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Tenancy problems

Discussion in 'Personal' started by impis, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. impis

    impis New commenter

    My daughter is very houseproud. She rented a house for about 4 years from a private landlord - a young woman who was living with her boyfriend in London.
    The letting agent visited every 3 months to check that the house was being well kept and there was never a problem. Cola, spilled on the lounge carpet, burned a hole through it, but this was covered by the sofa so was out of sight. The agent was told of this as soon as it happened. It wasn't kept from the agent, nor the landlady. The houshold insurance company [churchill] has apparently told my daughter that this type of damage is not covered by their policy.
    The landlady broke up with her bf and wanted the house back -so gave my daughter 8 weeks notice to leave. This has caused some financial hardship as a new house had to be found, with an increased rent.
    My daughter has 2 small children, so there were a few chips out of the paint on one of the walls - these were painted in before she left.
    A deposit of £575 had been given at the beginning of the tenancy. My daughter was looking forward to the return of this as she has no bedroom furniture in the new house [twas built in in the other one].
    The landlady of the first house has said that she will not return the deposit. She has told the letting agent that she will have to replace the carpets in the whole house as she cannot match the old one. [the whole house has the same carpet] She has told him that this will cost £895 - and he has told my daughter that he's having to pay the difference as she is a police woman with contacts and has threatened to sue for the money if they don't agree. She won't let the letting agent have time to find a matching carpet as she wants to move back in straight away. He has told my daughter that he thinks its disgusting but that this landlady will cause alot of trouble if they don't agree.
    What do you think of this - is she within her rights to demand a new carpet throughout the whole house even though it is only the lounge which is damaged? My daughter is very upset. She'd kept the house spotless - pretty much - and cleaned everything before leaving - we even helped to shampoo the carpets. Today she sold her ipod and some computer games so that she could afford to buy the children some summer clothing. It just seem so unfair. Don't they make any allowances for wear and tear??
    Sorry for the long rant. Thanks for reading.
  2. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    Yes they have to make allowances for wear and tear, but I don't think this would cover 'burning a hole in thecarpet'. Whether they really need to replace the whole lot is questionable. The deposit should have been lodged with an independent company (can't remember the name), not by the landlord or agent (I think this is illegal now). Any disputes should go through them. FWIW I think sh'es trying it on, although I'd be expecting to pay for the lounge carpet.
  3. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    Doesn't seem right to me at all. Could you try the Citizens Advice Bureau and seek their advice?
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    I am not sure that it is reasonable to replace the carpet in the whole house.
    Yes. However, burning a hole in the carpet is not wear and tear.
  5. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Sorry,OP but I also feel that the landlady is within her rights. She gave your daughter plenty notice and the financial hardship of having to look for a new house is not really her problem. As for the damage,your daughter might have informed the landlady about it when it happened but it has happened and has caused damage.
    Very sorry about this but your daughter's financial situation is not the landlady's fault. I understand you feel for her but you are not looking at issues in a rational way.
  6. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    How did cola burn a hole in the carpet/
  7. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    She set it on fire....
  8. impis

    impis New commenter

    I have no idea - but it did.
    My daughter knows that she should expect to pay for the damage to the lounge carpet. Also that the landlady gave proper notice. Nevertheless, carpeting the whole house seems a bit on the greedy side to me.

  9. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I read it as two separate incidents.
  10. Vampyria

