Furniture left in house by tenant and now asking for it back !

by Readers Question

13:03 PM, 25th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Furniture left in house by tenant and now asking for it back !

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Furniture left in house by tenant and now asking for it back !

My tenants gave notice and vacated property on 18 January. They were relocating to Scotland from Kent and couldn’t take all there furniture.

I said I would dispose of furniture for them and not to worry, I was being helpful, so I thought, as they had five children two under 2 and I felt sorry for them! When they had moved and I refunded the full deposit even though the house needed cleaning and a three year old radiator needed replacing, but that’s another story, she emailed asking for money for the furniture she had left!

Where do I stand? I actually got the council to come and collect the three piece, but the wardrobe and chest of draws are still in the house.

Thank you

Christinefurniture



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:05 PM, 25th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Christine,

Can I ask if you have any communications regarding this saved or documented?

Christine McCluggage

15:22 PM, 25th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hello Neil,

Thank you for your reply, We have kept all emails, the problem only came because we allowed the tenant to stay in house for a few days over the end of tenancy and charged for those days, She wasn't happy we charged for the days! I will copy and attach email along with our reply.... ello Christine,

we have received the cheque for £251.62 today.
I am sorry but we do not like
We would like to address you with the unresolved issue. The last time you came and we talked together, you promised to give us something for the valuable things we were going to leave.
Only for your information:
The price of the shed: £399
3-piece Beech effect Bedroom set: £129
4-piece Beech effect Bedroom set: £350
+ Free loft insulation (because of us having children).
We think it is a lot of money we left in your property. We were always respectful and we expect the same from you although we are not your tenants anymore but we are still decent people.
We do not expect you to pay us the full price because those are used for 2years but at least a part of it. How much it depends entirely on you.
In case you can not give us some reasonable value for those things, allow us to take care of them.
Please let us know.

Kind regards

Our reply

Hello Maria,

Let me take your points in order and then add some of our own as we think you may have overlooked some things.

The cheque value reflects the exact days you stayed including the extra ones to help you get things together for the move so that's the correct amount regarding the refund for the rent advance payment. Some landlords would have just taken the rent to the end of the month if their tenants wanted more time as the period left on the advance rental was only 12 days. We prefer to be fair and exact.

We did NOT PROMISE to pay anything for the furniture you left. We said we would offer it to the new tenants and that they may not want it as they may already have furniture and if that was the case we would sort out disposal. This is in fact the situation so the new tenants initially kindly agreed to store the items upstairs until they can be disposed of. It is good of them to be patient like that. We have agreed to pay the cost of disposal for them. If they had offered money for the items we would pass that onto you but it would not have been anything like what you paid for them anyway BUT you would have got exactly what they paid. Like when we bought your cooker.

As it turned out they did not want anything. The chairs and sofa are not fire safe as they have no flame retardant labeling and so we could not even give them to a Charity shop as they would not take them. Of course if all this was valuable to you, you had the option to take it.

The shed is of no use to us or the new tenants and again it was not discussed that you placed a value on it which we would agree with or offer money for. We made a joke that Marco was more bothered about leaving that than the actual act of moving, remember? Also it is not able to be moved or sold as it would not come to pieces. So if the tenants don't like it they can make us move it and it will be of no further use to anyone as it would not be able to be re-assembled so in essence has no value anyway.

The loft insulation was entirely your choice and makes no difference to us or the new tenants and it did not cost you anything. We gave permission for you to have it because it helped you, not us, and in fact we thought you would be staying for a five year period which was the understanding we had at the outset. So therefore it would benefit you with bills perhaps over that period. It was also a big commitment for us to freeze the rent for five years. That concession was a kind and fair thing to do but definitely NOT the normal way a landlord behaves. We could have said how disappointed we were that you did not fulfill that agreement but we did not make a fuss and wished you well in your new life and give you an excellent reference to your new landlord.

The deposit scheme problem was not ours. Christine did everything required of the landlord and released the deposit. This £500 we took at the outset was to help you as it was not the normal six weeks ( which would have been £975) and is normally reserved for damage ( like the new lock and the two new radiators downstairs, which have to be replaced as all the enamel paint has peeled off, in less than three years) You paid an extra advance months rental in lieu of references and to show good will but in essence this is NOT a damage deposit and you were always legally entitled to have that full amount in either accommodation or refund. So you used up what you paid for regarding your notice for the 17th January and have the balance re-paid. Let's be clear that extra advance gave us, as landlords, no piece of mind at all regarding damage.

