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    • ileven1225
    • By ileven1225 14th May 18, 5:31 PM
    • 43Posts
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    ileven1225
    External stairs damaged by tenants, who will be legally responsbile?
    • #1
    • 14th May 18, 5:31 PM
    External stairs damaged by tenants, who will be legally responsbile? 14th May 18 at 5:31 PM
    Hi everyone,


    I have asked a state agency to fully managed my property in Cardiff Bay. The property is rented out for 12 months until the 1st June 2018, so it nearly finishes. Recently Warwick, who is the management company for the entire building (covering cleaning, maintenance of externals, watering grass, pavement, etc), has told me that the tenants damaged external wall and stairs during their move-out. The wall and stairs are outside my property.


    Warwick told me that as a landlord, I am responsible for the damage as Warwick could not legally charge the tenants. However, as Warwick has contracted with me (not tenants), I can be legally charged. I need to deduct the cost from their rent in order to pay for the damage.


    I got opposite response when I consulted with the state agency, they told me that as the tenancy contract only covers internals, for any external issue Warwick needs to contact the tenants directly.


    My question is who is right? I don't have any contact or bank details from the tenants. The state agency take full management. I can not contact the tenants and ask them to pay for it. I don't think I should be involved in the conversation at all.


    Legally, what should be done?


    Thanks everyone in advance!


    Dawei
Page 1
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 14th May 18, 5:46 PM
    • 9,385 Posts
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    AnotherJoe
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 5:46 PM
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 5:46 PM
    IANAL but I can't see how you have any interaction with the "tenants". I'd have thought your tenant was the state agency and since "they" damaged it they need to fix it.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    • 18,570 Posts
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    molerat
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    I believe OP means an estate agent fully manages the property, not that the property is let to a state agency !


    As a landlord you are responsible to the building owner for any damage caused to the building by you or your tenants. It is up to you to recover the cost of damage from the deposit. Change agents to one who knows what they are doing and who will take action not just fees !
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • ileven1225
    • By ileven1225 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    • 43 Posts
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    ileven1225
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 5:55 PM
    IANAL but I can't see how you have any interaction with the "tenants". I'd have thought your tenant was the state agency and since "they" damaged it they need to fix it.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe

    The agency is always between me and the tenants and so if there is any issue the agency should deal with the tenants. However, the agency and Warwick are passing the ball and unfortunately involving me!


    Warwick states that I am legally responsible. The state agency states Warwick should deal with the tenants directly. If they play 'legal' cards, I don't know what should be legally done and if I am legally protected by any terms and conditions.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 14th May 18, 5:56 PM
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    anselld
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 5:56 PM
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 5:56 PM
    Warwick are correct. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot make a claim against the T for damage to the exterior so long as there is some proof it was actually them who did it.

    The letting agent works for you. Give them instructions!
    • ileven1225
    • By ileven1225 14th May 18, 6:00 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    ileven1225
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 6:00 PM
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 6:00 PM
    I believe OP means an estate agent fully manages the property, not that the property is let to a state agency !


    As a landlord you are responsible to the building owner for any damage caused to the building by you or your tenants. It is up to you to recover the cost of damage from the deposit. Change agents to one who knows what they are doing and who will take action not just fees !
    Originally posted by molerat

    If I am responsible as a landlord, can I legally charge the tenants and how to do it? I have to go through the agency as I don't have any contact of the tenants. However, the agency said the tenancy contract only covers the internals, so the agency should not deal this matter (external damages) with the tenants for me.


    Nothing I could do but pay the damage by myself?
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 14th May 18, 6:02 PM
    • 9,385 Posts
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    AnotherJoe
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 6:02 PM
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 6:02 PM
    Ah my bad I thought it was onee of these deals where the local council (eg "state agency") took over responsibility.
    So, as it wasn't, then AIUI the fact the OP uses an estate agent to manage it is irrelevant and so OP will need to make a claim, they are his tenants.
    • ileven1225
    • By ileven1225 14th May 18, 6:06 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    ileven1225
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 6:06 PM
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 6:06 PM
    Warwick are correct. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot make a claim against the T for damage to the exterior so long as there is some proof it was actually them who did it.

