Tenant Has Caused Damage To Property – What Are My Rights?

Tenants left messy/dirty property

Errr…I came across this rather disturbing video recently – it’s footage of a landlord inspecting his property soon after a tenant had vacated. I can’t seem to find more details about the case, but check this eyesore out…

I can’t comprehend why anyone would allow a property get into that horrific condition, unless the landlord allowed a silverback gorilla to pass the tenant applicant screening process.

There must have been a motive. I’m guessing “insanity”

Needless to say, I don’t think the security deposit will quite cover it. My only question is, how/why did the Landlord not keep on top of this?

Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for the landlord and I hope he manages the situation, however…

Landlords/letting agents are entitled to, and should perform routine quarterly inspections.

What happened here? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s pretty apparent the property in question wasn’t reduced to puddles of urine and rubble on moving out day. That property is clearly the result of months and months of ruthless torture.

On a side note, I’m quite concerned that the landlord touched the boots that were resting on the cooker. He’ll probably need a tetanus shot now. I, personally, wouldn’t have entered the building without a gas mask and rubber gloves.

To think, I was crying like a little bitch a few weeks ago because my tenant broke the front door.

Claiming damages against the tenant

In this particular case, it’s unlikely the landlord will see a dime from the culprit. When someone causes damage to that extent, it’s unlikely they’ll leave behind contact details. They’re usually gone for good.

However, some landlords have successfully used independent ‘people tracking’ services (just Google it) to hunt down the culprit and then proceeded to file a claim against them.

If your tenant has caused damages, here are a few points…

  • Landlord’s right: Of course, you have the right to claim against any damages caused by your tenant (not to be confused with wear and tear).
  • Tenancy Deposit: the deposit is there to be used against damages. However, be warned, if the tenant denies responsibility for any alleged damages, it will be up to the tenancy deposit scheme that you secured your tenant’s deposit with to decide the fate of your claim. In that case, you will need to prove the tenant caused the damage i.e. this is when property inventories are particular useful.

    If the deposit doesn’t cover the costs of the alleged damages, you can apply to a county court to file a claim for a larger amount.

  • Small claims court: You can apply to a county court to claim money via the GOV website– the entire process can be done online these days.
  • Eviction: if your tenant is still living in the property and you’re displeased with any damages caused, you may have grounds for tenant eviction (if that’s the option you want to take). You can get free legal advice on evictions & problem tenants from here.
  • Legal advice: If you want any further advice on your rights, you may want to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Referencing, Property Inspections & Property Inventories

I can’t emphasise the importance of thorough tenant referencing, regular property inspections and a detailed inventory.

Proper tenant referencing is the best way to avoid disastrous tenants, while routine inspections is the best way to identity, prevent and limit damage, and a detailed inventory will help with any claims.

Out of curiosity, what’s the most damage a tenant has inflicted on your property? What was the outcome?

18 Join the Conversation...

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Jools 19th March, 2009 @ 09:40

Bugger me! Are you sure it was not the check in inventory? Only joking.. and to think that i was unhappy that the flush mechanism from one of my loo's dissapeared recently in a 'mysterious manner'1 I mean how the hell does a screw in, push button flush mechanism get lost? As it was a poncy ROCA suite it cost me best part of £40 for a new button because of course they dont do the button on its own and you then need the new dual flush mechanism to connect it to!

Had a tenant put his elbow through the plasterboard as well. He WAS being evicted by two burly gentlemen at the time and he WAS halfway down the stairs still wrapped up in his duvet when he woke up so maybe he was 'a bit confused'. I hasten to add I knew nothing about this until days after as it was being managed by a letting company who decided to act. Dead funny though! Apparently they dumped him on the pavement outside and then went back in to bring out his belongings. Funnily enough though all the other tenants in the house have paid up in a timely fashion since.

I did catch someone smoking in the kitchen recently despite there being no somking signs everywhere and I had a right hissy fit. I provide the broadband free of charge so I flounced about scooped up all the gear and stropped off moden dragging behind and dropping bits of stuff everywhere. Thinking back it was proabably a bit like John Inman as opposed to Mike Tyson but it made me feel good at the time. Gave it back to them two days later after two of them went to the the letting agents to apologise and they stood there heads bowed and bottom jaws quivering as they had the riot act read at them by me and the agent both trying very hard not to laugh!!

I love this landlord stuff!!


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Dr Nogood 19th March, 2009 @ 19:03

I was all set to laugh at this...but that's just shit! Trashing a landlord's property because they are a fucker is fair enough...doing it because that's how you live is pretty sad...possibly junkies...

