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montana
23-03-2009, 18:37 PM
Hello,
l'd be very grateful for any advice on this problem.
We have a badly leaking tap and have just informed the LL agents about it today.
The agents have replied by saying :
*Under the terms of the lease to Mr & Mr *Smith * it is the tenants responsibility under clause 3.18 to keep every basin, sink, bath, shower, water closet and water waste and soil pipe clean clear and free from rust and immediately remedy any damage caused by any overflow.
We must therefore request that you deal with this issue.*

We are offically "assured tenents" according to the current LL's due to being provided with an assured tenancy rent book in the early 90's. We have never signed any "lease" or document, and it is the rent book that we proved in court yrs back that gave us the "assured tenancy.

my question is :

how can we reply to this agents email. we are slightly confused, as repairs for the very same problem with the same tap have already been carried out twice in the past by the current LL.
The problem is nothing to do with "rust or a blockage" as the agent has assumed.
The tap is a mains water tap which is leaking very badly from the seal by the handle at the top, also has "no stopcock" which was pointed out to us by the last tradesman who viisted that this needs to be "sorted out " as if the tap fails or springs a leak he said there is no way we could turn off the water.
l pointed all this out today in the email to the agent, and then they reply by refering to "the lease" which we never have had and some clause which we have no idea what its refering to.

cheers Montana

montana
23-03-2009, 21:30 PM
sorry!! l will try and make it less complicated.
T sends email to LL informing him of badly leaking tap from around the handle and tap hole itself.
LL Agents reply: *Under the terms of the lease to Mr & Mr *Smith * it is the tenants responsibility under clause 3.18 to keep every basin, sink, bath, shower, water closet and water waste and soil pipe clean clear and free from rust and immediately remedy any damage caused by any overflow.
We must therefore request that you deal with this issue.*

As far as we can see none of the above applies to us regarding our leaking tap, and we don't even have a "lease" so we are at odds to what clause the agents are also refering to.

Pls any advice on our postion and how to respond to agents email we would be gratefully recieved.

Montana.

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 11:05 AM
1. You do have a Tenancy Agreement (equivalent to a lease) even if it's only oral.
2. Clause 3.18 does not include fixing a leaking tap, I agree.
3. However, if you have no written Agreement, the 'clause' is inaplicable anyway!
4. Fixing a tap is also not something for which L is normally responsible. It's not within s.11 of LTA 1985, for instance.
5. Is the cost really so great? Aren't you in danger of making a mountain out of a molehill?

montana
24-03-2009, 11:25 AM
Thanks Jeff,

The badly leaking tap we were told by the current LL's tradesmen who came round to attempt to fix it over a yr ago says the tap doesnt have a stopcock and it needs to have one fitted in order to fix the tap head correctly and also prevent the chance of serious flooding should something on the old tap fail completely.
They also said they reported this to the LL back then.
Are we as the T's responsible to carry out such work ?
We are just a bit confused now as to why the LL's are saying its not their responsibilty when they have sent workmen around happilly in the past to deal with the exact same problem.
The problem with the leaking tap according to the tradesman that visited last yr is that its just simply very old and worn out, under those curcumstances do you think we are responsible to change the tap oursleves ?

Thanks Montana

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 11:27 AM
Reasonable wear and tear is part and parcel of using a property- so, no, that alone would not make you (as T) liable.

montana
24-03-2009, 11:52 AM
thanks Jeff,

l'll put your last sentence in an email to agents today if you don't mind.

there is a commerical business below our home, and because of what the tradesman told us last yr: *its a mains water feed into your house which really needs a stopcock fitting to fix the tap properly which requires freezing the pipe* we wouldnt want the risk of flooding downstairs or our own home during this repair. the tradesman warned that the pipes are also not in a great state so the sooner this was sorted out the better.

could l pls just clarify with you, can we now tell the agents we are not responsible for these repairs/works ?

thanks montana.

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 12:07 PM
Read s.11 of LTA 1985 re supply installations for which L is inescapably responsible. There are many threads about this- so do an LZ search.

Paragon
24-03-2009, 12:56 PM
thanks Jeff,

l'll put your last sentence in an email to agents today if you don't mind.

there is a commerical business below our home, and because of what the tradesman told us last yr: *its a mains water feed into your house which really needs a stopcock fitting to fix the tap properly which requires freezing the pipe* we wouldnt want the risk of flooding downstairs or our own home during this repair. the tradesman warned that the pipes are also not in a great state so the sooner this was sorted out the better.

could l pls just clarify with you, can we now tell the agents we are not responsible for these repairs/works ?

thanks montana.

