Renting high-end homes in London usually involves the payment of a hefty deposit.
It’s a sad fact that many UK Landlords see wealthy corporate Tenants as a soft touch. And sometimes they think they can refurbish their home using the deposit for funding.
Protecting against this Tenant abuse involves a number of key actions, which include:
- Making sure that the rental contract is fair to the Tenant
Landlords usually try to get away with unfair terms. Insist that they amend them.
- Making sure that the inventory check-in report accurately records the condition of the home at move-in
It’s important to capture any issues and get them on the record early. Photographic supporting evidence is very effective.
- During the term, make sure any relevant issues are placed on record to the Landlord
In a recent case, at termination a Landlord tried to charge our client for major redecorations.
Because the Assignee was given our Ongoing Support after move-in, we had recorded all events that proved that all damage was due to Landlord inaction.
The claim was therefore Dead On Arrival!
- Thoroughly review the lease near the end of the term and make sure all tenant obligations are complied with in good time for the inventory check-out inspection
- Attend the inventory check-out to ensure the inspector is aware of all material facts
- When presented with a Dilapidation Claim, make sure it’s thoroughly reviewed and compared alongside the inventory check-in and check-out reports, as well as the contractual terms
Most claims can be quickly resolved at this stage in under one hour (which is the time for this component that’s included in our Departure program).
Some take longer and are routinely reduced via negotiation by many thousands of pounds after some back and forth
- If you can’t resolve the dispute, send a robust, fully reasoned response to the Dilapidations Claim highlighting all unlawful and inappropriate deductions and any errors in the inventory check-out report
- Be aware of the law and the Tenant’s legal rights. Most Landlords do not know the law or they try to get away with unreasonable charges against Tenants’ deposits
- If your case is strong, don’t be afraid to let it go for Adjudication. If the facts and evidence are on your side, you will win!
Clearly, it’s necessary to take a pragmatic view of Dilapidations Claims. There’s no sense incurring costs that overwhelm any saving gained. But conducted properly, a strong defence case will get the Landlord to play fair when it comes to unreasonable deductions from the deposit.
Too many corporate Tenants allow themselves to be taken for a ride. Everytime a Landlord gets away with daylight robbery, it encourages more of this abuse, which hurts all Tenants.
Another aspect to bear in mind, is the feelings of the Assignee. They often feel rightly aggrieved when they are accused of not taking good care of their rental home. Fighting an unfair claim is also another way of providing your Assignee with a VIP level of relocation support that they will appreciate. It’s another way of making your VIP Assignee feel highly valued and well looked after. There’s always a decent ROI in achieving that objective; it makes sound commercial sense.
But clearly, fighting an unfair claim must be done at reasonable cost. We always watch this aspect very closely at Saunders 1865. A commercial, common-sense approach if vital.