The truth will leak out.....

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Amount of deposit in dispute: £203.40

Dispute initiated by: Landlord Award made:

Tenant £203.40

Landlord £0.00

Agent £0.00

In this month’s case,the landlord claimed that the tenant, whilst resident at the property, caused damage to the bathroom floor. The check out report referred to a number of the floor tiles in the bathroom which had lifted. The landlord believed that these were down to the tenant to make good.

The tenant says that they told the landlord’s agent of the problem during a property inspection half-way through the tenancy, and that they are not responsible for the issue. The landlord’s agent had presented TDS with copies of their property inspection reports. It was clear from these that the tenant advised the agent of the problem with the floor tiles lifting about 6 mon ths before they left the property.

The landlord’s agent also produced email correspondence with a contractor who visited the property to investigate the cause. The contractorsaid the lifting tiles were due to a leak under the bath. In response to this, the landlord argued that the tenants had delayed reporting the liftingfloor tiles, which meant that the repairs needed due to the leak were more significant and more expensive.He also argued that the leak had never happened previously so must be the result of something done by the tenants.

Given the evidence presented,the adjudicator was unable to conclude that the tenant was responsible for the cost of repairs to the tiles or the floor beneath it.The tenant had fulfilled their obligation in the tenancy agreement to report the issue with the tiles to the landlord’s agent.There was no evidence to show that the tenants had caused the leak themselves. Although the landlord argued that the repair ought to have been reported sooner, no evidence was presented to showthat this was the case. The check in report referred to the bathroom floor as being in good condition when the tenants moved in.

So what are the key points here?

- A tenant would not normally be responsible for repairs and maintenance to the landlord’s plumbing system, where a leak had not been caused by the tenants.

- However tenants can be expected to report defects with the property that have not been caused by them, since this will assist a landlord in repairing them and preventing further damage. If they fail to, and the damage is made worse as a result, a tenant might then be responsible for the increased repair costs that might otherwise have been avoided.

- Getting an opinion for a suitably qualified professional will help determine the cause of a problem and show where responsibility should lie.


Posted by on 11 December 2013

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