Lawns ruined and tenant is refusing to pay?

Lawns ruined and tenant is refusing to pay?

11:29 AM, 20th August 2015, About 7 years ago 29

Text Size

My tenant has been in two years and in that time has totally neglected the two small lawns at the back of the house to the extent where they need completely re-turfing. One is literally all moss and the other just dandelions.lawn

They were always weed prone lawns and were not by any means weed free when she took the tenancy, but as I say, they are now ruined. I now want to sell the house and when I told her, she then mentioned the lawn. She was planning to have the back section re-turfed or reseeded and had had a quote but is saying she won’t pay for it now, because I am selling soon and she doesn’t see why she should pay for me to have a better lawn than she took over just so I could get a good price.

I have told her that the upkeep of the garden is her responsibility and it’s in her contract, but she claims it was really bad to start with. I wish I’d taken photos! She has offered to make a contribution however.

On inspecting the interior, I noticed two holes in the stair carpet which clearly had been caused by her cat. She is not disputing those but wants to get her own carpet quotes.

Foolishly I only took the basic months rent deposit of £650 even though I was allowing the cat and if push comes to shove, this won’t cover the carpet and the lawns. She has said she will fight me if I try to retain her deposit for the lawns even though I never even mentioned taking it out of her deposit.

I wish I had insisted during previous visits that she made more effort with the garden as I suspected she wasn’t touching it but I’ve not been for a year or so (again stupid of me) and had no idea it had got this bad. I had had conversations along the lines of, why don’t you get a company to come and do a ‘feed and weed like I used to do when I lived here and yes, you do need to try to keep on top of the mowing. She didn’t have a mower at all at first. The lawn and borders are on the inventory on one line and again, stupidly, I allowed her to write ‘overgrown’.

Presumably because the borders were not very neat and had a few weeds in them. The lawns were cut and neat and tidy though. I’m concerned she will use this to try to say they were already in is state. I told her she should have told me earlier but she said she didn’t want to bother me. Any problems she has had though, I have dealt with in a prompt and friendly way so I don’t know why she would say that. Reading back over this, I sound really foolish.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks

Emma



Comments

by Luke P

11:30 AM, 21st August 2015, About 7 years ago

Just a thought (and this is not specifically aimed at you Emma), but if let's say a relative left you an jet airliner in their Will...

Would you attempt to set up an airline company and go into the business of selling flights? Why is it that with an industry such as property (where lots of money is potentially at stake) do many inexperienced individuals feel they can become a landlord overnight? Is it because they watched an episode of a programme once with Sarah Beeny in it???

More of a rhetorical question but I have often wondered...

by Michael Barnes

10:14 AM, 23rd August 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "21/08/2015 - 11:30":

I think it is because property is (historically) an appreciating asset, so they see keeping it as a 'safe' option, but realise that they need to make some money from it.

by Emma Pattwell

11:00 AM, 23rd August 2015, About 7 years ago

I think its the lure of making what is often presented as easy money. In this era of low interest rates there seems few options for making money from your capital. I did it because I bought the house at the height of the boom and when I wanted to sell, found it wasn't worth anything like what I paid. I had seen another property to potentially make a profit from if I got in there quickly so I split the capital, bought the other property and have kept the rental house making an excellent profit until it returned to its 2008 value. My mistake has been not having any experience and not treating it as a business as you aluded to!! I think quite a few people have done the same after house prices dropped and they found themselves with a property worth less than they paid. I'm selling now before I get myself any more worked up or make any more mistakes!!! Thank you all so much for the advice. Going round while she's away this week with the rotivator!!! Hoping to even squeeze in a couple of viewings!!

by Audrey Wright

13:45 PM, 25th August 2015, About 6 years ago

The cat is probably the biggest worry for your sale. I hope you realize that, but cat piss not only smells bad IT SETS in everything. Furniture, floor, carpet, upholstery, even the walls might smell of cat.

Normally, I'd just offer you an end of tenancy cleaning from my company. But I think you might need a bit more than that.

The carpets and upholstery need to be steam cleaned, the wooden floors might need a sanding and refinishing and the walls will most likely need repainting.

