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Damage to Our Belongings - Can We Request Compensation?

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422 views 1 replies latest reply: 23 January 2015
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Tenant

My hubby and I have been tenants in our house for almost 6 months. Just to provide some background information: the previous tenants caused the landlady and letting agents a nightmare, leaving the property in a bad state and having not paid many months of rent. She has had to spend a lot of money to bring the property back to a good standard by the time we moved in.

The oil-fired boiler is located in the garage of the property, as is the washing machine. A few weeks ago I realised that some heating oil had leaked out in a puddle on the floor from a pipe connected to the boiler. We immediately contacted someone to fix it – the same guy who the letting agent had initially sent out to service the boiler and get it working for us (he had given us his number so we just called him directly – I’m now wondering whether this was the right move?) He came out that day and repaired the leak without bother. He never charged us so we assume he either billed the letting agent, or counted it as part of the service he had done previously.

Unfortunately, however, there had been a pile of laundry sitting on the floor ready for the washing machine, and a number of items were soaked and stained by the heating oil. I have tried a few recommended methods to shift the fuel smell and the green stains, but nothing has worked.

Had these been old or cheap things I honestly wouldn’t have minded, but they were actually very good quality duvet sets that had been bought for us off our wedding gift list a year and a half ago. The total value of them all was around £100. What I am wondering is whether we would be entitled to ask the landlady to cover the cost of replacing the damaged stuff? We feel bad as we don’t want her to think we are taking advantage, but I feel like we are entitled to something.

Any advice?

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Administrator

Hi Mairead

This is a difficult one as, although it was the fault with the boiler that caused the leak that resulted in the damage, the landlord might say that arguably the laundry shouldn’t have been on the floor. If you want to pursue something like this then you could suggest splitting the cost 50:50 with the landlord – in a way it might show that you’re the kind of tenant who pays attention to detail and is worth keeping. However, many landlords will avoid relinquishing money for anything they don’t strictly have to and you could sour relations if you insist on it. The other option is to try to document the damage in some way, and the fact that it relates to the boiler leaking, mention it in passing (in writing) to the landlord but save the actual claim for when you move out – setting it off against any damage the landlord wants to claim from your deposit for. Just an idea and not guaranteed to be successful but could preserve current relations while giving you the option to claim for the damage at some point.

If you want some legal advice on this then try contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Alex

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