Jump to content
TommyTeapot

Advice required please

Recommended Posts

Hi there.

I was hoping someone with more experience could give us some advice on a number of issues that we faced with our ex tenants. We are landlords out of necessity being unable to sell our old house.

When they left the property there were a number of issues.

The general condition was grubby, they had redecorated (We agreed to this because they had indicated that they'd wished to stay long term, they only stayed a month or so after decorating). The quality of the decorating was appalling and their choices were to say the least unique! There's paint everywhere including the carpets.

Damage to the property includes, but is definitely not limited to, Serious water damage to the cupboard under the sink which will need to be replaced, damage to plastic edging in the conservatory, one of the walls in a bedroom has what appears to have been holes knocked into the plaster and badly repaired and for some reason they have moved the curtain rail from the wall onto the wooden edging above the window which is now coming away.

All the lampshades we left are smashed up and there are two doors where they have taken the door handles off.

The worst thing is that they had a very large fish tank in the front room and now the flooring underneath has dropped and the floorboards cracked. This is looking like it will turn into an expensive repair.

Obviously we took a deposit which is held by a third party and we are attempting to keep, but our letting agent tells us that usually these people rule in favour of the tenant, so not to get our hopes up. They left a number of pond store quality lampshades to make up for the proper ones that they destroyed, but surely these replacements should be like for like? Anyway the agents say that because they replaced what they broke we can't claim for them.

Turns out insurance wasn't worth anything! Not a massive surprise that!
And to add insult to injury, the tenants moved a few doors up and each time someone comes to look at the property they come out and tell them what terrible landlords we are (As revenge for trying to hold onto their deposit).

I'm writing this after spending our second weekend redecorating and repairing damage to the property. Hopefully, barring the cupboard under the sink and the damaged floor we will have something that people will want to rent.

What do we do in this situation?,
isn't there any way to get some redress?,
How do we avoid this in the future?.
How do you actually make money in this game?!!!! After looking after our tenants with electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, we have been left with nothing in the pot.

Thanks for reading, any advise and insight would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you have a detailed inventory signed by the tenant??

I have broken down the issues one by one and added my comments within the text of your message copied below in red.

 

The general condition was grubby, (if you can prove the before and after cleanliness via a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this but you should get 2 quotes) they had redecorated (We agreed to this because they had indicated that they'd wished to stay long term, they only stayed a month or so after decorating). The quality of the decorating was appalling and their choices were to say the least unique! There's paint everywhere including the carpets. ( this can be a common request by tenants and if it came via your letting agent  if they were professional they should have advised you on 1.the colours agreed to in advance, 2.that it would be checked by them (the agent) 3. the tenant should have signed something to confirm that it would be done in a workman like manner and if not they would be responsible to rectify)  

Damage to the property includes, but is definitely not limited to, Serious water damage to the cupboard under the sink which will need to be replaced,( is this caused by a leak that is not the tenants responsibility? Even so they have a obligation to report a leak in  a prompt manner. Didnt the agents do any checks?)  damage to plastic edging in the conservatory, (if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)one of the walls in a bedroom has what appears to have been holes knocked into the plaster and badly repaired and for some reason they have moved the curtain rail from the wall onto the wooden edging above the window which is now coming away.(if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)

All the lampshades we left are smashed up and there are two doors where they have taken the door handles off.(if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)The worst thing is that they had a very large fish tank in the front room and now the flooring underneath has dropped and the floorboards cracked. This is looking like it will turn into an expensive repair. (Were the tenants given permission for a fish tank? if so they cant be held at fault. Even if they werent this is a tricky one and they could ague that the floor is faulty which would mean paying for reports to counter that)

Obviously we took a deposit which is held by a third party and we are attempting to keep, but our letting agent tells us that usually these people rule in favour of the tenant, so not to get our hopes up.( that is a very sweeping statement for them to make but is because they were lacking in doing inspections, referances, providing a detailed inventory and check out?) They left a number of pond store quality lampshades to make up for the proper ones that they destroyed, but surely these replacements should be like for like? Anyway the agents say that because they replaced what they broke we can't claim for them.(Rubbish it should be of the same or similar quality)

Turns out insurance wasn't worth anything! Not a massive surprise that! (depends on the policy)
And to add insult to injury, the tenants moved a few doors up and each time someone comes to look at the property they come out and tell them what terrible landlords we are (As revenge for trying to hold onto their deposit). (Pre-warn any viewers before they visit)

I'm writing this after spending our second weekend redecorating and repairing damage to the property. Hopefully, barring the cupboard under the sink and the damaged floor we will have something that people will want to rent.

