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View Full Version : L trying to fix problems but T still dissatisfied-help.



REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 14:37 PM
Afternoon one and all. I have a few problems that aren't really a problem if i was just left alone to deal with what has to be done - i feel my tenants are making things twice as difficult because they are paying rent.

At the front of the property the kitchen is located and my tenants have a mice problem which is being sorted and will take three visits. I have paid the cost in full.

My tenants have a continuous boiler problem that only happens when the boiler engineer leaves. The boiler engineer has been to the property three times already this week alone and can't find any fault. The boiler is serviced, has a gas safety certificate. These visits are costing me dearly for nothing.

The bottom of the backdoor leading to the garden has less than a quarter inch gap and my tenants want me to sort that gap as apparently mice could get through that. Not sure what i can do but they want it sorted because they are paying rent.

The tenants in question unlike any other tenants i have don't want me in the property while they're not their and thats perfectly fine - so i arrange what needs to be done and give them 24hrs written notice.
The new problem they're creating because all of the above is getting done all too quick is that they are telling me they can no longer take time off work to wait for the boiler engineer to fix the boiler they say doesn't work, are unable to let the pest control people and whatever other people they want me to bring in about the backdoor even with 24hrs notice. They now want longer notice. I think they want me now to go into the property when they're not their based on the above but this is what i want to know - surely i can't be expected to sit around outside for 4+ hours for the above professionals to turn up and go into the property? I have a feeling if i sent someone to wait outside the property for the professionals that they would be inside anyway as i would be giving them the required longer notice they want. If they aren't their i don't really want to go into the property anyway having been told at the start of the tenancy that they didn't want me to come in without at least one of them being present - i get a feeling that something will go missing and of course it will be of high value.

Help me out guys.

mind the gap
10-01-2010, 15:19 PM
I think they are being rather unreasonable here. If they want the work doing, they should be prepared to compromise over allowing access. It is not as though you are sending in any old Tom, Dick or Harry, is it? I would tell them that unless they are prepared to allow access (unsupservised if need be) for reputable tradespeople, you will attend yourself (as it's an environmental health issue) but you will be unwilling to renew their tenancy contract when the time comes since you cannot be taking time off work for call-outs which the occupier would normally be expected to attend for. Apart from anything else, mice are often a problem associated with T's lifestyle and may be their fault - has this been established?

Furthermore I would not put up with their unreasonable demands re the boiler. If the engineer has been out to it three times and can find nothing wrong I would be advising T that enough is enough and if they ask you to call him out again (and he finds nothing wrong) then they will be footing the bill.

These tenants sound a bit precious. When is the soonest you can legally require them to leave?

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 15:44 PM
I think they are being rather unreasonable here. If they want the work doing, they should be prepared to compromise over allowing access. It is not as though you are sending in any old Tom, Dick or Harry, is it? I would tell them that unless they are prepared to allow access (unsupservised if need be) for reputable tradespeople, you will attend yourself (as it's an environmental health issue) but you will be unwilling to renew their tenancy contract when the time comes since you cannot be taking time off work for call-outs which the occupier would normally be expected to attend for. Apart from anything else, mice are often a problem associated with T's lifestyle and may be their fault - has this been established?

Furthermore I would not put up with their unreasonable demands re the boiler. If the engineer has been out to it three times and can find nothing wrong I would be advising T that enough is enough and if they ask you to call him out again (and he finds nothing wrong) then they will be footing the bill.

These tenants sound a bit precious. When is the soonest you can legally require them to leave?

Thanks for the replt mind the gap.

The work isn't being carried out by any Tom, Dick or Harry - as i mentioned the property is in excellent condition throughout and wouldn't look out of place in the owner occupier category. I usually have a problem renting properties of this standard out because many potential tenants who view the property may have seen ten or so substandard properties that they think it's too good to be true.

I'm not interested in going into the property un supervised because at the start of the tenancy they made it clear they didn't want anyone in the property without one of them present - and has been the case quite recently. If they suddenly start allowing me un supervised i have this feeling something of high value will go missing which will start a whole new ball game. It also rings alarm bells when tenants tell me they can't take time off work and by doing so it comes under loss of earnings - what that means is can we have a week or two free rent. You know what i mean.

They want me to wait for the professionals outside the property i'll assume as they originally didn't want me inside without one of them present - however as i mentioned they want longer than 24hrs notice which to me i'd say that they will just inconvenience me for the sake of it waiting outside the property for 4+ hours while one of them will be inside when he presses the bell. You getting the picture. The last payment is next month of their six month contract. I have offered to break the contract early with no penalty nothing because they appear to be unhappy with the service im giving - the reply was they just want the above fixed and they will be happy.

If i call the boiler engineer out again and he once again finds nothing wrong can i get them to foot the bill? Keep in mind these set of tenants feel they're being harassed because i write to them stating when what day and time the works will commence/when the boiler engineer will call. I have sometimes even been able to pay a premium to get the boiler engineer to call same day within two hours.

I get the impression they want me to replace a boiler that is only 4years old.

help me out guys

mjbfire
10-01-2010, 16:05 PM
Red,

Whether it the law or I believe you shouldn't enter the P without somebody being there or without written permission. Luckly all but one ex tennant, I have never had a problem getting access, and that was just after he left. Most wonder why I so worried about giving 24 notice, as it in their benifit to get a problem fixed.

Mice : Try giving then a draft excluder, or a rubber seal which may do the job, and send them how to control vermin letter, I think there ones on Rentakill or local council web sites. (ie. don't leave food around etc)

The boiler :- Try a differant engineer, and get them to right a report, more money sorry but will cover you in the long run. And the report may say get a new boiler sorry.

Write a letter to them telling them that you are trying to carry out you legal duties but they are not allow you to do so, and highlight the points in the blog. This will hopefully go someway to defend yourself, if they try to claim again you. Also you should start getting proof(Letter above), so that if need be, you can use S8 to evict them. See other forum posts, for more details.
or just issue a S21, see other posts for instruction on how to do this, or get a lawyer to do it(We normally do)

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 16:50 PM
Red,

Whether it the law or I believe you shouldn't enter the P without somebody being there or without written permission. Luckly all but one ex tennant, I have never had a problem getting access, and that was just after he left. Most wonder why I so worried about giving 24 notice, as it in their benifit to get a problem fixed.

Mice : Try giving then a draft excluder, or a rubber seal which may do the job, and send them how to control vermin letter, I think there ones on Rentakill or local council web sites. (ie. don't leave food around etc)

The boiler :- Try a differant engineer, and get them to right a report, more money sorry but will cover you in the long run. And the report may say get a new boiler sorry.

Write a letter to them telling them that you are trying to carry out you legal duties but they are not allow you to do so, and highlight the points in the blog. This will hopefully go someway to defend yourself, if they try to claim again you. Also you should start getting proof(Letter above), so that if need be, you can use S8 to evict them. See other forum posts, for more details.
or just issue a S21, see other posts for instruction on how to do this, or get a lawyer to do it(We normally do)

Thanks for the reply mjbfire.

The mice problem has been taken care of. I have paid in full for a professional crowd to come around which takes up to three visits - the last visit sorting where the mice are coming from and sealing it. I informed the tenants that i have paid for the treatments, set out the dates these treatments will be taking place. The 1st 48hrs after complaint, the 2nd a week later and the 3rd a few days after that. I made them aware that if they they were not their to let in the pest control officers in to sort the problem that they wanted sorted that was perfectly fine but they would have to re arrange and pay for the future visits themselves. I thought this was very reasonable - they didn't.

I could get another boiler engineer for the sake of it but i've been using the same guy/company for over twenty years. He has a policy of "im not going to take the boiler apart just to put on a show" he really is that good.
Replacing a boiler that doesn't need replacing isn't really an option because it works and always works when i'm their with the tenant and engineer. The situation im sure is they're playing around with the boiler/saying it's not working hoping the get a few weeks rent free for "inconvenience"

Writing letters doesn't work with this set of tenants, they call it harassment, they just don't like paying rent in a property where for four whole months they couldn't find something for me to do. I was told the boiler clock wasn't working even though it was - they just didn't turn the timer on saying "this just isn't good enough".
I couldn't be much fairer than offering to break the contract early, give their deposit back in full so they could find somewhere else where they would feel much happier. They don't want this because they know the property wouldn't be on the market for too long.

mind the gap
10-01-2010, 16:53 PM
Thanks for the reply mjbfire.

The mice problem has been taken care of. I have paid in full for a professional crowd to come around which takes up to three visits - the last visit sorting where the mice are coming from and sealing it. I informed the tenants that i have paid for the treatments, set out the dates these treatments will be taking place. The 1st 48hrs after complaint, the 2nd a week later and the 3rd a few days after that. I made them aware that if they they were not their to let in the pest control officers in to sort the problem that they wanted sorted that was perfectly fine but they would have to re arrange and pay for the future visits themselves. I thought this was very reasonable - they didn't.

I could get another boiler engineer for the sake of it but i've been using the same guy/company for over twenty years. He has a policy of "im not going to take the boiler apart just to put on a show" he really is that good.
Replacing a boiler that doesn't need replacing isn't really an option because it works and always works when i'm their with the tenant and engineer. The situation im sure is they're playing around with the boiler/saying it's not working hoping the get a few weeks rent free for "inconvenience"

Writing letters doesn't work with this set of tenants, they call it harassment, they just don't like paying rent in a property where for four whole months they couldn't find something for me to do. I was told the boiler clock wasn't working even though it was - they just didn't turn the timer on saying "this just isn't good enough".
I couldn't be much fairer than offering to break the contract early, give their deposit back in full so they could find somewhere else where they would feel much happier. They don't want this because they know the property wouldn't be on the market for too long.
A section 21 Notice Requiring Possession would appear to be long overdue!

These Ts are taking you for a ride.

Under no circumstances should you replace the boiler unless your engineer tells you it needs replacing. Nor should you pay for any more false call-outs. Just serve as21 for the earliest possible date (legally) and get shut, is my advice. They are pathologically attention-seeking!

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 17:08 PM
A section 21 Notice Requiring Possession would appear to be long overdue!

These Ts are taking you for a ride.

Under no circumstances should you replace the boiler unless your engineer tells you it needs replacing. Nor should you pay for any more false call-outs. Just serve as21 for the earliest possible date (legally) and get shut, is my advice. They are pathologically attention-seeking!


Thanks for the reply mind the gap

The last payment is the 8th of next month where i'll be informing them i wont be renewing - even though they have indicated they want too.

It's responsible to ask how many people are occupying the property right? These set of tenants think it's harassment.

GJMSurrey
10-01-2010, 17:09 PM
This is what I would do:

Mice

Mice could be an unlucky occurence or even due to tenants not cleaning/throwing out rubbish frequently enough. It's difficult to say, but you are resolving the problem which is good.

I would put pest control and tenant in contact with each other to arrange a date, as you are only acting as a post office passing on information an dates, and you add no value here as the middlman.

Perhaps ask te tenant for a date and then see if pest control can meet it, rather than the other way around. If pest control need a weeks notice and the tenant only gives 48 hour notice for access, then tenant needs to change and give the weeks notice if they want the issue resloved.

If they want you to be there (and you are willing to be there) then you can then you could ask a letter from the tenant authroisig this, such as:

"Further to our agreement that you the Landlord or your agents would not enter the property without our (tenant) being present, we hereby authorise you on this occasion to access to complete the works of ***********. This access is at our risk"

Gap in door

I would say that at 2 cms/an inch there is a real problem (it's the equivalent of removing all the heat supplied by a single bar heater on a windy day, or 5+ pence an hour.)

But you say a quarter of an inch (which is 0.6 cms). I am not sure if you have measured this exactly, but it does not sound like much and in my opinion with wood shrinkage etc 5mm/quarter inch is not uncommon and does not need fixing.

But in light of the mice problem and possible panic of the tenant due to this, and for an easy life, you may want to get a draught excluder or draught strip or draught seal or weather-seal or weatherstrip at the bottom of the door (essentially a strip of plastic attached to the bottom of the door, but would also stop mice!). They are cheap to buy and are easily installed. You may want to advise the tenant politely that "although the gap is not unatisfactory by building standards and you see nothing to 'fix' here, you will installing a strip for them".

They can be in the property. Or you could get the same letter as above from the tenant about you accessing, or perhaps they can do it themselves (if they are really concernd about the gap they will do this) and you can offer to pay the receipt for the strip they buy? Just give them the three choices (1) they be present, (2) you do it under a letter of access from tenant noting the liability "at tenants risk" or (2) tenant does it himself. Let them choose.

Boiler[/B]

Is this a new tenant or one that has been using the boiler for a long time but now it has a problem?

If you have the gas safe certificate, if the repairman can find nothing wrong, if the boiler has enough BTU power output to handle the number of radiators and size of property it is serving (very likely as even old 10-15 year old boiler throw up the sufficient 50,000 BTU power for a 3/4 bedroom property), then I think you have covered all bases.

I would:

1) Due to the failed visits and costs to you to date, ask the tenant to provide a detailed written explanation of their issues with the boiler.

2) Make it absolutely clear that the contractor requires the tenant to be present at the property during their visit (a tenant will have the oportunity to discuss their issues face to face with the contractor). Only on this basis will you arrange a contractor visit (you do not have to be there, you add no value).

3) Advise that if no problem is found then you will need to charge the call out costs to the tenant. They will accept this is they have a clear quantifiable issue.

Do not arrange the contractor visit until you have receive the tenants written agreement of the above.


Others will have better ways to deal I suspect

mind the gap
10-01-2010, 17:14 PM
Thanks for the reply mind the gap

The last payment is the 8th of next month where i'll be informing them i wont be renewing - even though they have indicated they want too.

It's responsible to ask how many people are occupying the property right? These set of tenants think it's harassment.

Remember you need to have given them two full months' notice - have you done so?

Re asking them about how many are living there - I wouldn't bother, to be honest, at this stage. They are entitled to have guests to stay and unless you can demonstrate beyond doubt that they are breaching overcrowding regs to a dangerous degree, what will you achieve? They will (you hope) be leaving soon anyway.

I would contact them only in writing from now on and just concentrate on getting them out and finding some less stress-inducing tenants.

Good luck!

GJMSurrey
10-01-2010, 17:24 PM
Sorry, my response above was written over a period of time so I only read the other responses afterwards!

Sounds like a nightmare and makes me want to shake them.

Often tenancy agreements will ask tenants to report any issues in writing, and indeed you should accept nothing else from now onwards - cover yourself.

You can always write one letter responding too all the issues leaving the ball in your court to respond back to you with which of the option they want. Maybe mention somewhere in the letter "after consulation with various other landlords and representatives from landlord associations" just to underline and so they will be clear you have other resources an advisors you use and will no be taken for a ride - you know what you are talking about - should they be in doubt!




.

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 17:25 PM
This is what I would do:

Mice

Mice could be an unlucky occurence or even due to tenants not cleaning/throwing out rubbish frequently enough. It's difficult to say, but you are resolving the problem which is good.

I would put pest control and tenant in contact with each other to arrange a date, as you are only acting as a post office passing on information an dates, and you add no value here as the middlman.

Perhaps ask te tenant for a date and then see if pest control can meet it, rather than the other way around. If pest control need a weeks notice and the tenant only gives 48 hour notice for access, then tenant needs to change and give the weeks notice if they want the issue resloved.

If they want you to be there (and you are willing to be there) then you can then you could ask a letter from the tenant authroisig this, such as:

"Further to our agreement that you the Landlord or your agents would not enter the property without our (tenant) being present, we hereby authorise you on this occasion to access to complete the works of ***********. This access is at our risk"

Gap in door

I would say that at 2 cms/an inch there is a real problem (it's the equivalent of removing all the heat supplied by a single bar heater on a windy day, or 5+ pence an hour.)

But you say a quarter of an inch (which is 0.6 cms). I am not sure if you have measured this exactly, but it does not sound like much and in my opinion with wood shrinkage etc 5mm/quarter inch is not uncommon and does not need fixing.

But in light of the mice problem and possible panic of the tenant due to this, and for an easy life, you may want to get a draught excluder or draught strip or draught seal or weather-seal or weatherstrip at the bottom of the door (essentially a strip of plastic attached to the bottom of the door, but would also stop mice!). They are cheap to buy and are easily installed. You may want to advise the tenant politely that "although the gap is not unatisfactory by building standards and you see nothing to 'fix' here, you will installing a strip for them".

They can be in the property. Or you could get the same letter as above from the tenant about you accessing, or perhaps they can do it themselves (if they are really concernd about the gap they will do this) and you can offer to pay the receipt for the strip they buy? Just give them the three choices (1) they be present, (2) you do it under a letter of access from tenant noting the liability "at tenants risk" or (2) tenant does it himself. Let them choose.

Boiler[/B]

Is this a new tenant or one that has been using the boiler for a long time but now it has a problem?

If you have the gas safe certificate, if the repairman can find nothing wrong, if the boiler has enough BTU power output to handle the number of radiators and size of property it is serving (very likely as even old 10-15 year old boiler throw up the sufficient 50,000 BTU power for a 3/4 bedroom property), then I think you have covered all bases.

I would:

1) Due to the failed visits and costs to you to date, ask the tenant to provide a detailed written explanation of their issues with the boiler.

2) Make it absolutely clear that the contractor requires the tenant to be present at the property during their visit (a tenant will have the oportunity to discuss their issues face to face with the contractor). Only on this basis will you arrange a contractor visit (you do not have to be there, you add no value).

3) Advise that if no problem is found then you will need to charge the call out costs to the tenant. They will accept this is they have a clear quantifiable issue.

Do not arrange the contractor visit until you have receive the tenants written agreement of the above.


Others will have better ways to deal I suspect

Thanks for the reply GJMSurrey
The mice problem as i mentioned is sorted and the tenants have been given for the 2nd visit as the first has already taken place - the 2nd visit i've given a whole weeks notice and time slot. I can't be more upfront than that. As i mentioned if they choose not to be their to sort what they want sorting then they can indeed can arrange the pest control visits themselves but at their own cost.

The gap in the door is just another run around job. The door in question is in perfect condition and as i say it's just a nonsense job. The gap allows the door to open any less of a gap and it would rub off the step and they'd ask me to have it not rubbing the step. It's just something they have on their list to make out i'm doing nothing other than getting rent.

The boiler is only four years old, gets serviced every year, passes it's gas safety test every year and is perfect to heat the property without a struggle.

Can i charge them for a failed call out? Is it fair enough to say i've given you a week's or so notice if you choose not to be at home when the pest control officers call you can pay for the next treatments and arrange times yourself?

Goldie
10-01-2010, 17:34 PM
christ! I'd LOVE a landlord like you, instead I got the opposite! good luck getting it sorted

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 17:35 PM
Remember you need to have given them two full months' notice - have you done so?

Re asking them about how many are living there - I wouldn't bother, to be honest, at this stage. They are entitled to have guests to stay and unless you can demonstrate beyond doubt that they are breaching overcrowding regs to a dangerous degree, what will you achieve? They will (you hope) be leaving soon anyway.

I would contact them only in writing from now on and just concentrate on getting them out and finding some less stress-inducing tenants.

Good luck!

I've not given them two full months notice as they've only just started all these list of nonsense jobs at the start of december. As i mentioned first three/four months were fine - this is what probably annoyed them - they were just paying rent and i as a landlord didn't have to spend a penny (it's that kind of person im dealing with - when you hear "loss of earnings" and harassment as a landlord you know the angle they're "trying" to work)

I asked how many people were living in the property due to only two being on the contract and the fact the boiler keeps playing up - just basically swinging the argument over that you two aren't playing the game. Their maybe four in the property which is probably why they didn't want me in the property - see what i'm saying "everyone stay in your rooms - the landlord is coming in" know what i mean.

REDLIMITED
10-01-2010, 17:40 PM
christ! I'd LOVE a landlord like you, instead I got the opposite! good luck getting it sorted


Everyone's different Goldie - i'm dealing with two individuals that just want to keep me busy. I own six houses on the same street two flats per house and they're all done to the same standard and i never get an ounce of trouble. One set of tenants have been in occupation with me for four years, their friends staying on another road just over a year - i get calls from all over the world "have you got any properties available we're coming back in a month" - they don't even need to view the property as they're all the same standard - naturally a 2009 property might have newer lights than the 2007 property but you get what i mean.