Tenant threatening legal action after cleaning bill?

by Readers Question

9:18 AM, 26th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Tenant threatening legal action after cleaning bill?

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Tenant threatening legal action after cleaning bill?

My tenants of 3 years moved out and did not clean the property thoroughly after moving out. I called in the cleaners including the carpet and paid £80, which I said will deduct from the deposit, as there were stains, rubbish under the bed etc.carpet cleaning#

The lead tenant was not happy with this and said they spent several hours cleaning and is unfair to pass the cost to them. He also said that in the first year of tenancy, I wrongly protected the deposit amount (£1200 instead of £1700) by mistake.

After which I corrected the protected amount, but did not send the updated certificate to them.

We did agree in the end that we would share the £80 cost.

However, I am now concerned that the tenant might pursue legal action as the deposit was wrongly protected in the first year.

Please advise what defence I have against this, as it was an oversight as opposed to deliberate mistake as the bank transfer and the estate agent’s statement clearly shows the right amount.

Moreover, the tenant was handed a copy of the certificate in the first year.

Please advise.

Thanks

Gavin



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:23 AM, 26th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Gavin,

I haven't seen any successful defensive arguments against incorrectly protecting the deposit. I may be wrong but it seems a very binary decision of you either did or didn't do it correctly.

However, the penalty is awarded by a judge so the fact it was just a numerical error may sway the size of the fine if it gets that far.

Personally I would avoid all mention of an £80 carpet cleaning bill and repair the relationship with the tenant.

Adrian Jones

12:02 PM, 26th September 2016
About 2 years ago

I'm amazed you bothered trying to claim £80 from a tenant who has been there for 3 years and presumably paid the rent.

Ian Narbeth

12:22 PM, 26th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Be ware that the judge's discretion is limited to awarding between one and three times the amount of the deposit so you stand to lose a lot if it gets to court. Judges have more discretion over penalties if you had assaulted someone. There are no corresponding automatic penalties for tenant malfeasance.

As others have indicated I would drop the claim for £80 and be done with it.

Hazel de Kloe

20:20 PM, 26th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Gavin

I agree with the above comments in that you should just waive the cleaning bill, which will hopefully leave the tenant/landlord relationship on a better note.

Wear and tear is very subjective, and on a tenancy which has lasted 3 years where there is only an £80 cleaning bill at the end, I would take it on the chin, particularly given the confusion with the deposit protection amount.

Hopefully this will be enough to ward off any further action by your tenant.

David Price

1:19 AM, 27th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Right or wrong about the cleaning I fear you are well and truly stuffed when it comes to the deposit. All you can hope is that he judge only awards the tenants £1,700, so waive the cleaning cost and hope the tenants are not astute enough to take action.

Gavin R

12:54 PM, 27th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi,
We have agreed to split the cost equally as the tenant did agree that some parts of the house was left in not so good condition and could have cleaned it.

Thanks all for your comments and will take it as a constructive feedback for future.

Cheers.

DanielLatto

11:09 AM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gavin R" at "27/09/2016 - 12:54":

Good result - sometimes it's annoying that the tenants claim to have cleaned it only to find its a mess - but maybe that's their standard of cleaning - a quick rub down of work tops is some peoples idea of a clean.

We just take a hit on the cleaning generally - we know we're going to send in the professionals anyway - and our average tenancy is quite long - so it's fine.

But good result - the amount of energy spent worrying just isnt worth that £80 really.


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