What do we do in this situation?, (Change agent they sound rubbish and unprofessional)
isn't there any way to get some redress?, (Yes with a inventory, check-out report and 2 quotes for each item. You could claim via the small claims court but if the tenants are on benefits it is unlikely you will get anything even if you win))
How do we avoid this in the future?.(Find a good agent)
How do you actually make money in this game?!!!! After looking after our tenants with electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, we have been left with nothing in the pot. (single property landlords can find it is a fine line between profit and loss especially if the property is overpriced and not the best choice or unsuitable for letting. What was your yield?) 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'How do you actually make money in this game' ?

The most important thing a landlord can do is to pick their tenants very, very carefully. Get references (bank, employer and previous landlord) &/or get either a home owning guarantor or take rent guarantee insurance.

Meet your tenant applicants personally, vet them, ask the right questions, determine if they are suitable.

I've had property empty for weeks.....turning away lots of applicants until someone suitable turned up.

You really can't put enough effort into selecting the right people to let your property to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Grampa said:

I assume you have a detailed inventory signed by the tenant??

I have broken down the issues one by one and added my comments within the text of your message copied below in red.

 

The general condition was grubby, (if you can prove the before and after cleanliness via a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this but you should get 2 quotes) they had redecorated (We agreed to this because they had indicated that they'd wished to stay long term, they only stayed a month or so after decorating). The quality of the decorating was appalling and their choices were to say the least unique! There's paint everywhere including the carpets. ( this can be a common request by tenants and if it came via your letting agent  if they were professional they should have advised you on 1.the colours agreed to in advance, 2.that it would be checked by them (the agent) 3. the tenant should have signed something to confirm that it would be done in a workman like manner and if not they would be responsible to rectify)  

Damage to the property includes, but is definitely not limited to, Serious water damage to the cupboard under the sink which will need to be replaced,( is this caused by a leak that is not the tenants responsibility? Even so they have a obligation to report a leak in  a prompt manner. Didnt the agents do any checks?)  damage to plastic edging in the conservatory, (if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)one of the walls in a bedroom has what appears to have been holes knocked into the plaster and badly repaired and for some reason they have moved the curtain rail from the wall onto the wooden edging above the window which is now coming away.(if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)

All the lampshades we left are smashed up and there are two doors where they have taken the door handles off.(if it can be proved by a inventory and check out you should be able to claim for this)The worst thing is that they had a very large fish tank in the front room and now the flooring underneath has dropped and the floorboards cracked. This is looking like it will turn into an expensive repair. (Were the tenants given permission for a fish tank? if so they cant be held at fault. Even if they werent this is a tricky one and they could ague that the floor is faulty which would mean paying for reports to counter that)

Obviously we took a deposit which is held by a third party and we are attempting to keep, but our letting agent tells us that usually these people rule in favour of the tenant, so not to get our hopes up.( that is a very sweeping statement for them to make but is because they were lacking in doing inspections, referances, providing a detailed inventory and check out?) They left a number of pond store quality lampshades to make up for the proper ones that they destroyed, but surely these replacements should be like for like? Anyway the agents say that because they replaced what they broke we can't claim for them.(Rubbish it should be of the same or similar quality)

Turns out insurance wasn't worth anything! Not a massive surprise that! (depends on the policy)
And to add insult to injury, the tenants moved a few doors up and each time someone comes to look at the property they come out and tell them what terrible landlords we are (As revenge for trying to hold onto their deposit). (Pre-warn any viewers before they visit)

I'm writing this after spending our second weekend redecorating and repairing damage to the property. Hopefully, barring the cupboard under the sink and the damaged floor we will have something that people will want to rent.

What do we do in this situation?, (Change agent they sound rubbish and unprofessional)
isn't there any way to get some redress?, (Yes with a inventory, check-out report and 2 quotes for each item. You could claim via the small claims court but if the tenants are on benefits it is unlikely you will get anything even if you win))
How do we avoid this in the future?.(Find a good agent)
How do you actually make money in this game?!!!! After looking after our tenants with electricians, plumbers, gas fitters, we have been left with nothing in the pot. (single property landlords can find it is a fine line between profit and loss especially if the property is overpriced and not the best choice or unsuitable for letting. What was your yield?) 

 

Thank you for your efforts, I appreciate the response.

We do have a detailed inventory in terms of photographs, the agents also have an inventory, so proving it was in better condition 'shouldn't' be too difficult. As you mention later there is a sweeping statement from our agents with regard to whether or not we will get to keep any of the deposit for repairs which has left us a little insecure and led to us spending our weekends attempting to clean up ourselves. I think the agents are a little embarrassed that they didn't spot all the damage we have found.

