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Ericthelobster
29-07-2008, 10:38 AM
I have a property where a bedroom window was replaced by a previous owner with one of those tilt'n turn replacement uPVC models. Unfortunately the window design is inherently wrong - it's a large window manufactured as a single opening pane, which is too heavy for its hinges. This means that if it's opened sideways (ie like an ordinary front door) the weight of the window strains the hinges (the opener drops visible) and ultimately leading to them and or the frame breaking and the window won't be able to be closed. However, this is no problem in practice as the window also opens in 'tilt' mode along its bottom edge, which is more than adequate for ventilation. I explain all this to tenants moving in, and it's written in the house 'instruction manual'. and ask them specifically never to try and open the window unless in an emergency (ie to escape from a fire!) It's not possible to physically prevent the window opening in 'door' mode in order to preserve the fire exit. The only 'solution' would be a completely new window with two panes, to keep the weight down.

This has worked fine for the 4-5 years I've been letting the property to different tenants, but I've noticed on a couple of occasions recently when driving past that the window has been open in 'door' mode, the latest tenant clearly ignoring my request. It's actually open on a safety chain, so the air gap is no bigger than provided by the 'tilt' mode, so the hot weather isn't relevant.

I need to have words, but I'd like to know where I stand if the window does get damaged beyond repair, as is likely if he continues. I don't see why I should be expected to cough up for the inevitably expensive bill under these circumstances - it's not as if the window isn't perfectly serviceable when used as directed. And I'm sure there must be parallels with other aspects of tenant abuse of landlord property. Comments ? :)

jeffrey
29-07-2008, 10:50 AM
T's use of let property must be in a proper tenant-like manner. Even though T is not liable for the building's structure/windows, deliberate or negligent mis-use renders T liable for compensating L in respect of repairs needed.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 10:53 AM
I have a property where a bedroom window was replaced by a previous owner with one of those tilt'n turn replacement uPVC models. Unfortunately the window design is inherently wrong - it's a large window manufactured as a single opening pane, which is too heavy for its hinges. This means that if it's opened sideways (ie like an ordinary front door) the weight of the window strains the hinges (the opener drops visible) and ultimately leading to them and or the frame breaking and the window won't be able to be closed. However, this is no problem in practice as the window also opens in 'tilt' mode along its bottom edge, which is more than adequate for ventilation. I explain all this to tenants moving in, and it's written in the house 'instruction manual'. and ask them specifically never to try and open the window unless in an emergency (ie to escape from a fire!) It's not possible to physically prevent the window opening in 'door' mode in order to preserve the fire exit. The only 'solution' would be a completely new window with two panes, to keep the weight down.

This has worked fine for the 4-5 years I've been letting the property to different tenants, but I've noticed on a couple of occasions recently when driving past that the window has been open in 'door' mode, the latest tenant clearly ignoring my request. It's actually open on a safety chain, so the air gap is no bigger than provided by the 'tilt' mode, so the hot weather isn't relevant.

I need to have words, but I'd like to know where I stand if the window does get damaged beyond repair, as is likely if he continues. I don't see why I should be expected to cough up for the inevitably expensive bill under these circumstances - it's not as if the window isn't perfectly serviceable when used as directed. And I'm sure there must be parallels with other aspects of tenant abuse of landlord property. Comments ? :)

Despite explanations, demonstrations, instructions in manuals, tenants are apt to forget something of this order or may simply regard this as your problem that you have to fix and pretend to have forgotten.

In addition, the tenant may regard opening a window in the way they want as his/her right since the property is theirs for a period of time and if anything happened as a result of them carrying out a perfectly normal action like opening the window, I don't think it would be down to them to fix any damage, door mode or not.

I once had quirky things with a property of mine and had to repeatedly explain things to tenants.
It doesn't work to keep quirkiness in your home in the long run (unless you beat your tenants into submission or threaten them ala Home Simpson clenched fist waving style) and in my opinion, its best to remove all quirkiness from your property(ies), as indeed I have done.

jeffrey
29-07-2008, 11:05 AM
Despite explanations, demonstrations, instructions in manuals, tenants are apt to forget something of this order or may simply regard this as your problem that you have to fix and pretend to have forgotten.

