Here is a blog clinic question from Mark who is a landlord.
I wonder if you could tell me which way I should go.
My tenant moved in 6 months ago and basically cost me money from the offset, saying things had broken when her children had broken them, this ran into thousands of pounds, but I repaired everything anyway.
I gave her notice to leave and she did not pay the last months rent, saying take the deposit instead. Now she has gone, the damage left behind will cost a lot more to put right than her deposit.
The agent said just keep the deposit for the rent, but then I have nothing for the damages.
I have always been good to all my tenants and really do not know what to do for the best. I need the deposit to put the house right for another tenant, but if i allow the TDS to deal with the dispute it will be weeks if not months before I get it, and I am still out of pocket because of the rent.
One person suggested I take the deposit (for the cost towards the damages, but make out to the agent I am accepting it as rent owed) and then take her to court for the rent, but surely this would not be legal?
Mark, my feeling is that you need to claim this money by the most certain route, as you do not want to risk losing it. Tenants like this are frequently without assets so there is rarely any point in pursuing them through the courts. So I suspect that the only money available to you will be the deposit money.
Others will know better than I the precise detail of how the TDS procedure works, but can’t you put in a claim for EVERYTHING you are owed? Then if the adjudicator does not accept the damage, he will still allow you the money against the deposit?
If you have to make a choice, then I would suggest the rent, simply because this is less likely to be successfully challenged.
Keep careful details of all the damage done though, so that if you are ever in a position (during the next six years after which the claim will be statute barred) to bring a claim against the tenant you will have sufficient evidence to prove your case.