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Ending a Tenancy (England) | England | Practical Tips for a Pain-Free End of Tenancy Handover (England)

Tenants have varnished natural kitchen work surfaces

15 Nov 2021 | 4 comments

So tenants vacated and have sanded and varnished the landlord’s much loved natural wood work tops without permission. She is livid and getting a quote to restore them. I’ve advised her that if it went to a dispute, it may find that the tenant has improved the work tops.

Can the landlord deduct the cost to restore the worktops? And what is the likelyhood of her getting the result she wants?

This is the same landlord who served a section 21 back in February and had to refund the tenant 17 days rent for November.




  1. guildy

    That’s a tricky one because presumably the way to maintain natural wood worktops is to sand and varnish them periodically? (we’re no expert on this type of worktop, but presumably a special varnish would be needed to protect the harshness of it being used as a worktop).

    If the tenant has failed to correctly do this (either by the way it was sanded or incorrect varnish) then the chances of a dispute will be favourable to the landlord but otherwise, the tenant will just argue they were just maintaining as this type of worktop periodically requires.

    It’s certainly one that we would use the free of charge dispute with because we wouldn’t like to predict the outcome if it went to court.

  2. kaysproperty

    Thank you for the reply.
    The landlord has said the work surfaces should have been oiled not varnished.
    I suppose we shall have to see what the dispute finds.

  3. kaysproperty

    It’s been over a week since the original deposit deduction claim was made by the landlord and she has now discovered that the tenants had also installed satellite TV and disposed of her aerial, leaving her without a TV signal. The cost to reinstate the aerial has been added to the deposit claim. Another £230.
    The tenants haven’t responded to the DPS or myself since their initial claim to 100% of their deposit which makes me a little worried. I’m wondering if they are seeking legal advice which leads to the question, can they by pass the deposit scheme and go straight to a legal claim? I wouldn’t have thought so as that’s what the DPS is for surely? Procedures have to be followed. Perhaps they are both busy. I’ve emailed them to ask if everything is ok and to remind them that they need to respond to the claim.

  4. guildy

    There’s no requirement for either party to use the dispute resolution but obviously court action is risky in respect of costs of the claim.

    If there’s no response in a couple of weeks, a single claim can be made.

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