What constitutes malicious damage?

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After a Court Judgement last Friday, we have just gained back the keys to a first floor apartment where the tenant not only owed 4 month's rent but also had kept a dog/puppy for several months leaving it bowling on its own for long periods of time leading to complaints from other residents. On entering the apartment it became apparent that the dog was completely incontinent and in every room the carpet is covered in urine/faeces stains and footprints - there is other damage as well. We have landlord's contents insurance but it will not cover damage by pets, but will cover "malicious" damage. The dog was kept against the strict terms of the tenancy agreement and despite the tenant being asked to remove it on various occasions - would this count as "malicious" in the legal sense used by insurance companies. Certainly the tenant knew he was breaking the terms of the Lease and also it is patently clear that he took no steps to stop the dog from fouling the carpet, and only carrying out the most desultory of cleaning up afterwards. A new mattress has also been wrecked in the same way.

We know that we can pursue our tenant for the costs of replacement/repair but as he already owes us a lot of rent money, are not hopefully of realistically getting any money back (apart from the Deposit monies held).
Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

02/06/2008 00:00

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