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 20th March, 2009 @ 07:39

Yeah, that's a good point. This looks like the result of "lifestyle" as opposed to revenge. Someone would have been living in those conditions out of choice. It's pretty messed up.

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Belle 10th January, 2012 @ 16:41

I was thinking maybe he deserved a bit of a mess but that is just.. woah.

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Stan 23rd January, 2014 @ 20:53

That place looked so badly decorated with a crappy cooker .... the trashing almost improved it imo.

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Eleni 24th April, 2016 @ 09:30

The worse damage Iv had to my property was a tenant living filthy and taking bricks out of walls and the walls getting wet with weather and eventually he caused structural damage , he stalked me at my house so I wasn't allowed to go and view my property as police said to stay away , it took two years getting him out , he did all this damage , would phone health and tell them things that weren't true , all to get social housing and rent of 4000 eventually the law changed and I got him out , every wall and every ceiling was damaged

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Graham Barnes 20th February, 2017 @ 18:53

Strange though it may seem, our property was fully managed by a letting agency and the tenant and her a**hole of a son still managed to completely trash the place is broken doors, paint thrown everywhere, blood and "stuff"(say no more !) on the lounge carpet, cooker hood ripped off the wall, toilet blocked, just to name a few of the problems.
By the way, having called out a drain clearing company (at my expense) we discovered that the blocked sewer was due to a woman's vest being flushed down the toilet !
She gave the agency her notice, and then basically did a runner, leaving all of her belongings behind.
On approaching said agency re the damage and compensation to cover the costs etc I was politely informed that they'd contacted the guarantor (her mother who lives in France), who in no uncertain terms said " it's f*** all to do with me, I'm not paying a penny!
Therefore I suggested taking the woman or mother to court to see what they had to say and was told No we don't do that because it'll cost money !
Another point I made was why weren't the quarterly checks carried out, and the response was "well we were busy and forgot" !
Luckily, the agency agreed to pay for carpets, but we, as owners were left to pay for repairs and redecorating.
Not happy at all, and to top it off we're still getting her post, mainly bills I assume and dept collector letters!

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Diana 6th April, 2018 @ 02:05

After renting for 6 years perfectly good properties, with working light bulbs, good white equipment and new/ clean carpets and all sanitary ware working I can't believe the incredibly low standards that the ' tenants' have in a few weeks, rarely cleaning anything, or thinking about how the property looks. It's not theirs, they didn't pay for it and somehow they think their rent allows them to be disrespectful of the Owner who has worked hard to provide that home and with the Government now taxing us more I wouldn't be surprised if the private landlord disappears all together and the only one to blame will be the Tenants.

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Sophia 9th April, 2018 @ 01:58

I have been renting out for a number of years, just the one property. I have always had bad tenants even paying an agency to find them and on occasions paying them to look after the property.
The last tenants were the worst I have ever had, what one may call 'professional tenants'.
Even though I went through an agency, obviously, not a thorough check was carried out again.

It has been an extremely stressful time and once again have to clean two years worth of dirt and grime. Clearance of many black bags of stinking rubbish, odd sofa etc No matter how many times you tell them 'NO SMOKING' it falls on deaf years, walls yellow with nicotine.

Is it worth all the tears? NO! Tenants have too much protection these days and there are not enough rules and regulations to help Landlords to get the parasites out.

I agree Diana, I wouldn't be surprised either if the private landlord disappears all together.
I will be one of them.

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Jane 20th October, 2018 @ 06:05

Just in the process of trying to get possession again through the courts. Had an agency to manage it as I live away and work. They didn't do checks at all despite the management contract, the tenant stopped paying so I was chasing them plus the management company who STILL took 10% of any meagre amount that did come in as rent. Tried getting gas cert. done and jobs but the tenant refused entry or refused to answer the door when I'd arranged to go up and do the jobs. Knocking at the door and 2 of his mates came up and threatened me...rang Police who said they'd look out for the two, didn't really want to know (no wonder the country is as it is, seems to be socially acceptable to act like that these days, threatening people) Now he's saying lots of jobs need doing etc as a defence from being evicted. I've just heard that he seems to be trashing the place...who'd be a landlord? And for all those people who say landlords are scum - I say, try being one first, I've been a tenant and a landlord and I know which one is most stressful, believe me!

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Kelly 20th April, 2019 @ 08:26

My partner is currently going through hell with his tennant.

