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  • Deposit Protection

    Claiming tenant damage from the deposit

    My tenant has left my property after being served a Section 21.

    The deposit was protected in the DPS scheme and an Inventory had been done.

    I arranged for a check out via an independent professional provider.

    Their conclusion was that the house was cleaned to a poor standard which was the lowest score available. 2 carpets were damaged irrevocably by burning embers and an iron scorch mark which they also noted. Condition was summarised as fair which was the middle score.

    They also left 2 weeks prior to the eviction date without notice.

    I am proposing to claim for the loss of rent and for cleaning and carpet renewal.

    I have halved the cost of renewing the  2 carpets based on a formula I found as they are 7 years old but were good quality and could have cleaned up.

    My quote so far for cleaning inc carpets is 320 pounds based on 3 bed detached.

    Do I need  several quotes and must they all visit? This first one did.

    My original inventory had carpets in good condition and all paintwork in good/fair. Windows were down as new as just fitted.

    Nothing has ever been cleaned in 6 years. Is this estimate fair?

    Ps they appear to have taken a petrol strimmer and the garden is a mess but nothing stated in original inventory about its condition  It is 3 weeks since they left and 2 weeks since the check out'

    I am just back from abroad and conscious of time too.Any advice appreciated.

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    Ps £320 is for cleaning  the house including windows inside and out plus replacement carpets £175 for 2 rooms and loss of 2 weeks rent approx £400.

    The walls were all badly filled in where pictures had been but I plan to redecorate anyhow. The tenant had been in occupancy 6 years.

    The petrol strimmer has gone missing also.

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    You say nothing has been cleaned in 6 years? So I take it they have been there for six years and you've not replaced anything in that time?

    I tend to find carpets in a rental have a lifetime of about five years, in my own home it is ten to fifteen years but that is because we look after them. I am not familiar with the formula you mention so would be interested in what others have to say too.

    I have wooden flooring in many areas of my properties for the reason that is more durable and tenants like to bring their own rugs and then I don't have to worry too much about condition.

    What were the interim visits like during those six years did you / the agent ask for cleaning or gardening to be carried out? If no interim visits were made during that time it sounds like you were lucky it is in the condition it is in.

    A petrol strimmer after six years without being serviced may not even work and if you supplied it did you pay for the servicing???

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    half decent carpets last a lot longer than 5 years.  you must be using bottom of range?

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    Yes, in an ideal world carpets last longer than five years. I have the same carpets in my home as I have had in tenancy properties. Mine lasted fifteen years, the ones in the rentals did not. Simple things like they don’t take shoes off when going up stairs which we do in our own home, not clearing up spills speedily so stains deep into them and and walking in chewing gum and Blue tack so even a professional clean doesn’t do the trick. It isn’t generally malicious just a case of it isn’t theirs so they don’t care as much. I have had some who’ve cared far more, funnily enough they were the tenants with a dog and they were meticulous. It may though have had something to do with a larger deposit that specifically stipulated any damage to the carpets due to the pet.


    Ultimately it is their home and I don’t want to micromanage their lives, it is also intrusive, but I will visit and point out might be going wrong to jeopardise any deposit return, offer to arrange a window cleaner or gardener at their expense etc. I also make a point of thanking them for looking after the property and promptly reporting any problems etc.  Seeing the property once in six years is asking for a build up of problems.

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    I inspect every rental 1 - 3 months depending on tenant and send them a follow email.  agreed carrot and stick approach good.

    re carpets what sort of tenants are you letting to that walk in chewing gum and blu tank????  that is outrageous.  we've never had that.

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    Claims for the cost of cleaning a property at the end of a tenancy will depend on a couple of important factors. The first is the tenancy agreement - what does it say the tenant is responsible for? Usually we would expect a tenancy agreement to say that the tenant must leave the property cleaned to the same standard as they received it at the start of the tenancy, but its important to check the agreement. Some tenancies refer to cleaning to a "domestic" standard for example, which would be less thorough than cleaning to a professional standard.

