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Tenant damaging Property , what can i do ?

(20 Posts)
Fireflysingstheblues Tue 31-May-16 11:55:12

I know that mumsnet hates Landlords , but I could do with some advice. We own a house which has the same tenants in for the last 18 months . I agree that a tenant should be allowed to make the property their home , and i not against a little bit of decorating .
However our current tenants , have stripped the paint off the internal wood work , they haven't done a very good job of it and haven't asked permission .
Yesterday we found them selling some bits and pieces from the garden , on a selling site .
After contacting them , they have removed the items for sale . The property is managed by a letting agency , but they don't seem to be very active .
What can we do ? they pay the rent on time , would you give the tenants notice ?
I am worried that when they leave , there will be so much to be put right in the property , the deposit just won't cover it .

spookyelectric Tue 31-May-16 12:37:37

Contact your agent about this - make them do the work for the fees you are paying them. Did the agents not do a signed inventory with picturesof the condition of everything with the tenants when they were moving in ? The agents need to send them a letter about not changing the decor and selling your things and relate it to the relevant paragraphs in the tenancy contract. Do the agents not do inspections? you could get them to do one and take pictures of how things are so that it can be referenced against later.

Fireflysingstheblues Tue 31-May-16 12:55:32

The agents did do an inventory , i am not sure if they took pictures . We certainly have photographs of everywhere of before they moved in . We requested a inspection a couple of months ago , specifically asking them to look into the decorating .
However the agents don't seem too concerned .
Seeing them attempting to sell items , has really annoyed me to be honest . The agents only concern seems to be that they pay their rent on time .

We have documented everything , so we have evidence of the condition of the property , and screen shots of them attempting to sell items .
I will chase the agents to send them letter . Thanks spooky electric

Fidelia Tue 31-May-16 14:02:34

So you have proof that they tried to sell stolen goods...your goods, attempted to be stolen by them? Surely that breaks the lease? I'd actually get the police involved on this one.

Fireflysingstheblues Tue 31-May-16 14:32:22

Yes I took a screen shot , it was on a Facebook selling page . It said free at the top , but they had written make me offer . The items were probably worth about £40 to salvage yard , period pieces .

wowfudge Tue 31-May-16 15:47:59

In your position I would go and see the letting agent, with a copy of the agreement with them in hand and have a face to face meeting - find out what they have been doing. Just calling into their office might galvanise them into action.

Were the items being sold on the inventory? If not then I suggest you recover them. If they are not on the inventory it could be argued they were unwanted.

When I was a LL the tenants redecorated and had asked permission. What I hadn't expected was for them to replace a perfectly good carpet - that was annoying, but at least there was a carpet. You have to be very clear about what you will and won't accept.

Fireflysingstheblues Tue 31-May-16 16:29:00

I doubt the items were on the inventory they were part of the garden , we have retrieved them .
I feel that the agents aren't really fighting for us , just taking the income . We used an agent because we wanted somebody else to deal with these issues . I don't think the tenant believes they have done anything wrong .
Apart from all the redecoration , I do believe they enjoy living in the property , but they believe they can do what ever they want to the property .
Thanks for the advice , I think a visit to the agent is in order and an inspection for ourselves .

wowfudge Tue 31-May-16 16:46:01

Read the tenancy agreement carefully and read up on what you can and can't do as a LL. Just because it is in the tenancy agreement doesn't mean it stands - lots of ASTs contains provisions which don't hold water because the law prevails. Also, and I mean this kindly, when you let out a property (especially if it has been your home) you have to detach. It is an asset, no longer your home. You can't expect the tenants to treat it in exactly the same way as you did.

Make sure you have all the correct insurance cover too.

concertplayer Tue 31-May-16 17:25:02

The Agent needs to arrange to see the tenants in the property and ask
them to put right any damage. (as you say you do not think the tenants
are aware they are doing wrong)

Fireflysingstheblues Tue 31-May-16 17:36:49

I know exactly what you mean about detaching from the property . I am aware that I am emotionally attached to the property . It was our former home .
We were trying to put some space between us and the tenants by using an agency .
It is a steep learning curve .

specialsubject Tue 31-May-16 21:07:34

I suggest taking this to landlordzone, where I think the advice would be to issue a section 21. If they are starting to sell your possessions its not good.

