Landlords: retaining some of the deposit - fairly

(71 Posts)
Spaghettio Wed 23-Apr-14 13:48:19

My tenant has moved out on the weekend. The inventory has been been done by a professional company and has listed a few areas of her responsibility that have not been done - mainly cleaning, but some damage to floor tiles and children drawing on walls/blinds.

I'm managing the property myself, so I just want some clarification if anyone can help. Do I just get a quote for a professional clean and the costs of replacing the floor tiles/blind? Also, can I retain some of the cost of redecorating as I cant get the pen off the walls?

Do I just email her and tell her this and if she agrees, let the TDS know? Presumably if she doesn't agree, we go through the resolution services through TDS?

We're looking at selling the house, so want it looking as good as possible for viewings, but I don't want to screw her over with her deposit. That said, she hasn't fulfilled her contractual obligations.

TIA

specialsubject Wed 23-Apr-14 17:46:12

Check with the TDS, but I believe you raise a dispute with the TDS, advising the tenant what you are doing. The TDS then arbitrate (which does not necessarily mean that there is a disagreement, the tenant may agree that this is not wear and tear) and it is sorted out.

BUT MOVE QUICKLY - do nothing and the tenant will get all the deposit back. So get on to the TDS tomorrow.

msrisotto Wed 23-Apr-14 17:49:12

Avoid raising disputes, they're really time consuming and the tenant might not see their deposit for weeks.

The best way is to get quotes for the work, agree the deduction with the tenant and apply to the TDS to return the agreed amounts. They will contact your tenant to check they agree.

specialsubject Wed 23-Apr-14 20:17:42

....but still shift yourself as otherwise all the deposit will go back to the tenant.

specialsubject Wed 23-Apr-14 20:19:28

BTW we had a dispute with tenants, agents still pushed us to have an agreement by 10 working days after tenancy end.

which was fine until the tenant got abusive, and the checkout clerk hadn't spotted the wall and bath scribbles and other damage.

oh well. That's the highly profitable, utterly no work, money for old rope business that people on here will tell you is being a landlord.

Nix01 Wed 23-Apr-14 20:50:45

May I ask about the paint? The house we're renting is painted with some really bad paint, and practically anything that makes contact with the walls leaves a smudge.

Are the tenants charged to repaint the house at the end of the contract?

TIA.

Spaghettio Wed 23-Apr-14 20:59:11

I'll get onto the TDS pronto, as well as the cleaning companies.

I don't want to fleece her out of her deposit, but the house is in a bit of a state.

The paint was only Dulux, but the walls didn't mark easily when I lived there and it was painted in the same type of paint then.

I'm glad we're selling - I can't deal with the strain of being a landlord! Being responsible for the kids is enough - I don't want to be responsible for anyone else!!

msrisotto Wed 23-Apr-14 21:02:45

Nix - reasonable wear and tear is not chargeable. Crayon isn't reasonable and if you're really worried, repaint the same colour to avoid being paying them for someone else to do it.

Chumhum Wed 23-Apr-14 21:39:39

Don't get onto the TDS they're only interested in getting involved once you can prove you've attempted to resolve the issue between you and have hit stalemate. You should contact the tenant immediately itemising the points raised and letting them know that you'll be getting quotes for repairs. Once you've got quotes get back to them and let them know what the deductions should be. If they don't agree that's when you lodge a dispute with the TDS.

Spaghettio Wed 23-Apr-14 22:13:00

Thanks chumhum. I'll contact the tennant tomorrow.

Spaghettio Mon 12-May-14 13:05:44

So I got the quotes and let the tenant know. She's now disputing most of it - even though some of it is pretty obvious and has been noted in the independent inventory.

I've given way on a couple of issues, but I really can't accept everything she has said. There are clear areas of the bathroom with caked on lime scale and mould around the edge of the bath.

Spaghettio Mon 12-May-14 13:07:10

Woops - posted too soon!

I've emailed her back, but I assume if she doesn't agree then I have to contact the deposit people?

I'm so glad we're selling - this is too much hassle!

noddyholder Mon 12-May-14 13:07:21

Depends how long they had been there and if its fair wear and tear of family life? It can delay things though

specialsubject Mon 12-May-14 13:18:48

the floor may be classed as wear and tear. Children scribbling is not.

Sunnyshores Mon 12-May-14 19:00:34

Yep, same old crap where tenants are concerned.....

Perhaps offer her the opportunity to go back and clean? I'd try one more time to come to an agreement,point out again its an independent person thats done the checkout and that the next step is arbitration with TDS which will take approx 8 weeks.

List the items with a short description and the price. ie
1. childrens crayon drawings on bedroom 1 wall - repaint £150
2. Broken blind bedroom 1 - replace £40

Ask her which ones she agrees to which she doesnt. If you do have to got to arbitration hopefully it wont be for the full deposit, just the disputed amounts and you wont be out of pocket for too long.

Hang on in there!

