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jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 10:45 AM
I'm about to rent my property out to a new tenant so wondering if anyone has a comprehensive AST contract I can have a copy of please.

Also any advice from some experienced landlords would be greatly accepted on how I should deal with my last tenant that has just left.

The tenant in question left my property filthy; it took three of us a weekend to clean a two bedroom house, fill holes in the walls and re-paint most of them. The carpet has stains and a burn on so I am going to put wood laminate down due to the carpet looking tired and wornas well as the damage. The carpet was four years old so can I charge the old tenant a percentage of having the cost of the new lamiate floor, how does this work with wear and tear being taken into account.

I had given verbal permission for a shed and satellite dish to be installed but all if the cable ties were left and holes in the wall not fixed. The patch of lawn at the end of the garden is now dead, instead of re-turfing I will just add a shed myself, can I charge for damage to the turf even though I will not be replacing the turf but adding my own shed?

Silly little things like the window keys had been taken, copy of the corgi engineers certificate missing, light bulbs not replaced, rubbish left and only one set of keys left. I have had to replace bulbs and window keys as well as change the locks although I have no record that I gave the tenant two sets of keys so I guess I can't charge for changing of the locks.

The tenant did not pay the final months rent and assumed the desposit would be used for the rent, obviously leaving me no comeback on anything that may need to be fixed. The deposit only covered the amount for the original rent, I had put it up a few months ago but that was never put in writing so I guess I have lost trying to recover the new monthly rental amount.

My inventory was a bit weak so I might have a hard job proving the condition although the house was brand new when the tenant moved in.

In the contract it outlines that the deposit of help secure to ensure the compliance with the tenant obligations, two of the obligations are to keep the property clean and condition and not damage the property.

I have had to give the services the meter readings and surprisingly he did leave a forwarding address with them but did not give them a reading. I think is due to the fact that he maintains vacated the property a month before the two month notice period was up but I know he was still living there.

Anyway I have taken photos of every bit of damage and cleaning I have had to undertake and I now have a forwarding address for the tenant as well as the final meter readings and bills put back into my name. Should I just take this as a lesson that no tenant is to be trusted and make sure I have a water tight AST agreement and inventory (plus pics) or could I serve a section 8 for one months rental arrears and take all costs for damage out of his deposit?

I will be a much stricter landlord from now on and make regualr inspections.


Thanks
Jay

MrShed
03-11-2005, 12:41 PM
I'm about to rent my property out to a new tenant so wondering if anyone has a comprehensive AST contract I can have a copy of please.

To be honest it is good practice to always tailor the AST to the individual. However, yes there should be some good "bare bones" contracts out there....but I dont have 1! lol

Also any advice from some experienced landlords would be greatly accepted on how I should deal with my last tenant that has just left.

The tenant in question left my property filthy; it took three of us a weekend to clean a two bedroom house, fill holes in the walls and re-paint most of them. The carpet has stains and a burn on so I am going to put wood laminate down due to the carpet looking tired and wornas well as the damage. The carpet was four years old so can I charge the old tenant a percentage of having the cost of the new lamiate floor, how does this work with wear and tear being taken into account.

What you can charge is the amount it would have cost you to have replaced the carpet with a like for like carpet....as long as the carpet was sufficiently damaged to justify a replacement. It is more closely linked to a percentage of the original price of the carpet. Search for "carpet" on here, and mjpl made a post recently(a couple of weeks ago I think) which details the ARLA or NAEA method of calculation.

I had given verbal permission for a shed and satellite dish to be installed but all if the cable ties were left and holes in the wall not fixed. The patch of lawn at the end of the garden is now dead, instead of re-turfing I will just add a shed myself, can I charge for damage to the turf even though I will not be replacing the turf but adding my own shed?

No. You cannot charge for damage you do not rectifiy, UNLESS you have a term in your AST stating that you can claim compensation from thedamage deposit. And anyway once you gave permission for the shed I believe you did, at least in part, take some responsibility for these damages.

Silly little things like the window keys had been taken, copy of the corgi engineers certificate missing, light bulbs not replaced, rubbish left and only one set of keys left. I have had to replace bulbs and window keys as well as change the locks although I have no record that I gave the tenant two sets of keys so I guess I can't charge for changing of the locks.

