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Tenants' damages - guideline of costs?

(25 Posts)
min912 Mon 21-Jul-08 21:26:17

Hi, can anyone help as I'm new to this... we rent out our old house and the tenants have just moved out. They lived like pigs essentially so we had to pay for professional cleaning and gardening - I know we can charge them for this against the deposit.

However there was a fair amount of minor damage like scuff marks on the walls, dents in the walls (both reparable with fresh paint) and then also things like burn marks in the carpet (not reparable). Although the deposit is held by the letting agent the property is managed by ourselves so they say they won't help anymore in the negotiations over costs and although they have a guideline of costs they won't give us a copy!

What I basically want to know is how much to charge for things like this? For wall damage I guess I can go with an hourly rate for repairs, but what about the carpet? I can't charge them the full amount, but what is considered 'normal'?

Can anyone tell me what they have charged/ been charged?

Many thanks

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 22-Jul-08 00:44:01

I've never been charged for cleaning after leaving a rental property (on account of I leave it cleaner than when I lived there grin) but IMHO a great deal of what you're calling "damage" is "fair wear and tear" (your scuff marks etc) and you can discount the cost of repair from your tax bill.

But you can't charge your tenants for it. That's why they pay rent.

As for your carpet, I guess it depends on the size and location of the burns - can they easily be covered with a rug? Was it brand new when your tenants moved in? How much will it cost to replace (if necessary)?

alipiggie Tue 22-Jul-08 05:01:19

How long were the tenants there? Would be my starting point. Burn marks are not acceptable - did you allow smoking? Personally I would get a letting agency to manage the property it's always worth it and less hassle. I actually charged one tenant their whole deposit plus extra as they were also pigs and you should have seen the bathroom shock. Normal wear and tear though - be careful. Normally a contract says you have to leave the house in which your rented it and that's why you have a check-in sheet. Do you not have one of those? If not make sure you do that for the next tenant. That way they have to leave it as they took it over.

Flllight Tue 22-Jul-08 07:06:37

You sound very reasonable. I've never been charged anything as a tenant because I always rented places that were in a right state already, and I didn't make them any worse - in fact I tried to make them nicer but probably lack of funds and lack of skill meant that they were just 'different' grin

Until this time, when we moved out from a pig of a house - the state of it when we arrived was frankly uninhabitable, and I replaced the carpet, laid flooring in the kitchen, built fences (some of which I paid for, but I did all the work) and restored tiled windowsills etc.

The landlord had the cheek to threaten witholding my deposit because I hadn't cut the hedge for a few weeks when we left...so I took the little ones and we did it that day (he was going to charge for every day it wasn't done, with no warning) and despite offering for weeks to take away any rubbish I left, he eventually took £20 off for doing that too. shock He was selling the place anyway and said before that he didn't care what it was left like...it regularly leaked all over my possessions and he once left broken glass hanging for weeks above our heads.

I think he just couldn't stand giving me back the whole amount. He was a right bastard really. I've heard of tenants being charged for furniture leaving dents in carpets. So you are being quite reasonable imo!

SofiaAmes Tue 22-Jul-08 07:17:55

Get an estimate for repair/replacement from a carpet shop. And an estimate from a handyman for holes in wall. Scuff marks are normal wear and tear. If the carpet is really old you will have to reduce the cost of a completely new one.

min912 Tue 22-Jul-08 11:51:41

We did have a check-in inventory, I am waiting for the check-out one. They definitely left it in a worse state than when they took it, which is why I had to get cleaners in, plus it does say in their contract that it should be a) professionally cleaned b) windows properly cleaned c) carpets cleaned d) garden maintained. So I'm only thinking of charging them for what they should have done, not normal wear and tear.

Scuff marks ok, I'll absorb those, but inch-wide circular holes in the walls where they have just ripped out pictures/not been careful enough moving stuff out I think I am within my rights to charge them for?