In addition, the tenant may regard opening a window in the way they want as his/her right since the property is theirs for a period of time and if anything happened as a result of them carrying out a perfectly normal action like opening the window, I don't think it would be down to them to fix any damage, door mode or not.
I have emboldened wording. If T uses window perfectly normally, all is OK- and so, if it is damaged, that's L's responsibility.
BUT if T uses window aberrantly and damages it, i.e. not in a proper tenant-like manner, that's T's responsibility.

johnjw
29-07-2008, 11:22 AM
I'm always amazed at the reluctance of tenants to read "Useful Information" notes and I'm called out for things clearly covered in the notes - that said, I have to admit I tend to neglect instruction books myself.
Is it essential to keep this window as an emergency exit? If not, I'd secure the relevant corner so that the window will only work in tilt mode.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 12:18 PM
I have emboldened wording. If T uses window perfectly normally, all is OK- and so, if it is damaged, that's L's responsibility.
BUT if T uses window aberrantly and damages it, i.e. not in a proper tenant-like manner, that's T's responsibility.

There's no indication that the tenant is using the window in a non-tenant like manner. In any case, I doubt that anyone could prove how a window could be used in a non-tenant like manner. It is either open or closed.
I doubt that there are referenced and otherwise good tenants around who spend their valulable free time using windows "abberantly".

If the window is damaged because there is a fault with the window mechanism, that is hardly the tenant's fault.

jeffrey
29-07-2008, 13:07 PM
There's no indication that the tenant is using the window in a non-tenant like manner. In any case, I doubt that anyone could prove how a window could be used in a non-tenant like manner. It is either open or closed.
I doubt that there are referenced and otherwise good tenants around who spend their valulable free time using windows "abberantly".

If the window is damaged because there is a fault with the window mechanism, that is hardly the tenant's fault.
All true, of course, but see first paragraph of OP's post #1.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 13:16 PM
All true, of course, but see first paragraph of OP's post #1.

What specifically are you referring to?

jeffrey
29-07-2008, 13:24 PM
I explain all this to tenants moving in, and it's written in the house 'instruction manual'. and ask them specifically never to try and open the window unless in an emergency (ie to escape from a fire!) It's not possible to physically prevent the window opening in 'door' mode in order to preserve the fire exit...

This has worked fine for the 4-5 years I've been letting the property to different tenants, but I've noticed on a couple of occasions recently when driving past that the window has been open in 'door' mode, the latest tenant clearly ignoring my request. It's actually open on a safety chain, so the air gap is no bigger than provided by the 'tilt' mode, so the hot weather isn't relevant.
These bits.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 13:39 PM
These bits.

..and to which I have already responded in my first reply.

In case of dispute, I doubt these things would hold much water in court, but I'm not a lawyer and there could be some lawyer around who comes up with some wierd and hair-splitting chicanary to prove the tenant liable for the landlord's window.

Immoral in my view.

Would you prosecute the tenant & defend the landord?

Mars Mug
29-07-2008, 13:57 PM
The quote from the original post is not a quote from the instructions given to the tenant unless the instructions say “never to try and open the window unless in an emergency”, I got the impression that the instructions might suggest that a particular method of opening might be a problem. I would say that useful comments on this issue really depend on the specific text and clarity of the instructions given to the tenant rather than a paraphrase, and the fact that it has been working fine for the last 4-5 years is irrelevant to the tenant who has just moved in.

jeffrey
29-07-2008, 13:58 PM
TenantsLuvMe:
"Prosecute" means criminal liability. No, T is not liable for criminal damage unless "without lawful excuse, he [damaged] any property belonging to another intending to..damage [it]...or being reckless as to whether [it] would be...damaged": s.1(1) of Criminal Damage Act 1971.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 14:05 PM
TenantsLuvMe:
"Prosecute" means criminal liability. No, T is not liable for criminal damage unless "without lawful excuse, he [damaged] any property belonging to another intending to..damage [it]...or being reckless as to whether [it] would be...damaged": s.1(1) of Criminal Damage Act 1971.

I think you know what I meant.

Ericthelobster
29-07-2008, 14:37 PM
Ooh - interesting discussion!


