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  • Landlords in Distress

    Tenant complaining about mattress

    I could do with some guidance on being reasonable and fair in this situation.

    I'm letting out my previous home, 2 bed in London.  I've previously has lodgers but never let a complete flat. I was advised that in this area furnished was usually needed.

    I supplied a new divan, mattress and headboard from a local supplier having visited the shop. The tenants said she only wanted 1 bed and the other room she will use as an office. I intentionally bought the better mattress (£300 king size) but with a basic divan. It was delivered as I was moving out.   But, a huge mistake I now realise, I didn’t properly inspect the item so accept the following is my error.

    The tenant started the tenancy just before the bank holiday and the following day sent pictures of a dirty corner and some tearing of the divan base fabric. It was bank holiday and I couldn't get hold of the shop manager. The tenant had slept on the mattress which was fine, placed directly on the floor. Clearly this is my fault so I was prepared to offer compensation and have a new base sent.

    The tenant then added that as her boyfriend, who will he joining her but isn’t a named tenant, has significant dust allergy and a divan base isn’t suitable for him and they would have to go an buy their own wooden base.

    I wanted to show good faith and keep a good relationship so offered a gift of £150 towards this, accepting I will then not have a divan base for a possible next tenant. A couple of days later, still no bank details forwarded so I can send the £150, the tenant states that they have bought a base and want a new mattress - they are from Germany where foam mattresses are the norm (?) and also better for allergies.

    They now want to know if I can get a full refund for the divan base and mattress as they don't want the mattress they have from me, they can't store it and they want me to replace the coil mattress with a foam one. (I'm unclear if they have already bought the foam one and just want me to give money towards it)

    The bed company are refusing contact but really this is my problem and I am going to need to pursue a refund via my credit card but this isn't guaranteed.

    I personally don't like to provide foam mattresses as I'm not convinced they pass on very well to next tenants. The mattress provided is the same quality to one that previous guests and lodgers always thought good quality.  Any thoughts/advice?

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    Hi Phil,

    If the tenant had specific concerns over mattresses, she should have addressed this with you at the start of the tenancy and agreed that you purchase something specific to her needs.

    If she wants a different base and mattress than the one provided, then that is her cost, and she can take those items with her when she leaves.

    The boyfriend is not even on the tenancy and you have no commercial relationship with him and are under no legal obligation to adhere to his needs.  In fact, you could be slightly legitimately aggrieved that he is moving in and you were not aware of him being resident there!  You have to consider what would happen if the couple split up, the tenant moves out, but the boyfriend remains.

    I think your only obligation is to remove the base and mattress from the property.  Hopefully you can get a refund, but, if not you could always offer it for sale in our MarketPlace or put it on ebay.

    Good luck and let us know the outcome.

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    Thanks for you view which is very helpful.

    I'm now not in the same city and don't have access to storage (letting out my previous home while I rent elsewhere) so even removing the mattress will be awkward.  The mattress is pretty good quality for a rental property and I would have expected it to last a few years for potential other tenants.  Can you tell me more about my obligation to remove it?

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    I just think you should remove it if there is nowhere to store it - to maintain a good relationship with the tenant.

    The best outcome is obviously to get the bed company to come and collect it and offer you a refund.  I think you have a justifiable case if the bed was dirty and you have photographic evidence.

    If you can't deal with it this way, get the tenant to order a council collection (which they can pay for) or put it on ebay saying buyer has to collect from that property (subject to agreement from tenant).

    It won't be economically viable to pay to store it somewhere imho, so either arrange for collection and store it yourself, or do what I suggested above.

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    Don't really have anything to add to this topic, but I do have a general question if you don't mind Phil.

    You say that "I was advised that in this area furnished was usually needed." - Did you ever think about letting your flat unfinished first, and then gauge the response before you started to furnish the flat?

    I can understand the furnished flat being more desirable, especially for a flat in London, but then it does open up a can of worms like this.


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    Good point adam.  This tenant definitely wanted it furnished as she was moving from another EU country. 

    And as she is the first sole tenant (not lodger) I let her have some input e.g. I would have put 2 double beds in but ended up just putting 1 kingsize in as she said she wanted the 2nd room as an office guest room and would put her own sofa bed in it.

    Looking online at all the other properties in the area they all have the basic furniture eg double divan bed and wardrobe in each room and 1 sofa, 1 table and chair set etc unless they are the very top end serviced apartments. 

    I'll be very keen to let it unfurnished if letting it again in future.

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    Ahh I see.

    Yes I think it would definitely be worth considering. Although I appreciate it's easy for me to say, I let houses so always do unfurnished, appreciate flat's are trickier.

    But for future lets I think there is value in meeting the tenant first and discussing their needs. That way it's more personalised to them and less effort and financial outlay to you. Just a thought.

    I'm even moving away from supplying white goods. The less I supply, the less I am responsible for. But will obviously play it by ear. If I find the perfect tenant and they won't move in unless I provide a dishwasher, then of course I will provide one. One to trial

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    I would be interested to know if others with flats in central London manage to find the more mature professionals with their own furniture.  You would’ve thought so,given buying is so hard.

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    I didn't have loads of interest in the first instance.  I had to advertise it quite a few months before it was available to be let so I could be sure of a let before renting somewhere else myself (if that makes sense). 

    In the central London area it seems that the vast majority of tenants only usually look a few weeks before they need somewhere.

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    Hi Phil,

    I am sorry about your predicament with this demanding tenant, I fully agree with Vanessa, let them organise and pay for the bed that they require, I hope you get your money back for yours. If all else fails you could get rid of it by putting it on freecycle.org or on facebook

    However, you write that you had trouble letting in Central London and that it took some time. This is of interest to me because I am looking into buying a flat in Central London to let for £1600 (for a 2 bedder). This seems to be the lower rental value in the area but I am concerned about how easy and quick such properties let. Would you mind giving me some insight based on your experience please? Thank you

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