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Problem with tenants - help please!


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Hi all

Hoping someone can help a rather inexperienced landlord!

I let my house a year ago, went through an estate agent to let it as completely new to this game. Found a young family who signed AST contract (for 6 months so now periodic) and deposit etc.

House was let furnished, tenants didnt want my sofas (only one year old and no damage) though and asked if they could be put into storage, to which I agreed (verbally) that was fine as long as they were returned in same condition once they left the property.

Tenants informed me back in November that one of my sofas had been stolen from the lock-up, sent them a letter explaining that the sofa cost £349.99 to replace (my particular model was no longer available...although very similar in style and quality) and they could either do me a bank transfer or I could just deduct it from deposit when they left.

So...they have now handed in their one month notice - but are stating they will only pay £200 for the sofa as they dont believe that they should pay for a NEW replacement (tenant wanted to scour the 2nd hand shops and see what he could find to put in my house!).

Anyone know where I stand with this? I'm tempted not to even get into further discussions with them and just deduct £349.99 from their deposit once the inventory check and handover has been completed.


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I think a lot depends on how legalistic you want to get with this. I take it tenants paid rent and have acted reasonably?

Personally I think the offer of £200, because that it what it is, an offer is reasonable. You can't expect new for old in this situation.

If the tenants were paying for professional storage ask to see the invoices and was the storer insured against theft? If it was a casual arrangement with no inurance and no invoice then by not objecting you agreed in principle to your sofas being kept in that manner and really you have no comebacks.

If you try to deduct fromt he deposit a dispute will arise guaranteed and you may not be on the winning end since most deposit takers favour the tenants and it would seem that the tenants are acting very reasonably. In the case of a dispute the deposit is held by the DPS or whoever until an outcome is reached - and from what I understand things don't get resolved quickly.

I would accept the £200 and get on with sorting out a new tenant.


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