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Tenant removing cupboards question

shelvesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Marc who is a landlord

My tenant has removed several cupboards and shelves that were built into alcoves what can I do?

It can be very annoying when tenants do this  sort of thing, but there may not be much you can do to force them to replace the cupboard now, short of expensive court proceedings.

Your most obvious remedy is to claim the cost of replacement and making good from their deposit when they leave.

If the building works done by tenants constitutes a major change to the property (and I am not sure, not having seen the cupboards and shelves, whether this is the case here) there may be scope for getting an injunction to stop them doing any further work of this nature and maybe an order that they re-instate the property to its original condition so far as is possible.

However an injunction is a serious court remedy used mostly for issues such as violence between spouses and the like.  I doubt whether it would be granted in connection with the removal of cupboards and shelves.

It is also possible that the tenants unauthorised changes to the property, which no doubt are in breach of his tenancy agreement, could be the basis for a claim for possession.  This would be under one of the discretionary grounds though, so if the tenant defends you could be in for a long drawn out and expensive claim.

You may however be able to get an order for possession suspended so long as the tenants re-instate the items and/or do not do any further work of this nature.  But I cannot say for sure, never having run a case like this.

What does everyone else think?

About the author

Tessa Shepperson Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is also a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

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2 Responses to Tenant removing cupboards question

  1. Ben Reeve Lewis says:

    These sorts of things always surprise me. I’m a tenant and I wouldnt dream of doing something like that without asking the landlord first. Common courtesy more than anything else, after which as you say Tessa is the Deposit question

  2. Smithy says:

    I think it depends on how long the tenant has been there. I have a long standing tenant (18 years) who has had cupboards/shelves in and out, painted (not my choice of colour), replaced internal doors (I suspect the originals got broken) and more.

    However, another tenant moved in last year and promptly got contractors to attach a TV aerial to the neighbour’s chimney – the house is in a conservation area and I had told them explicitly that they could only have cable tv. We exchanged heated words – after which he apologised profusely and has been ok ever since.

    To answser your original correspondent, I think the answer is not to wait until the end of the tenancy but to pick it up early and speak to the tenant then and there.




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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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