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To be upset with this estate agent?

(25 Posts)
FlowerLight Sun 20-May-18 22:34:16

Our first tenant has recently vacated our property and our second one has moved in. The first tenant had two cats. We agreed this before she moved in and added £200 onto the deposit for the cats in the house.
When she moved out we noticed the cats had scratched the carpets around the doors and the stairs. We spoke with our estate agent about this and they advised to us to charge for a new carpet from the deposit. To do this we had to refit the whole house as each room had small areas of damage and this took the whole deposit. We advised the tenant of this and explained they would not be receiving their deposit back (£700 in all).
Fast forward one week later and we receive confirmation from the TDS than the tenant is disputing this with them. We weren’t concerned as we had sought advice from the estate agent who agreed we were fine to charge for a carpet. However, Friday we received an outcome from TDS stating that we are required to pay £500 back to the tenant. This was due to the fact that the cats were agreed at the point of signing the contract and only £200 was charged extra for them. It is therefore unreasonable to charge more than this for damage by cats as if we take the full £700 that assumes the tenant themselves have made no damage. We unfortunately stated in our letter to them (as advised by the estate agent) that we were charging for damage by a pet, not included in general wear and tear, and therefore we cannot charge more than the £200 for the pets and ordered we return £500 to the tenant (as we did not disclose any damage by them) in the next five working days.
Now we wanted to replace the carpet as we thought it would be nice for the next tenant but it was not essential and we would never have paid out for it if we did not think the deposit would cover it. I am now having to extend our overdraft tomorrow so we can pay the tenant back. Aibu to upset with the estate agent advising us to charge the tenant and fit a new carpet?

ZoeWashburne Sun 20-May-18 23:05:38

YABU to trust an estate agent, ever.

They are notorious for telling you what you want to hear. I’m sorry you are in this situation, but if you want to be a landlord, you need to be prepared that most law sides with the tenant. It’s a cost of doing business and earning money from owning a property. I’m sure you made more than £500 in equity last year in your house and you have a new tenant lined up. Frustrating? Yes. But not unexpected.

Bunbunbunny Sun 20-May-18 23:08:47

That sees to be a bizarre judgement, was you trying to claim for the total cost of the Carpet?

AngelsSins Sun 20-May-18 23:11:11

The estate agent gave you really bad advice and you should complain. When carpet is damaged, you can only charge the cost of that part of the carpet, irrelevant as to if it was by a pet or by anything else. The tenants could have started a camp fire in the corner of the room, and you still could have only charged the the cost of replacing that corner! On top of that, you should be aware that everything has a “shelf life”, the max of which is ten years. So for example, if you had a tenant living at your property for ten years, they could rip up the carpets, damage the doors, put holes in the walls, and you still couldn’t charge them.

You really really must educate yourself on landlord and tenants rights, and I mean that in the kindest way possible. You were very lucky that the TDS didn’t pursuer you further for this as you should NEVER have taken the money from the deposit without the tenants agreement. I know the estate agents said it was fine, but it’s you as the landlord that would end up getting fined.

Ruffian Sun 20-May-18 23:16:58

Are you saying it wasn't essential to change the whole carpet? In that case you were unreasonable to replace it and expect the former tennants to cover the whole cost

elessar Sun 20-May-18 23:26:40

Yes YABU. Not so much for being annoyed at the estate agent as they did give you poor advice, but more for the cheek in trying to charge your previous tenants for a full brand new carpet when you've admitted it wasn't necessary.

You're upset that you've had to fork out and go into your overdraft but you were happy enough to foist that cost onto your tenants, never mind whether they could afford it.

Imchlibob Mon 21-May-18 00:08:00

Sounds like the correct judgement has been made and the system works. Excellent. Yabu to try to make this tenant pay for new carpets throughout but yanbu to be pissed off with the EA for misadvising you.

Kardashianlove Mon 21-May-18 10:08:10

In the nicest possible way you really need to educate yourself about being a landlord. Research your rights and tenants rights fully so you know where you stand.

It’s really unfair to charge a tenant for something that wss not essential. You are saying that you would do something to be nice for the new tenant and the old tenants cost but wouldn’t have done this at your cost. Do you really think this is right?

Situations like this are why landlords often get a bad name. Please do some research in order to protect yourself and be in a better position for next time.

Bluelady Mon 21-May-18 10:13:19

You're not entitled to new for old replacement by a tenant in any event, a deduction has to be made for wear and tear, in the case of a carpet that's approx 20% per year. Anyway, you'll be claiming that £500 against the tax you pay on the rent, won't you? So it's £400.

sausagedogsmakechipolatas Mon 21-May-18 10:17:06

If it wasn’t essential then by definition it shouldn’t have been taken from the deposit - which is for repairs, not wear and tear. I think the £200 you have got is more than reasonable.