The quote from the original post is not a quote from the instructions given to the tenant unless the instructions say “never to try and open the window unless in an emergency”, I got the impression that the instructions might suggest that a particular method of opening might be a problem. I would say that useful comments on this issue really depend on the specific text and clarity of the instructions given to the tenant rather than a paraphrase, and the fact that it has been working fine for the last 4-5 years is irrelevant to the tenant who has just moved in.

OK, FWIW I've been moved to dig out my own electronic copy of the house "instruction manual" (which is only 1.5 sides of A4 in total and includes everything down to what day the binmen come, phone numbers for utility companies etc) and here's exactly what I wrote 5 years ago!:


Bedroom Window:
This is a designated ‘Means of Escape’ window in the event of a fire. It is fitted with a safety chain which should normally be left in the ‘locked’ position to prevent people falling out of the window.
The window is a ‘tilt-and-turn’ type which means it will open with the hinge along the bottom (ie ‘tilt’) or along the left side. Please always use the ‘tilt’ method except in the event of emergency, as the window is really too heavy for its frame and the hinges have already been strained making it difficult to close in “turn” mode.
I notice that I didn't include anything about the tenant being specifically liable in the event of damage - I suspect that might have been deliberate and down to not wanting to scare a brand new tenant, and probably a bad idea in retrospect!?

(By the way the reference to the safety chain is not relevant here; it's a Building Regulations issue - because the window sill is quite low, ie lower than 3 feet or whatever - the chain needs to be in place for safety. It would only ever need undoing to open the window fully - when in place it permits opening by about 6" in either 'opening mode')

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 14:48 PM
However, this is no problem in practice as the window also opens in 'tilt' mode along its bottom edge, which is more than adequate for ventilation.

(my boldening) This is another aspect that is a problem in my view.

How can you determine for a tenant what is adequate ventilation for them?
What if he/she wants the wind to come billowing into the room, on a hot day for example, or to take pictures of the view from this window, or to enjoy the room/property as they want and as they define it (without wilful damage etc., of course).....etc.,...etc?

In my view, you are best served by correcting this problem asap and not to be looking to find convoluted workarounds & placing responsibilities onto the tenant.

If I was a tenant, I might consider asking for a reduction in rent for the restriciton that this window problem is posing.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 14:51 PM
as the window is really too heavy for its frame and the hinges have already been strained

I think you will find such statements to be a real problem.

As the owner and LL of the property, in my view the responsibility is on you to attend to such matters, even though you may not have been aware of the problem when you bought the property.

Ruth Less
29-07-2008, 22:04 PM
Please always use the ‘tilt’ method except in the event of emergency, as the window is really too heavy for its frame and the hinges have already been strained making it difficult to close in “turn” mode.

This just sounds like a request with the reason being that the “turn” mode is difficult to close. It is not a specific instruction to the tenant and it does not spell out the consequences. It reads like the concern is that the tenant may not be strong enough to use the window rather than damage that will be caused. It should say the tenant must not use the window in “turn” mode as that damages the window.

TenantsLuvMe
29-07-2008, 23:51 PM
This just sounds like a request with the reason being that the “turn” mode is difficult to close. It is not a specific instruction to the tenant and it does not spell out the consequences. It reads like the concern is that the tenant may not be strong enough to use the window rather than damage that will be caused. It should say the tenant must not use the window in “turn” mode as that damages the window.

This still doesn't get away from the plain & simple reality that the window is the LL's responsibility to deal with and not for the tenant's enjoyment to be restricted by its shortcomings.

Mars Mug
30-07-2008, 08:42 AM
Please always use the ‘tilt’ method except in the event of emergency, as the window is really too heavy for its frame and the hinges have already been strained making it difficult to close in “turn” mode.

This just sounds like a request with the reason being that the “turn” mode is difficult to close. It is not a specific instruction to the tenant and it does not spell out the consequences. It reads like the concern is that the tenant may not be strong enough to use the window rather than damage that will be caused. It should say the tenant must not use the window in “turn” mode as that damages the window.

I agree, it doesn't clearly indicate any liability or consequences and to be fair to Mr Lobster he did say that himself above.