    The next factor to consider is what the check in report stated about the cleanliness of the property at the start of the tenancy. As mentioned above, normally a deduction from the deposit is justified if the tenant has returned the property less clean. An adjudicator will compare the check in and check out reports to identify cleaning needed to the property, and award the reasonable cost of doing that.  If items you are expecting the tenant to pay to clean, were not clean at the start of the tenancy, a deposit deduction for those items/areas would not be justified. Obtaining more than one quote for work needed can be useful to show that the amount claimed is reasonable.

    For the carpets, a contribution towards the cost of replacement will be justified if the carpets are damaged beyond repair and the damage has a significant impact. Small marks or burns that have a limited visual impact for example are likely to result in an award of compensation to reflect the damage caused, which will be less than an award towards replacement costs. Again, an adjudicator would compare check in and check out reports to gauge  the change in condition from the start of the tenancy. The calculation for the contribution towards replacement costs would take into account the age cost and quality when new of the original carpets, if there was evidence (for example invoices, inventory) to show this. If not, an adjudicator can make an assumption, but this will be conservative. Typically a medium quality carpet can be assumed to have a lifespan of up to approx. 8 years, so it may well be that your carpets are nearing the end of their life and any contribution towards replacement costs would need to reflect this. You can get more information on product lifespans, and how an adjudicator will calculate replacement costs here https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/res...IGITAL.PDF


    As the previous correspondent notes A claim for the petrol strimmer may not be successful.







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    Thank you. The tenancy agreement states "to clean to or pay for cleaning to a good standard the premises fixtures and fittings including carpets and curtains and to provide receipts to demo compliance". Also " to clean or have cleaned internally and externally windows within 1 month prior to end of tenancy". The carpet in one room is ruined ,6' x 6' of burns. The other has a very large iron burn which I believe is also irrevocable.It will have to be replaced. Others can clean up.The inventory makes no reference to cleanliness but Ill double check except that ALL windows were new as they were just installed and carpets were ALL in good condition as they were just 12 months old ( have receipts) and previous tenants had kept them immaculate and ALL paintwork sills etc good. The tenant went through the inventory and added some minor marks on the carpet in one area but never said anything was dirty because it wasn't. Im happy to put a quote in for middle ground if that is more likely to be successful. Just not sure if that is the right thing to do.

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    An adjudicator is likely to interpret that tenancy clause as meaning that the property was to be left cleaned to the same standard as it was received. The absence of any comments around cleanliness in the inventory /check in report is not ideal, and the adjudicator would have to form a view on the other evidence presented to them to decide if they can be satisfied that the carpets etc were clean at the start of the tenancy. Cleanliness and condition are not the same thing.

    It sounds like you are saying that you have invoices for the original purchase and fitting of the carpets. This will be helpful to show their age cost and quality when they were new. When it comes to getting quotes for the cost of replacing the carpets, the best approach is to obtain quotes that replace the carpets on a 'like for like' basis i.e. same quality and type.


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    I just had a similar thing but I'd spent nothing on the property in over 5 years and was expecting to redecorate in any case. The carpet I'd originally laid was pretty poor quality so I've put it down to experience.  I've replaced all the flooring with good quality laminate now. Overall they were good tenants and I made a decent yield so I gave them the deposit back and I feel better in myself for doing that. Being a landlord is not only about the money for me. But with good yeilds and other income I can afford to say that.

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    Thanks all for your contributions/help which are most helpful. I have overlooked minor damage in the past with tenants but the house is filthy and some carpets and curtains ruined. It is not fair wear and tear as the carpets were decent quality and will clean up where not burned and this is despite the treatment they have had. I plan to factor in age of carpets/ etc in my deductions. I must admit I was a tenant myself for nearly 4 years and left my own tenancy looking just the same as I found it but I realise everyone is different.  It has a very low yield. I have never put the rent up as longevity was key. I used it to fund care. I have responded to all requests for maintenance promptly and regularly been proactive. This is not about revenge / making money just trying to understand what is fair really and get to grips with the process. My tenant was a bit intimidating and did NOT like intrusion so it will be MANAGED going forward if I do opt to continue. Unfortunately the inventory which I paid for initially stated Good/New against condition on most fixtures/ fittings (windows/carpets/paintwork) but no reference to cleanliness so I am getting the impression that it can be left in a tragic state and that's that really. I plan to put a FAIR claim in anyhow and see what happens. Thanks all for your help.

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