Tenants damaged property and agent says it’s me that gets quotes?

Tenants damaged property and agent says it’s me that gets quotes?

10:50 AM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago 10

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We have owned a particular 2-bedroom apartment for around 8 years. In September 2021 we took on some new tenants via our letting agent. A couple of months into the tenancy, we started to have some issues with mould.

We found that the tenants were not ventilating the property, they had closed the window vents and turned off the extractor in the bathroom and the kitchen. The agent advised them about keeping the switches for the extractors on, as well as opening windows and leaving open the window vents.

A couple of days later I went to the property about the washer/dryer not working, I noticed the switches off again, I turned them on and opened the vents and explained to them why. I went back to the property the next day to fit a new washer/dryer, and they were closed and switches off again.

As we were in month 4 of a 6-month tenancy, I asked the agent to serve a section 21 so that we could have the property back following the conclusion of the agreement. Our agent reluctantly agreed, stating they are good tenants. They actually tried to charge me £100 to serve notice as they “had always paid rent”. I refused as this is not in our agreement, and they served it anyway.

The tenant left early and paid her rent up until that date. The agent informed me they didn’t have to pay the extra couple of weeks until the end of the tenancy agreement, as I had asked them to leave. I told them this was incorrect, and they eventually got the rent for the period between them leaving and the end of the agreement.

As they had vacated the property, I met with the agent for the check-out inspection, it was a mess, no attempt to clean. Mould in all rooms, carpet destroyed, damage to walls, door frame half broken off, blinds destroyed. I was a little taken back, the agent handed me the keys and told me to get quotes on everything, and then they will apply to DPS for it to be taken from their deposit.

I will shortly be transferring the property to another agent once this is all resolved, he advised me that they should have got quotes for damage caused by the tenant that I placed there, its a part of their job.

My questions are –

1. Is this the agent’s job? Should I give them the keys back and ask them to put the property back to how it should was on the entry inspection?

2. I have a feeling the cost of repairs will exceed the deposit amount, assuming they refuse to pay any extra, would this be a case of lodging a small claim? I also don’t know their new address.

It’s such a shame, it’s a lovely property and was in great condition before they moved in, the entry inspection shows this in photos and description.

Hoping you guys could give me some insight into my next moves.

Thanks,

Nathan



Comments

by Graham Bowcock

11:40 AM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago

1 - it all depends what the agreement is that you have with your agent. In fairness to the agent they didn't do the damage so you would need to pay for their time dealing with the repairs. Check your contract.

2 - yes, you could make a claim. Hopefully your agent has the tenant's forwarding address and will pass it on so that you can claim.

by Rod

11:50 AM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago

The agent's haven't proved competent so far.
Since it is your property, and you would like it returned to your standard, it would probably make sense for you to arrange for the quotes.

It may be worth putting your insurers on notice

by david porter

11:50 AM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago

Welcolm to being a landlord!
The major problem with lack of ventilation is that it can mask water ingress from outside.
It is very important to eradicate water ingress from outside such as rainwater but if the residence is mouldy it will be very difficult to identify.
This is why failure to ventilate should be taken very seriously.

by Simon M

13:27 PM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago

If you like to keep the property in really good condition:
Take care if letting agents arrange repairs. Some take a mark-up on repairs and maintenance, then further discount the invoice before paying. Result is unsatisfactory work, and often a further call to get the job done properly.
To reduce mould I'm gradually replacing standard extractor fans with humidistat extractors which seem to work better. They're on permanently & work faster as humidity rises.

by silversurfer2017

21:05 PM, 21st March 2022, About 2 months ago

It can be easy to assume that full management means the same care and attention to your property as if you we fully managing it yourself. In actual practice unless you are very lucky, it is often little more than a halfway house. If you get a bad agent you must dump them asap.

by Fizi247

0:03 AM, 23rd March 2022, About 2 months ago

Was your property fully managed by this agent?

This is one of a million reasons why I dislike estate agents.

If your tenant failed to pay rent and fell into arrears, the estate agents sales pitch to get your business, would be to advise you that they will collect rent and evict tenant.

When that time arises, they'll tell you to get a county court order via section 21 instead.

Getting to the point, it's strongly advisable for you as a LL, to get LL's insurance that covers you for all these scenario's.

