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Landlord Tenant Dispute

Summary: Impeccable tenant references does not avert a landlord tenant dispute.

Mrs H, a prospective tenant and a recently divorced single mother, provided impeccable references from previous landlords. The new landlord was more than happy to take her on as a tenant. Before doing so, the landlord deep-cleaned the property throughout, supplied brand new white-goods, redecorated to a high standard, supplied new carpets and curtains and decided also to upgrade the central heating and hot water system.

Within two weeks Mrs H called the landlord and asked him when he was going to replace the carpets. Puzzled, he responded that there is no need because the carpets were all brand new. The tenant’s response was that the carpets may be brand new but they are all ruined!

On investigation, the landlord discovered that Mrs H had unilaterally decided that she did not want to pay her rent and the best excuse for not doing so was to pull all the radiators off the walls thereby creating both extensive wall damage and flooding.The landlord took professional advice and was informed that once the tenant signed the tenancy agreement, notwithstanding his ownership of the property, the tenant had all the rights. In other words, there was not much he could do about it!

The landlord’s options were severely limited. Indeed, putting any pressure whatsoever on the tenant might well be construed as a breach of the Law.

During mediation proceedings, it became clear that Mrs H simply could not afford the rent she agreed and had signed up to. The landlord was now in a quandary; should he release her from the tenancy agreement? Should he hold her to the agreed rent? Or should he take a commercial view to reduce the rent to a manageable level for her?

Agreement was reached: the landlord took a commercial view and reduced the rent for the tenant. It must be said that the landlord thereafter exercised his right and did not to renew the tenancy at the end of the tenancy period.