Moving Tenant left house in a mess, how much should I deduct from her deposit

by Readers Question

9:40 AM, 19th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Moving Tenant left house in a mess, how much should I deduct from her deposit

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Moving Tenant left house in a mess, how much should I deduct from her deposit

Moving Tenant left house in a mess, how much should I deduct from her depositI rented out my house just over 5 months ago to a Tenant who actually begged me to rent to her since her family lives on same street. I agreed on compassionate grounds since she was a single mother with 3 children. Got her to pay deposit after she and her guarantor failed credit check.

I had actually finished refreshing the house, newly decorated, new carpets in all bedrooms, new fence, newly laid turf in the garden, new radiators, new boiler.

First, she called a month ago, she’s moving out wanting to end a 6 month AST at the 5 month.

I quickly sent someone over to the house just to check if all was OK with the property, then a got an initial shock. She had changed the laminate flooring but without the trims.

Then on move out day, house was not cleaned, carpets not washed, front door does not lock any more (broken door lock mechanism), garden not mowed at all, (very bushy), laminate flooring missing the trims, cigarette ash all over the carpets, cigarette stubs in the sinks and toilets, one radiator broken and no longer works, the garden gate bolt and latch has been removed leaving it exposed to anyone to walk through even though the padlock is still there (looks like someone broke it to open the door).

My question is from all the above what should she pay for from her deposit as I need to send a bill of the works?

Regards

Tim Ellis



Comments

Mark Alexander

9:46 AM, 19th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Tim, presumably you protected the deposit, issued the deposit protection certificate and prescribed information properly? Did you also have a professional inventory done on check in and check out?

If so then you have every right to make a claim against the deposit to make good the mess which has been left and you stand a good chance of winning at tribunal if your tenant disagrees.

The amount you can claim must be a reasonable amount to put the property back to the way it was, save for any "reasonable" wear and tear.

Compassion can be expensive in these circumstances can't it. I'm not here to judge you, I have made the same mistakes myself. What have you learned from the experience?

Ben Akhigbe

10:59 AM, 19th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Thanks Mark, deposit was protected by DPS. Sent her the paper work, sent her the Check in through the post asked her to confirm with a letter saying if she doesn't reply it's means she's agreeing. The professional check out as not been done yet as she moved this weekend but I pointed out these issues to her straightaway when I collected the keys.

I will be getting the check out done this week.

I've learnt that even in compassion, you've got to do the proper thing, get everything documented. Receive a deposit, get a guarantor, do it properly.

18:02 PM, 19th May 2013
About 5 years ago

I think it is a truisim; but i think most of us LL start out as compassionate LL .......................................we soon learn the errors of our misguided ways!!

Badger

18:21 PM, 20th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Agreed.

I have lost many thousands in the last few years for being too "nice".

Wising up on the compassion front is presumably what leads to landlords being considered b*st*rds by tenants as landlords revert to doing everything strictly by the book.

No exceptions.

Period.

And yet all the tenant was doing was making a reasonable request that anybody with a heart would surely see should be granted...?

I find that tenants are entirely unreceptive to the idea that you have been "taken" many times before and so don't wish to expose yourself to the possibility of it happening again even though they are undoubtedly a man / woman of their word and would most certainly never (ever!) behave in the same way as those previous tenants that you explained about.

They think you are making it up to cover for your underlying natural b*st*rdness.

Puzzler

20:58 PM, 20th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Take photos before you get it cleaned (I presume you took them before she moved in?)

I am not sure what compassion has to do with it, did you go against better judgement or give her a reduced rent? If not, then it's irrelevant.

If you use an agent then you can't get involved in the sob story, if I am asked I say yes but I am still going through the agent for your own protection. If you don't, you can sweeten your hard line by saying, "I'm sure it would not be the case for you, but I have made it a rule as I have had problems before". If they demur at that, then that should be your warning signal.

Puzzler

21:28 PM, 20th May 2013
About 5 years ago

P.S. Just re-read the initial query. You got her to pay a deposit after she failed her credit check? You mean you wouldn't have had one otherwise? So you use an agent as I don't think individuals can get a credit check done. Where are they in all this?

Sally T

21:42 PM, 20th May 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Puzzler, there is another landlord website that allows it's members to credit check potential tenants from £10. I'm pretty sure other companies offer the service to.

Tom Ellis, We messed up falling for the 'family on the street' story, she repaid our kindness by setting fire to the house, we live and learn.

micky alderson

23:50 PM, 20th May 2013
About 5 years ago

You take what is needed to put things right!!!

You've been fair with her when she was homeless now look how this Maggot has treated you be fair but firm this sort of tenant can damage your weath.

1:41 AM, 21st May 2013
About 5 years ago

Some years ago we let out a house out to a young couple because the girl was pregnant and they were desperate. The house had just been renovated; new kitchen, bathroom, heating etc. We were doubtful about their reliability but they'd provided a reference and the girls mother offered to be a guarantor. Usual SHT with no pets as a condition. They were receiving DSS support towards the rent and gave a one months rent as a deposit - also supplied by the housing benefits department.

Within a year they'd fallen into arrears and although the mother made up the short fall for a few months she couldn't afford to keep paying . Then the girl was found to have failed to declare a part time job and the housing benefit was stopped - and so was our rent.

We tried to help, offered them time to pay the backlog by overpaying the standard rent, but within months the rent had stopped completely. We served them notice to quit, and when they sought rehousing support from the local benefits office they were told to stay where they were and stop paying anything as we couldn't do anything until a Court Order was served.

It was summer and all told took nearly five months because of Court holiday times. When they finally left; the day before the eviction date, we found the house stacked with bags of rubbish, the main bedroom carpet stained by the urine soaked mattress they'd left behind and the house infested with fleas from the stray cats they'd brought in. It cost us over £800 just to get the rubbish cleared and the house fumigated. With re-decorations, re-carpeting two rooms and the loss of months of rent plus legal fees, it cost us over £4000.

Oh... and the housing department asked if we had any reason for not repaying the deposit. Five minutes into the one way conversation where I was explaining why that would not be happening, they said "I guess we'll be taking that as a no then.

We'd had a deliberate policy of trying to help DSS tenants up 'till then even though we'd had a couple of problems before, but afterwards we , like most of the landlords down here, said 'No DSS'. I still wonder how much of the housing difficulties the governments of various colours complain about are a direct result of their own policies and the latest stroke of genius where nationally they'll be paying rents through the tenants rather than direct is surely the most stupid.

Mark Alexander

7:21 AM, 21st May 2013
About 5 years ago

@AC White - this story is sadly all too common. One thing to bear in mind is that you have up to six years to commence recovery of this debt. It may be the case that these tenants will never make anything of their lives and you may never recover the money. I think most landlords learn this lesson at some point and end up with a robust strategy including referencing, guarantors, RGI and less compassion eventually. Do remember though, you have six years to recover debts so don't let them off the hook. Check out the "no win no fee debt collection" service I've organised for Property118 readers. It's under the legal tab at the top of your screen. Keep the pressure on and good luck!

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