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Tenant left garden in a mess...


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Hi,

 

Our tenants have just vacated the property after a long let, prior to them moving in we noticed that there was evidence of a water leak in one of the rooms  as there was staining on the ceiling and the plaster on the wall in that area was damp. We subsequently had a roofer inspect our roof, and he did the necessary repairs and assured us that the roof was now water tight. This then allowed us to make good the area of damage in the room and redecorate, this was wallpapering and making the roof stain good.

 

The tenants then moved in. Possibly about two months later I had reason to visit the property and  upon asking if there were any issues it was pointed out that the wall paper in the area of the repair had peeled back, this being about the size of half a beer mat, it was my assumption that this was due to their being residue moisture from the old leak and the paper had not adhered properly. I then mentioned that if the situation became worse, the tenants should inform me. Nothing was heard. On a later visit maybe 9 months later I looked at the problem area and the peeling had not increased. That viewing showed that the inside of the property although untidy was in an acceptable condition. However, the garden was quite frankly a mess, this issue was pointed out to the tenants, and they assured me that this would be dealt with.

 

 A while later, possibly six months or so, not sure of this though, as we were in the area to the rented property as we live some distance away we took the opportunity to view from outside without calling in the front garden, it was a mess with weeds 2 foot tall and totally unkempt. On our return home, I sent an email explaining our drive by and the issues that we found. A reply was received accusing us of spying on them.

 

Now we have the property returned to us the interior is in an acceptable condition, although we will spend a few days just to get it back to immaculate, the same as it was when the let started. However, again the gardens are really poor, with maybe a ton of soil and grass cutting having been deposited at the top of the rear garden which has not been removed even though the tenants promised to do this when it was pointed out to them on a previous visit.

 

To continue, two days before they vacated the property we received an email which came with an attachment of a stained mattress, the tenants are implying that if we don't return their deposit in full they threaten that they will be claiming for a new mattress that in their opinion has been damaged by the water leak that was previously mentioned. The damaged area that I previously mentioned with regard to the paper peeling back has increased to maybe 50% of an A4 sheet.

There is also an area where wallpaper has become detached from the wall and is very lightly stained, this stain is easily removed with a damp sponge. To compound matters the tenant also is angling that due to the water leak she is suffering from ill health. If the situation in that room was really that bad they had the choice of another two rooms to sleep in. 

 

Looking at the tenancy agreement that was signed by the tenants, we personally feel that they are in breach because it states that they must  mention to us in writing, phone call or an email of any issues with the property. This did not happen, and if it had, we would have dealt with the situation.

 

Wanting to put all this behind us and move on we have said to the tenant that if they deal with the garden issues we will return their deposit in full and in doing so that then concludes any further interest from them regarding the let, no reply as yet to this.

 

 

Where do we stand here, please?

 

Many thanks

 

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Appears to be a reasonable approach to take.  They tidy the garden to return it to the same state as it was prior to the let starting and you will refund the deposit in full.

 

Suggest you put this is writing so you have a record.

 

I doubt that they have any evidence to support the mattress or health issue being caused by a previous water leak. 

We could do with some help from you.

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Tenant left garden in a mess...

Hi,

 

Many thanks for your reply.

 

It's possible that my last attachment was not viewable, so its attached again.

 

Yesterday I  mailed the tenants with my offer, but they have gone cold with no reply, usually emails are replied to very quickly.

 

Looking at sections 4.3.1 and 4.3.1.2 have they breached the tenancy by not informing me that the so-called fixed leak had become worse, and  I was not informed even though I did find out two days before they vacated?

 

Thanks  in advance

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Your attachment was viewable in your first post.

 

Does the issue you mention with the wallpaper/slight stain really constitute a breach ?  Is it significant enough ?

 

The wallpaper was probably applied before the wall was properly dry.  But the other possibility, is that the tenants did not open windows regularly to ventilate the room.  It is important for windows to be opened or put into a vent position on a regular basis, to ensure that moisture is allowed out.

 

If the tenant had clothes drying in the house, with baths/showers being used etc, this may have helped cause the wallpaper peeling  and the damp stain.

 

Today has been a lovely Summer day in many parts of the UK, so the tenants may not be as quick to respond.  Same issue with replies to this site, so you might get other responses later.

 

The tenant is unlikely to try to pursue you for the matress or health issue they say is caused by a damp issue.  Unlikely to have sufficient evidence and their own actions may be the cause.   They are most likely deciding whether to complete work in the garden or not.   You are within your rights to hold onto the deposit for now, until the reasonable request to return property to pre let condition is completed.

 

 

We could do with some help from you.

