Disputed deduction from tenancy deposit

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MrsD
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A long term tenant moves out of my property today. When they moved in, the property was newly refurbished wnd decorated and a new leather sofa was provided. A couple of years after they moved in during an inspection I raised a concern about a new hols that had appeared in the sofa. We discussed options for its repair/replacement. At the next inspection, the tenant had done nothing to repair the hole, they had not replaced the item and the hole had grown considerably, it was then a huge gaping hole. During the time I wrote to the tenant explaining the situation ie. the huge hole not being considered 'fair wear and tear' and advising that they must repair or replace the sofa. The tenant at this point made an offer of a much cheaper faux leather sofa, and were informed they must replace it like for like. Is this an admission of fault? They still did nothing to repair nor replace the sofa.
I inspected the property today. The sofa has now got two massive gaping holes in it. The tenant has not only done nothing to repair nor replace the sofa but has damaged it further. Here comes the twist! The tenant is claiming that the property has a big problem with damp/mould, that has caused deterioration of the leather and led to holes appearing. I had not been made aware that there was a problem with mould apart from in one room. This property has been in the family for many many years and no one in the property previously has experienced this problem. I am about to have a damp survey/inspection done on the property as I need to know the cause and extent of the problem. An initial chat with a surveyor indicates that proper ventilation can prevent condensation and mould, where it exists, getting out of hand
I cannot accept that the damage to the sofa has been caused by damp/mould and am intending to take the considerable cost of replacing the sofa from the protected tenancy deposit. I have previously put this in writing to the tenant. Has anyone had any similar problem? Is there anything I can do to protect myself?
07/10/2014 21:08

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