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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My lodger is refusing to pay for a damaged mattress from his

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My lodger is refusing to pay for a damaged mattress from his deposit which I still have. He has agreed to pay cleaning costs after leaving coffee and other fluid stains across the walls and carpet. The combined costs are likely to leave me out of pocket even with the deposit as he owed money for bills when he left. He has not left a forwarding address. My understanding is that I can claim for the reduction in expected lifespan for items e.g the mattress is now 2 years old and would be expected to last for 10. I am afraid that he will become very unpleasant about this and I have already had texts demanding his deposit back, despite the fact it is taking time to find a cleaner at this time of year. Where do I stand with respect to keeping his deposit? I used a lawpack lodger agreement. He was reminded a number of times through the year to clean the room and failed to do so despite the hoover being available 2ft from his door.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What is the damage?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The mattress is very soiled with food and liquid stains. The lodger was often not using a sheet, and was removing the provided mattress protector. Despite hoovering the mattress, febreezing it, airing it for 1 week it remains extremely malodorous and it would be unreasonable to expect someone else to use it in this condition. I have photographs showing the damage. The mattress was 1 year old when the lodger moved in and there was no damage from the previous lodger. The walls and carpet are soiled with fluids. I have photographic evidence of the current and previous states.

He is liable to pay for that. Its not reasonable damage. That isn't wear and tear. That is just plain neglectful damage.
You are absolutely entitled to deduct from the deposit for any damage caused.
You do have to take into account that the matress is two years old and so not worth its recommended retail price. If it is not capable of repair then you can deduct the sum of a replacement reduced by a reasonable amount to reflect the fact that this was two years old. The level of the reduction is always a matter for a court but personally I would suggest 10% a year to mirror the proposed length of lifespan.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answer.

Could he take me to court to try and get the money back? He is adamant that he is not going to pay for the mattress. As I do not have a forwarding address it is difficult for me to enter correspondence with him such as itemising the costs and why I am making the deduction from the deposit.

Yes, he could sue. Whether he will win or not is another matter.
If you have his mobile phone then a text will be fine. You just need to show by some recorded means that you did give him this information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay thank you very much for your help today.

No problem and all the best.
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