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Dispute over broken window

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497 views 2 replies latest reply: 03 March 2015

Hi – we’re having a bit of a problem with letting agents and a cracked window.

When we moved in to our flat, we noted a broken window – took a photo, all time dated, presumed it wouldn’t be a problem. It wasn’t a bother and we were in no need of having it fixed (5th floor flat). Well, we’ve just had a yearly inventory check and they’re now claiming we broke the window as it wasn’t broken on the check in inventory (done the day before we moved in).

We never recieved this check in inventory and never signed it – they’re saying they posted it and with it a letter saying they’ll assume we agree if they don’t hear from us in seven days. Is this allowed? What if it got lost in the post?

We’ve now seen a copy and it’s clear the window wasn’t broken when this was done – but the photos also don’t show a bed in the bedroom and on pressing, the agents have admitted this was moved in after the inventory was done. How can they sign off an inventory when there are still workman to enter? They could have done any sort of damage and we’d never know. It seems the window must have been broken moving furniture around.

Are we within our rights to continue disputing this? We have photographic evidence that the window was broken on the morning of move in – is that enough?

Really appreciate any help on this.


Hi Laura

To a certain extent it’s up to tenants to make sure that you see, check and sign off on the inventory at the start and end of the tenancy. You have no control over whether it’s done properly but you can go round and check it yourself afterwards and then make amendments.

However, when it comes to disputes over the deposit (which is where I’m assuming the money for the repair will eventually come from), the onus will be on the landlord to prove the damage was you not the other way around.

Is the inventory photo time and date stamped? If not that could cause an issue for the landlord, especially in the face of your photo which IS time and date stamped. If you’re staying in the property make sure you get a copy of the new yearly inventory and mark your comments about the window on it. Keep electronic copies (scanned) and email these so you have proof that you don’t agree and attach your own photo as proof. Make sure you mention you didn’t receive the inventory and attach any correspondence in which you’re chasing for it.

Also, is there any description in the inventory or just the photo? In a recent case, a landlord used a photographic style inventory at check in but none of the photos were dated and there was no other written evidence about disputed damage. As a result, the tenant won his case and the landlord had to pay for replacements themselves.


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It seems neither party has a particularly strong case regarding this.


The inventory should be signed by both parties and the proviso that no response from yourselves creates an acceptance is weak.  They would need to prove they sent it and, I would think, show evidence that they chased up an acceptance from yourselves.


Regarding your photo, I assume this is digital?  The problem is these are not always accepted as proof of being taken at a certain time becasue camera dates can easily be changed before taking the photo.  I’ve had one depsoit dispute where the photos were dismissed becaue of this.   If you had sent this to the agents, or advised them (in writing) at the time about the window then you would be in a very good position.


The fact they have admitted, hopefully in writing, that workmen were still entering the property after the inventory was done does work strongly in your favour.


The bottom line with deposits is that the money belongs to the tenants and it is the agents/landlords that are duty bound to prove that a deduction is justified.   In my view, they would struggle to do so in this instance.


For future reference, always advise the agents by email of any discrepencies between the inventory and the actual condition as soon as it is noticed. 


Keep fighting this one.

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