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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1
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    Jan 2009
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    Default Tenant's relative damaged property - who's responsible?

    I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

    I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

    Have I done the right thing?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debicj View Post
    I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

    I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

    Have I done the right thing?

    I would say so, yes. I think you are correct about the insurance - ours specifically includes malicious damage by tenants or their guests, which is what this sounds like, isn't it?

    Even if it had been accidental, I think T is responsible, under the terms of her tenancy agreement (what does that say?) for the prompt repair of any glass she breaks in the property.

    We had a very similar situation once, where a tenant's friend broke a window (not maliciously, but avoidably - they didn't have to get drunk!) and the tenant got very arsey about being asked to pay. He kept saying we should chase his friend for the money, not him. This is nonsense, of course, because he invited the friend onto the premises in the first place. When we explained this, T said, couldn't we just tell the police the friend had been trespassing and claim off our insurance anyway?!!! A law student, no less....

  3. #3
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    Dec 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Debicj View Post
    I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

    I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

    Have I done the right thing?

    Hi

    I think this is going to depend very much on how well worded your tenancy agreement is. For example, some tenancy agreements hold tenants responsible for the actions of visitors. In this context visitor isn't someone who just happens along and knocks on the door, but someone who is there at the invitation or with the consent of the tenant.

    If your tenancy agreement doesn't cover this circumstance, then I think you might be difficulty.

    Preston

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    6,757

    Default

    I agree (again) with MTG. The tenant has to be responsible for the damage.

    Isn't it a wonderful state of affairs though, when, to emphasise a point, somebody smashes a window or door and our caring 'police service' couldn't give a toss? This is where a lot of the problems stem from, in that if the little things are ignored, then the culprits go on to bigger things, with no fear of retribution, until there is state of virtual anarchy. There is a good case for a zero tolerance policy as advocated by some.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jta View Post
    I agree (again) with MTG. The tenant has to be responsible for the damage.

    Isn't it a wonderful state of affairs though, when, to emphasise a point, somebody smashes a window or door and our caring 'police service' couldn't give a toss? This is where a lot of the problems stem from, in that if the little things are ignored, then the culprits go on to bigger things, with no fear of retribution, until there is state of virtual anarchy. There is a good case for a zero tolerance policy as advocated by some.
    I'm not quite sure what else you think the police were supposed to do? Publicly flog the relative? To be honest I think the police have better things to do. (Like raiding the offices of Tory MPs...!)

    If we want to apportion blame for such moronic behaviour, surely we need to encourage better parenting so kids grow up able to control their anger, not smash doors when their feelings get the better of them. Saying the police should deal with it is the very small sticking plaster on the gaping wound, isn't it?

    However, I wouldn't go so far as to say we're in a state of anarchy. jta, GET RID OF THAT BLOODY DAILY MAIL! I DON'T CARE IF IT IS THE ONLY THING YOU CAN GET IN SPAIN! BURN IT, BURY IT, USE IT AS SORREL SUGGESTS*. BUT DON'T READ IT.

    *Read #7 of this thread!

    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...t=giant+pandas

  6. #6
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    May 2007
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    Had a bad night did we then?
    For your info only (nobody else read this bit) I have not been able to get the DM for about six months now. That's why I dropped it on my siggy line and the fact that the joke has gone stale. I'm thinking of taking up the Daily Sport instead.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Wales
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    Default

    It looks like I have taken the correct action.

    I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

    As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

    However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    South Wales
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debicj View Post
    It looks like I have taken the correct action.

    I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

    As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

    However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.

    Police are never brilliant when it is a "domestic" !

    The Rodent
    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
    W.Churchill

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debicj View Post

    I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".
    Hi,

    Sorry to be so negative, but this clause is, in my view, not enforceable in its current form. Under s11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord is responsible for repairs to the structure and exterior. In Irvine v Moran (1990) 24 HLR 1 QBD it was held that windows, at least on their outer face, are part of the exterior. (This leaves some confusion with regard to double glazing, it has to be said).

    The landlord is not allowed to "contract out" of this obligation. Of course, the tenant may still be responsible for the repair if they have failed to look after the property in a tenant like manner - or if their visitors have done so, provided there is a clause in the tenancy agreement to this effect (hence my comment earlier).

    The comments attributed to the police are not, in my experience, uncommon at all. It is really a case of "general chat" from people who are trying to be sympathetic to someone who probably appears very distressed. Clearly it would be better if they just said contact the landlord to find out the position.

    Preston

  10. #10
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    Yorkshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debicj View Post
    It looks like I have taken the correct action.

    I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

    As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

    However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.
    If it could be proved that the relative had smashed the door in attempting to gain entry to the property against T's wishes, then, yes, I think R could be prosecuted for attempted breaking and entering, or something like that. There would have to be witnesses, etc., otherwise R could just claim T broke it and case would collapse.

    However, if T invited R inside, then they argued and R smashed door, then T has to carry the can for her guest's actions, just as you would (presumably) make your teenage children pay for any damage their friends do if you are daft/trusting enough to let them have a party at your house!

    If R/friends had any decency, they would offer to pay for the damage, wouldn't they? However, if nothing else, it will be a learning experience for the T.

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