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havensRus
20-02-2010, 09:10 AM
Tessa Shepperson has compiled a list of recent decisions by Arbitrators on tenancy deposit disputes and the reasons for the decisions. It can be found here (http://ow.ly/19kLC).

I think its very useful for both LL and Ts.

JK0
20-02-2010, 09:53 AM
Yes, it is interesting.

As I expected there is never any allowance for the lost rent for the time that repairs take to organise and carry out. This has always been a big bugbear for me.

Any other landlords feel the same, and has anyone found a solution?

davidjohnbutton
20-02-2010, 10:41 AM
It is interesting to note that the award of the arbitraror is limited to the amount of the deposit.

In other words, if damage is £1000 and the deposit is £500 - then the award to the landlord can only be £500 - the arbitraror clearly states in several of the case studies that he or she does not have the power to award more.

Also quite prevalent is that landlords are not providing sufficient or any evidence to support claims where is it quite clear that if such claims were true, and evidence provided, the landlord would be the winner of the claim. Checkin and checkout inventories with photos appear to be essential.

Lawcruncher
20-02-2010, 11:08 AM
Yes, it is interesting.

As I expected there is never any allowance for the lost rent for the time that repairs take to organise and carry out. This has always been a big bugbear for me.

Any other landlords feel the same, and has anyone found a solution?

There is no solution as you are up against section 18 (1) LTA 1927:

Damages for a breach of a covenant or agreement to keep or put premises in repair during the currency of a lease, or to leave or put premises in repair at the termination of a lease, whether such covenant or agreement is expressed or implied, and whether general or specific, shall in no case exceed the amount (if any) by which the value of the reversion (whether immediate or not) in the premises is diminished owing to the breach of such covenant or agreement as aforesaid...

Lawcruncher
20-02-2010, 11:09 AM
It is interesting to note that the award of the arbitraror is limited to the amount of the deposit.

That is because the sole purpose of the arbitration is to determine where the deposit should go.

JK0
20-02-2010, 11:25 AM
There is no solution as you are up against section 18 (1) LTA 1927:

Damages for a breach of a covenant or agreement to keep or put premises in repair during the currency of a lease, or to leave or put premises in repair at the termination of a lease, whether such covenant or agreement is expressed or implied, and whether general or specific, shall in no case exceed the amount (if any) by which the value of the reversion (whether immediate or not) in the premises is diminished owing to the breach of such covenant or agreement as aforesaid...

Thank you Lawcruncher.

The above seems to be saying that the damages are limited to the difference in value between what the flat is worth in its present state, and what it is worth with the repairs done. I think this is fair enough. I can see that an un-repaired flat could be worth £10,000 less than a repaired one.

How does that prevent me from claiming lost rent while the repairs are done?

westminster
20-02-2010, 11:45 AM
As I expected there is never any allowance for the lost rent for the time that repairs take to organise and carry out. This has always been a big bugbear for me.

Any other landlords feel the same, and has anyone found a solution?

I once brought a county court claim against a tenant who had caused extensive damage, requiring complete redecoration. It took several weeks before the property was ready to relet.

I didn't claim for this lost time/rent, as it was my first ever claim and it didn't occur to me to do so. However, at the hearing I happened to mention this factor had caused me a loss and the judge said I should have claimed for it, too - which to me suggests that it is a valid, claimable loss arising from T's breach. Other judges may take a different view.

fletchj
21-02-2010, 16:22 PM
Interesting list - I have to say the way that case study 35 is explained is particularly flakey!!

Preston
21-02-2010, 17:24 PM
I didn't claim for this lost time/rent, as it was my first ever claim and it didn't occur to me to do so. However, at the hearing I happened to mention this factor had caused me a loss and the judge said I should have claimed for it, too - which to me suggests that it is a valid, claimable loss arising from T's breach. Other judges may take a different view.

I agree, I have seen it done a number of times.

asquithea
21-02-2010, 18:08 PM
If this list is reasonably representative of the way the adjudication service operates, I have to say that the evidence doesn't really support the common assertion that the results are biased towards the tenant.

LL's appear to be easily winning cases where the tenant has broken the contract by leaving early, but losing cases for damage by submitting little or no evidence or (in some cases) outright lying.

JK0
21-02-2010, 21:19 PM
Hmm, okay I think we have established that it is possible to get lost rent reimbursed in court if you have a sensible judge. (Oxymoron?)

But would you get such a sensible person arbitrating in a tenancy deposit hearing? None of the cases the Landlord won mention any award for lost rent. I think we can assume there was lost rent in these cases, as I doubt that repairs were completed on the day of the checkout.

bfd
25-02-2010, 23:30 PM
I seems prefectly reasonable that the landlord should retain the deposit if the tenant leaves early.

Don't landlords ever try and take legal action against a tenant though to try and force them to pay the full period of the tenancy agreement?

mind the gap
28-02-2010, 16:24 PM
I seems prefectly reasonable that the landlord should retain the deposit if the tenant leaves early.

Don't landlords ever try and take legal action against a tenant though to try and force them to pay the full period of the tenancy agreement?

From a practical point of view, there must seem little point in doing this unless the tenant is extremely rich. When tenants break tenancy contracts early and flee, it is usually because they can no longer afford the rent (because of redundancy, or whatever other reason). They must then find somewhere else (even cheaper) to live and pay rent there. The chances of their being able to afford two lots of rent are surely remote.

Most LLs sensibly take the view that even though they are not legally obliged to mitigate their losses in these circumstances, it is better to re-let the property as soon as possible and that the cost in time, energy and money of pursuing an insolvent tenant through the courts is probably not worth it.

Some LLs will of course argue that 'on principle', Ts should be held liable for their debts even if this means the LL 'running barefoot over the frozen ridges of the Alps'. This 'terrier with rat' approach may work for some, but I fear I would lack the stomach for it.

What do others think?