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Kitchen Worktop Damage - Deposit Deduction

Hi all,

I am writing on here because I would like to get some advice, if possible. I recently moved out of a property with a live-in landlord, so the agreement between us was a license rather than an AST. After I moved out, the landlord messaged me saying that everything was fine with the room but because of a stain on the kitchen worktop (8 cm in diameter) he will proceed to replace it and charge me for the full price of it. He said he will have to replace the other laminate worktop in the kitchen too as they are glued together, and they will bear the cost of labour and the second worktop, while I will have to pay for the cost of one (127£) which will then be deducted from my deposit of 500£.

The stain in question was made back in July and you can find a picture of it attached. I had brought up the issue with their partner when it happened and said that I tried to wipe it away but it wouldn’t come off and that I was willing to buy something to cover it if needed. I was told at the time that everything was fine and no further issue was brought up.

The worktop has been used without a problem ever since, and during our negotiations recently he confirmed that its usability is not affected but they are bothered by it aesthetically and so they want to replace it. What I tried to negotiate is the amount that I am being charged for, as I understand that the lifespan of the worktop, its age and betterment are all things that should be taken into consideration when considering issues like so. I suggested that I might cover 50% or a fraction of the cost of the worktop, and asked for confirmation of when it was bought and such. No evidence was provided of when it was bought, I am receiving no answers in terms of potential age of the item. They did not even provide a quote for the worktop when I first asked if they could provide one so that I could check what they were stating, and they just gave me the name of the store and said I can call them and get them to give me a quote.

The store said that the manufacturers of laminate worktops usually guarantee 1, 2 and sometimes 5 years. I know this is not an official reference, but I am just trying to get the bigger picture and I would like to hear multiple opinions on it, hopefully from people that have found themselves in similar situations. I am genuinely just trying to understand what is reasonable in this case.

Repairing it or covering it do not seem to be options as he refused my suggestion to buy something to cover it since it is so small - he just wants a replacement. The worktops are both 3 metre long. The surface area is roughly 0.6 squared metres, the surface area of the stain is 0.0057 squared metres so we are talking 0.95% of the total area of the worktop.

Any input on this will be massively appreciated, thanks a lot in advance!

Stain_Worktop|375x500

I have fitted many kitchens and £127 is very cheap. your calculations are imaterial , the whole worktop will have to be replaced …If it happened to you in your own place that you rented out then you would think differently AND he is paying the labour ! WOW

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My tenant made two burn marks on a kitchen worktop (espresso kettle straight off the hob). He paid to have the worktop repaired rather than replaced. I would guess the repair to the relatively small area cost about as much as materials for the whole worktop. I’d say what the landlord is asking is not unreasonable. If you had it in writing/email/text message that there was no further issue at the time the damage occurred you could refuse to pay.

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the landlord is not supposed to charge you replacement costs, but the loss of value of the original. You don’t usually have access to a deposit scheme adjudicator with a licence agreement so your only option would be to sue them in court if you don’t agree with the deduction. Having said that, Colin is right that £127 is pretty cheap to replace a worktop and unless this is a stain that can be repaired you may not get away with much less than that.

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I replaced a worktop whilst a tenant was in situ, in fact the full kitchen. When they moved out just 1 year later the join of the worktop had water ingress completely lifting the joints looking unsightly. This had not been noticed during inspections. I suspect that it could have been covered with a kettle or t towel at the time. I was rather upset as it was just one year old and to replace it isn’t easy and is very costly as all the integrated appliances have to come out and hobs and sinks cut out too. Not a 2 hour job. I had clear before and after photos, invoices etc etc however the dps said wear and tear. I was fuming, so I see this issue falling on the side of he tenant.

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I only ever put in a basic kitchen., I use aluminium jointing strips and edgings as they are easy to fit and replace. Tenants will never look after a place as if it is their own. I also leave them a chopping board and hope they will use it.

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Our tenants left a new work top with knife marks where they been chopping food directly on it without bothering to use a board or plate. Don’t know what’s wrong with people. A really good idea to leave a chopping board.

You are getting away with the damage you caused very cheaply, I would be grateful. He could charge you for the full replacement of it all plus the labour, which could be around
£500

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