Q: My flatmate damaged his/her bedroom before moving out and we’ve only just seen the damage. Who is liable for the repair bill?
A: Regardless of how the damage was caused, it’s important to advise your landlord as soon as you become aware of it.
If the damage was caused intentionally (e.g. your flatmate punched a hole in the wall) then all tenants listed on the tenancy agreement are jointly liable for the cost of repairs. This is why it’s important to update your tenancy agreement whenever flatmates come and go, as your flatmate can’t be pursued by the landlord if they weren’t named on the lease. In this instance, you would need to cover the cost of repairs, then go to the Disputes Tribunal in order to claim the money from your ex-flatmate.
If the damage was unintentional (e.g. your flatmate spilt a cup of coffee on the carpet) the cost of repairs will generally be covered by your landlord’s insurance or your personal contents insurance policy.
Note: This post is brief and general in nature. You should not treat it as legal advice and should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this post. Armstrong Murray accepts no liability for losses suffered by any person or organisation who may rely directly or indirectly on this post.