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Hi all, apologies for any errors as this is my first post! In fact I may have posted this twice!!

Some details:

My partner rented a three bedroom property in the London burbs. The tenancy agreement for 12 months less one day was in writing, inventory was performed by the landlord and commenced in January 2008. Break point after six months, rent of £1325 pcm in advance, 6 weeks rent as deposit held by third party. The tenancy was renewed on the next two anniversaries, rent being increased to £1350 and the £1400. She gave two month's notice to terminate the agreement with the final day being 1 December 2010. By the landlord's own words we were ideal tenants.

On checkout, a number of items were a problem, as follows:

· Blue stain on downstairs carpet - this appeared after the carpets had been professionally cleaned. The mark did come out with a little bit of effort.

· Roller blind in the bathroom was broken, subsequently replaced at our expense.

· The door handle on the cooker was broken - this broke during use however the landlord was not informed (my partner is anxious when dealing with landlords because of her personal history and believes that she is in a weak position; therefore doesn't want to upset them)

· There were a number of marks and one quite noticeable stain on the third bedroom carpet, occupied by her (now) 15 year old son - the noticeable stain was from an ink cartridge and has been there for a while.

· The bathroom has a vinyl floor covering and there are three discolouration marks on it from where bath mats were put down.

The cost of a new cooker handle is £40 which the landlord is expecting us to cover in full. The current cost of replacement carpet and vinyl is £300 and the landlord has said that his anticipated life expectancy for those items is 10 years (the guy giving the quote reckoned 15 years). He believes that our contribution to the replacement cost should be 60%, i.e. £180. The figure of 60% is derived from 10 years less the total period the property has been let (i.e. four years). The landlord also states that he cannot let the property as it stands at the moment.

I think that the landlord is t'ing the p and I was looking for some guidance on a fair amount. My views are as follows:

· The landlord received £46,000 in rent during the tenancy, with no hassle or trouble at all.

· The landlord, if the let is furnished, will be able to claim a wear & tear allowance for tax purposes of £4,600. If unfurnished the full cost of renewals is deductible.

· They are unable to produce invoices for the original purchase of the carpet, vinyl and cooker.

· The cooker manufacturer states that the life expectancy of the cooker is the lifetime of the spares availability, being 10 years post cessation of production. However parts fail within that time frame. The cooker was manufactured in 1997.

· The salesman in the carpet shop (not the person who did the quote) has stated that the nylon carpet and vinyl are quite robust but wear and tear depends on usage etc (age, quality, etc which I understand). He did think that in a tenanted property, a family of four and two cats, it would be fair to say that those items had a useful life of five years. When I spoke to the salesman there were two quotes prepared on which I am seeking clarification (the landlord was at the property during the quote and not us).

· I believe that it is unrealistic to expect the carpet and vinyl to have no marks on it after four years of letting. By replacing all the carpet and vinyl they are effectively benefitting from having the non-damaged part replaced and it would be more reasonable for them to contribute a percentage to cover that element. Though not ideal, the property can be let with the carpet and vinyl in that condition.

· The property was tired looking and in need of redecoration (subsequently carried out by the landlord and their family).

I think that a nominal contribution of £60 should be made as a token of good faith. I know that £180 is not a lot of money but we are absolutely strapped for cash and of course the deposit remains within the TDS. The landlord has already stated that they would rather settle outside of using the deposit because of bureaucracy and it would mean involving a solicitor. And they still had £46,000 in total rents during that time.

 

Many thanks

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The landlord does actually seem quite reasonable, compared to some (mine for instance :sad: ).

 

300 for a carpet AND vinyl floor seems VERY reasonable - I'd've thought 300 EACH would be nearer the mark (certainly if you include fitting) - depends on the size of the rooms I suppose.

 

Personally, I'd tell the landlord - "that seems fine, but we can't pay it all at once - any chance of giving you £15 a month for the next twelve months?", and negotiate from there.

 

doesn't matter how much rent you've paid - firstly, that's what you agreed to, and secondly his mortgage payments might have been more than that - he might have been actually losing money whilst you were in there.

Carpe Jugulum

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as to the cooker - if the manufacturer says the expected lifespan is ten years, and the cooker is older than that, then fair wear and tear means it's valueless, and thus you shouldn't be paying for a repair.

 

But they didn't say that. They said that the lifespan is "ten years post cessation of production". So when was the cooker last produced? Is it still being produced, and can you get spares?

 

Otherwise, I agree that your landlord seems to be being reasonable. But there's no harm in negotiating - start at your lowest point, and see where you meet.

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On the face of it the Landlord does not appear to be unreasonable here

 

Plus, it is only now that the Landlord knows he/she has a some minor items of repair/replacement to attend to before the property can be re-let, which may delay a re-letting. These kind of surprises are not ideal for the Landlord, but easily resolveable if the Tenant is agreeable too.

 

All in all the Landlord does not seem unreasonable and as others have said some polite, gentle negotiating on your part may do no harm, perhaps

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Hi all and thanks for your replies. I appreciate it.

 

I take the point about the amount of rent paid being is irrelevant - on reflection I raised it for two reasons. Firstly a matter of proportionality and secondly because of the tax allowances that could be claimed for wear and tear. I have decided to omit both points from a negotiation perspective!

 

I agree that the landlord is not being unreasonable, I just think he is not being pragmatic or realistic. My brother has just had tenants leave a property and he thinks that the landlord is t'ing the p. Two letting agents and an inventory clerk have a similar view. All three believe that the landlord should expect some marks after that period of time; one agent (who also has a number of rental properties) was emphatic that a landlord should expect that a nylon carpet be replaced after three years and white goods not after no more than than five years (three for a washing machine). Any longer life than that and you would be doing well.

 

The carpet that was put down was a cheap nylon carpet - trying to remove the stain by simply rubbing with Vanish was affecting the state of the pile.

 

Times are hard and a lot of carpet companies are very keen to supply a sale at a reasonable price.

 

As regards the cooker, the manufacturer has effectively said that whilst parts are available the cooker can be repaired. Parts fail in that time. The fact that we can still buy parts for it indicates that it is still within it's life expectancy. Principles of fair wear and tear would seem to indicate a shorter life. You can repair the item until your heart's content but at what stage does it become the landlord's responsibilty in full or impractical?

 

I take the point about little suprises for the landlord. None of the issues prevent the property being re-let as it is. Bear in mind also that they have entered the property (without notice) on at least two occasions after our initial move but before our tenancy finished on 1 December (the landlord was very busy taking photos and checking the property over). Indeed they have been marketing the property since we originally gave notice at the end of September without success - they have tried at least two different agents. The landlord is asserting that the issues are preventing the property being marketed which is just not the case. They are far more likely to have issues with the fact that the kitchen needs to be renewed.

 

Sorry, been going on a bit!

 

I have sent the landlord an email making a number of points that have been taken into consideration in offering a sum in settlement. However, I think that they will be seeking the full cost back for the floor coverings (after wear & tear) and the cooker handle. Still as has been said, no harm in negotiating!

 

Once again, thanks for the comments made, most helpful and serves to maintain (my) perspective.

 

Great forum.

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