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Read more articles in: Blog, Dispute Resolution, Lorraine Walker

Handling property damage – What residential landlords need to know

As a residential landlord, it is inevitable that you will, at some point, have to deal with property damage caused by a tenant. Whether it is accidental or deliberate, it is essential to know how to handle such situations effectively and the claims you can make to minimise losses.

Document the damage

Immediately after noticing the damage, ensure to document it. Take photographs and make detailed notes of the extent of the damage. This will be crucial when making a claim or deducting the costs from the tenant’s deposit.

Notify the tenant

Inform the tenant about the damage, if they are not already aware. It is advisable to do this in writing, outlining the nature and extent of the damage, and indicating the potential costs involved in the repairs.

Get estimates for repairs

Obtain at least three estimates from reputable tradespeople for the repair works. This will give you a fair idea of the costs involved and will be necessary documentation when making a claim.

Negotiate with the tenant

Before proceeding with formal claims, try to negotiate with the tenant. They might agree to repair the damage themselves or to cover the costs of the repairs.

Making a claim on the tenancy deposit

If the tenant disagrees to cover the repair costs, you can make a claim on their deposit. Tenant deposits must be held in a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). Here’s how you can go about it:

  • Submit evidence: Provide the TDS with the evidence of the damage and the repair estimates.
  • Adjudication: If the tenant disputes the claim, it will go to adjudication. The TDS will make a fair decision based on the evidence provided.
  • Making a claim on your landlord insurance

If the damage exceeds the deposit amount or if it is a case of malicious damage, you can make a claim on your landlord insurance.

In these instances, ensure that you report the damage to the police and obtain a crime reference number, and notify your insurer promptly, providing them with all the necessary details.

Handling property damage can be a stressful experience for landlords, but this stress can be eased by following the right procedures and being aware of the claims you can make.

At Mander Hadley, our expert team are on hand to provide residential landlords with legal support. If you are experiencing problems contact us today.

Lorraine Walker

Solicitor – litigation and dispute resolution

Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, I worked within the education sector as a senior leader in a secondary school.