Celeriacacaca Wed 01-Jun-16 17:23:08

Your agent is not doing their job and your tenants are breaking their lease. I'd be very surprised if they thought what they were doing was acceptable. You need to deal with both matters, and sooner rather than later.

Your agent should be inspecting the property regularly and sending you reports with photo's. They should be pulling the tenants up about the things you have mentioned. You should ask them to give a time limit within which things have to be put right, and decide whether you will issue a section 21 to your tenants to evict them and/or change your agent.

Changing an agent can be straightforward if done at the time a tenancy is ending but, if mid-tenancy, you will find they will be due compensation for loss of rent from tenants they have placed.

My impression is that you are taking a softly softly approach to this, which will suit your agency and your tenant. Start getting them to do their job. What % are you paying them? Just think of the loss of rent during the void period during which you'll have to restore the property to its former condition, and the expense of doing so, to focus your mind.

Fireflysingstheblues Wed 01-Jun-16 17:44:12

Thank you for taking the time to reply . I think you are absolutely right , we are frightened to upset anyone . We are going to write a letter to the agents to highlight our concerns and the lack of action by the agents .
We will also insist on attending the next inspection . We are paying 10% management fee , and in 18 months of the current tenancy only two inspections have taken place . The second inspection was prompted by our concerns .

Fireflysingstheblues Thu 09-Jun-16 20:56:51

I thought i would update you all . We had a inspection today of the property . Unfortunately we found that there was lots of more damage than we were expecting . The tenants have stripped lots of the woodwork on the ground level , skirting , stairs , door frames .
They have used a heat gun on the spindles and melted the carpet on the stairs .
They have also stripped the laminate layer off some of the kitchen cabinets , so we will need a new kitchen .
We plan to give a section 21 notice and hope they leave at the end of the notice .

specialsubject Thu 09-Jun-16 22:32:06

...and don't burn the place down in the meantime!

Did you see them? Any chance of them stopping this?

Fireflysingstheblues Thu 09-Jun-16 22:48:08

Yes , we were present at the inspection . That was my impression too , unfortunately the tenant was getting aggressive . I feel helpless , the tenant was actively telling what his plans were . i.e . removing laminate flooring . We don`t want to antagonise them . We want them to leave .

citychick Fri 10-Jun-16 07:30:47

its a bit late now but were you not able to choose your tenants? i take ot you are living reasonably closeby?
we are accidental LL and i chose my first set of tenants. i refused to be brushed off by the EA telling us to take the highest bidder for the property.
should they leave (asap!) can you meet prospective tenants? you might get a better feel about them if you have met them.

although we are abroad i work very closely with our EA and have trusted handymen on speed dial. the EA do six monthly checks and i aske them fpr photos and any issues that.have arisen. we have also managed to go to the house when in the uk so tenants know we are looking after the property.
good luck.

Fireflysingstheblues Fri 10-Jun-16 07:46:26

The property is managed by a letting agency , who run reference and credit checks . However we had met them previously , they were very charming and complementary about the property . I don't think we could have predicted , what they have done to the property .

citychick Fri 10-Jun-16 08:25:17

such a shame isn't it? if only we had a crystal ball.
hope you manage to get everything sorted.
you sound very calm. i would be starting world war 3!
mind you, our garden has not been tended to particularly well. tenants had better sort it put before they go next month. no deposits returned til house left the way they found it!
best of luck

specialsubject Fri 10-Jun-16 12:41:28

Not much to be done,op, except issue notice. There's nothing else you can do except take damage from the deposit and sue for the rest.

This may come under malicious damage if you have cover for that.

Why people wreck places is beyond me.

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