LandlordZONE

27

Nov, 2014

Thursday

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oswestry
    Posts
    22

    Angry Dirty tenant left house in a mess!

    Hi everyone, I have been lurking around on and off for a few months and decided now is the time to post! We are reluctant landlords because despite buying a new house before selling the old, we thought we would be able to sell the old house and whack off a load of the mortgage on the new house (we just did it the wrong way round). Well, as you all know this will now be impossible for some time to come, and the signs were evident last year when we had no viewings, so we made the difficult decision to rent out the old house, rent taking up about a third of what our new mortgage is. But that's by the by, you live and learn etc and we won't be making that mistake again! (sorry, I ramble). Anyway, we used an agency just to find the tenant, which they did very quickly, the tenant paid her deposit and then proceeded to hang around and do nothing for a few weeks, then just before taking up the tenancy, admitted she had a dog (we said no pets). We reluctantly agreed to the dog, otherwise we would have had to look for another tenant and money was getting tight, but we stipulated that she not let this animal use the garden as a toilet.

    To cut a long story short, the tenant, a single mother with two children and a supposedly well paid job as a teacher, was always very cagey about letting us enter the property to check it over for maintenance issues, inspect, or even collect a couple of things we left in the loft. It was never convenient for us to visit, so we left her alone to her "quiet enjoyment". She never defaulted on the rent, always paying up on time, but seemed a little bit "dim", for example she drilled the garage door lock out without checking for a key (there was one in the house), she let her boys stick posters on the freshly painted walls with blu-tack, she never cleaned the place, never did the garden AT ALL, let the dog perform its toilet duties in the garden and covering the garden with urine burns, let the shower head clog up, let the outer porch door swing open so it broke the frame, burned something in the gas fire so there is now a sooty flash point around the fire SURROUND, and let so many cobwebs form that the place looks like a haunted house. The stair carpet is ruined, there are dirt and scratches on the interior doors from the dog(s) and the toilet cistern handle is broken. She moved another dog in without asking, she'd had the banister off and not put it back on properly (??). She never reported any problems and if we had to speak to her about anything she was always keen to get off the phone and always said everything was fine. DH did manage to do an inspection once when she had a problem with the heating (she'd just been turning it on and off with the main switch instead of using the timer programmer), and he noted it was dirty but that was no concern of ours so long as she left the place clean when she vacated.

    I'm sorry this is long but I'm just trying to set the scene!

    Anyway, after seven months, tenant vacates and all the damage mentioned above is plain to see. She has breached many clauses in the tenancy agreement and while we were aware of some of these breaches during the tenancy we decided to let sleeping dogs lie because she was paying the rent on time, and we assumed we wouldn't need to do to much to the house other than tidying up a bit. How wrong we were!

    The tenant is now denying that the place is dirty (it is filthy) and wants her deposit back! It is protected under a TDS via our agent. With so many breaches of the agreement and so much cost to put the place right, how can she have a leg to stand on? The agency is in the process of getting quotes for the cleaning, decorating and gardening and it is going to run into considerably more than her £800 deposit. It will no doubt be referred to an arbitrator, as she is not agreeing she has done anything wrong. Would any arbitrator in their right mind tell us to give her her deposit back, given the above? We even wrote a report, included before and after pictures, and gave it to the agency on CD and hard copy.

    I have heard also that if we go to Small Claims Court for the remainder of the costs over and above the deposit, they often find in favour of the poor tenant because of the nasty landlords. How true is this? Is it just a rumour?

    Sorry for the long post and I promise not to make subsequent ones so long, you must all be asleep by now.

    Eagerly awaiting comments ...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    6,126

    Default

    Err..........the post doesn't require any comment! It's all too familiar to regulars.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cardiff
    Posts
    425

    Default

    Do you or the agent have a signed inventory and schedule of condition?

    Kind regards,

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,791

    Default

    Welcome to LLworld
    there's no reason at all to stop you going to a small claims court but bear in mind that you will have to bear the expense yourself, it's up to you ex-tenant to prove she is not liable, judging from your post you have a good case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oswestry
    Posts
    22

    Default

    John - yes, we have all that, it is all above board. The agency couldn't believe how dirty the place had got in such a short time.

    JTA: I'm not sure her £800 deposit is going to cover all the redecoration, gardening and door frame repair costs! I have never activated a "small claim" before so this is all unchartered territory. Meanwhile we have to wait and see how the arbitrators find, given the overwhelming evidence we have.

