Damages to property
I am thinking I may need legal advice here.
We were taken through the ringer with our last tenant and had to gain possession through the courts procedure via S21.
We were advised by the bailiffs to NOT pursue the court costs etc..... as it would be like getting blood out of a stone, plus would cause more stress and strain to us in addtition to what had already been caused thanks to the tenant from hell.
When we gained possession of the property from the bailiffs we went through the house room by room and took dated/timestamped pictures of the condition the property was left in.
Possession was obtained 13th July 2017, and I informed the tenant that she had 7 days to contact us and make an appointment to collect the rest of their belongings (they left broken items of furniture etc....).
I also sent the pictures of the condition of the property and informed her of the likely cost to put things right. I found the cheapest price for internal doors and hardware I could, I also informed her that I wouldn't be looking for anything with regards to the flooring in two rooms as the condition of the floor was not "as new" when she moved in. Other things mentioned were wheelie bins left full which had to be cleaned and emptied etc....
I received an email from the woman yesterday 21st August 2017 giving me a forwarding address and asking for direct debit details, also a following email disputing the amount quoted in the email I sent her with the pictures in July. She is accusing the previous tenant of causing the damage etc...
She is also saying that she reported the damage of other items to us and that we had been negligent in not repairing them, however we have NO records (written or otherwise) of her reporting anything that had not been addressed. In fact one of the main reasons we wanted to evict her originally was due to the fact that she would not give us access to the property in order to carry out repairs/maintainence and we had on one occassion called the police who then spoke with her and then she allowed access. There is no written complaints about any repairs that were not either taken care of by ourselves or tradesmen.
She signed the tenancy and had no questions with regards to the property when she moved in, the condition of the house was completely functional however it hadn't been completely cleared or cleaned throughout but she was eager to move in and took on the property and made assurances she would take responsibilty for the cleaning and also that she could make use of most of the items left at the property.
There is NO DEPOSIT as this was a loan she received from the council which she never repaid and we paid it back to the council in order to issue the S21 as it had NOT been protected. (We were not aware we had to do anything until joing RLA and reading through all the information we could find here)
My question is this, is it worth asking for money with regards to the damages etc, or is it more hassle than its worth? Should we just take the hit and only recover the legal costs where judgement has been passed with regards to her liability.
We have accepted an offer for the house and for the past month we had enjoyed the peace and quiet, however this woman has now contacted us out of the blue when we assumed she would just dissapear and we'd hear no more from her. I have the impression there is a storm brewing and she is planning/plotting something else.
Any advice from someone who has been in a similar situation would be appreciated, or from someone with legal knowledge. We know we made mistakes as landlords which is why we joined this site, we will not be landlords anymore, way too much hassle than its worth.