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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 15413
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have asked a question of a colleague of yours. I’d be very

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Jim, I have asked a question of a colleague of yours. I’d be very interested to ‘hear’, your opinion on the same question if that is possible?To save time it is written below:-I am a private landlord (just the one property), in dispute with a company (Lessee), to whom we sublet a flat, over compensation for damage to the kitchen by their tenant. I need to understand the strength of my position given that:-
o We had an express contract requiring the lessee look after the kitchen and return it in a tenantable state or pay a sum to do the same thing, the £300 offered in no way compensates for the £3-£4000 cost of repairing the kitchen.
o The lessee is suggesting that additional terms (detailed below) also come into play. These are not express terms in the contract.Background
The Kitchen: The lessee’s tenant badly damaged the kitchen. There was no contract between the ourselves and the tenant. The lessee has acknowledged neglect on the part of their tenant and a failure to mitigate, but has offered only minimal recompense justifying this by suggesting additional termsThe key clauses in the contract require that the Lessee:7.3.1 To keep the Interior of the Property in good tenantable repair (fair wear and tear and damage by fire or other insured risks excepted)7.3.2 at the end of the Term to carry out any necessary repairs to reinstate the interior of the Property to their state of condition as evidenced by the annexed Inventory (fair wear and tear and damage by Insured Risks excepted) PROVIDED THAT:-7.3.5 at the end or sooner determination of the Term the Lessee may elect to make a payment to the Lessor of a sum reasonably estimated to be the cost of carrying out any repairs for which it is responsible under the terms of the Lease and if such payment is made the Lessee's obligation to carry out such repairs shall ceaseCircumstances giving rise to the dispute
The kitchen at the property, recorded as being in ‘Good’ condition in the lessee’s inventory, was badly damaged during the contract term requiring expensive refurbishment. The lessee has offered just £300, far below a reasonable estimate to bring back the kitchen to tenantable condition. The lessee have justified their offer as follows‘As documented in your head lease, Xxxxxxxx can elect a sum payable to you which have been reviewed against the national federation schedule of rates and factoring in the below points:
• The original age, quality, and condition of any item at the commencement of the tenancy
• The average useful lifespan to the value ratio eg depreciation of the item
• The reasonable expected usage of such an item
• The number and type of occupants in the property
• The length of the tenant’s occupancy’Note none of these clauses appears anywhere in the contract. Only the option to make a payment…see 7.3.5 above. Neither where these clauses ever mentioned in discussion prior to the contract being signed.The evidence on which we rely
The agreed terms
The physical damage, and the causes of same
The original inventory, photographic images before and after
The lessee’s acknowledgment that this was caused by the lessee’s tenants neglect
The lessee’s acknowledgment that they failed to take action to mitigate
The lessee’s acknowledgment that the kitchen is not tenantable
The lessee’s acknowledgment that this was a contract between ‘a landlord and an agent (the lessee) acting as a landlord’
The lessee’s own last inspection report, months before handback.
The scope and cost of repair
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now. I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

The lease conditions state that the lessee is liable to make good any repairs - to reinstate the property (the interior) to how it was previously aside from basic wear and tear.
The lessees is liable for the reasonably cost of the repairs, no less. I am not sure what £300 represents - the lessee is in breach of the terms if they do not pay the full sum owed. However, as a claimant, you as the landlord would need to prove you mitigated the loss which means keeping it to a minimum and that is usually done by securing more than one quote for repairs (so there is no argument you just went with the highest quotation).
As you say, their argument is not contained within the contract and further, they are not a consumer, so consumer law does not come in to it - the terms of the lease would all apply to them - the courts would expect a business to know what they are signing up from a contractual point of view.
All of your evidence is fine - in a civil case you only need to show they are likely in breach (which they are) and your an refer the court to their admission that the damage was caused by the tenant (making the lessee liable).
I therefore see no reason why you should not take it further and pursue them for the full cost.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,

Jim

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 15413
Experience: Senior Associate Solicitor
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Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Jim,
A couple of minor queries.
In the third paragraph of your response, you state ‘…and your an refer the court…’, could you just clarify, is this a spell check issue?What would the legal words be to advise the lessee of our view of the position and that unless they choose to settle on this particular matter, then we will be proceeding with Legal action?

Yes, sorry, it should read "and you can refer the court to their admission..."

In terms of legal language, it's just a case of saying that you consider they are liable under breach of contract, in that they have not complied with their legal obligations under the various clauses, in particular 7.3.1 to 7.3.5 and as such you will pursue a claim in the county court unless they reimburse you for your loss.