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  • Problem Tenants

    Trashed flat - dealing with emotions

    Hi All,

    In my 12 years as a landlord I have finally been handed back the keys to a flat which has been trashed.

    The tenant had been in place for 5 years and the property was spotless when inspected every six months, so I was shocked when I got the keys back today. When I questioned him he didn't appear to have an answer as to how the property had got in that condition.

    He claimed he split up with his partner 6 weeks ago and it was fine when he left, but there is no way the property has got into that condition in 6 weeks.

    I asked him where he had been staying and he said a flat above the business he started late last year. I am beginning to think that he has sub-let it to a friend or someone without notifying me.

    The deposit will not even touch the sides as the place needs to be decorated through out and fitted with new carpets as the others are beyond any help.

    The tenant has explained that he will remove the remaining furniture this weekend, and I believe out of guilt will contribute to some of the costs.

    Before I go steaming forwards has anyone got any advice on how best to handle the situation.

    Mat

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    I hate to say it but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and use your energy elsewhere rather than get up tight about such things. The way I look at it life is too short On the plus side, at least the repairs are tax deductible.

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    Claim deposit then sue him for the rest:  But surely you know this?

    And do so if only to ensure he gets a CCJ & then finds...

    - any landlord with half-a-brain to run credit checks realises he's a problem...

    - he finds loans or credit agreements (eg mobile 'phone contract) v expensive or impossible...

    - you might get some ££££££

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    Did you have a detailed inventory conducted at the start of the tenancy by a 3rd Party?

    If the condition of the property is well documented at the start and end of the tenancy by a third party and the tenant is working then I would pursue them through the courts for the money to put he property back into its original condition minus costs associated with wear and tear.

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    Hi Matt,

    Coincidentally, I have recently had near enough the exact same situation, but not only had the tenant damaged the property, there were £2300 rent arrears - as you say, the deposit did not even touch the sides.

    I had two issues in dealing with this - the tenant had been there five years which means that it was inevitable that there was much greater wear and tear and the letting agent had checked him out without commenting about the damage - so I had little recourse of action.

    I managed to get the full deposit released to me and the guarantor made a contribution of £250.00 after a VERY heated conversation which could have turned very unpleasant, but I managed to pull it back from the brink.  The guarantor was also a builder so he went and removed a van-load of rubbish from the garden, including a child's trampoline, so at least that helped a bit as well.

    I also had rent guarantee insurance, but left it too late to claim in it - another lesson learned!  I have had to take this one on the chin.  In your case, you may be able to get him to contribute to half of the costs of the decoration and carpets, but it really depends on your tenant. 

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I guess my question was more a case of is it better to compromise and work with the situation than having to kick it into court, and what tactics are best used. The bizarre thing is that the tenant has paid rent on time for the whole period, and I've never had a problem with him.

    Like I said, I do get a sense of remorse from the tenant, but whether that will materialise into pound notes will be a different matter.

    So after calming down and thinking things through pragmatically, I will get the repairs in motion, proceed to make a claim on the deposit, and then negotiate on the cost of the works post completion. If that then fails I will take it legal.

    Nightmare......

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    My personal view was to try and sort it out amicably, even if it leaves me slightly out of pocket.  It's all tax deductible!

    I would rather have a swift, amicable solution, than a long, drawn out, stressful solution - even if I end up with slightly less money.

    Put a value on your time and emotional health!

    I think you should get quotes for the works and then go to the tenant in a reasonable manner and put it to him that he should pay 50% of them.  I think that would be a good outcome.

    Good luck and do let us know how you get on.

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    Agreed!

    I'm going through this too literally as we speak. I was pissed off to say the least and started googling the usual 'how to sue tenant' etc etc. After sleeping on it and the logical side of my brain taking over, I realised as Vanessa states 'Put a value on your time and emotional health!'.

    As others have stated, take it on the chin and move forwards .As a landlord you need to be prepared for this. Just think about what the learnings are and how this could be avoided in future. I've learnt to be less lenient with my tenants and more picky with the tenants I choose.

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    Yep - similar thing happened to me 12-14 mths ago - found out that after 18 mths of good tenancy one had an accident so couldn't work and the girlfriend had bred puppies - 6 new born pups in a 1st floor flat - complete strip back and redecorate with a new bathroom as she had been bathing all the dogs in there and had ruined everything........

    Now rented again - I will never see the money they cost c£2.5k but did it myself - would have been £5+k for a tradesman - Take it, deal with it, gone on - roughly 1 in 10 or 12 Tenants will leave you out of pocket - just try and identify them before it gets toooooo bad!

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    Being a Landlord for over 30 years this happened to me last time 15 years ago

    I had a good think about this issue and my solution was a Good Guarantor

    Its a very strong leaver to pull but if it stops this situation its got to be worth the effort to take customers only with a Guarantor

    My Idier is to stop this happening in the first place


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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????

    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.