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chrishyder
20-02-2008, 07:54 AM
Hi guys,

Really hope you can help me with this one.

I’ve handed in my two months’ notice to the Letting Agency today to vacate the rented property I’m living in. However, it’s come to my attention that I may be stung for a few things.

To cut it short, I moved into the property in August 2007. I replaced somebody that vacated the property, and signed an agreement that I would take over their responsibilities under the terms of the AST. Stupidly, I didn’t realise that this also applied to the inventory!

I discussed this issue with the LA, who advised me that this is a standard procedure and that they would take into consideration fair wear and tear etc when we moved out. At this point, I asked to see a copy of the inventory and was advised that as the property was new when the original tenants moved in, there was no inventory.

Now, when I moved in, the property was in a complete state – which both the landlord and LA have seen (as the landlord lives next door). Since I moved in, I’ve had to re-paint the entire flat and scrubbed every surface clean.

However, there are several problems with the flat which I’m worried that deductions are going to be made for things that were not caused by myself, such as a few scratches on the worktop, cracking tiles in the bathroom (though this appears to be a structural issue rather than impact) and deep scratches in the hallway due to furniture being moved etc.

Now, I know that the agreement I signed means that I am responsible for damage caused by the previous tenant, but surely the attempts I’ve made to bring the flat back to a decent state should be taken into consideration?

Also, if the worst comes to the worst and my entire deposit is deducted (for example), would I have any recourse due to the lack of a signed inventory?

The managing agency is a little sloppy to say the least.

Thanks for your help.

Regards,
Chris

chrishyder
20-02-2008, 07:57 AM
Also, before I forget - the flat has also been smoked in by the current/previous tenants.

Now I don't smoke in the place (although irrelevant) - if the tenancy agreement doesn't state anything about not being able to smoke in the flat, can they charge for fumegating etc?

I'm in two minds myself whether they can or not - ie: I assume they can to restore the place back to original condition.

I'm not looking to fleece the landlord by any means, I just don't want to lose all my deposit when I've improved the flat if that makes sense!

Bel
20-02-2008, 09:00 AM
It certainly is not standard procedure to take over previous tenants damage.

So you signed a new tenancy agreement (AST) and also a separtae document saying that you take over all tenants responsibilities? Or was it included in the AST. Or was the original tenancy agreement assigned to you by a deed of assignment?

Exact wording would be a good idea on your obligations for the previous tenant. But the fact that there is no inventory suggests that any deductions would be hard to justify.

Also, did they protect your deposit? You should have written notification of this.

P.Pilcher
20-02-2008, 09:00 AM
I would venture to suggest that as there is no inventory to prove the condition was "as new" as the landlord claims, then he hasn't got a leg to stand on! As hopefully he has lodged your deposit with the DPS then it will be a third party who resolves the dispute but it may take some time to get your deposit back.

P.P.

Paul_f
20-02-2008, 09:24 AM
Tenants cannot be prevented from smoking unless it is a separately negotiated term by agreement.

You also don't need to serve two months notice, only one under common law even if the tenancy agreement states differently.

Grange
20-02-2008, 09:39 AM
So... there is no inventory. You haven't signed an inventory. There never was an inventory.

Methinks somebody is trying something on.

jeffrey
20-02-2008, 09:46 AM
If new T takes a property replete with defects caused by previous T, new T is not responsible for those defects. He/she is simply required to keep the property in no worse a state of repair than when new tenancy began, and even that is subject to allowance for fair wear and tear.

chrishyder
20-02-2008, 10:06 AM
Guys,

Thanks for the responses so far, very interesting!

Firstly, regarding the smoking - so even if the place was left with an odour of smoke, we wouldn't be liable to pay for fumegation costs as this was not specifically prohibited?

Regarding the inventory - the flat was a brand new conversion when the first tenants moved in, so would this affect things at all?

