I am renting a house in the United Kingdom. The house has a storage box in the garden. A few months ago, there were strong winds and the lid of the box was, we presume blown open and one of the front two doors then broke off. We promptly emailed the estate agent images of the damage and as we had no use of the box I taped it up to hold it together and prevent the wind causing more damage. It's worth noting we've never had any use for the box.
The estate agent however, in a very passive aggressive manner suggested that we should have acted in a "tenant like manner" and placed a padlock on the box to prevent it being blown open. They also said that the Landlord has fitted a piston to the box lid that should have prevented it being blown open, which if I'm not mistaken is plainly false as a piston should prevent it slamming closed, not prevent it from opening. Finally, the estate agent said the Landlord had dropped by over that period and noticed the box lid was open from the other side of the fence. Now, this is possible, but due to the cold weather and the fact the box is down beside the house, not visible from the inside we simply probably didn't notice that day. I would also ask why the Landlord didn't simply knock to inform us it was like that if he thought it was an issue.
Now we are coming to the end of our tenancy and my question is, in the likely event the estate agent tries to charge us for this damage at the end of the tenancy are we likely to be able to successfully challenge the charge? We are okay for money so shouldn't encounter any issues if we have to wait longer to get our deposit back. Despite their suggestions I have so far given no indication that I will repair the box, aside from taping it up to prevent more damage.