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  • Landlords in Distress

    Tenants leave after 4 months

    Hi all,

    A couple moved into one of my flats 3 months ago signing a minimum 6 month lease.

    They texted me last week saying they would be moving out today due them wanting to move back home to be with a seriously ill family member. I simply replied "Ok Sarah, thanks for letting me know, hope you and David are ok".

    I go to the property today (we agreed they'd put the keys through the letterbox) and they've left it filthy.

    -laminate flooring at front door has warped due to them not wiping feet on mat

    -they painted the lounge plum red and have left paint spill over the skirting boards, coving, electrical sockets and laminate flooring. (I verbally agreed to them painting it a neutral colour, the contract states no decoration without written permission)

    -Appliances left uncleaned etc

    I'm going to have to have the lounge fully repainted and I'll have to spend a good few hours cleaning. How much of the deposit am I entitled to and what would you do?

    Thanks for reading

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    I really feel for you. My property was left in a similar state. You will be looking at about five coats of paint  to get back to neutral. Consider wallpapering if you want to get it back in shape quickly. I was able to get the paint of the laminate with some gentle scourers. I would have thought you would be able to keep all of the deposit necessary to cover the cost of putting everything right. Take photographs of it all. Also aren't they supposed to pay you the rent for the full six months?

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    Hi. You would of been entitled to claim the remaining rent until the end of the fixed term. I'm sure the deposit is held in a government scheme,  therfore keep all receipts for works carried out. Then make a claim for the deposit. The fact you agreed to release the tenants from the AST, I'm sure they will agree to your deposit claim from the DPS.

    If not,  take the matter through the small claims court.


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    Yes unfortunately people are sooh selfish. When their life moves on they don`t always think of the fallout it causes

    I would take photos. Keep the deposit if the quotes to put right matches up .  Clean up the worst.

    I personally then would leave as is and get viewings in asap.

    Dont lose heart

    Someone will love plum red. After all they did didn`t they! .....

    or they will maybe offer do the work themselves. After all they did didn`t they!

    Dont spend out yourself unless you have to. Leverage other peoples free time and money and efforts

    New tenants will love you if they can turn your house into their home

    Learn from that experience though  and house check more often next time and within one week of tenants decorating

    This time say to them - Hey guys can you just  run the colour by me you choose before you spend out on it

    All it needs is them to send you a link by e mail from B&Q of the colour - Then you say yes or no

    You are the boss and write the rules - Yes try to be a flexible accommodating boss

    The final decision though  is always yours

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Yo can refuse to take the property back and claim the rent until the end of the term. However if you take the property back you are accepting their surrender and so you cannot claim the rent as well. You need to do a full inventory of the damage and you can claim for restoring the property to reasonable condition.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Thanks for all the replies guys, some good advice.

    So basically because I accepted the keys back I cannot keep any of the deposit in lieu of the rent that would have been due for months 5&6?

    I've proposed to them that I'd keep just over half the deposit to go towards painting and cleaning which I think is fair however the tenants are up in arms about it.

    If I go down the redecoration and cleaning route I'd have to get written quotes from professionals whereas I'd rather just do it myself and get it back on the rental market asap.

    Regards

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    Up in arms are they? It is so nice when you can just go around ignoring legal contracts. Imagine if you had texted them a week's notice!

    If they are in clear breach I would stick to my guns. I wonder if you can charge for your own labour costs if you are doing it yourself. I would just exercise caution on doing it yourself if you are working round other commitments. I tried this and it ultimately would have been.more cost effective for me to get someone in. Also it is early days and you might discover more damage/costs.

    I don't believe for a minute they are moving out for the reason they state either. They have found a better/cheaper arrangement.

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    So sorry for you, this is the sort of thing I dread - and all because you were being a nice landlord!

    But is it not obligatory that a check and full inventory is conducted before a tenant moves out?

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