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Damage & Cleaning Costs

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We are currently in dispute with a previous tenant who did not return the property to the same state as at the start of the tenancy. They apologised on the morning they vacated the property for not having done the cleaning but they are now saying that they “cleaned the house in total”, which they demonstrably did not. The tenancy agreement that we signed with the tenants includes the following clause:

“To deliver up the premises to the landlord with vacant possession at the end of the tenancy in the same good and clean state of repair and decoration as they were in at the commencement of the term (fair wear and tear and damage by accidental fire excepted), and pay for the repair and replacement of any items of the fixtures, fittings and appliances which have been damaged, destroyed or lost.”

During the tenancy, they also failed to inform us of a faulty electrical fitting and proceeded to fix the fitting themselves. When we eventually found out about it, we politely reiterated to them that this should have been communicated to us to put right. They subsequently attempted to remedy damaged tile grouting in the en-suite shower using a product which was not fit for this purpose. When we challenged this again, they told us that they thought we were fine with them fixing the electrical fault and therefore assumed that it was acceptable to repeat this behaviour. We think they believed this because we were not antagonistic towards them. Of course, as responsible landlords none of these things are acceptable to us. This is also covered in the tenancy clause as follows:

“To telephone the landlord immediately regarding, and confirm in writing within 24 hours of, any defect in the premises which comes to the tenant’s attention and which is the responsibility of the landlord to repair, and to pay the landlord all liabilities which may be incurred by the landlord as a result of any such defect not having been so notified.”

Our initial communication with the tenant advising them that we were going to claim for general cleaning, redecorating and damages incurred against the deposit was rejected outright. We decided to continue our correspondence with them through DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) stipulating the amount of the deposit to be returned to the tenants, which they have rejected for a second and third time.

The latest correspondence appears to row back on their apology and they now refuse to contribute towards our expense and time spent cleaning, redecorating and repairing the flat. They say that they “could agree only for the professional cleaning of the house” by which they mean a third-party cleaning company. They apparently believe this would have been cheaper when it would actually have been far more expensive. They also refuse to pay for damaged items asserting that ”its is because of the normal wear and tear and it is not a damage”. We do not see how a broken armchair armrest and broken electric fan can be considered “fair wear and tear”.

Their entire deposit would not be enough to cover all the remedial work, damage sustained by our property and the loss of rent, yet we are only trying to claim a proportion of the deposit. We would like advice on how we can successfully achieve this.

20/08/2019 21:24

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