Tenant is dirty and careless, do we need to keep doing repairs?

Tenant is dirty and careless, do we need to keep doing repairs?

9:46 AM, 20th February 2023, About a month ago 45

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Hello, My tenant generally pays on time, is cooperative and polite but is incapable of keeping the place up. It has turned in four years from a nice place into a tip, and various fixtures have got broken.

My question is, when the tenant is so careless is there any reason we should fix everything they neglect or mistreat?

We’d love to get rid of them but we need the rental income and first we must also save up to totally refurb the place to let it to anyone else.

We have done repairs to keep the place fit for human habitation, and safe, but why should we chuck away money on someone acting like they were raised in a tent?

Thank you,


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17:39 PM, 20th February 2023, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 20/02/2023 - 17:20
Are you really sure that you can ask them to pay for damages they have caused? And how do you do this without falling foul of the law?

Ed Tuff

19:21 PM, 20th February 2023, About a month ago

Similar situation. Tenant moved into an immaculate flat; didn't take him long to make it filthy. Mind you he's been there 7 years, so can live in a pigsty if he likes.

David Houghton

22:03 PM, 20th February 2023, About a month ago

The refurb cost is baked in now. You could leave well alone for a bit longer then get rid before s21 is removed. Your repair obligation are restricted to s11, gutters exterior structure etc unless your tenancy goes further.
You can argue malicious waste in
the event of an improvement notice.
Or s21 now. You would be amazed what your can clean with bleach and stsrdrops

Robert Sled

9:29 AM, 21st February 2023, About a month ago

So they're paying on time every time?

There's a saying in English that you don't upset the apple cart.

Right now, they're paying in full on time. How they live isn't currently affecting you. If the property is already dirty and damaged, what will you gain by upsetting the apple cart? Not much. Either way it needs a full renovation when they leave. So you gain nothing by upsetting the relationship.

What risks do you take on if you leave them peacefully? The place gets even more messy. What risk do you take if you try (and fail) to make them tidy? (And yes, you will definitely fail). Well it could get worse. They could stop paying altogether and deliberately trash the place. This could force you into months (or over a year) of legal battling while you absolutely HOPE the court rules in your favour. You may get back something far worse than you have right now and be ten grand down in legal costs and lost rent!

I say don't upset the apple cart. Just let sleeping dogs lie. As long as they're a paying customer they legally have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property. How a court would rule on this is murky to me. I haven't looked it up. But if they get annoyed they may stop paying and trash the place. Just let them be I say


12:55 PM, 21st February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 20/02/2023 - 17:39
Of course you can ask them to pay for damage they have caused. What do you think the deposit is for.

Paying for damage is compensation for a loss. Its not a fee and isn't a prohibited payment under the Tenant Fees Act.

K Anon

13:03 PM, 21st February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 21/02/2023 - 12:55
chances of getting anything out of the deposit are low. £16000 of damage, unpaid rent, £1015 deposit and we got £265. Disgusting.

Needless to say we won't be bothering again. It's a clear message, just increase the rent. Deposit is just another risk to the business we don't need.


14:01 PM, 21st February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 21/02/2023 - 12:55
So my point is, how do you go about doing it in order that you can be sure that neither Shelter, the Council, nor anybody else with a dislike for landlords and an axe to grind can claim that it is a prohibited payment under the Tenant Fees act.


14:56 PM, 22nd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by K Anon at 21/02/2023 - 13:03
If the damage/losses are high then the deposit will never cover it on its own and you'd have to work out whether its worth suing the tenant for the larger sum.

My experience has been that if you have good evidence of the condition at the start and end of the tenancy and you present realistic calculations of your losses, you're more likely to be successful. Having said that, there are definitely issues around claiming for cosmetic damage or for items that were in better condition than the depreciation formula allows and these things work against the landlord.

Hamish McBloggs

17:53 PM, 22nd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

I am far more concerned for my personal liberty. I wonder about my ability to defend myself far more now than ever before,

So the rent is paid like clockwork and I don't see how improvement notices would work.

At what point do I become responsible for people's lives?

At what point do I get fined?