I think we missed a beat letting them decorate. In future we will very much follow your advise on ensuring certain safeguards are met. And I think you are right in the implication elsewhere that the agents have let us down. They should have better considered the implications of letting the tenants decorate as should we.

As for the water damage, there was a leak that we had fixed, however at that time we didn't see any of the damage that's there now. The hinge on the door is so rusty that it looks as if been submerged for a while. We had a leak at home recently that didn't cause anything approaching that amount of damage.

Yes, the fish tank thing is going to be awkward, they didn't seek permission for it, but there's an argument to say perhaps the flooring there was weakened anyway. I'm pretty sure that the cracks on the floorboards indicate some sort of trauma though.

Our yield? We seem to bring in about £150 a month, but we leave it in the account for repairs, ultimately after 3 years I couldn't say we've profited at all as any repairs are fixed as soon as we are aware of them. We are insured for everything we can think of, the taxman takes his cut, the agents theirs so not exactly profitable!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Richlist said:

'How do you actually make money in this game' ?

The most important thing a landlord can do is to pick their tenants very, very carefully. Get references (bank, employer and previous landlord) &/or get either a home owning guarantor or take rent guarantee insurance.

Meet your tenant applicants personally, vet them, ask the right questions, determine if they are suitable.

I've had property empty for weeks.....turning away lots of applicants until someone suitable turned up.

You really can't put enough effort into selecting the right people to let your property to.

Hi,

We do vet the prospective tenants as do our agents using all the usual channels. These particular people indicated that they intended to stay long term and after meeting them appeared to be decent working people.

We've only been doing this three years, and our previous tenants did leave the place in decent condition. I guess that being able to spot the right people is down to experience more than anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's easy to want to be keen to let to tenants that are looking to stay long term or who want to pay 6 months in advance or who don't initially appear to have any bad points. But it's not difficult to find problems if you dig deeper into the application. The applicant isn't going to volunteer that negative information. I'd even suggest that almost everyone......even the best of tenants have some element of their history that will be bad if you look deep enough.......then it's up to the landlord to make a judgement on their suitability. Never leave it up to a lettings agent to decide if the applicant is suitable.....always ask to see the references.

Good luck, hope you get it all sorted satisfactorily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Richlist said:

It's easy to want to be keen to let to tenants that are looking to stay long term or who want to pay 6 months in advance or who don't initially appear to have any bad points. But it's not difficult to find problems if you dig deeper into the application. The applicant isn't going to volunteer that negative information. I'd even suggest that almost everyone......even the best of tenants have some element of their history that will be bad if you look deep enough.......then it's up to the landlord to make a judgement on their suitability. Never leave it up to a lettings agent to decide if the applicant is suitable.....always ask to see the references.

Good luck, hope you get it all sorted satisfactorily.

We are just 'noobs'! clearly there's value in seeking advice from more established landlords.
Thanks for the good wishes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New developments! We have today received an enforcement notice for unpaid council tax at the property.
Despite being able to prove that we had tenants in during that period, no-one will listen. It looks like we are going to have to pay their debts. I don't suppose anyone has been in this position before and can advise? Thanks.

By the way, we recently took your advice on the letting agent and sacked them off in favour of a much bigger and well known agents. Also if all goes well we will have new tenants moving in at the end of October and hopefully this nightmare will be over.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without being party to all of the details surrounding the tenancy all I can offer is to advise what I do.

When a tenant moves in i inform the local Council of their names, moving in date, their phone number and previous address and ask for the account to be transferred into the tenants name. 

When they move out I do exactly the same, transferring the account into my name.

Doing it in writing, albeit by email means you have proof they were informed and often you will receive a confirmation email as proof. This together with the tenancy agreement should provide all the proof necessary.

If you have already done this then the council do not have a case against you.  If you didn't inform them until now that's really not good enough on your part. Try making an appointment with the council official, take the necessary documents and try to overturn the notice. You could enlist professional legal help of just pay up and claim it back thru the small claims court.

It's impossible to have an opinion on your likelihood of success without all of the details.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for responding. All that you described was supposed to have been undertaken by the letting agent. Another example of where they let us down.

We think we've sorted out what went wrong.

We have legal cover so we've been able to get legal advice. Our letting agent had a duty to inform the council, they did not do this. The council sent letters to the rental property which the tenants must have discarded, or maybe passed on to our useless agents.

As such we've paid the invoice from the collection agency and will be taking action against the agents. So glad we took the legal insurance out now.

Expensive lesson to learn. Monday we contact that council and let them know the house has been vacant for two months, more cost but at least we shouldn't get any more nasty surprises!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That depends on your definition of a nasty surprise !  What you will get is another council tax bill for the period it's vacant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×