They were meant to be completely non-smoking tenants (again in the contract) so burn marks an absolute no-no in my book. Problem is, the area is the lounge-diner room, so quite a big replacement area. Two burn marks (quite obvious) in the lounge area and one in the rug. Think we'd be talking about a grand to replace the carpet entirely but I don't want to charge them that much!! It wasn't a new carpet but it was in a good condition.

They were there for just over 2yrs and didn't do any gardening in that whole time. And apparently not much cleaning either.

We did used to have it managed by the letting agent but they were taking £70 extra a month to either do nothing, or when something did need fixing they always charged a £50 'admin fee' on top. So I ended up thinking 'sod this, since I'm running around getting price comparisons anyway, I might as well get them to come straight to me' and cancelled the management side.

SofiaAmes Tue 22-Jul-08 14:49:05

Make sure you take extensive pictures of the damage in case they challenge you. Also, make sure you have good detail in the letter that accompanies the deposit withholding. Break down everything and include copies of the estimates.

By the way, you may want to think about replacing the carpet with wood or laminate floors. As long as you are paying to put something new in, wood/laminate is sooo much easier to maintain, particularly with tenants.

Also, next time, if you are close enough. Pop in once and awhile (every 3 or 4 months) to your tenants and give them a heads up that things are unacceptable. Sometimes people just don't know any better. Might also be worth paying for your own gardener to come by once a week and do a once over on the garden, rather than rely on tenants to do it.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 22-Jul-08 16:35:41

If you're going to "pop in", I think you need to give written notice?

witchandchips Tue 22-Jul-08 16:43:06

I think you'd struggle to claim back anything more than the deposit as fair wear + tear is such a vague term.

notjustmom Tue 22-Jul-08 16:52:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hanaflowerisnothana Tue 22-Jul-08 17:00:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThingOne Tue 22-Jul-08 17:20:27

I think you can charge of crappy holes in walls but not scuff marks. we have "no things on walls" in our contract with agent instructed not to count number of holes but to get arsey over crappy ones! I don't mind if people use a drill and a rawlplug or carefully tap in a picture hook but I do mind about craters.

Have you got care of garden in contract? If not currently explicit I would make it so. Still think you are within rights to charge for tidying. I would consider it tenant's job to maintain order in garden.

I think we have our flat checked roughly every six months. Tenants are contacted in advance for a mutually suitable date if they want to be there but are not required to be.

Agree with hanaflower.

1dilemma Thu 24-Jul-08 00:54:49

I think a lot of you are wrong.
Professional cleaning contracts are not enforcable!
If something is 'unreasonable' (my word) it is not enforcable eg we had cleaning of windows in third floor flat we cleaned inside but I told them no way was outside being done!)
I may have read something about not being able to enforce gardening unless you provide tools but I'm really not sure about that.
Fair wear and tear is alllowed and depends on occupants so family of 6 with youg children are allowed more than a single person
Scuff marks if they are just that can't be charged for
fro the carpet you can only do like for like so if it was a marked 9 year old one that's all you can charge for

under no circs can you be seen to improve your lot by charging tennant be careful or else they will take you to small claims (who are generally more sympathetic to tennants than landlords) would it be worth offering to pay extra to agents to get them to do this for you?

FWIW I have never successfuly been charged anything for damage, we do almost nothing to the house we rent and I reckon a ex-rental property is worth about 20-25% less than others for this very reason! Also despite what you are no doubt thinking we are good tennants!

1dilemma Thu 24-Jul-08 00:56:46

Also can't just popin
Landlord is responsible for most maintenance!

