photographs taken before and after your son moved in which clearly show the alleged damage. Following on from that I'd want to see invoices rather than a finger in the air guess of costs.
I think you could have two or three bedrooms painted for £800 so this sounds like taking the pi$$ to me.
I would guess your sons landlord will have a tough time proving £1500 worth of damage in court and is hoping you'll just hand the money over.

Rob Crawford

16:04 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

You would be entitled to a breakdown of costs and copies of receipts. You may find the letting agent has added admin & time also provision for lost rent. It soon adds up!

James Barnes

16:22 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 11/04/2019 - 16:04
I can understand charges for admin & time but with regards to lost rent, surely this only applies when there is a tenant who is already lined up to move directly afterwards departing tenant leaves. It can't be enough to simply say someone could have moved in if it weren't for the damage so I'm charging for the days it's been vacant due to time taken up by repairs/redecorating.

michael@mjproperty.co.uk

16:43 PM, 11th April 2019
About A week ago

Surely your sons tenancy deposit was registered with one of the tenancy deposit schemes, if you/ your son were unhappy with the costs then you should have raised a dispute and forced the landlord to provide all the evidence and not handed money over without question. If this tenancy has ended within the last 3 months I think you can still raise a dispute? Plus was it a student HMO or was your son only responsible for his room?

JB

11:01 AM, 12th April 2019
About A week ago

One of my students just had a party and they were dancing on the furniture (as one does if its not yours) resulting in the following breakages:

The sofa back (Ikea Klippan)
Dining table
2 Chairs (from a nice set of 4 matching the table)
Coffee table (was new)
Chest of drawers
Wall light (one of a probably obsolete pair)

Most of it was in good condition but not new. It could take ages looking for/collecting similar 2nd hand furniture. Then the broken furniture needs taking to the dump. I can't physically do the heavy work due to ill health. Then an invoice needs to be produced. How much of my time can I/should I claim for?

Marie

11:06 AM, 12th April 2019
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by James Barnes at 11/04/2019 - 15:47
It depends where in the country you are. In London that would be considered cheap.

Dave Driver

11:23 AM, 12th April 2019
About A week ago

I sympathise if you've been overcharged, but at the same time your son has been an irresponsible tenant. If he/you had made good the damage and replaced broken items then the landlord would have not needed to charge you anything. Landlords would much prefer to have their property returned in good order rather than go through all the trouble of having to decorate, remove broken items, replace broken items. This stuff takes time and should be unnecessary.

Mike

12:20 PM, 12th April 2019
About A week ago

Don't forget the agents would have put their fees or charges in dealing with the problem, mark up as well on furniture plus VAT, hence why a small irresponsible act by your son is going to cost you rather unnecessary a high price, they would have to ring many decorators and who is free to do the painting straight away, as agents cannot afford to wait for the cheapest painter to go and paint, anyone who can go at a short notice is most likely to be expenzive, I know someone hired a painter from my builder for her own home, and he quoted £1800 for a 3 bedroom house, a single coat in emulsion and paint doors and skirtings in gloss, that appeared to me expensive, but when you look it has 3 bedroom, living room, dining, kitchen bath, passage and a hall way, upper landing, and generally speaking any trades person these days base their rate on a daily rate rather than hourly, its setting up things on site, parking costs, travelling, congestion charges, pollution charges, all add up to our modern day living, welcome to 21st century Britain, endless acts and legislations, life is nothing more than stressful living. No wonder your son took it out on furniture! But you got to pay for it now my friend. sad reality.

Graham Bowcock

13:46 PM, 12th April 2019
About A week ago

Where a tenant vacates and leaves damage for the landlord to resolve there is inevitably a cost and this is usually higher than people expect. Landlords and agents don't have endless amounts of "free" time spent waiting to deal with tenants who fail to vacate properly. There is a cost which has to be considered. As others have said, sometimes the cost of tradesmen will be higher just to get the job done quickly - again they don't just sit at home waiting for the call.

This wouldn't seem to be a deposit issue as the question is from a guarantor who can be pursued quite independently of any deposit for the landlord's losses.

I have always taken the view (with 30 years of agency experience) that if a tenant leaves work to be done then satisfactory vacation has not been given so the landlord may charge up until the date the property is put back as it should be. There is no reason why a landlord should have a property that is unlettable through the fault of the tenant and should be paid until it is put right.

I am sorry Morag that you seem to have drawn the short straw here. My only suggestion is to insist that the landlord gives you an itemised breakdown of costs so that you can confirm items being charged are really your son's responsibility and that the costs are reasonable. You maybe then have to assess if you are going to draw a line, paying what should cover the costs (if you think the landlord is unreasonable) and leaving the landlord to then pursue you. If you take a reasonable view and make that clear to the landlord then it is unlikely they would go as far as issuing proceedings for recovery.

Graham

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