For a plumber, freezing a pipe and installing a stop cock is a very simple job and not very expensive. I had one installed last year using that method. It took about 30min. with most of the time having a cup of tea and waiting for the water to freeze.
Having said that, it could be a bigger deal for this plumber if he doesn't have the machine and has to beg,borrow or steal it.

Ericthelobster
24-03-2009, 13:14 PM
For a plumber, freezing a pipe and installing a stop cock is a very simple job and not very expensive. I had one installed last year using that method. It took about 30min. with most of the time having a cup of tea and waiting for the water to freeze.
Having said that, it could be a bigger deal for this plumber if he doesn't have the machine and has to beg,borrow or steal it.

You don't need a machine - an £8 aerosol is all he needs: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13369/Plumbing/Pipe-Freezing-Kits/Pipe-Freezing-Kit-220ml?cm_re=SEARCHPROMO-_-FREEZE-_-13369

There's frequently another stopcock outside in the street (though that's likely to cut off other properties, ie the business downstairs). That would be the preferred method of installing a stopcock within the OP's home, which I agree should be done.

Poppy
24-03-2009, 14:02 PM
Depends on the diameter of the pipe. The aerosol will not freeze mains water if the pipe's diameter is more than 15mm. In such a case you need a machine.

Changing a washer is almost certainly a tenant's responsibility as a minor repair. I really don't see fitting a stopcock where none previously existed as being a tenant's responsibility. Get your landlord involved. If he doesn't, give your the landlord/agent written notice that you are going to have the work done and deduct the cost from the rent.

Paragon
24-03-2009, 14:12 PM
You don't need a machine - an £8 aerosol is all he needs: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13369/Plumbing/Pipe-Freezing-Kits/Pipe-Freezing-Kit-220ml?cm_re=SEARCHPROMO-_-FREEZE-_-13369

There's frequently another stopcock outside in the street (though that's likely to cut off other properties, ie the business downstairs). That would be the preferred method of installing a stopcock within the OP's home, which I agree should be done.

Hi Eric,
That aerosol should be fine for the pipe going to the sink tap. Good link. In my case, I was actually putting in a stop-cock on the main water pipe coming in from the street which is larger than the 15mill limit on the aerosol can. Maybe that is why my plumber used the machine. He didn't charge me for the machine just his time. Not even sure he charged me for the stop-cock. I think the total was about £40.

Borat
24-03-2009, 17:24 PM
Changing a washer is almost certainly a tenant's responsibility as a minor repair.

Interestingly there is actually case law opposite to this... don't have it in front of me right now but IIRC it went almost if not to the house of Lords and was over a tap washer! It was decided that changing a tap washer was not a tenants responsibility and IIRC it went along the lines of 'as it required some amount of expertise and that the possibilities of it going horribly wrong were endless'

montana
24-03-2009, 17:55 PM
Thats what concerns us Borat. Our current LL actually sent contractors around last yr to change a washer on the tap in question now. The plumber was there for ages freezing the main pipe just to do this simple job.
We really don't know why the LL is saying now it is not their responsibity to do this. The leak is a "flow" now from the tap and there is water also leaking from the pipe somewhere under the sink.
l think we are being very responsible informing the LL of this problem of the leak and no stopcock,especially as there are commercial business premises below our home, he has been aware of this problem of no stopcock to switch off the mains in our home now for well over a yr.
l think the guy is just continueing to be as awkward as possible with us over any matter we raise with him, as has proven to be the case with him many times since he purchased our block.
We have sent the agents a follow up email today, telling them that we are not liable/responsible to carry out the repair to this tap which is due to its age and wear and tear.
l will let you know as soon as we here from them.

Paragon
24-03-2009, 20:08 PM
I would certainly contact a lawyer. What you don't want to find out is that it is your responsibility and you become liable for any damage to your own home and the property below you. Just because Borat knows of some vague reference to some vague law case, be extra careful and find out exactly where you stand. The consequences could be dire.
.

Preston
24-03-2009, 21:21 PM
Hi

I think it is generally accepted that replacing a washer in a standard pillar or bib tap would come within the definition of "little jobs about the place" which (unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise) are the tenant's responsibility under Warren v Keen.

However, a worn or defective tap would be the landlord's responsibility under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, assuming the disrepair has not been caused by the tenant (other than through fair wear and tear).