Never trust an estate agent.

CitySnicker Mon 21-May-18 10:19:07

Agree with the ‘betterment’ stuff stated above. Plus you can’t charge for wear and tear.

Confusedbeetle Mon 21-May-18 10:30:26

First you should be clear that you cannot take anything from the deposit for wear and tear. Second, you cannot get tax relief for carpets any more.
£200 is plenty. This was the deposit against pet damage. We rarely deduct from deposits except for rent arrears. It is usually not worth the aggro. We tend to frequently put in new carpets between tenants

qwertyflirty Mon 21-May-18 10:34:33

YABVVU.

It is not your old tenant's responsibility to make the place look 'nice' for the new tenant! It is yours.

You sound like a nightmare cheapskate, rip-off landlord.

Bluelady Mon 21-May-18 10:37:06

You're obviously the exception, Confused. Someone I know had a massive argument with an agent last year who wanted to charge £90 to replace a cheap as chips vertical blind, they ended up paying about £30 after competitve quotes were obtained and wear and tear taken into account.

Btw, your self assessment form doesn't require you to detail what you've claimed against tax, just a total amount, I bet a lot of those totals are complete fiction and include loads of stuff HMRC says is inadmissible.

NotAnotherUserName5 Mon 21-May-18 10:50:45

I'm sure you paid enough profit on the rent to more than cover a new carpet.
Yabu

GalwayWayfarer Mon 21-May-18 10:52:33

You can be upset with the estate agent if you like but ultimately it's your responsibility to know what your legal rights and obligations are as a landlord.

I agree with PPs that it was terribly unfair of you to try and foist the entire cost of an unnecessary new carpet onto the old tenants. It is not their responsibility to front the cost of things like that and it's surprising that, as a landlord, you don't know that!

gamerwidow Mon 21-May-18 10:56:56

Could you really not work out for yourself that charging your outgoing tenant £500 for a carpet that didn’t really need replacing was going to be legally and morally dubious? Not the estate agents fault really that you were so greedy.

Glumglowworm Mon 21-May-18 11:02:30

YABU

if you’re a landlord you really need to know the rules yourself.

Charging £700 for a non essential replacement was always a ridiculous pisstake!

Bluntness100 Mon 21-May-18 11:16:54

Did you take pics of the damage in each room?

Part of me says you behaved shittily because uou used their deposit to replace all your carpets when it really wasn't necessary. The other part says they damaged every room so it was necessary,

Your post is unclear on how much damage there actually was. You indicate they damaged every room, you then say you replaced to make it nice for the new tenant.

However contractually you agreed max 200 so max 200 you can charge. The rest is on you. You accepted a tennant with cats and you said max 200 for any damage they cause. Anything else is out of your pocket.

Bitchywaitress Mon 21-May-18 11:26:55

How long were the ex tenants in the property for?

SadTrombone Mon 21-May-18 11:31:16

"Now we wanted to replace the carpet as we thought it would be nice for the next tenant but it was not essential and we would never have paid out for it if we did not think the deposit would cover it."
...so you're admitting it was unnecessary and you wouldn't have bothered if you didn't think you could rinse your ex-tenant for the cost? YABU. And I have very little sympathy for you!

Deemarow Mon 21-May-18 11:40:24

Never ever let your tenants have pets!

Bluelady Mon 21-May-18 11:42:26

Or let them have pets but think it through first.

drquin Mon 21-May-18 13:32:09

If the carpet replacement was a nice to have then, yes unreasonable to try reclaim all that through the deposit.

But otherwise, you need to understand what the agreed deposit covers, when & how.
I did similar and took double-deposit for a tenant who had small dogs. At end of tenancy, the leather bed had lots of claw marks on it. Put in a claim on the deposit.

Bed had originally cost £1000, but was 9 years old and it was only one corner of the bed that was damaged. So I got about £150. It would never buy a new bed .... but given age and relatively small amount of damage, it was deemed fair. Logic being I should have been "saving up" towards the cost of a new bed anyway with a view to replacing (whether for tenants or myself).

qwertyflirty Mon 21-May-18 19:14:37

If the tenants had been there a few years, they could have poured indelible ink over the whole carpet and you still wouldn't have got a penny - after a few years, the assumption is the carpets need replacing anyway.

If they'd only been there 6 months, you would still only be entitled to repair for what they'd damaged, not every single carpet in the place.

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