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Hi again

 

Yes, it's been a lovely day weather wise.

 

Guess you've better things to do with weather like today than help with this problem, so thanks very much for your input, it's very much appreciated.

 

Late this afternoon I did receive a reply from the tenants, and they are asking me to go 50/50 with getting the garden sorted, not only that, as they have moved away they are expecting me to get the quotes.

 

Regarding you view on this issue, its so easy not to see the whole picture and my thoughts that the staining damp may be of their own doing didn't occur to me as I was so locked into the historical leak. Taking a closer look at the room in question today, I'm convinced that they are trying it on with the stained mattress- they did mail through a picture and then a receipt for supposedly the mattress. My wife and I then took both the pic and receipt to the bedding store where purchase was made to ask if the two married up, the picture does not show any emblems/manufactures logo or such to prove that this is the case, so we are none the wiser- our thoughts being that the stained mattress is from elsewhere.

 

A few days back I spoke to our letting agent regarding all of this, as was quite correctly mentioned there are two parts to this equation, namely the mattress and then the property.

 

Our agents mentioned to me that as an inventory was not carried out initially with the let, (hindsight) the pictures that were used to advertise the property could not be used as evidence to present to the TDS to be compared to the pictures now as there is no proof that the advertising pictures were in fact how the property was when the let started. I mentioned that all digital pictures have a means of finding when that pic was taken- Geo tag/Metadata- agent was quite surprised by this. The agents thoughts then went for a hide in a vacuum-

 

This is going off at a tangent here-many moons ago my wife studied computer science at a local University, one of her classmates who she is still in touch with is now a practising Solicitor. My wife suggested that maybe I give her a call, a bit rude I guess, but I did  phone and with the pleasantries out the way  I asked for her opinion of the best way to get this sorted. Her remit isn't landlord type stuff, however she will speak to a colleague on Monday and come back to me.

 

The property is due to be relet on the 21st, we will ensure that the new tenants move in to a home that is immaculate and welcoming, trouble is its getting a tadge close to get the garden issues sorted in time.

 

I know that all this will get closure in the end, but at the moment I've had more fun with a toothpick-

 

Again, many thanks.

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Hi

 

I assume this mattress was the Tenants own property?

 

So after moving out the Tenants provided an attachment showing a stained mattress and wanting full deposit back and threatening to claim against you for this.

 

1. Tenants failed to notify you of this stained mattress issue until the end of tenancy after they had vacated the property.

 

2. You have no evidence that this was the actual mattress used in that property nor evidence to back up there claim the staining caused this mattress damage.  (i.e. one of them could have had an accident and wet the bed or done this when they moved from the property).

 

 

3. Ask them that you wish the mattress independently inspected. (which you are fully entitled to do and if it proves this claim is false it will be added to the deposit claim by you the landlord for damages as well as the Garden if you need to get landscapers in to carry out the work that should have been carried out by Tenants as per Tenacy Agreement and raised  by yourself (Landlord) on a few occasions which Tenants failed to rectify even at end of tenancy.

 

4. Ask them to provide you with the contact details of there Contents Insurance Company (tenants whether Private or Social Housing should always take out and have Contents Insurance but is up to that tenant) bet they don't provide it


Big question is the Deposit protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and those Tenants that have left were given a copy of the Prescribed Terms for that TDS? (Bear in mind you may need to tell TDS that you are in dispute with the Tenant about damages i.e. mattress and Garden)

 


 

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Stu007 and team-

 

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner-

 

Yes, I'm assuming the mattress is their own property, this assumption being that the supplied receipt is in their name.

 

Tenants supplied the pic on 5th June and vacated property 7th June.

 

Today I gave them a price to deal with all the garden issues, if they don't get back to me am I In my rights to let the work go ahead and deduct it from the deposit? There is a time issue here as a new tenant is due in next Monday 21st.

 

If by any chance  they do have contents insurance, what are the chances of them succeeding with their claim for the mattress- zero/maybe?

 

I understand that the deposit is being held by the TDS, sorry my knowledge only goes that far.

 

Should I be wary of asking the TDS for guidance here? If this all goes t*ts up, they will be dealing with it anyway.

 

I'll let you know what the Solicitor advices when we speak tomorrow.

 

Thanks again

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  • 2 weeks later...

The solicitor advised that the chance of the mattress claim succeeding was very slim. I accepted the 50/50 cost for the garden, as I've better things to do with my life than worry over this. The tenants have moved on and this then has closed the issue regarding any interests in their let which I have in writing and I can now get on with my life.

 

New tenant in beginning of this week.

 

Lesson learnt by me-get everything in writing!

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