No you probably cant charge for changing the locks....but you should get them changed, it is good practice generally to change locks between tenancies, as the tenant could have got a duplicate cut anyway. I would charge for the window locks and light bulbs though! And removal of rubbish!

The tenant did not pay the final months rent and assumed the desposit would be used for the rent, obviously leaving me no comeback on anything that may need to be fixed. The deposit only covered the amount for the original rent, I had put it up a few months ago but that was never put in writing so I guess I have lost trying to recover the new monthly rental amount.

Did you go through the correct procedures for increasing the rent? If so then you are entitled to it. Do you have a forwarding address for the tenant? Basically I would take whatever money neccessary out of the damage deposit, return the rest to him, if there is any left, and tell him he has a week to pay you the rent, otherwise you will take him to small claims.

My inventory was a bit weak so I might have a hard job proving the condition although the house was brand new when the tenant moved in.

How do you mean "weak"? Although an inventory is very very important, there are other ways that you can use to give an indication of the state of the property. For example do you have any receipts for any fixtures and fittings? Was there a witness to the state of the property just prior to the tenant moving in?

In the contract it outlines that the deposit of help secure to ensure the compliance with the tenant obligations, two of the obligations are to keep the property clean and condition and not damage the property.

I have had to give the services the meter readings and surprisingly he did leave a forwarding address with them but did not give them a reading. I think is due to the fact that he maintains vacated the property a month before the two month notice period was up but I know he was still living there.

Irrespective, he is responsible for the bill until the tenancy ends. Are the bills in his name? If so, none of your concern.

Anyway I have taken photos of every bit of damage and cleaning I have had to undertake and I now have a forwarding address for the tenant as well as the final meter readings and bills put back into my name. Should I just take this as a lesson that no tenant is to be trusted and make sure I have a water tight AST agreement and inventory (plus pics) or could I serve a section 8 for one months rental arrears and take all costs for damage out of his deposit?

You cannot serve a Section 8. Do what I have outlined above.

I will be a much stricter landlord from now on and make regualr inspections.


Thanks
Jay


Hope this helps.

MrShed
03-11-2005, 14:29 PM
Glad to be of help. Just a couple of points/questions:

- Good idea about the keys. :)

- Even though you did not follow correct procedures for rent increase, you are still entitled to the ORIGNAL rent. However, you may run the risk, if the tenant really knows his letting law, of being countersued for the over payment since you increased the rent - however, seeing as though he didnt challenge the rent increase, I suspect this risk is very slim.

- It is of course up to you if you want to leave it or not. But personally I would persue it...you have actually ended up being lucky despite being slightly lax, as you have a forwarding address. You probably wont be this lucky again, hence I would persue it. Of course it is up to you....how much money are we talking about? How much rent outstanding(based on original rent), how large is the damage deposit, and what is the total amount of deductions going to be?

- Again I ask in what way was your inventory weak ? :)

- Did you find the post by mjpl?

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 14:32 PM
Hello Mr.Shed,

Thanks for your comprehensive reply. I have changed the locks and this time with security keys that can only from a card number so I will be able to keep tabs on how many keys are in existence.

I didn't go through the correct procedure for the rent increase, so I will have to write that one off, I will next time though :)

I have found a decent AST at this site as well as the correct procedures for eviction and rent increases etc...
[url]http://www.simply-docs.co.uk
I will put this one down to experience I think and be a lot more savvy and professional from now on.

Thanks
Jay

MrShed
03-11-2005, 14:33 PM
I'm really confused as to how the forum is showing me replying to your post before you made it!!! OH well maybe I'm just psychic :D

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 14:37 PM
It's not a great deal of money, £100 max really if you think I have kept the deposit, but of course I guess I could charge £7.50 per hour for the cleaning which took a long time 'cos the house was left in a mess.

It was weak in respect was very basic, not really going into the condition although the house was brand new. There is holes in the external wall where the tenant has added hanging baskets without asking me and had put a curtain up in front of the front door etc which was not repaired.

I was lucky I think, I'm glad to have the house back now and will know better next time to be lax with a tenant that seems decent at first.