And lastly, I was a little stupid and didn't take pictures of the place when I moved in, so it'd be verbal evidence - and perhaps copies of the e-mails I sent to the landlord re: painting, carpet stains etc...would this hold up, or due to lack of evidence on my part, would I be liable for the old tenant's damage?

Thanks again. :)
Chris

Grange
20-02-2008, 10:29 AM
It'd be verbal evidence on both sides. Without an agreed inventory they haven't much of a case.

jeffrey
20-02-2008, 11:45 AM
If new T takes a property replete with defects caused by previous T, new T is not responsible for those defects. He/she is simply required to keep the property in no worse a state of repair than when new tenancy began, and even that is subject to allowance for fair wear and tear.
I've just noticed OP's coment that he took-over an existing AST (presumably assigned to him, with L's consent). If so, the then-existing defects DO become his responsibility but only to the extent that they were previously the original T's responsibility.

chrishyder
20-02-2008, 12:11 PM
Hi Jeffrey,

Story behind it is that the previous AST ended in June 2007 and then became a periodic tenancy. I was due to move in on 16th August, but the LA forgot to produce a new tenancy agreement and so to put me onto the existing agreement (taking over the previous tenant) was the easiest thing to do.

Well, for them, as it seems.

So does this change everything? :(

Chris

pcwilkins
20-02-2008, 14:36 PM
Story behind it is that the previous AST ended in June 2007 and then became a periodic tenancy. I was due to move in on 16th August, but the LA forgot to produce a new tenancy agreement and so to put me onto the existing agreement (taking over the previous tenant) was the easiest thing to do.

What do you mean by "put you onto the existing agreement"? How did they do this?

In any case, you can't be held responsible for the old tenant's damage; and if there was no inventory when you moved in, there's no proof of who caused what damage; so LA is going to have a tough time justifying any deductions.

Remember that it is not up to you to prove that you haven't caused damage, it is up to them to prove that you have. If they can't, tough.

Peter

chrishyder
20-02-2008, 15:37 PM
Peter,

Haven't got the actual document, but I signed a short form saying something along the lines of "I will take over all responsibilities of X."

Regards
Chris

jeffrey
20-02-2008, 15:44 PM
Peter,

Haven't got the actual document, but I signed a short form saying something along the lines of "I will take over all responsibilities of X."

Regards
Chris
Might be an Assignment of AST?

chrishyder
20-02-2008, 16:58 PM
Sounds about right to me, when I'm back from work I'll dig out the document and type it up.

Regards
Chris

Surrey
21-02-2008, 22:25 PM
I was under the impression that a deed of assignment, in order to be executed properly, has to be signed by all the proper people, i.e. landlord, tenant that is leaving, tenant that is moving in, any tenants that are staying (in the case of joint tenancy).

If the only signature is the incoming tenant, has it been executed correctly as a deed and would it stand up?

jeffrey
22-02-2008, 09:07 AM
I was under the impression that a deed of assignment, in order to be executed properly, has to be signed by all the proper people, i.e. landlord, tenant that is leaving, tenant that is moving in, any tenants that are staying (in the case of joint tenancy).

If the only signature is the incoming tenant, has it been executed correctly as a deed and would it stand up?
1. No, because existing tenants (= continuing + outgoing) are the only people competent to assign.
2. If they do not execute, the document has no effect at all.
3. If L does not execute, or at least consent, the Assignment by existing tenants could be valid but in breach of "no assignments" clause.

Bel
23-02-2008, 08:32 AM
Also if original poster did not have time to read and consider the legal implications of signing said document, ie. they had to do it there and then, it is unlikely a judge would allow them to be bound by such an unfair term.

I dont think you have a problem here if you are prepared to stand up for yourself when the time comes. Doesn't mean to say they wont try it on with you though.

Good luck.

caroline7758
23-02-2008, 10:45 AM
Don't think you've answered the question as to whether the landlord proetected your deposit, if you paid one. If not protected, a court would order him to pay you three times the deposit.