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Around 18 months ago one of my properties was burgled. The tenant visited my agent afterwards to report this, and said a window had been damaged. The quote to replace it was £350. The excess on my insurance is £250 so rather than claim, and risk a large premium increase for following years, I had the window fitted and paid for it myself.
18 months on... The tenant called my agent to advise that both the front and back doors were damaged and unsafe. When the agent got back to her for further details she advised that they were damaged during the break in 18 months ago.
It seems I'm now faced with a bill for several hundred pounds to replace the doors. If the tenant had advised of this damaged doors when she reported the window I would have made an insurance claim for all the damage, total cost to me £250.
I'm looking for advice really, as the tenant appears to have breached the tenancy agreement by not reporting the doors. In practical terms, what can I do?
Disclaimer: I'm not a legal expert or an advisor on any subject. A mere landlord using open forum to share ideas and experiences.
Hi Ricco,Have no mid-term property inspections been undertaken by the agent in the last 18 months?!The tenant should have reported all the damage at the time. It seems odd that they are now saying doors were damaged 18 months ago, but they didn't bother to mention it at the time and they have managed for 18 months without a problem.In the first instance, I would recommend that you employ a tradesman to go and look at the doors and report on how he thinks the damage occurred. He can also advise how much they are going to cost to fix.
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
The agent has told me that they have conducted a property visit since "the tenant did not mention it" No mention of of them not seeing the damage themselves.
It sounds a bit iffy to report a window but somehow failed to mention 2 doors
It also sounds a bit iffy for the agent not to spot this on a subsequent visits
18 months has passed so it really doesn't smell right
Get someone you trust to look at it closely
A decent tradesman may well be able to ascertain whether its new or old damage
Get them to report direct to you not the tenant nor the agent . Get pictures
If they say its pretty def recent damage you have a case
Then I would have a face to face with the tenant and the agent to say this just doesn't add up
If you suspect some porkies suggest one /both need to put their hands in their pockets for this
If they blank you consider withholding the deposit and front them out saying you suspect some kind of fraud or criminal damage may be going on and you will let the police sort it out . Tell them you spoke to a scenes of crime officer the other week by chance and they said they can pinpoint dates of damage with remarkable accuracy these days . Drop in a few buzz words like enhanced infra red techniques ,sonic testing , carbon dating etc
That might get them wobbling and produce the desired result and they come clean .
Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com