Preston

Dave Lavelle
24-03-2009, 23:25 PM
Good luck in trying to freeze a pipe with water flowing through it, i.e. leaking out the tap. There is usually a stop tap in the street.

p_cas
25-03-2009, 12:03 PM
Not wishing to prolong a debate over a washer, but shouldn't a tap washer last more than a year?

montana
25-03-2009, 13:29 PM
exactly!! P_cas

The problem is that the tap is 40+ yrs old and is defective through wear and tear. Putting in a new washer before didnt really cure the problem.
But as usual this will all go on deaf ear's again we are pretty sure via the agent.

Paragon
25-03-2009, 14:18 PM
Hi

I think it is generally accepted that replacing a washer in a standard pillar or bib tap would come within the definition of "little jobs about the place" which (unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise) are the tenant's responsibility under Warren v Keen.

However, a worn or defective tap would be the landlord's responsibility under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, assuming the disrepair has not been caused by the tenant (other than through fair wear and tear).

Preston

I tend to agree with you, but could it be argued that a tap is not an installation for supply, but a fitting for making use of the supply under 1 (1) (b) of section 11? Just be curious.

jeffrey
25-03-2009, 14:25 PM
I tend to agree with you, but could it be argued that a tap is not an installation for supply, but a fitting for making use of the supply under 1 (1) (b) of section 11?
Yes. 'Installation' signifies things like supply pipe, water tank, etc; a tap is not in the same league.

montana
25-03-2009, 15:24 PM
Will we have to get 3 quotes from Plumbers if LL doesnt respond? l can see the 2012 Olympics coming and going before we get 3 plumbers to show up at our home to give quotes.
Due to our concerns of flooding should the tap fail [no way to turnoff this mains tap without stopcock] could we in these circumtances just get a plumber out now real soon and send the LL the Bill and deduct it from the rent if he doesnt reimburse ?

Thanks Montana

Sorrel
25-03-2009, 16:35 PM
Hi

I think it is generally accepted that replacing a washer in a standard pillar or bib tap would come within the definition of "little jobs about the place" which (unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise) are the tenant's responsibility under Warren v Keen.

However, a worn or defective tap would be the landlord's responsibility under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, assuming the disrepair has not been caused by the tenant (other than through fair wear and tear).

Preston

...so what your suggesting is that the tenant carries out the washer repair and if that doesn't work its more than likely defective meaning its then a LL issue?

Preston
25-03-2009, 18:30 PM
I tend to agree with you, but could it be argued that a tap is not an installation for supply, but a fitting for making use of the supply under 1 (1) (b) of section 11? Just be curious.

No, I don't think so. The section specifically includes basins, sinks, baths and sanitary appliances and there is various caselaw to the effect that this includes, for example, cisterns, so I think it is clear that taps are part of teh installation too.


...so what your suggesting is that the tenant carries out the washer repair and if that doesn't work its more than likely defective meaning its then a LL issue?

Actually, as a landlord, I would do the repair myself - the risk of the tenant causing further damage is too great for me.

But yes, if the tap washer doesn't fix the problem, it is more than likely a defective tap (although from the description given by the OP earlier on, it sounds very likely that the tap is defective in any case).

Paragon
25-03-2009, 23:26 PM
I think that when the section says basin, it actually only means the basin and not the taps or the rubber plug for the drain hole. But just my opinion when you read Section 11 part 1 (1) (b), it seems to make a difference between an installation and a fitting/fixture for making use of the installation.

Preston
26-03-2009, 00:58 AM
I think that when the section says basin, it actually only means the basin and not the taps or the rubber plug for the drain hole. But just my opinion when you read Section 11 part 1 (1) (b), it seems to make a difference between an installation and a fitting/fixture for making use of the installation.

Hi

11 1(b) reads:

"to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity) ..."

(My emphasis).

The distinction drawn, then, is not quite as you suggest, but rather is between those fixtures, fittings and appliances listed and others (which are not listed). So, is it possible to keep a lavatory "in repair and proper working order" if, say, the pan leaks or the ball valve is defective? There are many decided cases which suggest not. It seems clear, then, that neither is a basin with defective taps "in repair and proper working order"

(It would of course be necessary to assess in each case whether the extent of the defect is sufficient for there to be disrepair requiring action by the landlord.)

Preston

montana
27-03-2009, 10:43 AM
Hello,

We just received this email [below] this morning from agents, reply to my email sent to them on tue:

"Section 11 of the LTA acts to place upon the landlord an obligation to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the flat for the supply of, amongst other things water, but not the fixtures and fittings and appliances for making use of that supply. Taps are a fixture and fitting, and therefore a dripping tap will be for the tenant to repair or replace."

