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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I rented a room out in my house. A lodger agreement and inventory

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I rented a room out in my house. A lodger agreement and inventory was provided and signed on arrival of the lodger. On moving out at her request I waived the additional 5 days rent she would have owed me and put in writing that I was content to do this, including the condition I expected the room to be left in and an additional copy of the room inventory incase she no longer had it. I agreed to advise her of any deposit deductions before I took them. On her move out - I came home to find her gone on the day she was due to depart - on inspection of the room, the bed was marked and the bedside cabinet was ruined, something had been spilt and left on it and it had taken the coating and lifted the wood beyond repair. She also caused damage to the communal area and bathroom which only she used. I notified her by text that I would charge her £155 for a replacement cabinet which was the lowest price I could find it but if she wanted to discuss was happy to do so. She asked for an opportunity to try to get it repaired which I gave her but when returned the cabinet was still damaged as was a completely different colour so no longer matched my other furniture and therefore no use to me. I advised her it wasn't repaired to an agreeable standard, bought a new one, returned the remainder of her deposit and advised that once the new one arrived I was happy for her to come and collect the damaged cabinet as it is no longer any good to me. She is now demanding I give her the ruined cabinet immediately but as far as I understand legally I do not have to give her the cabinet at all but was willing to do so as a gesture of good will. Please can you advise if I have the right to withhold the cabinet until my replacement arrives? Thanks I advance. Andrea

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How old was the original cabinet?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
3 years old but had no damage and was as good as new, I took pictures of the room prior to her moving in and the contract stated about damage to property etc. a full inventory was taken before and after which was signed and she was given the opportunity to raise any damages/marks on moving in. The full price of the cabinet was more but I searched the internet to find the cheapest like for like replacement and no delivery charges. There was no damage to any of the furniture and cost significantly more when originally purchased. I am not looking to take as much money as possible hence why even though she has marked the bed and damaged other parts of the house and the bathroom she had sole use of we will try to repair them ourselves which will not only cost us money but also use our time. The cabinet was beyond repair hence the charge. Thanks Andrea

And what was the cost when you bought it originally?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It cost me £179.99, as well as the amount that she has been charged I am also keen to know my rights in regards XXXXX XXXXX of the cabinet, firstly do I have to give it to her and secondly can she demand it now before the replacement arrives.
Thanks again.

She is liable for something arising from the cabinet. This isn't wear and tear realistically. This is just plain wilful or reckless damage and she does owe you something.

You don't have to give her the cabinet in its condition. That is nonsense.

However, you cannot enrich yourself at her expense which I'm afraid is what is happening here. You are entitled to the sum of money the old cabinet would have been worth rather than a new replacement.

Obviously cabinets are the type of thing that don't decline hugely in price but nevertheless this was 3 years old and there would be a reduction to reflect that from the original price.

That said, actually the difference between the amount you have charged and the amount in question is really not that much so its likely that its not worth her while litigating over.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for your help, just to confirm she has no legal right to the damaged cabinet?
Thanks again.

No, not at all.


But make sure you have photographs of it so that you can prove the damage if you are going to dispose of it.


No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile

Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Apologies for coming back to you again, to purchase the cabinet from the shop we had it from was over £200 so I did take reasonable steps to get her the cheapest price. Assuming if she took it further and won her case then I would be liable to return some of the cabinet cost i.e actual cost minus a degree of depreciation whatever that may be. Everything I have done has been put in writing and all conversations I have had lately I have put in writing which I have kept to ensure I cover myself. I have kept the conversations factual and professional, where as she has been rude and abrupt and quite demanding. Would she therefore need to go through the small claims court?
If there is a difference between the sum she owes and the sum she claims then she could sue at the small claims court but its going to be such a small sum that her claim would probably be vexatious.

Whatever you bought from the store, remember that your claim is not for a replacement but for damages for the damaged cabinet.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks, I understand. All I've ever wanted was my property repaired to the same standard she received it or a like for like replacement. If she had managed to get it repaired then I wouldn't have taken any money off her and returned her full deposit. I am not out to make any money infact I have lost money but to fair I just want her out of my life. Thanks for your help once again. Have a good evening.
Yes, and you will get it. She has caused damage and she is liable.

All the best.