Q. I have been renting my apartment for the past four months and out of the blue the tenant has contacted my agents and reported that several splits in the sofa fabric have appeared. Obviously I am very concerned about this, the sofa is a few years old admittedly but I never expected this. What happens next? It seemed absolutely fine when they moved in. Can I insist they pay for a new sofa?
A. Wow not a great start to a new tenancy! First things first, did your Agent have a professional inventory carried out before they moved in? I hope so as that will have recorded the original condition of the sofa prior to occupation. Have a check on the comments besides the sofa, if it mentions signs of wear it could just simply be a case of the sofa being old and unluckily for these particular tenants it has decided to give way whilst they are in occupation. When the tenants vacate the property general wear and tear will be taken into consideration. An independent inventory clerk should have recorded the condition in the first place and the same will happen when they check out on vacation. The inventory clerk will make his comments and based on his comments, a decision will need to be made. The tenants reporting this and flagging up the issue now means either you or your agent or both for that matter can go along to the property to inspect the damage. Obviously if there is no sign of foul play or deliberate damage it is likely that the sofa has reached the end of its life depending of course on how old it is. It may be worth digging out your old receipt to see how long the manufacturers guarantee extends for. If you feel that the tenants are in some way responsible then of course at the end of the tenancy you can open up the conversation but not until you have the independent Inventory checkout. If your agent can agree something between you as a solution then great, if not it is likely to go to your deposit protector for independent adjudication. That way an independent adjudicator will examine all the facts and make an unbiased decision as to what happens next.