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T smoked the wall with candles, refuses to pay


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our tenant of 2 years, a regular payer and no previous problems, recently called us, saying that a strange blacksmog appeared on the wall, and when she tried to rub it off, it wouldn't. She said it might be mould.

We called a professional painter-decorator, who immediately said that it was carbon and was most probably caused by burning cheap candles that emitt a lot of smog, when burning. She had heaps of candles around the flat. He gave a quote for repainting, which is within T;s deposit sum.

When confronted, the T became really agressive, said that she couldn't have caused it by burning one odd candle per month, that she is not prepared to pay her money, etc, etc. At first we said that we would foot the bill (silly us) because she has always been a good T, but she mustn't light any more candles or incenses. Now she keeps postponing repainting day for two months, and it's obbious that she's not bothered about the carbon on the wall, just wanted to make sure she wouldnt' be responsible for it. Plus, untill the wall is repainted, she can keep burning her candles. She, obviously, likes to create ambience in her room.

Coupled with T's brazen behaviour, it just doesn't sit well with me. However, she keeps paying her rent and doesn't cause us any trouble, as she never has. My guess is she didn't expect such result from buring candles, but now wants to wriggle out of paying.

She suits us as a T and we would like her to stay. However, when she leaves, we want to try and claim it from her deposit. As she's not admitting responsiblity, it'll go to dispute (DPS). I know they're biased towards T, but we'll try. Will written confirmation from painter decorator alongside with quote for repainting will do or do we need to actually get it repainted before she leaves and then show arbitrator the receipt? What else do we need to present? Photos with teh damage? We have a signed by both of us inventory with photos of the walls. I read that in most cases it's impossible to prove that damage has been done during the tenancy and not, say, straightway after T left, so very few property damage cases go in L's favour. But we can only try.

If somebody could help.

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Personally I wouldn't bother claiming.

1. She's been there 2 years & presumably she's gonna have been there 3 years min when she leaves.

2. We don't know when the walls were last painted.

3. Rental property needs repainting every few years to keep it fresh.

4. You already decided to pay for it yourself anyway.

5. Why go thru the hassle & agro only to get, at best, a small fraction of the cost of professional repaint.

6. Why not try painting it yourself.

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..............and I have a clause in my tenancy contract that multi burning of candles is not permitted. Table candle decoration... yes.

Like Richlist has said you are about to flog a dead horse.

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We have a clause in our contracts about not using candles unless an emergency.

If the tenant is paying the rent and you are happy to keep them I would not make too much of a fuss at this stage. The longer they stay it is more likely you will have to redecorate anyway when she leaves.

You could put the onus on the tenant and give her the decorators contact details and let her arrange the visit time to do the works.

Also just to cover all the bases in case you do try to claim off the deposit after she move out is to write a friendly letter now stating candles are not to be used unless an emergency such as a power cut and say the decorator has stated the issue isn't mould but carbon deposits from excessive candles use and there may be deductions from her deposit to correct the damage when she vacates.

You should also check your insurance to make sure you have enough fire damage cover.

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Thank you all. You made me feel better because I was wondering if I was being played (not a nice feeling). Thinking of it, I was, but common sense is more important. Thank you for pushing me off my inadequately emotional approach to a simple matter.

BTW, I am registered here by randal_bond@yahoo.com address, but I lost access to e-mail, so had to reregister again.

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