I wonder if the tenant has perhaps opened the window and decided for themselves that the mechanism is strong enough.

One more point. If the window did crash to the floor and break and the tenant agreed to pay for a replacement, would the replacement be like for like with the same flaws, or would it be replaced with something more suitable. If the latter then as a tenant I would be pretty peeved to see that I had been charged to essentially sort out someone else’s poor decisions.

TenantsLuvMe
30-07-2008, 10:50 AM
If the window did crash to the floor and break and the tenant agreed to pay for a replacement, would the replacement be like for like with the same flaws

...errrmmm, I am pretty sure that a property owner would not seek to have a new window fitted that came with flaws, same ones or new ones.

Mars Mug
30-07-2008, 11:04 AM
I didn’t think the window itself was flawed, just that it is was somehow unsuited to the way it’s being used? The type of mechanism described is usually a built in feature of the actual window, so I’m surprised that there could be a problem with weight, unlike the typical slide mechanisms that are added to a double glazed unit which could be overloaded by a window which is too heavy for the mechanism.

But from the tenant’s perspective I would not be happy to see a flawed unit break, me forced to pay for a replacement, and the situation being used to replace with a more suitable unit. I would certainly feel that I had been taken advantage of.

TenantsLuvMe
30-07-2008, 14:53 PM
I didn’t think the window itself was flawed, just that it is was somehow unsuited to the way it’s being used? The type of mechanism described is usually a built in feature of the actual window, so I’m surprised that there could be a problem with weight, unlike the typical slide mechanisms that are added to a double glazed unit which could be overloaded by a window which is too heavy for the mechanism.

But from the tenant’s perspective I would not be happy to see a flawed unit break, me forced to pay for a replacement, and the situation being used to replace with a more suitable unit. I would certainly feel that I had been taken advantage of.

In my experience, this problem is the result of poor choice of window style/design for the opening. The problems can only get worse, unless the manufacturer has newer hinges that can be retro-fitted.

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 08:56 AM
I’ve only ever seen the type of window that opens in multiple ways used in offices, they tend to be large, heavy, and purpose built. I don’t know if the type of mechanism is available as an add-on for an ordinary domestic double glazed unit, but would have thought that if that were the case then it would have been changed by now.

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 11:00 AM
I’ve only ever seen the type of window that opens in multiple ways used in offices, they tend to be large, heavy, and purpose built. I don’t know if the type of mechanism is available as an add-on for an ordinary domestic double glazed unit, but would have thought that if that were the case then it would have been changed by now.

I've had experience with windows called "tilt and turn", where the window opens in normal door fashion in one setting of the window handle and also tilts open, usually at the top, by a few inches by turning the window handle upwards (usually). This allows the window to be left open for ventilation during long periods without losing security.

These were quite common and sold by most double glazing companies.

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 16:47 PM
I know, but don't they include the frame, in which case why would the window be too heavy for the frame?

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 17:12 PM
I know, but don't they include the frame, in which case why would the window be too heavy for the frame?

because of, as per my previous post, poor window choice/design for the opening.
We haven't been told if this window was installed by a window company or by a DIY effort buying the window from B&Q etc.

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 17:19 PM
We haven't been told much at all, but I still struggle to see how a 'tilt and turn' window designed to 'tilt and turn' and to fit in a rectangular hole in a wall can be such a problem. Maybe the simplest answer is just to get the problem sorted rather than face a potential argument with a tenant over liability when it fails.

jeffrey
31-07-2008, 17:23 PM
We haven't been told much at all, but I still struggle to see how a 'tilt and turn' window designed to 'tilt and turn' and to fit in a rectangular hole in a wall can be such a problem. Maybe the simplest answer is just to get the problem sorted rather than face a potential argument with a tenant over liability when it fails.
Ask Microsoft? That's best when Windows crash.

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 17:27 PM
We haven't been told much at all, but I still struggle to see how a 'tilt and turn' window designed to 'tilt and turn' and to fit in a rectangular hole in a wall can be such a problem..

..sigh...because the choice of window style/design may not be appropriate for the size of the window opening.
Many windows styles won't work right if placed into an inappropriate size opening and that's why a surveyor comes to your home to assess the window opening before processing the order and making up the windows.

