A dispute over dog hairs on a carpet and scratches on a door in a buy to let home ended up in a libel action before the High Court.
Landlords Steven and Virginia Grose let the home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire to tenants Stephen and Abigail Owens who argued about whether some of the £1,575 deposit should be retained to cover cleaning and repairs.
The landlords claimed dog hairs on a carpet proved the house was not professionally cleaned before the handover when the tenants moved out and that scratches on a door were damage caused by the dog.
The couples rowed over how much of the deposit should be kept for cleaning and repairs, leading to the landlords writing to the letting agent about the matter.
The tenants claimed the letter libelled them, alleging they were not good tenants and failed to look after their pet.
The Owens issued a writ claiming damages and sought an injunction against their landlords.
The judge rejected the claims. He explained they were not libel and were covered by a defence of qualified privilege as the letting agent had received the letter in a professional capacity and that the Owens could not prove the allegations were malicious.
Good. Sanity prevailed. Personally though, I would not claim any of a deposit for two such trivial matters.
They found sense somewhere in the legal system. But did they get some of the deposit to cover cleaning away the dog hair and repairs to scratches?
Not quite sure how that part turned out!
Steve here, we got none of the deposit back as by the time the court case had ended the time for holding the deposit had lapsed and the money was kept by the deposit scheme. We didnt actually want to progress the claim in the first place, our letting agents encouraged us to. I think they were in the same line of business as the tenants and were spoiling for a fight with them from the off. Certainly an interesting experience going to high court. Our legal team were amazing though, cant recommend them enough.