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Hello to all you wise and experienced members of this forum. Apologies in advance for troubling you with yet more newby questions.

I have just had a tenant move out after a 6 month rental and they have failed to return the property to it's original condition.

Part of my problem is that the letting agent I used (on a tenant find then rent collect basis) has been hopeless and so now, when I could use some advise on how to move forward with getting things put right ready for the new tenant who is waiting to move in I am finding their lack of communication extremely frustrating as it is delaying things. I apprecdiate there will be things that you may not be able to answer but perhaps those with more experience than me can point me in the right direction even if you can give a direct answer to my questions.

The letting agent did the check out on the property and has noted several problem areas and is holding the tenants deposit.

Point 1

The biggest problem is that the tenant decided to get a relative to clean the carpet with his trusty Vax machine as they moved out. The large areas of my cream coloured 100% wool berber carpet now have yellow stains which look as theough they have been keeping an incontinent elephant in the flat! I have been advised by 2 professional carpet cleaners the problem has been caused by either overwetting which has caused the natural dye in the jute backing of the carpet to bleed through to the pile or use of a chemical that has a PH incompatible with wool (or possibly a combination of both) They have said that recovery from such treatment is rarely successful and can be expensive to try and so have advised replacing the carpet.

The carpet was already fitted in the property when I bought it in November last year. I have no way of knowing how old it was but it is a good quality carpet and was perfectly clean and servicable when the tenants moved in. The letting agent has advised that because it is not a new carpet I cannot claim the full cost of replacement. They will not be drawn on what percentage of the cost is reasonable to claim. She has told the tenant this and it seems they were relieved that was the case and so I get the feeling they are aware the carpet may need replacing.

I would not have chosen a 100% wool berber carpet for a rental property but it was already fitted. If I am to replace it I would prefer to replace with a slightly more servicable carpet. This is obviously cheaper than a like for like carpet. The cost of replacing with like for like is more than the tenants bond and I have doubts whether I would be successful in revovering any further monies over and above the bond money.

I have got a quote for replacing like with like and supplied it to the letting agent - a second qote is expected to arrive today. Do I need to allow the letting agent see the invoice for replacement or can I just pay for the replacement and put in my own invoice for the tenants?

Point 2

The rest of the flat has not been cleaned (they have not even tried! - toothpaste and soap scum in the hand basin, greasy worktops in the kitchen, food waste in the kitchen sink etc) I plan to go in and clean through but can I then charge for that or can I only pass on the cost if I pay a professional? They have also left a lot of rubbish in the garage. I can load it in my car and take it to the tip but can I charge them for this or do I have to get a professional in to do it before I can charge them? Windows filthy, lawn has not been mown - likewise can I do these jobs myself and charge or do I need to get a professional in if I am to pass the cost on? For all of these things what would be deemed a reasonable cost to charge them? I appreciate this is likely to mean they owe me more than there is in their bond but I want them to get the bill just to make the point even if I never actually see the money. It will also give me an idea of how to deal with such things if (when) I come across them in future.

Point 3

I supplied one set of four keys when they moved in but they asked permission to get another set cut. The set I supplied I have a photocopy of and the set that has been returned to me are all different to those which I supplied. This means I have proof that they still have a set of keys for the property. I have requested the return of the keys. Am I justified in charging them for new locks on the front door and the garage door if they are not forthcoming with the keys?

I have a new tenant lined up and waiting to move in - this one has been sourced by a different letting agent. I have learned my lesson and will not use the same one again. I am obviously very keen to make progress with getting the remedial work done so the new tenant can move in but I am getting a stony silence from the letting agent on a number of points.

What would you experienced guys be doing now if you were in my shoes?

Thanks in anticipation, apologies that this is quite long winded but I am certain there are still a number of relevant things I have omitted to add!

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Welcome to the world of landlords and tenants!

Your Points

1) Carpet cleaning damage: Can you prove condition when tenant moved in - e.g. by photos, inventory notes, etc? If not you could only try to claim part value against tenant's deposit. Have you checked your buildings insurance - carpet damage might be covered that way - even like-for-like? Either way it might be worth getting specialist carpet insurance assessor for written estimate if you consider replacement cost is an amount worth pursuing.

2) General cleaning: Unless it's something you can't DIY, or something very expensive I'd bite the bullet and get on with it. Is it really worth your time getting professional quotes etc, and then pursuing recompense? Even if tenant cleaned, I'd repeat to establish a state of cleanliness for new tenant.

3) Locks: Change them for peace of mind - costs not worth pursuing i.m.o.

Always better to my mind to do (or contract out) cleaning yourself and regard it as a business cost against your letting profit. If you expect to leave it to tenant something will be unsatisfactory - like state of your carpet.

Letting agents' priority is to make money to run successful business - care of your property may be secondary to them.

Best to move on!

I wait to see who disagrees with me!

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Thank you Chestnut. I can indeed prove the condition of the carpet prior to the letting. It was the letting agent who agreed to withold the deposit pending further investigation when she checked the tenant out using the inventory I had prepared (with clear photo's and description of the carpet)

I take on board your comments. I suspect I would usually go with what you say.

I think what has rubbed me up the wrong way is that two weeks before the tenancy ended the tenant had the audacity to send me a rather rude and abusive email! Can you tell they are young? Anyone with any sense would do everything they could to stay on good terms with their landlord until after the end of the tenancy wouldn't they?

I do intend to carry out all the cleaning, rubbish removal work etc myself but if I do so can I claim a fee for doing it from them and if so what would be considered reasonable?

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"Anyone with any sense..................until after the end of the tenancy wouldn't they?"

No. Why?

".....can I claim a fee for doing it from them...?"

I wouldn't. I suggest concentrate on carpet issue. As, through your agent, it seems you might have some chance of some success on this it would be foolish to rock boats with any other more minor issues.

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It all depends what is says in the contract.

Imagine you were in front of a judge and arguing the small print on the contract with your tenant.

It is not about right or wrong it is about the contract terms ... if it says they had to leave it spotlessly clean then yes you can claim a reasonable fee - perhaps £50? Even though it may have clost a lot more if paying a cleaning agency.

Yes similar small fees for disposal of rubbish.

You already had good advise about carpet.

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