    The letting agent works for you. Give them instructions!
    Originally posted by anselld

    What you mean is that legally I can ask the letting agency to have a conversation with the tenants and ask them to pay for it? Why the letting agency told me differently? Is there any law to support what you said?


    Thanks.
    • ileven1225
    • By ileven1225 14th May 18, 6:08 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    ileven1225
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 6:08 PM
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 6:08 PM
    Ah my bad I thought it was onee of these deals where the local council (eg "state agency") took over responsibility.
    So, as it wasn't, then AIUI the fact the OP uses an estate agent to manage it is irrelevant and so OP will need to make a claim, they are his tenants.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe

    If I am going to make a claim as they are my tenants, what is the legal process? Will the letting agency work on my behalf? Or they can get away from it and I have to deal with the tenants directly?


    Thanks.
    • pinklady21
    • By pinklady21 14th May 18, 6:09 PM
    • 561 Posts
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    pinklady21
    1. How much is the bill for the damage?
    2. What evidence is there that if was your tenants who caused the damage?
    3. Did the Estate Agent collect a deposit from the tenants on your behalf at the start of the tenancy?
    4. Did the Estate Agency lodge the deposit with an appropriate government approved scheme?
    If yes, then you use this to pay the bill from Warwick. Your agent should have the details of how to access the deposit online. Basically you need to tell the deposit company that you wish to make deductions and what for, the tenant then has the change to give their side.
    If you can reach agreement, you retain enough cash out of the deposit to cover your costs, and your tenant receives anything that is left.
    If you cannot reach agreement, then there is a dispute resolution service that will look at the case. You will need to provide evidence that the tenant caused the damage (hence my question 2). The decision will be made by an adjudicator.

    I agree with others, I think the Estate Agent is incorrect here. Ask them why they think that the tenant is not liable for damage they cause to the building? What law are they relying on?
    Best of luck,
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 14th May 18, 6:42 PM
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    eddddy
    As a starting point, you need to clarify this...
    • Are you letting the property to the estate agent - so that the estate agent is your tenant? And the estate agent has been sub-letting to the people that did the damage?
    • Or... are you letting the property to the the people that damaged the building? i.e. Your tenants damaged the building.

    You should have a tenancy agreement. Who is named as the tenant?
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 14th May 18, 7:00 PM
    • 640 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    HampshireH
    At the end of the day you are the leaseholder and it is your lease which will make it your responsibility. Ultimately you are responsible for subletting it and therefore the management of your tenants.

    Whatever happens this is your responsibility to pay.

    Whether you can seek reimbursement for the costs from the deposit is another matter and one to pursuse.

    If the tenancy agreement your tenants have doesn't reflect the terms and conditions of your lease then that's a mistake on your part.

    If for example your lease states you are responsible for keeping in good repair the area outside your flat but you have failed to include anything about the external entrance area in the tenancy agreement then you will just need to take it on the chin.

    What is the damage and how can they prove it was caused by your tenants.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 14th May 18, 7:57 PM
    • 2,488 Posts
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    steampowered
    The first thing you should do is read your contract with the freeholder. This will be the lease under which you bought the property. This will tell you whether you, as the leaseholder, are liable for the damage.

    The second thing you should do is read your contract with the tenants. This will be the tenancy agreement under which your tenants occupy the property - the estate agents should have a copy. This will tell you whether you can bill the tenants for the damage.

    You should not assume that anything you are being told is correct. Find the relevant clause in the contracts and read it.

    My instinct is to think that your estate agent is wrong. I imagine the tenancy agreement will contain a clause about taking care of common areas. But you need to read it to check.
    • ACG
    • By ACG 14th May 18, 8:07 PM
    • 16,828 Posts
    • 8,778 Thanks
    ACG
    The management company charges you - if your lease/contract with the freeholder/management company allows for it.
    You charge the tenant - if your contract allows for it.

