#AskTDS: My guest spilt red wine on the carpet at my Halloween party, can my landlord deduct for this?

#AskTDS: My guest spilt red wine on the carpet at my Halloween party, can my landlord deduct for this?

| 5 November 2018

In this week’s #AskTDS, we address the nightmare situation of spilt red wine on the carpet at a Halloween party and answer the question “Can my landlord deduct for this?”

Spillages at a party are inevitable but can become a problem when they stain – and red wine stains can be difficult to remove.

There are steps you can take as soon as the spillage happens to make sure it doesn’t cost you the tenancy deposit. As soon as the wine is spilt, try and clean it up immediately and if it’s difficult to remove them you can enlist the help of a professional cleaner.

If the stain causes a disagreement with your landlord when you leave your tenancy, an adjudicator will look for the most economical way of resolving a dispute. If the landlord wants to replace the carpet, they will need to provide evidence from a carpet cleaner that it is damaged beyond repair.

Does the stain mean that the property is not being returned to the landlord or letting agent to the level of condition agreed in the tenancy agreement? This is the most important question.

When your tenancy starts, you should have been provided with a tenancy agreement by your landlord or letting agent to read and sign. This sets out the responsibilities of each party during the tenancy in contract form and will include information about issues such as how much you must pay in rent and what condition the property should be returned in when the tenancy has ended.

Your landlord or letting agent should also conduct a check-in report before you move in to the property, and a check-out report when you leave. This will set out the condition of items within the property and is used as evidence during the adjudication process to establish whether damage had been made by a tenant and, as a result, if any money is owed.

Whether deductions can be made or not will depend on how thorough the check-in report is and if the tenancy agreement specifies that the deposit can be used to cover the costs of repairs.

Your landlord can deduct for a red wine spillage if the tenancy agreement states clearly that cleaning or damage is a possible use of tenancy deposit money and only if the spillage has caused the property to be in a worse state at the point of the check-out report than it was at the check-in report, though it’s worth noting that an award is less likely if the carpet has reached the end of its usual lifespan anyway.

For tenants, it’s vital that you know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to getting your tenancy deposit money back or potentially losing some of it due to property damage during your tenancy.

You can find out more about check-in/out reports, inventories and schedules of condition in our handy guide, available here.

About TDSNI: 

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland (TDSNI) is a government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDSNI offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

TDSNI Insured Scheme: where a TDSNI member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDSNI Custodial Scheme: where TDSNI hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDSNI Academy: TDSNI provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDSNI can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

ARLA Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact Propertymark | ARLA at: join@propertymark.com. By being a member of Propertymark | ARLA you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.