Tenants installing items in home without permission

When you own a property, you have tenants and you have clearly outlined the ‘rules’ in a tenancy agreement with them, it can be very frustrating when they decide to install items in your home without your permission. Depending on what they decide to install, it can wind up costing you money later if you don’t address the problem when it arises. Here are some top tips to dealing with this type of situation.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that when you start a new tenancy you collect a security deposit from those new tenants. Security deposits or tenancy deposits can help to ensure you have money available when you need it in terms of damage to your home.

Tenancy Deposits:

Key points:

  • You must inform your tenants within 14 days if you decide to take a security deposit for a Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). You need to let them know which scheme you plan to use.
  • You holding deposit will not be affected.
  • You do not have to take a deposit if you don’t want to.
  • It is more important than ever to have a good inventory.
  • In the case of a dispute, you will need good evidence for the dispute service or court.

Security Deposits:

Security deposits are normal practice in the UK amongst landlords, tenants and courts. There are however, no statutory rules laid down and security deposits are based on individual landlord to tenant situations. What the deposit covers and the interest payable on the deposit all depends very much on each separate contract.

What should the security deposit cover?

Each of the items below are typical items found in a letting agreement. You must be specific in your agreement about what the deposit will cover.

  • Damage to the property, fixtures, fittings and furniture beyond the normal wear and tear.
  • Cleaning: This can include a full clean once the tenant moves out or the cleaning of specific items such as the cooker or carpet.
  • Removal: Your tenants may leave old furniture or general rubbish in your home when they leave. Your deposit can cover the removal of these items.
  • Unpaid rent.
  • Additional unpaid accounts that a vendor may try to recover from the landlord. This will not regularly occur as the contract is usually between the tenant and the vendor. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Replacement locks and keys. If your tenants do not return their keys when they leave, it is the landlords responsibility to change the locks and this can be quite pricey depending on the size of your property.

How much should a security deposit be?

The recommended amount that tenants should expect to pay for a deposit should be anywhere up to two months rent. Two months or one month’s rent is the standard amount landlords collect. As a landlord, you don’t want to request more than this amount because this could give your tenant automatic right to assign the lease without your consent.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme:

Back in 2007 a government scheme was put in place called the tenancy deposit scheme. All deposits taken for rent up to £25,000 a year were to be protected under the scheme. The scheme was set up to help make situations that end in disputes run faster and cheaper for all parties involved. The scheme is supported by a Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and in most cases it will prevent cases going to court.

What do I do if I don’t have a deposit from my tenants?

This is the situation you want to avoid because if you don’t have the ‘rules’ of your home written down and clearly signed by your tenant, you don’t really have a leg to stand on. If you have a good relationship with your tenant you may want to approach them about the issue and see if you can come to some sort of monetary agreement to help with the damage. You can also write your tenants a letter explaining the extent of the damage. You can still take them to court, especially if the damage is severe, but this may not work either. You need to make sure you have the deposit from the get-go.

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