Here is a blog clinic request from Karen (not her real name) who is a landlord.
We have collected quotes for damage to our property that have exceeded the deposit by around £500. We are using a letting agent and they informed the tenants of the cost of the damage and the tenants made an offer of about a fifth of the total which we have turned down.
We have offered to negotiate further with the tenants but first would appreciate answers to the following:
– We have a quote for wooden laminate flooring that is to replace only the slats in the floor that have been badly stained/pock marked as recorded in the check out inventory. In reality we would not be able to replace only these large sections of flooring as we would not be able to match the existing floor. From the quote we have, how do we come up a figure that avoids betterment?
– What happens if it goes to adjudication and the sum awarded us is greater than the deposit?If we could go to small claims for the rest, would the adjudication supply evidence to support our case?
– We found significant damage not recorded on the check-out inventory after the 14 day period for making a claim on the deposit. Some of it we have significant evidence for and some involve breaches of the tenancy agreement. Is there anything we can do about this?
My view is that if there is any chance that the tenants will be able to pay for the damage, you should opt for a County Court claim instead of adjudication. Then you will be able to claim for everything and also claim for more than the deposit amount.
With an adjudication, you are only dealing with the deposit money. So you will have to go to court for any additional claim.
However if the tenants are impecunious then it may not be worth the effort to go to court and adjudication is free.
If you do go to court, and if you use the DPS, make sure that the final order records that the money is held by them as otherwise they will not be able to pay the money over to you.
So far as the flooring is concerned, I think you need to try to match the flooring if you can, but if this proves impossible the tenants will probably be liable for the whole lot.
So far as the items which were discovered after inspection are concerned, this is very unfortunate. However, if you have decent evidence to prove the damage and can explain why it was not spotted at check out you may succeed with it.
Does anyone else have any comments on this. What is your view, for example, on the claim for flooring?