    If your lease allows for you to be charged but your contract with the tenants does not, then you pay it.

    That is how contracts work.

    It sounds like you are going to foot the bill for this going off what you have said.

    On a side note (although I appreciate its not the best time), if you are a landlord, you are running a business. You should have some understanding of your contract with tenants and the letting agents and add in/remove anything that you think is important. Dont leave everything to the agents, because when the proverbial hits the fan, you will be the one left to sort it out.
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
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    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 15th May 18, 8:43 AM
    • 1,218 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    saajan_12
    Hi everyone,


    I have asked a state agency to fully managed my property in Cardiff Bay. - to clarify, are you renting directly to the tenants, with the 'state agency just acting as your agents,
    or are you letting to the 'agency' who are subletting to the people living there?
    The property is rented out for 12 months until the 1st June 2018, so it nearly finishes. Recently Warwick, who is the management company for the entire building (covering cleaning, maintenance of externals, watering grass, pavement, etc), has told me that the tenants damaged external wall and stairs during their move-out. The wall and stairs are outside my property. - what proof do they have that your tenants did the damage?


    Warwick told me that as a landlord, I am responsible for the damage as Warwick could not legally charge the tenants. However, as Warwick has contracted with me (not tenants), I can be legally charged. What does your head lease / agreement with Warwick state about damages to communal areas? Does it state you nor anyone you permit into the flat must not damage? If so then you are in breach of this, and are liable to Warwick.

    However I think Warwick could also sue the tenants directly as strangers who have damaged their property.
    I need to deduct the cost from their rent in order to pay for the damage. Yes, assuming your tenancy agreement provides for this - likely it will. You can deduct from deposit.

    I got opposite response when I consulted with the state agency, they told me that as the tenancy contract only covers internals, for any external issue Warwick needs to contact the tenants directly. - Read the tenancy contract yourself. It likely states the tenants must not cause damage to the building.



    My question is who is right? I don't have any contact or bank details from the tenants. - Then demand this from the agency. They work for you. The state agency take full management. I can not contact the tenants and ask them to pay for it. I don't think I should be involved in the conversation at all. - Assuming the 'state agency' are just agents,
    they are irrelevant other than as a contact point. Your claim would be against your tenants.



    Legally, what should be done?


    Thanks everyone in advance!


    Dawei
    Originally posted by ileven1225
    Either is possible - Warwick can claim off you for you / your guests damaging the property, and you can claim off your tenants for incurring a loss to you, or Warwick can claim off your tenants directly as strangers who damaged the wall.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 17th May 18, 3:30 PM
    • 1,091 Posts
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    rtho782
    I don't see how Warwick can hold OP responsible.

    If I went there and damaged the stairs, would they hold OP responsible?

    The fact that the Ts have a tenancy contract with OP is irrelevant. OP is not responsible to Warwick for their actions in damaging Warwick's property.

    If the tenants next door to me damage my house, I can't claim from their Landlord can I?
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    • 19lottie82
    • By 19lottie82 17th May 18, 4:18 PM
    • 5,774 Posts
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    19lottie82
    Does Warwick have proof it was your tenants who damaged the wall? If not, tell them (politely) to do one, and if they disagree then they are welcome to take you to the small claims court.
    • Heliflyguy
    • By Heliflyguy 17th May 18, 4:37 PM
    • 805 Posts
    • 390 Thanks
    Heliflyguy
    Does Warwick have proof it was your tenants who damaged the wall? If not, tell them (politely) to do one, and if they disagree then they are welcome to take you to the small claims court.
    Originally posted by 19lottie82
    Are they even listed on the inventory?
    • 19lottie82
    • By 19lottie82 17th May 18, 4:53 PM
    • 5,774 Posts
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    19lottie82
    The external areas would not be mentioned on the inventory no, and in that case I canít see the OP being able to make a deposit deduction.

    IF there is proof that the tenant damaged the wall then the OP would have to pay and then in turn, claim the costs back from the tenant, outwith the deposit scheme (small claims?).
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