It's beyond what any cleaning will achieve.

You might have a way harder time fixing this than the garden.

It's unfortunate you weren't better prepared to handle tenants and rented properties. But all odds are against you as you stand right now.

If it said overgrown and you don't have photos, you can forget about the garden. Actually, you can only hope on her good will and morals to give you a dime, as you can't force it out of her.

Also, if you allowed pets, I guess any damage the pet has done is also non-refutable.

I'm sorry for you, but it is what it is. Best of luck.

Regards,
Audrey Wright
http://friendlytenancyhelpers.co.uk/

by Emma Pattwell

14:49 PM, 25th August 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Audrey Wright" at "25/08/2015 - 13:45":

Thanks Audrey. I'm thinking I'll have to wait until Jan when my circumstances mean I can afford to be without the rent and then sell it empty. I'm pretty confident that the smell was only from the litter tray as when I went round the cat had been in all day with the windows closed. I guess I'll only know that when I go round later as she's now on hols and the cats in a cattery!! Fingers crossed its not weed everywhere!!

by Emma Pattwell

14:49 PM, 25th August 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Audrey Wright" at "25/08/2015 - 13:45":

Thanks Audrey. I'm thinking I'll have to wait until Jan when my circumstances mean I can afford to be without the rent and then sell it empty. I'm pretty confident that the smell was only from the litter tray as when I went round the cat had been in all day with the windows closed. I guess I'll only know that when I go round later as she's now on hols and the cats in a cattery!! Fingers crossed its not weed everywhere!!

by Ethical Man

8:26 AM, 10th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Do you live far away? If not, and you need some money coming in, and depending where you are, then once she moves out you could rent it out using AirBNB. It would bring some money in Most areas have people come there temporarily - whether holiday, work, visiting friends or whatever.

Generally speaking they say that spring is the best time to sell.

by Connie Cheuk

15:32 PM, 13th September 2015, About 6 years ago

We all started somewhere and however a person became a Landlord (accidental or otherwise), it is a learning curve.There is some good advice here and even the most seasoned landlords made mistakes when they first started out, despite their confidence now. It isn't just procuring and renting out property that is the difficulty, but often working round the people whom you rent to. I have always used expert advice, namely letting agents about the types of properties needed for rental in the areas, legislation, etc, etc, even though advice and management and inventories cost. I prefer to do it that way and use the contractors on their books for whatever problems crop up. I am also an hour and a half away by train (higher rental area and higher yield than my own back yard) and want to keep my job for the moment, whilst I'm still learning. Some Landlords may scorn at that, but tough; that's how things are.

One of my properties has a garden. There are two mowers there, but a previous tenant left one outside and it rusted. I have instructed that this be removed next week, and if the other mower does not work (she hasn't tried it yet), then she can have my almost new mower (I have rabbits, so my grass and weeds are kept very well trimmed). This is also the only tenancy that I have agreed regarding pets as there is a garden; the tenant has a cat and was willing to pay a higher deposit.

As the market is at the moment (housing shortage, house price rises), I am sure that you will be able to find a buyer who can overlook a manky carpet and an area of weeds, and can see the potential of the house. Most likely they will replace carpets themselves and negotiate money off anyway.

The best of luck, Emma. Let us know how you get on, even though some people may seem as though your problem is minor and a no brainer, I know how worrying things can get.

by Eileen Grace

18:40 PM, 13th September 2015, About 6 years ago

I have retreived one lawn which was almost 100% dandelions lawns through feeding and seedinf over 12 months.

Over the years I have found tenants professing a love of gardening but good intentions are not enough. I have always been concerned about supplying an electrical lawnmower ( I can ensure a PAT test is done ) but I cannot be sure the safety plug will be used so if the electric flex is accidentally cut the electric supply is cut off immediately.Such accidents are more likely wit h novices.
I find having a groundsperson who ensures the gardens are done , paths swept , bins put away etc and sends photos of before and after helps greatly and is appreciated by my neighbours who are always very helpful and have alerted me to a few things in the past.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER