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View Full Version : T needed locksmith to gain entry- who pays bill?



homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 11:45 AM
Hi,

In the case of a tenant being locked out as a result of a 'loose' catch, who is responsible for paying the locksmith's bill?

I must say that this wasn't due to my tenant's negligence - I repeat, the little catch dropped, making it virtually impossible to open the door from the outside - and because this happened out of hours, after midnight, she had no other choice but to resort to a locksmith.

The bill amounts to almost £300, which she paid on the spot cash. She would like to get her money back from us but I am just not sure whether I should be responsible at all for paying.

Please advise

jeffrey
02-12-2009, 11:48 AM
What made the little catch drop? Insured risk?

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 11:58 AM
Thanks for your prompt response...
Well, the catch dropped by itself, so I am assuming that it wasn't stable or secure enough to stay in place.
Not insure as far as I am aware...

subjecttocontract
02-12-2009, 12:08 PM
Landlords are generally responsible for ensuring the functionality of items in and around the property.

Equally, tenants are generally responsible for carrying out small repairs that say, for example, require a screw tightened.

Without knowing more detail its difficult to judge where the fault lies.

johnjw
02-12-2009, 12:27 PM
I presume that the £300 bill included replacing the defective lock or lock part so that everything now works satisfactorily.
I would think that the LL is responsible for the repair.
It's just unfortunate that the incident occurred late at night, otherwise you might have been able to find a cheaper remedy. It doesn't sound like something your insurance policy would cover but at least it will be a tax deductible expenditure.

jeffrey
02-12-2009, 12:32 PM
If the defect was due to wear and tear, insurance would not usually cover it.

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:34 PM
There isn't much more I can add really...
I suppose it was a case of 'wear and tear'. There aren't any screws or else that would have avoided the catch from dropping. The only solution was to remove the entire lock system.
She has been a tenant of mine for almost eight years, in the same flat, and I have never had any issues with her.
??

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:35 PM
If the defect was due to wear and tear, insurance would not usually cover it.

Would we then have to foot the bill?

jeffrey
02-12-2009, 12:37 PM
Probably, unless you can prove that the defect arose due to T using the premises not in a proper tenantlike manner.

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:38 PM
I presume that the £300 bill included replacing the defective lock or lock part so that everything now works satisfactorily.
I would think that the LL is responsible for the repair.
It's just unfortunate that the incident occurred late at night, otherwise you might have been able to find a cheaper remedy. It doesn't sound like something your insurance policy would cover but at least it will be a tax deductible expenditure.

Yes, the bill covers all services, including a new, durable lock

Telometer
02-12-2009, 12:40 PM
I would be repaying her sharpish, AND sending her a bunch of flowers. Poor thing, stuck on the doorstep in the middle of the night because your lock had worn out.

And be grateful she hadn't got ME out of bed to sort the problem - nor the LA who would have charge an extra £100 for out of hours service, and £400 for the locksmith.

westminster
02-12-2009, 12:41 PM
I would probably cough up if the tenant was otherwise reliable and not a serial complainer.

But, I would perhaps first check with the locksmith that the fault was indeed as reported (and not a case of T losing the key, for example).

Make sure that the replacement lock meets the standards required for any insurance policy, is of the same quality as the original, and that the work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard without damage to the door.

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:42 PM
Probably, unless you can prove that the defect arose due to T using the premises not in a proper tenantlike manner.

I can't prove that no...and I doubt it anyway...

Oh, I've just remembered that we changed the lock (keyhole only) around March this year after somone broke into the flat. I wonder whether the work done on the lock at the time might have contributed to the catch getting looser...I am no expert but I want to be fair on my tenant!

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:47 PM
I would probably cough up if the tenant was otherwise reliable and not a serial complainer.

But, I would perhaps first check with the locksmith that the fault was indeed as reported (and not a case of T losing the key, for example).

Make sure that the replacement lock meets the standards required for any insurance policy, is of the same quality as the original, and that the work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard without damage to the door.

Well, she sent me a copy of the bill. I haven't spoken to the locksmith but there was a note on the bill, from him, quoting the cause of the problem and what he had to do to resolve it.
I haven't been to the flat yet. According to what the locksmith told my T, the lock is of higher quality than the previous and this situation shouldn't happen again in future.

Snorkerz
02-12-2009, 12:54 PM
Personally, I'd say if it wasn't the tenants doing, then it's your obligation to pay. As the tenant seems to be a good (and normally inexpensive one) I think it's just one of those things - pay up and don't forget to claim it against your tax.

HOWEVER....

If it was a pain tenant, I would consider these questions...

Is there ONLY one door? Should the tenant have had her 'back door' key on her?
Would it have been cheaper to smash a pane of glass and gain access that way?
Why didn't the tenant contact you for advice / hammer?

None of these would move the cost to your tenant but might give a little room for negotiation over the amount of the repayment. They are all a bit petty and could damage the goodwill that seems to exist between you and your tenant - and that's probably worth a lot more than £300.

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 12:58 PM
I would be repaying her sharpish, AND sending her a bunch of flowers. Poor thing, stuck on the doorstep in the middle of the night because your lock had worn out.

And be grateful she hadn't got ME out of bed to sort the problem - nor the LA who would have charge an extra £100 for out of hours service, and £400 for the locksmith.

Forgive my ignorance...what are ME and LA??

jeffrey
02-12-2009, 13:02 PM
'ME' as in intensive 'me'.
'LA'= Letting Agent. Or Limitation Act, Local Authority, Los Angeles...

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 13:03 PM
Personally, I'd say if it wasn't the tenants doing, then it's your obligation to pay. As the tenant seems to be a good (and normally inexpensive one) I think it's just one of those things - pay up and don't forget to claim it against your tax.

HOWEVER....

If it was a pain tenant, I would consider these questions...

Is there ONLY one door? Should the tenant have had her 'back door' key on her?
Would it have been cheaper to smash a pane of glass and gain access that way?
Why didn't the tenant contact you for advice / hammer?

None of these would move the cost to your tenant but might give a little room for negotiation over the amount of the repayment. They are all a bit petty and could damage the goodwill that seems to exist between you and your tenant - and that's probably worth a lot more than £300.

There's only one door and the only access to the flat would otherwise be through the bedroom window but I guess this didn't occur to her as that room faces the main road and is on the ground floor flat. Plus she would have been pretty cold that night!
She said she called my brother, who's the actual landlord (I'm the administrator) but his phone was dead according to her.

homesweethomes
02-12-2009, 13:05 PM
'ME' as in intensive 'me'.
'LA'= Letting Agent. Or Limitation Act, Local Authority, Los Angeles...

Yes, that was pretty ignorant of me!
I agree with you

Wickerman
03-12-2009, 18:45 PM
£300 is outrageous for a callout for replacing a lock.

Poppy35
03-12-2009, 19:23 PM
we had one the other day - £150 all in and that was 7pm...... i think £300 is a lot too even though it was midnight

Telometer
04-12-2009, 09:42 AM
It wasn't just replacing the lock though, was it.

There was probably an hour's work drilling through the old lock - remember the door was locked shut, no key would turn it, and it couldn't be picked.

Moreover, he replaced it with a different, better, type of lock, which will have required carpentry. And the new lock probably won't have been cheap. This is £60 from screwfix, so probably the better part of £100 from a locksmith.

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/88810/Security/Night-Latches/BS-Night-Latches/Yale-BS-Night-Latch-Brass-60mm-Backset

It's no bargain... but £100 for midnight call out, two hours at £75 and £100 of supplies adds up to more than £300 and doesn't sound outrageous to me.

Mrs Jones
04-12-2009, 16:00 PM
She has been a tenant of mine for almost eight years, in the same flat, and I have never had any issues with her.
??

Pay up and stop moaning! She did not have any choice. You now have a nice brand new no-problem in the future lock!!

Under these circumstances I would have paid up and looked good right away!

subjecttocontract
04-12-2009, 16:13 PM
Under these circumstances I would have paid up and looked good right away!

You might have looked good for some people but others might have said
* thats why you are so poor.
* bit of a pushover.
* easily conned.
* has no understanding of 'value for money'.
* been 'taken to the cleaners'.
* they must have seen her coming!

But there you go.....you can't please all the people all the time.:)

Mrs Jones
04-12-2009, 16:23 PM
[I]

You might have looked good for some people but others might have said
* thats why you are so poor.
* bit of a pushover.
* easily conned.
* has no understanding of 'value for money'.
* been 'taken to the cleaners'.
* they must have seen her coming!

But there you go.....you can't please all the people all the time.:)

That is quite offensive actually.

I am not poor (having gone from living in a 14' caravan with 2 children under 5to now owning a number of properties).
I am definitely not a pushover.
Nor am I easily conned!
Value for money is extremely important to me and I have not been taken to the cleaners.

I am a fair LL and have been lucky enough to have good tenants who have stayed for a number of years.

I just think that in this case, that would have been the fairest thing to do - particularly since it appears she is a good tenant.

The locksmith gave details of exactly what the problem was. It was NOT her fault but faulty equipment so why should she pay for this nice brand new lock? Of course - she could have paid for it and then taken it with her when she left - replacing it with the rotten broken old lock!!


Since she has been a good tenant for 8 years and this is the first problem LL has had with her, and it really was not her fault, then he should pay up.

mind the gap
04-12-2009, 17:11 PM
Mrs Jones, ignore 'subjecttocontract'. S/he is a letting agent and is just being irritable and irritating. Not worth trying to reason with. I agree with what you have said - in the circumstances, it would have been good business sense to reimburse the tenant the day after.

Amus3d
04-12-2009, 19:35 PM
8 Years being a good tenant with no hassle, that`s worth more than £300, you might get another 8 years with no hassle, tenant`s like that are hard to find. £300 is cheap as chips and is not even a £1 a week since she has been there. You seem a fair person and would pay that for her :)

chappers2341
12-12-2009, 19:59 PM
I agree with the general position that the faulty lock wasn't the tenants fault but personaly every time I leave my house I actually take my keys with me and don't leave the door on the catch.
But as has been pointed out in every other way she has been a good tenant for a long time, on this occaison I would give her the benefit of the doubt and reimburse her, I would however advise her that despite haveing a new lock, she should think twice about going out leaving the door on the catch.

Melville
02-01-2010, 04:16 AM
One of the things you must consider when choosing a locksmith is if they can actually complete the job. The only way to make sure a locksmith has completed a job successfully is if there was a precedent. Ask for recommendations from people you know, friends and family that have tried using the services of a mobile locksmith or a locksmith.

Snorkerz
02-01-2010, 10:22 AM
One of the things you must consider when choosing a locksmith is if they can actually complete the job. The only way to make sure a locksmith has completed a job successfully is if there was a precedent. Ask for recommendations from people you know, friends and family that have tried using the services of a mobile locksmith or a locksmith.

Good advice, though in this particular instance T wouldn't have had the chance to 'shop around'.