landlord wants repair money beyond the security deposit

We're a family of five living in Pembroke and are about to move our of our rental unit (an apartment in Pembroke) in two weeks.

Our landlord has given us a 570 Euro bill for repairing the door frame in the bathroom and informed us that he expects us to pay this bill now outside of our security deposit. The door frame was made out of a sort of combination of wood and cardboard and expanded slightly from exposure to water, although not enough to interfere with the operation of the door. The bill is obviously excessive and when the carpenter was here he also measured the other door frames in the apartment (which are old but which we did not damage).

Our landlord has also told us that further bills for damage are on the way. Our kids are 8, 5 and 1 and I would categorize the general damage that we made as "normal wear and tear".

We rented the property through Belair and our agent there (who was quite good) has left Malta.

What are our options and obligations in this case? Should we try to get another Belair agent here for an inspection before we move out? Should we look for a lawyer?

(I should also add that it's been a difficult rental. Our landlord lives under us and is always complaining about our kids running - calling us, coming up to complain, banging the shared pipes, and once even shutting off our electricity temporarily.)

Two things come to mind: 1. If relations were so bad re. Noise of your kids why did you not move out earlier. 2. You knew of damage caused so why did you not have it rectified yourself?
Seems to me that you are liable and should pay up.

There’s no point in speaking to the agent you rented the property from as they do not do after care like in the UK, they are employed just to rent the property out.

Thanks for the comments. If the agent won't help, who can we go to for help? For example, who can we go to to inspect the apartment so that we can get an impartial estimate of the damage?

I do agree that we are liable for damage, just not 570 Euros for a doorframe plus whatever else is coming next.

Also, I should mention that the landlord works in construction. He has close relationships with the carpenters and other workers and can no doubt get other high "bills" from them for any other repair work.

And yes, in retrospect we should have moved out as soon as the relationship turned toxic. Several friends advised us to do that but we kept waiting.

I think you can pretty much kiss the deposit goodbye, as getting it back in any legal manner would just be more expensive. In regards to the quote you do have the right to ask for three separate quotes to compare the price, and also get your own person to assess the damage and cost of repair.

Their is an argument for "wear and tear" as long as no structural damage was done. I mean if your broke a window or smashed a mirror then yeah your fault but sun damage or expansion of wood would be a hard case to say was your fault. unless you hose piped the door down. The landlord was aware children were staying at the property, if the kids set fire to something fair enough, or scratched their names into wood, but spilling juice on a rug. well that is "wear and tear"

and read up about the garnishee orders the landlords love here, your landlord will probably just convince the courts you owe this and they will freeze your accounts, tenants have very few rights here

Went to Belair today. They were super helpful. It got bumped to the office manager who arranged a meeting tomorrow at his office with me and the owner. I'm supposed to bring photos & videos and the owner agreed to bring a total estimate for everything.

Can these garneshee orders affect foreign bank accounts? I don't have a Maltese account or Maltese income.

Yes but it depends where you are from.

I would consult a lawyer as soon as possible.  Sometimes a legal letter from a lawyer will do the trick.  Ask for the cost of the consultation beforehand.  The problem with your situation is it seems as though the landlord is thinking of different ways to charge you.  So you need to be proactive with this one.  Take lots of photos.

Hi there

My first point of call in your position, would be to speak to Belair, see what they advise.

Maybe others on here have experienced this, would be able to offer better advice.

I wish you luck

Ruby70 :

Hi there

My first point of call in your position, would be to speak to Belair, see what they advise.

Maybe others on here have experienced this, would be able to offer better advice.

I wish you luck

If you read their posts they have already done so,most times the agents will not do anything as they do not do aftercare they just get people to rent the places.

We resolved the situation.

Had a meeting at Belair with me and the owner. The owner was actually quite reasonable in his demands (the €570 door frame was the only weird thing) and was willing to negotiate, as was I. We signed a "full and final settlement" for €700 + security deposit. This included the last two months of utilities, several days of "overstay", early contract termination (we stayed 10 months + 5 days on 1 year contract), and wear and tear which I have to admit was probably a bit above average due to our kids. The settlement was probably actually about fair. We were still €200 Euro apart when the meeting ended but after the owner left the Belair manager convinced me to take the offer.

The manager at Belair was super helpful, he put something like 1.5 hours of his time into this. My agent there when I first rented was also really good.

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