Resolution case study – Erecting outbuilding - no permission

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We offer an independent and impartial resolution service for landlords, agents and tenants who are unable to agree on how to distribute the deposit when the tenancy ends.

We look at a recent case and break it down, so you can understand our approach to adjudication. This month, our Resolution Department Lead, Suzy Hershman, reviews a recent case involving garden maintenance.

Deposit details

Deposit                                £1,800.00

Unresolved amount             £1,800.00


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What happened?

The tenant said:

  • they put up an outbuilding in the rear garden after the tenancy started
  • it is built of concrete and plasterboard, and has electrics fitted
  • it is quite safe and adds value to the property, although no safety certificates can be provided
  • they do not have the money to take it down


The agent responded, saying:

  • the tenant did not ask for permission to erect a building in the back garden
  • it is a huge concern to the landlord as:
    • the outbuilding restricts the side entrance to the back garden
    • there are no safety certificates for the electrics
    • any other safety requirements are unknown
  • the building needs to be removed and the tenant should be responsible for the cost


What evidence was provided?

Tenancy agreement, agent inventory (dated two days before check-out), agent check-out report, invoice and quote.


What was decided and why?

  1. The tenant admitted putting up the building in the back garden which:
    1. was evidenced by comparing the check-in inventory and check-out report, as it was not there at the start of the tenancy
    2. was large and made from concrete, with doors fitted and the check-out report clearly showed the electrics running through it
  2. The tenant accepts that they did not ask for permission to erect the building
  3. While the tenant said the building ‘is safe and there is no money to take it down’, this does not absolve the tenant from being responsible for removing it before leaving, so the property will need to be returned in its original condition
  4. The adjudicator considered the amount of work needed to take the building down and dispose of it, so that the garden would be returned to its original condition
  5. The landlord’s quote for £1,800.00 to carry out the work was found to be reasonable and proportionate so was awarded in full



Tenant: £0.00

Landlord: £1,800.00


How can you avoid this happening in future?

  •  Mid-term inspections are so important for highlighting any differences to the property from the start of the tenancy, such as an addition to the property like this outbuilding, something internally structural or broken, or something common like condensation
  • Anything that is found or reported during the tenancy should always be dealt with at the time to avoid any potentially large claims when the tenancy ends, whether it be one big issue or several smaller issues which total more than the cover provided (deposit or deposit alternative)
  • With a problem found during the tenancy or at a pre-check-out inspection, a tenant’s expectations can be managed and they should be informed of the likely high cost of not doing the work themselves

Read our guide to inventories and our  advice for check-in and check-out guide for more relevant information. Total Landlord, also powered by Total Property, has also written an ultimate guide to inspecting your property