Everything was fine when last year when the took over the property last April. New year's Eve that changed. A phone call that the front door had been kicked in by some yob that the Tennant's sister had been involved with whilst having a party at the house whilst they were out started the alarm bells ringing

By February the text message came that the couple were splitting. She was leaving and leaving him ..he's now Unemployed ..in the house. Not paying the rent for him to stay and demanding her bond back.

A probation officer then calls ???? Unaware of any criminal convictions. She begs for the Tennant's character...he's a good person..vunerable..has no friends or family..father died ..he's only 26 and will be homeless. Same from the local councils housing officer .trying desperately to refuse as not wanting any involvement of him at the house due to the last Tennant

.. same situation ..took a year to legally evict him, smashed the house to smitherines and paid no rent and walked away laughing.

Of which this tennant is aware. So he was forcibly persuaded to keep him on. They would help sort it all. Apply for benefits etc

Three months down the line. No bond, no rent, threats to damage and cause thousands of pounds to landlord. Following day the house smashed, white goods sold, and death threats.

The police not seemingly interested have took statement , the council empathize, the support worker handling the Tennant's case is empathetic, and the probation officer not even bothering to answer or return any calls.

Now we are frightened for our lives we have two children and the Tennant's heavies know where we live and want to kill us. Which isn't an empty threat.

No one is helping. The law is siding with the tennant. He has rights to be there. He knows the system and plays everyone as a vunerable person when he quite clearly is a lying scumbag bastard. He isn't even living at the property.

Wtf is happening in this world.

We will probably all be dead soon so the nightmare will be over .

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PATRICK MCHUGH 14th October, 2019 @ 21:04

My agents did not allow me access to my property for inspection as they Say I was not registered even though I own the property
The tenant has destroyed the property under the agents noses who are a well known company in Mold Flintshire

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Jane 15th October, 2019 @ 06:27

I have a property which I asked a well known agency in Wrexham to manage, as I thought they would be experienced and on the ball...well, no checks were done, it was let out newly painted, clean etc. On leaving, the agents asked for me to sanction deposit return and I said that's what I expect them to do, check the property and advise, as I'm a distance away (what are we paying agents for?!)
They sent me pics, all seemed fine,deposit returned, then i was informed by a worker I'd sent to do a job that the place was awful!! I dashed over and couldn't believe my eyes, I didn't know where to start! It needed everything plus new carpets, couldn't be rented out till jobs were done etc. I was livid, but the agency, a well known one, didn't want to know, for goodness sake, they'd not checked and had authorised deposit to be returned, so no money at all available towards any of it! They even thought I'd let it out AGAIN with them, no way!! They take money and dont do the job, theft in my eyes, or obtaining money by deception, whatever. I didn't have the time or money to take it further, I do wonder if they knew the tenants...cost me loads. Now I manage it myself, I have trusted workmen I use and check the house myself. Nasty experience to be honest, disgusted more by the agency than the tenant, absolute rogues in my opinion.

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Kelly 15th October, 2019 @ 08:16

None. You have no rights at all. Despite whatever the police and solicitor s and social media nsay. None at all. Experienced this twice . No one did anything. Solicitor took £600 for advice. Police were not interested. Despite damage and death threats .

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Jane 15th October, 2019 @ 08:50

Kelly, totally agree, we're on our own with this, it seems! I am a registered landlord and it makes not a jot of difference, to be honest. I'm a responsible landlord, have work done immediately I'm informed of any problem but all that means nothing either!

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Tanya 10th November, 2020 @ 21:49

Tenant moved in July buy September they complain shower door fell down and crack the bath and they ask to replace the bath.Estate agent told me I should pay but I left bath in prestige condition.
Who is responsible to pay?
Thank you

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 10th November, 2020 @ 21:51

Well, that doesn't like "wear and tear" to me, so I think the tenant is liable.

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Judi 7th May, 2023 @ 16:15

I sat and cried when I saw photos of the state of my home. It is literally filthy from top to bottom Damaged everywhere. Every square inch needs decorating. Loads of woodwork chipped. Outside is not been tended so the garden is a tip. Old sofa and chairs rotting in the garden. Can’t see through shower doors as they are so limed up. It was spotless when rented. A huge leak in the kitchen. I’ve done everything by the book! I politely asked my tenants to inform me of any damage so I could sort it. Trailer trash! I never want to be a landlord again! The stress has made me ill. Lied to. Deceived. Taken the piss out of! I’m one very unhappy landlord!

















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