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Thu 24-Jul-08 01:11:30

hmm sorry for hi jack but i am on other die of scale! i live in a rented house that was fulthy when i moved in" i blamed the last tennants untill i realised the landlord is very unwilling to improve the property at all!

i admit to the carpet being worse in areas than it was when i moved in as my dog has dug up a bit of it! i will and am going to be replacing the carpet, i am also planning on linoing the bathroom and kitchen and tiling behind the oven as carpets and wallpaper in those areas are disgusting and were so when i moved in.

as far as my landlord is concerned it my responsibilty to maintain my home to my standards and he is unwilling to give me money to do these things so am paying from my own pocket. dh is buying us our own property as soon as is possible. so we will be moving soon i am making these repairs before we move as i dont want the next tennants thinking the same of me as i did about those who lived here previously.

however since i moved in the landlords tv and bed have broken though imo no fault of my own just old things i will be replacing the bed with one we have been given and wil also be leaving him with a three piece suite far better than the one we had! where would we stand re our deposit and his old tv, bed etc?

1dilemma Thu 24-Jul-08 01:19:06

Don't know sorry do you think the landlord knows what his bed looks like? Are they very different? Is there an agent involved? (I'm guessing not)
IMHO landlord is lucky to have you, you're virtually redecorating whole place! Shelter have a helpline for tenants might help.
Can you get a similar old TV from somehwere like freecycle (again does landlord know what his looks like?)

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Thu 24-Jul-08 01:37:26

yes old bed was a divan with drawers and this one would be wooden frame with matress

tv he knows broke i just hope he doesnt think he is getting dh's widescreen!!? he toldme to buya new tv so dh did buy a new one for us not the landlord

Upwind Thu 24-Jul-08 05:24:59

When things like the TV break surely the landlord is obliged to replace them? Assuming it was not damaged by you, of course.

I think it is true that gardening is the landlord's responsibility unless tools are provided.

min912 Thu 24-Jul-08 09:49:51

In our case (we are landlords) the contract clearly stated the tenants were responsible for upkeep of the garden and tools were provided, they just didn't do it.

Similarly it clearly states they are responsible for damage, of which there is some.

Their deposit is held by the letting agent under a scheme where we both have to agree what to take off and then if there is dispute the scheme will arbitrate.

I think the answer is for both sides to take pictures - which I have done, so I can prove why it was necessary to get a gardener and cleaners in.

ThingOne Thu 24-Jul-08 17:44:24

If things break through fair wear and tear it's usually the landlord's job to repair or replace them. If you smash 'em it's not!

If my tenants' broke the bed I'd want to know how wink.

LIZS Thu 24-Jul-08 17:49:29

I'd say scuff marks and dents in wall are wear and tear so not chargeable unless it looks like deliberate vandalism. As to the burns , if they can be disguised then leave it , if not claim on insurance and charge them the excess.

1dilemma Thu 24-Jul-08 23:05:18

You can't charge them the excess if it exceeds the cost of replacing what was there before.
So if you had a stained 9 yr old carpet (not saying you do obviously) that's all you can charge for.
You can't charge for making your garden nicer than it was when they took over.

LIZS Fri 25-Jul-08 09:00:34

1dilemma , agree but if excess was, say, £50 then a replacement carpet is likely to be far more. When our tenants damaged ours by dropping an iron hmm we found we weren't actually covered for such accidental damage anyway so charged them the £50 to patch (it was hall, stairs and landing so would have cost £££ to replace)which amounted to the same as excess if we had pursued it.

1dilemma Fri 25-Jul-08 10:33:07

Agree with you too LIZS grin
you sound like a lovely landlady however I'm sure you will agree with me that there are far more people on this thread saying 'replace the carpet' than there are saying you can only charge to buy what you had.
Which reflects the situation in 'real life'

I think I'm also correct in saying that fair wear and tear is not taken to be that caused by one house proud middle aged lady with a cleaning fetish but if you rent out to 6 students or a family with 5 children a lot more 'wear and tear' is to be expected!

tiggerlovestobounce Fri 25-Jul-08 10:53:26

Dents in walls sound like wear and tear.

I think that any amount you could claim back for carpet depends on the age of the carpet, if it was brand new 1 year ago then it is probably resonable to charge full cost to replce or repair, if it is 10 years old then I dont think you could charge them anything.

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