The estate agents are only good for lettings only!!!

If your tenant was going to renew, they'd be looking for a renewal fee of £1K+ just to print off a an AST Agreement.

Claiming that they've done their work, which was already done on the first years tenancy.

by Rerktyne

9:08 AM, 23rd March 2022, About 2 months ago

This us why I stopped renting to tenants and went Airbnb: not for extra money as I don’t fill up all year. I even make less. I read about agreements and points of law! Utter crap! If a tenant damages your property then he should be made to pay. If he stops paying rent then he gets evicted quickly and the SS can have him!
The renting laws are obscene: the bad tenants get away with so much and the state sides with them - poor little cherubs - until due process evicts them. Why? Ask yourselves. If you are stuck with a bad tenant for months until your court order gets him out it means the local council has saved months worth of B&B costs. Multiply that by thousands of tenants and those cost are massive. So the “policy” is to let the landlord put up with the bad tenant for a few months until eviction. Meanwhile you must not “harass” them: just sit tight and go nuts!
Is it any wonder that good landlords are getting out?

by AP

7:56 AM, 26th March 2022, About 2 months ago

1. It sounds as if your property was ‘let only’ not ‘fully managed’ by the agents (since you sorted out the washer dryer repair yourself).
In that case it is up to you to get the repair quotes. Make sure you get at least two for everything.

Your agent sounds very inexperienced.
If any tenant is moving out earlier than the contract end date, you should have been informed and asked if you agree to this. The tenant should have been made aware they are legally obliged to pay rent until the end of the contract. However, if you were managing the property then it is also your responsibility to have communicated this with the tenant and agent I’m sorry to say.

2. Do not assume you will get to keep all of the deposit if the tenants dispute this.

Be aware that when claiming via the DPS that their starting position is that the money belongs to the tenant, not you. If there is any dispute over any amounts and your evidence is not water tight, they will find for the tenant on the balance of probabilities.

You need extremely detailed photos and videos from check in and check out reports. Ideally prepared by an independent professional clerk and ideally the tenants should have signed at least the check in to confirm they agreed with it.

For any replacement items, you must show how old the item was and what it’s lifespan would be. You can only claim for the cost of proportion of the lifespan left of the item. Otherwise you are in a better position which is not allowed.

If you have to repaint because of mould, you need to get an independent damp surveyor to inspect and prepare a report that it is due to the tenants lifestyle and nothing to do with the property itself. I had exactly the same issue in one property and they said despite the fact I’d owned the property for 15 years and never had this issue with other tenants before (evidenced by check in and check out reports) because I had no independent proof of the fact the building had no defects during this tenancy that caused it, I could not claim a penny for this.

In addition, they will take into account when you last decorated (will need proof of this) and proportion the cost based on how many years of lifespan you have lost. Same if carpets are damaged etc.

For cleaning, hopefully you have invoices for professional cleaners that show what it cost before the tenants moved in, and how much the same cleaners will now charge to get it back to that condition.

Some landlords prefer to bypass the dispute resolution of the DPS and claim direct through the courts, but I have never done this. I’ve been lucky that in 20 years I’ve only had to do this one deposit dispute. But it took a massive amount of time - my submission was over 100 pages, very fair and followed all the points above.I was still only awarded about half of what I should have had. Some things were baffling - for example I always use colour matched silicone to the grout in the bathrooms. The tenants had tried to cover the mould by just putting white silicone over the beige themselves very badly. When they responsed to my submission of the cost of redoing this, they claimed that there was no such thing as non white silicone! The adjudicator agreed with them (even though I sent invoices of the Mapei beige silicone…)

Good luck!

by Daveknowstheregs

9:17 AM, 26th March 2022, About 2 months ago

What do you think being a landlord means, sitting down and counting your money? It’s your business, now do your work.

by Peter G

17:28 PM, 30th March 2022, About 2 months ago

The DPS are a world of their own disconnected from reality. My tenants cooked highly spiced food which smelt so strongly you could easily identify it just walking up the stairs to the flat. Because every prospective tenant refused to even consider the flat because of the smell I was forced to fumigate, redecorate and recarpet the entire flat. The DPS said that "there is no such thing as smell damage" and refused to give me any compensation, even though the flat had been pristine just 12 months earlier when let. The Agents were no help then either.


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