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white_lion
21-03-2010, 13:07 PM
Hi this is my first post and i'm looking for some advise/direction.

I use a letting agency to manage my buy to let, as i prefer to have little or no involvement with it.

However the tenants have just moved out because the management company issued them their notice for late payments, and they've left the house in a bit of a state.

Between my self and the agency we have come up with an amount of compensation which will cover the damages done by the tenants. This figure wasn't plucked out of the air, all issues are listed with costs. I think this figures is very reasonable.

The problem is the tenants are refusing to acknowledge any of the damages and have told the agency theirs no way their are paying for them.

Now the agency is asking me what I would like to do, they say if I go through the DPS they tend to be bias towards the tenants and once they have stated a compensation figure it can't be changed. Or the other alternative is to take them to the small claims court.

Has anyone else been in this position?

I'm in favour of taking them to the small claims court as the thought of them only having to pay half the original compensation figure if i go thought the DPS is a joke.

What should I do?

P.Pilcher
21-03-2010, 15:39 PM
Unfortunately you have the alternative of relying on the adjudicator of the DPS who has little legal knowledge and tends to be heavily biassed in the tenant's favour or the judge in the small claims court who will be appropriately equipped with the necessary legal knowledge and will be much more fair to both sides. Said judge will however expect any claims against this deposit to be proved to his satisfaction and will therefore require inventories signed by landlord/agent and tenant before and inventories together with photographs proving the damage after the tenant moved out.
The DPS and the SCC regard the deposit as belonging to the tenant and will not permit any deductions to be made from it unless they are satisfied that the damage caused is the tenant's fault, they are liable, and that the compensation claimed is fair and reasonable.
On this board the general opinion seems to be that DPS adjudicaors seem to make unreasonable decisions in the tenant's favour but a CC Judge is much fairer with respect to both sides.

P.P.

Snorkerz
21-03-2010, 15:55 PM
The 'B-side' of P.Pilchers valid statement is that if you have all the necessary proof, the deposit scheme will adjudicate in your favour, and you will get your money.

If you go via the SCC with the same proof etc, you may get a judgement - but will you be able to enforce it against the tenants? If they are employed, not usuallly problem, if not, and they have no assets, you are probably wasting your time and money.

Review your list of costs to make sure they only reflect damage the tenant can be proved to have done (excluding wear and tear). I am sure your agent will have factored this in, but worth checking that your claim via either system is reasonable.

By way of example, if a carpet is filthy - it is reasonable to charge for the cost of cleaning it. If the same carpet is trashed, you would not be able to claim the full replacement cost - just a proportion depending on the age of the carpet at the end of the tenancy.

westminster
21-03-2010, 18:26 PM
I'm in favour of taking them to the small claims court as the thought of them only having to pay half the original compensation figure if i go thought the DPS is a joke.

What should I do?

You mean the deposit only covers half the cost of the repairs? In which case, definitely pursue via the county court. It's a long-winded procedure but, assuming you have all the evidence to support your claim, and assuming the tenant has the means to pay up, you'll get the money in the end. (I recommend you buy a book on the small claims track procedure, there are a few on amazon).

Remember that the DPS will continue to hold the disputed deposit till after the court judgment. Try to ensure that the court judgment specifically orders the DPS to pay you the money, as it's one of their T&Cs.

white_lion
21-03-2010, 21:42 PM
Thank you for your replies.

I can only hope that the agency has real proof of the condition of my property before these tenants. But i'll be talking to them tomorrow to find out. If not then I may just take the agency to the SCC instead.

Luckly the deposit is enough to cover the repairs.

These tenants have moved on to another rented property, I am amazed they have found another place to rent. So much for background checks.