Kind regards
Agents.


Just a thought, shouldnt they have mentioned the "stopcock " problem we raised with them in email ?
And any idea's on what to say to agent in reply to this email would be gratefully received.

Montana.

Poppy
27-03-2009, 10:52 AM
Ask the agent how do they propose you fix the tap unless the landlord installs a stopcock to the flat? No, why don't you insist that a stopcock is fitted by the landlord, then you'll address the washer. :rolleyes:

Remind the agent if you have to do it yourself, you will deduct the cost of installing the stopcock from the rent.

montana
27-03-2009, 16:25 PM
Thanks Poppy and guys,

Can anyone tell us the exact procedure in getting this work done ourselves then deducting it from the rent.
We might as well get the Aerial done at the same time as the LL has not responded to our request to get that fixed/repaired either.

is the first step sending the landlord 3 quotes for each of the work along with a covering letter ?
We are not sure how to word such a letter either.
And pls can anyone tell us whats a reasonable amount of time we have to give the landlord to respond to the 3 quotes letter before we carry out the work ourself using the cheapest quote ?
l can see it being a nightmare though and taking forever to get all these tradesmen to visit our homes to give these quotes.

mind the gap
27-03-2009, 22:16 PM
l can see it being a nightmare though and taking forever to get all these tradesmen to visit our homes to give these quotes.

So can I, if they hear about all those pigeons.

montana
28-03-2009, 00:23 AM
MTG, we ended up paying ourselves to have the "wiring lines" put on our roof along the length of our flat. its worked, the pigeons don't wake us up cooing in the morning now. They now congregate further along, no doubt probably making twice as much noise for the remaining flats.
We won't even bother telling the LL, as from what other members said, it sounds to complicated to argue with the LL over whether or not they should of paid for it to be done.

johnboy
28-03-2009, 10:33 AM
Check out warren v kent 1954 and i think you will find fixing a tap washer is down to the tenant

Mars Mug
28-03-2009, 10:49 AM
Without the ability to turn off the mains since there’s no stop-cock, replacing a tap washer is no longer the simple task it should be. If the tap completely fails or there is a pipe burst and the water cannot be disabled I doubt a court would go against the tenant and blame them for the subsequent water damage. From a purely practical point of view how is this tenant expected to change the washer?

Is warren v kent 1954 a situation where there is no stop-cock?

johnboy
28-03-2009, 11:14 AM
Cant say if it was, it was before i was born and i expect the judge is dead.:D

montana
28-03-2009, 12:29 PM
hahahaahaha... u2 just made me laugh. cheers ;-]

jeffrey
29-03-2009, 22:57 PM
It's actually Warren v. Keen. Here is a link: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/1953/1.html&query=title+(+Warren+)&method=boolean

montana
30-03-2009, 01:55 AM
thanks,

can we we get the tap repaired along with having a stopcock fitted, immediately now due to risk of flooding?, or do you guys advise we send off 3 plumbers quotes {probably take another yr to get 3 to actually turn up} to the agents and wait a specific amount of reasonable time for them to reply?
If yes to the last, how long would we have to give the agents to agree or disagree to paying for the plumbing and aerial to be fixed ?
We are pretty sure they'll ignore this letter anyway.
We complained in writing about the aerial now some 2 months ago and have had a couple of emails saying that this work would be done shortly, but nothing.
The Tap, we have complained in writing approx a couple of weeks now, and on that they maintain that its our responsiblity, and have totally ignored and not even mentione anything about the stopcock.

We hoped we'd be able to get a couple of tradesmen around to do both jobs quickly and then just send the invoices to agents with covering letter, but, if we have to it the "3 quotes " for each job then we shall, but it will take sometime l think to get all those quotes in.

Mars Mug
30-03-2009, 06:32 AM
..... and have totally ignored and not even mentione anything about the stopcock.

Why not? That is the thing that stops you from being able to change the washer yourself, an easy job if there's a stopcock. If the agents were aware of this their attitude may be different.

ithas2bedone
30-03-2009, 19:04 PM
A Good landlord would not even question whose to blame and just repair it as it is in landlords best interest to look after his property and tenant. i know we do and we repair tap washers as a matter of course.

Paragon
30-03-2009, 20:19 PM
A Good landlord would not even question whose to blame and just repair it as it is in landlords best interest to look after his property and tenant. i know we do and we repair tap washers as a matter of course.

Absolutely!!