Deposit - laminate flooring - wear and tear?

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A
Accidental llord
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Hello, some tenants moved into my property in early 2015. I had laid brand new laminate flooring in the living room/kitchen just before they moved in. When they moved out, I noticed that a few planks in the living room looked warped/ blistered. I pointed this out during check out and they said that they hadn't noticed this before. The inventory clerk said that maybe that was caused by damp. I’ve since had the planks pulled up and replaced – fortunately I had some spare pieces in my loft. The builder who replaced the blanks said that it was certainly not caused by damp (otherwise he would have seen it in the underlay type thing they use under laminate) and he thinks that most likely there was some kind of water spillage that was left for a long time, without being mopped up fast enough (the flooring is supposed to be waterproof). I was charged £280 for this repair and want to take the cost out of my tenants’ deposit. I read that as part of the process, I should notify the tenant before making an official claim – replying, one of the tenants said that “I feel that that damage caused would very much fall under reasonable wear and tear - I can honestly say that I had not noticed it at all whilst living there. I cannot remember any occasion when anything was split or dropped on the floor in that place and think it is most likely simply due to it being the main route to across the room. I would not feel it reasonable for a deduction to be made for wear to the floor as a result of normal use. I understand that repayment of a deposit is a very subjective matter but I would ask you to reconsider in this respect as I do not feel that the level of wear is unreasonable for an eighteen month tenancy.” I, the landlord, have had the same flooring at home for 10+ years, with pets, people and bikes going over it and it is not warped in the way the flooring at my let property has been in that 18 month period (note that the damage is to a few planks only, not the entire floor). The tenants’ deposit is currently lodged with the Deposit Protection Service and I would like to try and make a claim, despite what my tenant said. Do you know what the procedure is? Do you think that my attempt of a claim is worthwhile – I am always confused by the definition of wear and tear (though my personal view is that, in this case, the damage was not due to reasonable wear and tear)? Additional details also – I used an agent to carry out the inventory/check in+ out and lodge the deposit, but they’re useless and I’m already concerned about timelines as my tenant moved out on 2 July and I read that I have to pay them back in 30 days… and I’m getting silence from my agent. Can anyone advise please? I’ve never lodged a deposit claim before. Thank-you

20/07/2016 22:05

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