I had a less serious problem with a DG window of mine, where the hinges were never made to withstand the weight of the window that was specfiied by the salesman and the surveyor must have overlooked this window (10 windows in the property, plus a DG back door).

This is how I know about this type of problem.

Following 6 appointments, 3 of them missed and months of arguing and letter writing, the hinges were finally replaced and some compensation was paid to me.


Maybe the simplest answer is just to get the problem sorted rather than face a potential argument with a tenant over liability when it fails.

...which is what I recommended in my very first reply to this question.

Mars Mug
31-07-2008, 17:28 PM
I'm a systems engineer, don't talk to me about computers, they're the bane of my life.:rolleyes:


...which is what I recommended in my very first reply to this question.

No problem then, we agree.

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 17:29 PM
I'm a systems engineer, don't talk to me about computers, they're the bane of my life.:rolleyes:

..that is an entirely separate and different can of very wriggly worms.

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 17:30 PM
Ask Microsoft? That's best when Windows crash.

Ask Microsoft? That is for to laugh!!!

jeffrey
31-07-2008, 17:34 PM
That is for to laugh!!!
Rearrange those words into a comprehensible sentence- and win a prize?

Ericthelobster
31-07-2008, 20:18 PM
We haven't been told if this window was installed by a window company or by a DIY effort buying the window from B&Q etc.

Well, we've been given all available and relevant information:


I have a property where a bedroom window was replaced by a previous owner with one of those tilt'n turn replacement uPVC models. Unfortunately the window design is inherently wrong - it's a large window manufactured as a single opening pane, which is too heavy for its hinges.

And yes, the problem with my window sounds just as you described earlier with yours.


Maybe the simplest answer is just to get the problem sorted rather than face a potential argument with a tenant over liability when it fails.Well, if is down to me to accept responsibility then frankly rather than that, I'd wait until it actually does fail before sorting it. The point is it doesn't actually need sorting at all, as it's never been an issue for previous tenants, just the current one apparently. It will probably cost several hundred quid to have done, so I don't particularly want to go there unnecessarily. I can get a new window made up in about three days, and it's an inaccessible (ie to thieves) upstairs window.

TenantsLuvMe
31-07-2008, 21:11 PM
Well, if is down to me to accept responsibility then frankly rather than that, I'd wait until it actually does fail before sorting it.

Good luck with that cross-fingers/4-leaf clover/rabbit's tail policy.


The point is it doesn't actually need sorting at all, as it's never been an issue for previous tenants, just the current one apparently.

This doesn't matter to the current tenant and he is having a problem with it.
Have you never been told by someone "you're the first person to have noticed/complained/had a problem about that"?



It will probably cost several hundred quid to have done, so I don't particularly want to go there unnecessarily.

The price is irrelevant next to the potential problems you could face with this window.
What would happen if it fell? Are you insured for your tenants possessions?

In addition, you have also had plenty of time, eric, by knowing about this problem from previous tenants over the past 4-5 years.
Therefore, there has been plenty of time for you to have saved up the required amount of money, which would have been from rent money anyway, so it's not even you who has to pay for it!

The work required sounds necessary to me and to others.


I can get a new window made up in about three days, and it's an inaccessible (ie to thieves) upstairs window.

Oh yes, thieves are unintelligent, unimaginative and neither are they devious or scheming and they've never heard of ladders.

What would you think of your landlord if this matter was facing you as a tenant?

Ericthelobster
01-08-2008, 08:50 AM
This doesn't matter to the current tenant and he is having a problem with it.He's having no problem with at all actually, or he would presumably have told me (as he has when there's been other issues he needed sorting).


The price is irrelevant next to the potential problems you could face with this window.
What would happen if it fell? Are you insured for your tenants possessions?Who said anything about falling for heaven's sake?! The worst case scenario is that the frame/hinges may distort a bit so that it would be impossible to close the window properly.


Oh yes, thieves are unintelligent, unimaginative and neither are they devious or scheming and they've never heard of ladders.You don't know the situation at all and I could give you a paragraph on why it's not a particular theft risk.