Not me, but my parents. They rented out a house to a family. They family left in December, leaving a lot of damage- ruined doors, destroyed lawn, badly damaged work surfaces, drawing on walls/ floors to name a few.
The debate over the deposit has gone to arbitration, but former tenants have not responded. Debt collection agencies are in regular contact- it appears the family owe over £6000 in utilities.
When the family left, they left something on the property-difficult to move, but not impossible. Parents offered o buy it, at a reasonable market value. Tenants said no. Parents asked them to remove it, gave them a calendar month- it is still there. Parents are now ready to re-let property (taken this long to make house fit to re-let). Letter arrives threatening to take parents to court for 'stealing' the thing left behind. As apparently this is what police and CAB have told ex-tenants to do.
Does that seem right? Is it likely to happen, and more worryingly might they win?
Cannot comment without knowing the item tbh. If it was a shelf for example then up to them to remove and make good the wall. If left behind that would be in recompense for fixing something permanently. This would have been mentioned with the Deposit Company as a grievance/further damage. The tenants are obviously trying it on. The utilities means they have the bad credit rating but as under your address new tenants ought to be warned that if other types of debts have been passed onto an external agent/bailiff/hoodlum they need to be aware of that when opening the door. Would be amazed if it was just utilities unpaid. The Deposit Company ought to find in your favour - they did in mine re malicious damage. My insurance would have covered a certain amount had it run into thousands. If they have left behind a satellite dish and it belongs to them now not Sky or whomever then they are free to go up a ladder provided they do not cause damage and collect it themselves. Anything else fixed eg shed etc they must remove/make good or leave abandoned in which case I thought it became your parents after a set time. Bottom line - what is the item?
Thank you for your reassuring replies! I am trying to avoid saying exactly what it is as it would make this quite identifiable, just in case it does go through court. However, it would need specialist transportation, market value is about £300 (parents checked when offering that amount) and it is depreciating day by day (quite literally!).
There was something similar at the start of the tenancy, but this isn't mentioned in the (independent) inventory, but the same person/ company did the end one, which also doesn't mention in as it was hard to tell. Sorry I realise how odd this sounds.
I think they are trying to pull as fast one here, but my parents are in late 60s, this is their retirement fund (as banks give so little interest and they lost their pensions 20 years ago when it went tits up) and I worry about the impact of this stress on them. I know landlords get a bad name sometimes, but these tenants have been a nightmare.
Write back in response to the letter saying that your parents have no intention of transferring the title of ownership to themselves, but the ex-tenants must collect the item within 7 days at their own expense. If they do not then your parents will charge them storage at £50 per week for 6 weeks, after which they will deem the item to be abandoned and will assume that the ex-tenants have relinquished their ownership.
Make sure you send the letter signed for and recorded delivery.