    Vampyria New commenter

    How old are the carpets? A hole will be classified as damage and not wear and tear. Depending on how big it is I wonder if it could be repaired instead, though of course the owner would have to agree to this. I've heard some companies offer this service. While I appreciate the difficulties when same carpet is used throughout, especially in an open-plan flat, it doesn't sound as if the landlady is making much effort to look into resonable alternatives.
    For the past few years all landlords are legally bound to lodge all rental deposits in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and all disputes are resolved through them. So I would tell your daughter to ask owner for details of where hers is deposited!
  11. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Unfortunately many landlords take your security deposit as a nice golden handshake as you move on; they treat themselves to a leaving present.
    Was this money in a third party holding account, as the law dictates? Probably not? That would have meant the emphasis on the landlord to prove damage before being given any money, and a dispute could have been started.
  12. I agree that replacing the carpet in the whole house is not the previous tenants problem - they only need to cover the cost of the carpet that has been damaged. Whether this matches the rest or not shouldn't be an issue. Also, with the deposit issue, it is definitely worth looking into this as they will deal with any deposit disputes. And if the deposit has not been put into a scheme the tenant is able to reclaim 3x the original deposit. Might be a bargaining tool!!
  13. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    Celticqueen I think you have to have had your deposit in there to have anything to dispute - I think in this situation the landlord has had the money the whole time and now witheld it. Which is ****.
  14. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Like a carpet when your tenant has burned a hole in the previous one? [​IMG]
  15. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    I have left several properties in very good condition and lost all my deposit money on each occasion. Too many landlords see it as their money and a nice little earner.
  16. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Fair comment.
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I'm a landlord of a student property.
    Your daughter should have been told either where her deposit was lodged (Deposit Protection Service) or which deposit insurance company was securing the deposit monies (with the landlord holding onto the money).
    In the even of a dispute, bothe the landlord and the departing tenant should have access to an arbitration service.
    The whole rationale behind the new deposit protection schemes was that unscrupulous landlords couldn't just make up their own rules about holding onto a deposit for bogus reasons.
    If there is a dispute and the arbitrator finds in favour of the tenant, or decides that the tenant should get some of the deposit back, the Deposit Protection company will pay out to the tenant what it decides is due or in the case of an insurance company underwriting the deposit, they will pay out and will then take proceedings against the landlord who refuses to relinquish the amount designated by the arbitrator.
    No landlord will be allowed to claim for all the carpets in a property to be replaced when only the carpet in one room is damaged. The owner can easily get a carpet in a complementary colour to the one the other side of the door!
    Your daughter needs to ask the agent who has the deposit monies.
    It would be extremely useful to arbitration if your daughter has taken photos of the rooms just before leaving to prove the state in which she left the property. If she has photos from when she moved in, all the better.
    The landlord cannot expect the property to be in an identical condition to when it was first let. Allowance has to be made for reasonable wear and tear. If the property was let furnished or part furnished, the landlord will have been claiming a Wear and Tear tax relief allowance on the property, equivalent to 10% of the annual rent received. That allowance is offset against tax so the landlord saves paying 20% or 40% tax on the allowance figure. The Wear and Tear tax relief allows landlords to save on tax and be able to replace carpets and furniture when they wear out and redecorate when paper fades or paint gets chipped etc.
    Landlords can choose not to take advantage of the Wear and Tear allowance and instead offset the actual cost of replacing items against tax. I chose the Wear and Tear allowance as it allows me to offset £1600 of rental income against tax, saving us £320 per year at least in tax. I use that to replace beds, worn carpets etc. I don't expect carpets that have been in for 4, 5 or 6 years , with 5 adult tenants at a time in residence, to look the same as when they were fitted! Areas will get worn or dirty and I decide when it is no longer worth spending time using a carpet cleaner on them. i don't then charge the last lot of student tenants for the replacement carpets as others have contributed to the wear and tear over time. It's reasonable wear and tear.
    Whose insurance was it (landlord's or tenant's) that refused a claim for the accidental damage to the carpet?
  18. The deposit protection scheme started in 2007 so if your daughter moved in after that date her deposit should be protected by law. If this hasn't been done your daughter has a right to take this woman to the small claims court and will be entitled to 4 x the amount of her deposit back.

    This woman is trying it on. If your daughter has ruined part of the carpet yes she should pay for this to be repaired but that doesn't entitle the land lady to have her whole flat re-carpeted at your daughters expense.

    All landlords try it on. In my last house when I moved I was told that the flat would require a professional clean as I had not cleaned it to a high enough standard. I went back, poured some bleach down the toilet so it smelt like I had cleaned up and they refunded the whole deposit. They try it on as they know some people will fall for it and it's made them a few hundred pounds.

    Before agreeing to anything your daughter should seek advice from the CAB and show this woman that she can't be pushed around!
  19. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    and if she's making threats, definitely see CAB or similar. perhaps her sergeant might be interested..

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