This week on #ExpertView, our Director of Dispute Resolution, Michael Morgan, discusses a recent decision by an adjudicator on a case involving a tenant who renovated a property without their landlord’s permission, and sets out the reasoning behind the decision.
In this case, the landlord claimed the full deposit of £900.00 for changes to the property and its contents, made by the tenant without the permission of the landlord. The tenant had completed extensive works including replacing flooring, redecorating, and replacing ceiling lights.
The extent of the changes was such that the inventory clerk felt that the tenant had extensively refurbished the property, and that it was in a significantly better state than at the start of the tenancy.
This was a difficult case. There was no argument that the tenant had acted without permission. However the tenant had lived at the property for a little over seven years; the check-in report showed that the property, its décor and contents were in a tired condition at the start of the tenancy.
Although the adjudicator accepted that the tenant had broken the terms of their tenancy agreement, they also took the view that the areas that the tenant had changed were most likely at the end of their life after more than seven years. This meant that the landlord had not in fact suffered a loss, since she would have been faced with redecoration etc at her expense in any event.
So what are the key points here?
This case highlights the importance of taking account of wear and tear in any claims for making good following a tenant’s departure. Although a tenant may be in breach of their tenancy agreement, a landlord will need to show that this leaves them in the position of having suffered a financial loss.
About the author:
Michael Morgan is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s Director of Dispute Resolution. Having trained as a solicitor, Michael has been involved in dispute resolution for over 20 years. His previous roles have included leading the consumer advice service for Hertfordshire Trading Standards; Michael was also the Chief Conciliation Officer for Qualitas, the Furniture Ombudsman, where he took a formative role in its transition to Ombudsman status.
Michael joined TDS in 2006 as a Deputy Independent Case Examiner. He is now responsible for the overall management of its dispute resolution services and the quality of its adjudication functions. Michael has also led a number of key ‘behind the scenes’ innovations at TDS.
Michael has been selected as a judge for the UK Complaint Handling Awards 2017 complaintsawards.co.uk
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.
We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.
TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.
TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.
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These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.
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