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Landlord Legal Issues - July 2019

Landlord & tenant lawyer, Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlawservices.co.uk answers your questions

Q. I have some tenants who have been in the property five years and who are about to move out. We have found that the washing machine is not the same washing machine that was in the property when they moved in. They have told us that they replaced the washing machine two years ago when ours broke down. However, we have no record of this and the machine they have replaced it with is not a brand that we would use. They want to charge me for the cost of this machine. I on the other hand want them to pay for a new washing machine to replace the one they took! Who is right?

A. As they paid for the washing machine it is theirs. They cannot force you to accept this as a replacement for the old machine, particularly as they did this and disposed of the old machine without notifying you. So, they cannot claim from you the cost of the replacement machine.

So far as your claim against them for a replacement machine, it will depend upon the age and lifespan of the old machine. If it had come to the end of its life, then you cannot claim for the cost of a new one. However, if, for example, it had been a new machine when they moved in it could have had a lifespan of up to 12 years, in which case you would be entitled to a proportionate part of the value of a new machine. You will find a pdf guide to product lifespans on the TDS website.

Q. I have had a fire at my rented property. It looks as if it was caused by the tenants smoking at the property, which is prohibited in the tenancy agreement. Do I have a claim against my letting agents for any damage not covered by my insurance as they should have known about this, but I now learn that they have not been doing any inspections?  

Do I also have a claim against them as unbeknown to me they stopped taking deposits from the tenants?

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