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 20:03:58

You need to give the age of items you plan to replace.

So, the blind may cost you £40 to replace, but you cannot charge her the full amount.

What type of blind? Life expectancy of blind?

For example, I had a lovely tenant who unfortunately put an iron down in the middle of a carpet. She agreed it was her fault & offered to pay. Room was large, so cost with fitting came to £500 (ish). It was new when she moved in, and she stayed for 4 years. Life expectancy of a rental carpet is 5 years, so her charge was 1/5, or for the year of life I lost on the remainder of the carpet.

Likewise wall repainting. You cannot charge the whole cost. You can charge for the time & extra for stain blocking crayon as it's a bastard to cover entirely, as this is unexpected, but repainted the walls is expected approx every 3 years in a rental with children or smokers. So, if painted just before she moved in, & stayed for 2 years, I'd suggest you charge 1/3 repaint costs and all the additional stain block costs.

And never charge for a toilet seat, shower curtain, bath resealing or toilet brush. They are expected to be changed every time grin. So mould around bath, no charge. Lines ale removal, full cleaners charge for this IF in entity shows no limescale at start.

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 20:05:38

* limescale* removal if * inventory*...

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 20:10:57

And what sort of damage to tiles? A good clerk should be able to tell you if it's movement damage or impact?

What storey is tiled floor on? Subfloor chipboard/plywood over boards or concrete sub floor? If above first floor even a small chip is likely to run into a crack. Unless many tiles damaged by deliberate hammering, at best you can go for a compensation charge, or part replacement cost if you have a spare.

Sunnyshores Mon 12-May-14 20:33:49

CoilReget - I've never heard of this sort of apportionment in the 20 years we've been letting. I normally refund deposits entirely, so where I dont I really stick to my guns and as a result have been to court twice and had 3 TDS arbitrations and never has this method of deduction been mentioned.

Taking for example the crayoned walls. Newly painted, over the course of 3 years they get grubby or marked - this is wear and tear which is not charged for. If at any point someone scribbles all over them, then they need repainting straight away, this is 100% chargeable as you cant repaint the walls to Year 2 standard.

Mould around the bath? Its not as it was, any reasonable person would have cleaned occasionally and it should not be there. Absolutely claim for cleaning it off.

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 20:42:28

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Spaghettio Mon 12-May-14 20:46:58

There was definitely no mould or limescale at check in - so I'm not really happy to let that one go. I know we live in a hard water area, but it's not hard to maintain a certain level of cleanliness to prevent build up, surely?

The tiles are only very basic lino tiles on the ground floor and have been broken off at the corners. These were laid a week before she moved in, and I'd expect them to last longer than 18 months.

As far as the repainting over the scribbles goes, all I'm charging her is for 50% of the cost if the paint - not even the labour, as I'm aware that it would need repainting after she left anyway and as I said, I'm not out to rip her off. I'm only asking for a token contribution on that and she is disputing it!

Hopefully she will see that I've been reasonable in my requests and we won't have to go for disrupted resolution. <sigh>

Spaghettio Mon 12-May-14 20:50:31

The blind wasn't old/worn out - it was drawn on by her child. Shall I replace that out of my own pocket just to satisfy karma? Or should she be responsible for damage that her children have caused? I'm not asking her for the costs of redecorating the entire house - just the areas that were damaged by her. I'm more than happy to accept fair wear and tear - but the key word is FAIR.

I'm not a charity and I'm not going to accept damage to my property. This is the whole point of the deposit.

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 20:55:37

I think you have been spectatularly mean. Its not reasonable to expect a tenanted property to look like a show home. Most landlords pay for re decoration every time there is a new tenant. I would expect to decorate a property after a 18 month lease.

Spaghettio Have you never rented a property?

"The tiles are only very basic lino tiles on the ground floor and have been broken off at the corners. These were laid a week before she moved in, and I'd expect them to last longer than 18 months."

If the tiles were cheap quality then it would not surprise me if they did not last longer than 18 months. Do you still have the reciepts for the tiles and proof they were new?

" I'm only asking for a token contribution on that and she is disputing it!"

I think you are asking too much and you may well find that the TDS takes her side and gives her the complete deposit.

Deposits are taken for REAL damage to a property or a failure to pay rent. Ie. a tenant who smears excrement all over the walls or leaves holes in doors or smashes the boiler. The "damage" you have experienced sounds pretty minor.

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 20:55:47

Sunnyshores, of course you cannot repaint to a 2 year standard. That is the point if the wear & tear allowance. You only charge the remaining life expectancy that has been curtailed by the damage.

CoilRegret Mon 12-May-14 21:03:36

Lost my large post.

In brief. Lino tiles aren't real tiles ;). Coming away at corners sounds cheap quality or poor lay. W&T

Blind is damage, but allowance should be made for age & remaining life lost.

Silicone should be replaced regularly. If mould bleached off by anyone, integrity of seal is compromised. I'd rather replace more often than suffer a far more expensive leak.

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