At what point do I go to prison?

And if it is clearly not my fault that someone harmed themselves, how much money and years off my lifespan would it cost me to defend myself against organisations with very deep pockets?

As examples ...


Removing batteries from legally required safety devices.

Breaking a 13amp plug top to leave exposed wiring (not a device I provided or knew anything about until I was round one day and spotted it).

Between inspections, failing to inform a LL of something wrong/broken. The broken fence (how?) leaving nails sticking up, the disconnected guttering, the blocked drain, cold tap loose on the bath that had twisted the flexible connection ... 2 minutes - me and my tap spanner alone in the bathroom for goodness sake.

Unable to put the bins out on a Tuesday, piles of festering rubbish everywhere containing correspondence about the rubbish (and had I used an improvement notice, probably these too).

Dog faeces covering the garden where the children play and not a single Jeremy Corbyn in sight to clean up.

Packing flammable stuff around things that must not have flammable things packed around them. e.g. Boiler, gas fire.

Inability to wrestle with the complex engineering that is a perfectly adequate shower screen and curtain leading to rotten bath panel, rotten floor, damp ceilings and light fittings in downstairs rooms.

Putting a mattress directly on the floor causing unpleasant mould between it and the carpet. We all know what breathing in mould spores does.

Running an inappropriate extension lead, (shut in the hinge of a closed window else too draughty and damaged) to the garage as a permanent fixture for lighting and other things. It doesn;t matter what I say, the second my back is turned ...

Turning the conservatory into a child's bedroom and plugging in many fan heaters to fight the night time cold. Fan heaters buried in bedclothes, clothing, toys ...

Putting candles behind curtains in support of something or other.

Never cleaning a cooker or hob or picking up dropped food leading to vermin.

Buying secondhand furnishings that are not fire resistant.

Drying clothes inside causing damp

Flying ants. One tenant called me in an emotional state to say they 'can't live like this' and that the problem needed to be fixed right now, by me, or the LA will be contacted. Get a pest controller in ... I shouldn't have laughed, just caused the partner to call me and be quite unpleasant. They were gone next day (the ants) as the prophet in me predicted. But that wasn't enough. The tenant now knew there were ants and demanded I make it better.

So I spend my time making sure I have documentation to defend myself, how many hours a week is it before HMRC recognise it as a business? They have no idea,

Look, I'm the last one to declare I'm 'normal' (whatever that is) and we haven't washed up since yesterday. But I promised to do it before Mrs Hamish gets home and if I don't I'm toast.

Is it my responsibility to mother 'differently compenent' people?

The tenant should be free to enjoy the property, free from continuous observation and judgement. Free of any attempt to define 'normal'. But the tenant should not be free of 'acceptable behaviour', a term presumably defined by the person with the biggest lawyer.

The LL should be able to sleep at night knowing that Little Johnny's parents won't let him swing from the light pendant, break the rose, expose the wires, poke something in and die.

In some cases landlording should be renamed Parents for Tenants or Mental health Services or Social Services. Even parents need sleep from time to time, Mental Health Services are strained and Social Services can't 'mother' all that need it 24/7 and I have my own children.



18:14 PM, 22nd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 22/02/2023 - 17:53
So, yes. That's my experience as well. Recent experience - three pin socket ripped out of the wall...no idea how (the socket, not the plug). Light fitting securely fitted but now ripped off the wall...wires exposed.

And washbasin smashed.... "...no, no little Johnny, don't hit the washbasin with the hammer...."

Actually, little Johnny [name changed here to protect the not-so-innocent] isn't so little now. But he still smashes stuff. And when I received the inspection report recently I went (1) that electrical socket has been damaged through carelessness but it's a safety issue so fix it (2) that light fitting has been damaged through carelessness, but it's a safety issue, so fix it (3) that smashed washbasin isn't a safety issue even though the person doing the inspection put it in the section saying 'recommended repairs'. So I said, if they want the washbasin replaced then the rent needs to go up.

So how do others go about sending a tenant an invoice for a smashed wash basin without falling foul of the rules? Or do they think that a smashed washbasin is 'fair wear and tear'?

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