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Nightmare tenant!


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Hi all & thanks in advance for reading this and for any input you might have!

A leak from a neighbours washing machine 2 months ago caused damp and mould in the flat occupied by my tenant. We relocated our tenant into a "reasonable and equivalent" apartment (in the same apartment complex) for a month (while the flat was reparied), paid for the rent in the temporary flat and gave him 2 weeks compensation for all the hassle of moving and having to live with the mould for a few days. He paid us rent for our flat as usual.

During this relocation period, the tenant continued to use the flat BUT dehumidifiers were placed in the flat to dry out the floors. Once dry, the aprartment was redecorated. This was all handled by the building company (its a new apartment block) and the loss-adjustor.

Once we were given the go-head by the loss-adjustor and building company, we allowed the tenant moved back into the apartment.

BUT the mould came back within a week!

The insurance & building companies now want to remove the wooden floors and do the job properly to ensure the drying out process has been completed.

My tenant wants to move out (before the 6 month break clause - he is in month 5 of our agreement right now) as he does not want the hassle of being relocated again. I have asked him to pay the council tax and electicity bills and told him that once an inventory check and general inspection is done, I will pay him back his deposit within a couple of weeks. I understand the hassle he is facing and want to allow him to break the tenancy agreement early.

However, the tenant is complaining that the electricity bill is largely due to the dehumidifiers and that he wants us to pay that bill. He has admitted that he was using the apartment while the repairs were being carried out.

I told the tenant that I would pay him back the amount of the bill IF the loss adjustor agreed to reimburse us.

The tenant does not agree to this and wants us to pay the bill, and wants to receive the deposit back on the day he leaves the flat.

He said he will not pay rent until he finds a new home (rent is due on 12th April) and will not allow any access into the property for repairs to be carried out.

He has taken our copy of the keys from the concierge desk (the conceirge should never have given him the keys) and so we have no way of allowing people to go in and repair our flat.

If anyone has any advice on the following, I would be very grateful...

1. Tenants demand for us to pay the bill when its impossible to prove how much was used by him and how much was due to the dehumidifiers.

2. Tenant removing our copy of the keys from the front desk and stating that he will not allow any access whatsoever into our apartment for repairs.

3. Tenant stating he wont pay any rent for the next couple of months i.e. until he finds a new home.

Many thanks & I'm awfully sorry for this long essay!


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Hi Aky,

I'll try and help if I can... <_<

It sounds to me like you have been more than reasonable in relocating the tenant and getting the place fixed up. After all it wasn't you that caused the problem in the first place.

I really think he should pay the electricity bill. In my opinion during the time of the repairs he had the use of TWO apartments AND you gave him 2 weeks rent as compensation (which I assume you were under no obligation to do).

As for removing the keys, well that's illegal, a tenant cannot refuse you access providing you give him fair warning and have a good reason. But since he now holds all the keys to the place, it's rather a mute point! I bet replacement keys can be ordered from somewhere. I have apartment blocks with specialist key systems. The keys cannot be copied but have to be ordered from the manufacturer. I wouldn't mind betting you have a similar system. Find a friendly neighbour with keys, there's usually a telephone number on the key.

Once you have a key, contact the tenant and tell them you are sending someone round to do repairs. Give them at lease 24hrs notice preferably more.

Again your tenant has no grounds for not paying the rent whilst he looks for another place, can you imagine what would happen if you were a told your mortgage company you wanted to move house and therefore would not be paying the mortgage until you had found somewhere!! <_< Again write to him and be polite, explain that he has agreed a contact and you have been more than reasonable in re-housing him and paying compensation.

If you sat down with a calculator and worked it all out I'm sure you would find that this whole episode has cost you a lot more than him.

I appreciate you are in New York and it's a bit tricky you you to "pop round" but good luck!


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