Legal question


I currently rent out my property through a local letting agency. They have just finished a routine inspection and found that one of the light fittings has come away from the ceiling in the cupboard under the stairs. The property is 7 years old and this issue has not been raised in the 3 years I have been renting out the property. I think, therefore, that this has probably been caused by my tenant, be it neglect on his behalf or just an accident.

It is obviosuly not a big or expensive job but I am not convinced that it is my responsibility to make good the damage. If it is then I will.

I wondered if there are any legal types out there, or landlords who have had similar problems, who may be able to offer me some advice.




  • How do you 'neglect' a light fitting?  They just sit there!

    If it has come away due to the ceiling decaying (?), then that's the landlord's responsibility, I'd have thought.

    If it's accidental damage then you withold the cost of repair from the tenant's deposit.


  • Yes, I was going to say that you should take it from the tenant's deposit as well.

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    I'd go with 'caused by the tenant' but you will have to get the tenant to agree assuming you are using the, or a, deposit protection service.  You should, of course, be using this if you are going through a local letting service and have been renting only 3 years...  It's been the law for about four years I seem to remember.

    If the tenant disputes your claim the amount will be held by the deposit protection service with the remainder returned to the tenant.  It is held until you sort out the dispute, or a court orders it released one way or the other.

  • On a non-legal but more moral and pragmatic level, I suppose it depends whether you're on good relations with your tenant and in general would like them to stay. If they say they didn't do it, do you think you'd believe them? Is it worth upsetting a good relationship with a generally good tenant over a light fitting? If you withold money but are in the wrong, word can get around too. 

  • Calculate how much rent you get from them and how much a light fitting would cost. If you still decide to ask them to pay then I would get ready for 4 visits this Christmas.
  • Have you seen the "damage" for yourself? There may be nothing actually broken. If your tenant has been there for a long time and that's the only issue then unless it costs loads to repair (it may be as simple as screwing it back to the fitting) I'd say they sound like the sort of tenants you want to keep on side! As it is a house they must be paying several hundreds of pounds a month (or more) to you!

    Don't create a lot of bother out of not a lot! If it does cost a bit to do why not have a word with them and go halves?

  • Thanks for the replies. As I dont know the tenants or have any contact with them I think it is probably best not to cause any trouble. I will go and sort the problem out myself I think. Cheers

  • God bless us everyone
  • I'm an athiest

  • Or you might say "God? Humbug!"
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    Did you do an inventory to show that the light fitting was okay prior to them moving in?  If not, you've not got much of a chance.

    In anycase for these "wear and tear" type issues, I think I would absorb them especially if they are good tenants.

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