We told you not to worry about the double doors in the lounge. The new tenants have arranged a locksmith friend of theirs to sort it and the cost will be passed on to US, not YOU. The radiators will work out at £40 each plus fitting, which comes to around £180, again none of this was deducted from the deposit. In reality the house should be returned to us exactly as we gave it to you but we have not made a fuss have we? Also you commented on the fact you did your best with the cleaning but to be honest Christine had to do a few hours cleaning before the new tenants could move in. All this is time and effort and we could have charged a cleaner to do that but we didn't.

So we can't pay any more to you than the true value of the outstanding advance payment of rent and the full deposit whilst of course making the concessions we have mentioned above which impact financially on us. You were good tenants and this was, as I mentioned, reflected in the fact we gave that excellent reference and returned the full damage deposit despite the things we will have to replace. We knew you were stressed about the move so thought we would take on the job of getting rid of the furniture with the CHANCE not GUARANTEE of getting some cash from the new tenants for the furniture for you and would do the cleaning you did not have time to do. We are stressed about our move too but still have to ensure the new tenants are treated fairly by removing unwanted items and making their move as easy as we made yours. Albeit NOT helping them move their washing machine like we did for you.

We still wish you all the best in your new life but we are disappointed you concentrated on your side of things before considering carefully the full reality and our position. So, to conclude, we have no doubts about the fact we have been consistent in our treatment of you and your family and were hurt you felt we had been in any way unfair as that is not how we act.

Dave and Christine.

Joe Bloggs

15:38 PM, 26th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Christine McCluggage" at "25/02/2015 - 15:22":

surely the obvious question is why did they not say all this and name their price before they moved out. they cant just abandon stuff and then expect money for it. had a price not been agreed then they would have been free to removed their stuff, so long as it didnt damage youre property.

Terry Pearce

17:01 PM, 26th February 2015
About 4 years ago

You've been way to kind to your old tenant. Two gold rules that I never break!

One - You have no friends in business
Two - There is no room for sentiment in business

Always remember this and you'll not get caught up in this kind of issue ever again.

It is unfortunate when you feel you are doing your best to help out and they come back and bite you.

Peter Hunter

19:43 PM, 26th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Charge your old tenants rent while 'their' property is still in your property.
Ask them to remove their furniture forthwith.

brian clement

22:29 PM, 26th February 2015
About 4 years ago

You sound a very nice person Christine. Unfortunately this is how you have got yourself in this position. Never show any weakness to your tenants. Never let them call you Christine always Mrs xxxxxx. Never show them kindness or treat them as your friends. Tell them to get a van down to your property with 7 days to remove their possessions and never contact you again. Good luck.

Christine McCluggage

9:11 AM, 27th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you all for your replies, I have informed old tenant to collect furniture within seven days or it will be disposed off. I will take on board what you say and go forward with a business head on, no more "friendly" landlady from now it will be business. 🙂

Ian Cognito

13:07 PM, 27th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Christine

Being friendly and keeping a business head are not mutually exclusive. I can't believe Brian was being serious with his comment "Never let them call you Christine always Mrs xxxxxx."!

That said, I think you may have been TOO friendly and trusting.

If the previous tenants verbally told you that they were gifting you the old furniture, then you certainly should have confirmed this back to them in writing or via email.

I always use a professional inventory company at check-in/out. Not only does this provide "3rd party" evidence, but the very fact that a professional is being used sends out the right signal.

At the end of the day, learn from your mistake but also appreciate that you may have been a bit unlucky as not all tenants are out to get you.

brian clement

1:31 AM, 28th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hello Christine. I was being very serious when I said your tenants are to call you Mrs McCluggage. (Obviously not Mrs xxxxxx) If they call you Christine, Chris or darling you simply say "I am not Chris or your darling, I am Mrs McCluggage". You also refer to them as Mr and Mrs xxxxx. This shows your tenants that you are a professional and not to be messed with. They are not your friends. If they ask you for favours that you are not happy with you simply say "no". You don't give any explanation. If they try to argue with you then you say "this is my decision and I am not prepared to discuss it with you". Always try and look smart and professional when you meet with them. This will also give you more confidence. Don't stop being the kind and caring lady that you are. Just act this way when you have your landlords hat on. I have been a landlord for many years and you have to be like this. Good luck.

Queen Victoria

8:47 AM, 28th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "brian clement" at "28/02/2015 - 01:31":

Brian. I've been a landlord for 15 years and it really doesn't have to be like this. Of course you are correct that this is a business relationship rather than a friendship but general and genuine friendliness and even a degree of familiarity are not a problem as a landlord. In this case it just sounds like Christine has been far too accommodating with difficult tenants and she seems to acknowledge it.

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