    I actually feel rather guilty because these tenants were a nightmare according to our ex-neighbours, chucking rubbish over the fence into our neighbour's garden, playing loud music till all hours and letting off fireworks. Nobody told us until after they'd left, and also we were never allowed to enter the property for inspection while she was in there (quiet enjoyment????!!!) so we were ignorant of the real facts. Had we known they were that bad we might have tried eviction proceedings but that may have brought its own problems - at least she paid the rent on time, every time and is now gone. Ho hum. Live and learn.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,791

    Default

    If you are going to get her deposit into your hands and the costs are not too much more than that you would probably be best to just let it go and mark it down to experience. At least you had the rent out of her. Do you have any insurance on the property that might cover some of the damage? I am thinking of the broken door frame.
    Going the small claims route is going to entail at least some expense and you are unlikely to get all you ask for.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oswestry
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I think you are right, and my husband said the same. At the end of the day, although we have spent a lot of time doing the garden, we haven't spent that much money (we did it ourselves in the end), but the redecoration costs and cleaning costs will certainly take up most of her deposit, as there is a lot to do. The remainder will go towards paying for the door frame, though we actually intend to knock the whole thing out and leave it as a recessed porch, as originally built. That would be at our expense.

    Time is getting on because our new tenants want to move in on 2 May and the contractors are going to want paying and there is no sign of the outcome of the dispute yet. It seems to be taking much longer than anticipated, but the agency said they have to leave a paper trail to show they've tried to get an answer out of the ex-tenant (who is being a bit uncooperative). I think she is embarrassed because the silly woman wrote a really nasty, poisonous and personal letter to one of the agency staff who had initially told her that the house was not cleaned when it should have been. Surely that will not help her case for wanting her deposit back???!!! Silly woman.

  8. #8

    Default We're feeling you

    Just found out ( the hard way) what you went through. Only your place sounds like the Ritz Carlton, compared to ours. Even livestock could have left us with a cleaner unit than these last tenants. Thing is the law does everything to protect them. This is the year of 2009, technologies are so advanced, and yet even with proof of pictures and contracts. The law is unwilling to help the true victums, which is the Landlord who does everything by the book. Did you learn anything else, that could help. Or have I pretty much nailed it on the head.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crazy renter View Post
    Just found out ( the hard way) what you went through. Only your place sounds like the Ritz Carlton, compared to ours. Even livestock could have left us with a cleaner unit than these last tenants. Thing is the law does everything to protect them. This is the year of 2009, technologies are so advanced, and yet even with proof of pictures and contracts. The law is unwilling to help the true victums, which is the Landlord who does everything by the book. Did you learn anything else, that could help. Or have I pretty much nailed it on the head.
    Please don't whinge. If you have 'done everything by the book' as you say, then the Law is on your side if tenants trash your house or leave it filthy. I think the problem arises when LLs go into renting with their eyes shut, expecting it to be the goose which lays the proverbial golden egg for them. IThat is probably unrealistic, but if you are professional about it, keep on top of problems rather than letting them accummulate, and learn from your mistakes, it can provide a profit. But your tenants do not owe you a profit, just the rent.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    help@tenancyservices.co.uk
    Posts
    15,862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Donething View Post
    I have heard also that if we go to Small Claims Court for the remainder of the costs over and above the deposit, they often find in favour of the poor tenant because of the nasty landlords. How true is this?
    The court will work on facts, backed up by proof. If you have the starting inventory and leaving inventory you will be fine. T will be ordered to pay the costs of repairs less wear & tear.

    Quote Originally Posted by jta View Post
    Welcome to LLworld
    there's no reason at all to stop you going to a small claims court but bear in mind that you will have to bear the expense yourself, it's up to you ex-tenant to prove she is not liable, judging from your post you have a good case.
    Actually, it isn't up to the T to prove she's not liable - the onus of proof is on you, BUT, it would seem that you'd easily be able to do that. Innocent until proven guilty

Similar Threads

  1. Tenant vacated but left his furniture- and animal excrement
    By cute boxer dog in forum Residential Letting Questions
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 29-10-2008, 21:18 PM
  2. Old tenant damaged house; new tenant is complaining
    By cliowill in forum Residential Letting Questions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-01-2008, 08:56 AM
  3. Tenant has left but property full of stuff
    By JimBeam in forum Residential Letting Questions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-11-2007, 19:18 PM
  4. Tenant left cooker on- damage caused- who pays?
    By Dirty Stop Out in forum Residential Letting Questions
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-12-2005, 20:56 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •