Hopefully, you’re a landlord that has either a property manager, or at least, a fool proof way of reporting damage. Ideally, this should be done straight away!
The next steps are to arrange how and when any repair or replacement is going to take place, and more importantly, who is going to pay for it!
1) What is genuine damage, and what is wear and tear?
The first step would be to determine what is genuine damage, and what is wear and tear.
With more specific guidelines in place, with regard to ‘wear and wear’ it is no longer down to the landlord’s discretion to categorise wear and tear!
For example, if towards the end of the tenancy the flooring looks scuffed, as a landlord, you cannot reasonably accuse the tenant of causing damage as minor marks like those are expected in a property that’s being rented. Genuine damage is classified as the destruction of property that could have been avoided, I.E the sink being pulled off!
2) How about deducting from the deposit?
Landlords, you can, by law retain a part or all the deposit to cover the cost of damage repairs. However, you are only allowed to claim back the exact cost of damage to your property, missing items, cleaning or unpaid rent.
The Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985 sets out the responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Section 11 deals with the issue of repairs and states that tenants should:
‘Make good any damage to the property caused by the behaviour or negligence of the tenant, members of his/her household or any other person lawfully visiting or living in the property.’
3) Do I need to consider eviction?
If the tenant is still living in your property and you’re unhappy with the damaged they have caused, you may even have enough grounds to evict them. My best advice would to be speak to an organisation such as the RLA to obtain the most up to date advice. However, if your tenancy agreement evidently declares the consequences of any damages caused to your property and you maintain communication with your tenants on the situation, you can help in minimizing the lengthy disputes and reach a conclusion that is satisfactory to all parties.
What horror stories have you had with nightmare tenants? Get in touch!