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 14:38 PM
Sorry about that, the URL I posted was straight into my account for everyone to access so I thought I had better pull it and try again :)

MrShed
03-11-2005, 14:45 PM
OH well £100 isnt that much....probably agree with you that it isnt really worth it. Just be a bit more careful next time :) I would suggest putting a term in your AST stating that the deposit is to be used against damages only, perhaps explicitly stating that it cannot be used against rent, to prevent this. Also, consider taking a larger deposit, perhaps a month and a halfs rent, to attempt to prevent this. With regards the inventory, ensure that you list EVERY fixture and fitting in the property(I am assuming that this property is unfurnished - of course a furnished property requires even more detail). With every item, put a brief(perhaps only one word) description of the condition. Yes, this will be time consuming at the start, but it covers your own back, and it shouldnt need to be completely redone each tenancy, just modified.

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 15:17 PM
Yeah I will be very thorough next time and have already put that in the AST regarding the deposit.

Thanks for you time.


regards

Jay.

dazalock
03-11-2005, 17:23 PM
Can I just add, I allways install pre-payment meters in my properties. Means no hassle from utility companies trying to chase money, and, if you go to powergen, they even give you tesco points!

MrShed
03-11-2005, 17:37 PM
Woohoo Tesco! :D

That is certainly one way of doing it dazalock. But as a tenant, I personally would be put off by pre payment meters, and having the bills in the tenants names gives you exactly the same protection. However, it is personal preference!

Ericthelobster
03-11-2005, 18:21 PM
I allways install pre-payment meters in my properties. Means no hassle from utility companies trying to chase money, and, if you go to powergen, they even give you tesco points!TBH I'd have thought that would put off a lot of potential tenants - certainly the "higher-end" tenants that I try to attract - also, isn't it an Unfair Term to prevent tenants from changing to a standard credit meter if they wish (pre-payment meters being way more expensive)?

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 18:53 PM
How much do they usually cost?

dazalock
03-11-2005, 19:39 PM
It would be a unfair term if they were not allowed to change it, which they are.

I find tenants, especially in flats looking at 12 months maximum before they move on, appreciate not having to sort out gas and electrical supplies when they move in, all they have to do if buy some energy at the local shop, sorted. I would not consider one if I were renting to a long term family (possibly)

They cost you nothing to put in, just ask the utility company to install one, but as mentioned, the energy is dearer per unit.

jayjaykay100
03-11-2005, 19:43 PM
Okay thanks I'll have a think about that, I guess it does help if the meter is easily accessable as well.

How much more expensive is the energy?

Jennifer_M
03-11-2005, 20:19 PM
I rented a flat with a prepayment meter a few years ago and to be honest it was a real pain because the meter was high up so we couldn't tell how much credit we had left until it beeped telling us that there was a few pence left and obviously it's always in the evening or at the weekends.

susan 2
04-11-2005, 10:34 AM
Re prepayment meters - I agree with Jennifer. I used them for a year in one house and had moans all the time from the tenants. They said the same thing, that they never knew when it would run out and it was always at an inconvenient time. Give them a miss. Also whether the energy is more expensive or not (I'm not sure) tenants always think it is. And if they start thinking that way you end up with an unhappy relationship between you which can escalate.
I usually have a chat with the tenant when they move in, and ask them to contact me if they want to hang things up, or alter items. I keep things friendly and explain why I may not what them to do something.
I agree with Mr. Shed about the inventory. I presume you go around with the tenant when they move in. If something is marked or brand new I point this out to them and detail it. The other thing you can do which can be useful if you ever have to go to court, is to take photographs of the rooms as they are when tenant moves in. But don't go to court unless its for a large amount or the tenant is really terrible. Its just not worth the hassle.Better to write it off to experience. Best wishes Susan

P.Pilcher
04-11-2005, 14:27 PM
As I hope my tenants will stay long term, I always tell them that the supply of utilities is up to them. They can change supplier if they wish to go for the "cheapest" deal and if they want to swop to pre-payment meters then that is up to them. When they leave, finding out who the current suppliers are is relatively straightforward if the tenant has not supplied this information.
I know that there are a few suppliers out there who will pay a kickback to a landlord based on a tenants energy usage, but I don't bother with this, I consider that my rental income is sufficient, and hope that as I have tried to be decent with my tenants they will be decent with me when they leave.

P.P.