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View Full Version : Tenant gets repair man without letting landlord know first - what would you do..



Diversity
11-02-2010, 10:58 AM
..as a Landlord?

One of my tenants got my repair man out to check a lock she says was jammed. she apparently took it out by removing a screw from the inside and removed the yale lock as she was locked in from the inside. She was able to get out.

There are two other locks on the front door so the door would still have been secure.

I get an email from my repairman from out of the blue that he he's been called to check the lock. He says when he turn up the lock had been removed. So he fitted a new one.

I email the tenant as to what happened. She said she emailed me the same day she called him to tell me and ask if it was ok. I never got this email.

The AST states:

2.58 Not to change, alter, add to or otherwise damage any locks or bolts on the premises (except in the case of an emergency) without the prior consent of the Landlord or his Agent. Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld. (In order to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later, it is strongly recommended that the Tenant obtain confirmation in writing of any such consent granted). Where any new or additional locks or bolts are fitted to the property, to promptly provide the Landlord or his Agent with an appropriate set of keys.

2.59 If any lock or bolt is installed or changed on or in the premises without the prior consent of the Landlord or his Agent to remove them if so required by the Landlord or his Agent and be responsible for the fair costs of making good any resultant damage to the premises or spoilage of decoration.

In this situation she should have got my consent first rather than contacting my repair guy first. Because my repair guy couldn't find the lock on the door he could not ascertain what actually happened to the lock. It could have been the tenants fault eg. broke the key in the door. Or it could have been mechanical eg. the lock froze up.

If the lock did jam/freeze up who bears the cost for repairs?

Since the tenant did not get my consent first I feel she should bear the cost of the bill and lock. And its suspect that the lock was no where to be found. Your thoughts?

jrsteeve
11-02-2010, 11:20 AM
If the lock was faulty then you should cover the cost, however i'd ask for the old lock to be returned as proof of the fault. If they can't provide the old lock then i'd put it to them to cover the cost.

Telometer
11-02-2010, 11:26 AM
You'd never manage to enforce the last para of 2.58. And 2.58 and 2.59 do not relate to repairs of broken locks anyway - I bet you don't have paras like this about hot water heaters.

Unless your T is a Walter Mitty type, T has acted responsibly. You are lucky to have avoided an emergency call out for the jammed lock.

A broken key in a lock is not - unless T was swinging ont he lock - T's fault, it is the lock's fault.

Pay up. But tell them to get your consent in future for similar things. Of course, if T keeps on doing this, evict. But for the moment I think it sounds like a good T.

Diversity
11-02-2010, 12:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

Just so I'm clear., is it general practice for the LL to be responsible for locks if they become faulty?

Similarly, is it the T's or LL's responsibility to maintain the locks ie. with WD40 etc to make sure smooth operation and the likes..

Bel
11-02-2010, 12:56 PM
To cover yourself, you should have given the tenant written procedure on how to report faults. This would then explain what to do in an 'emergency' and that workman should only be instructed if there is a risk to health and safety and not before calling your emergency number and failing to get through.

If the tenant does not adhere to procedure then they have to pay any excess.

For example; if you say that they should call XXX number to report an emergency, if they decided to email and then instruct their own contractor then they will have to pay the contractor themself. The contractor cannot come after you as you have not instructed them anyway.

You may decide that you will reimburse the tenant for some of this cost if it is discovered to be a landlord problem, but if you would have attended on site yourself, the tenant would have cost you much more and may only be entitled to claim back your would-be expenses from you.

In this particular case, you need to decide if her actions were justified at the time, taking into account the provisions you have set up for reporting repairs.

Bel
11-02-2010, 13:00 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

Just so I'm clear., is it general practice for the LL to be responsible for locks if they become faulty?

Similarly, is it the T's or LL's responsibility to maintain the locks ie. with WD40 etc to make sure smooth operation and the likes..

Its the tenants responsibility to report faults as they become obvious. If a communal lock is starting to stiffen, then they should report it before it siezes completely.
There own front door I would say that they should lubricate it themselves.

Telometer
11-02-2010, 14:19 PM
If you pour WD40 into your locks it is no surprise that they jam. WD40 is not designed for use as a lubricant - least of all in locks. Its main function is as a solvent. So if a lock sticks, then if you add WD40 it will dissolve all the gunk and the lock will work again... until the WD40 has evaporated - at which point it will stick worse than ever.

Ensure you are in charge of lubricating door locks so that it is done properly.

Paragon
11-02-2010, 15:10 PM
Got them! The WD 40 company web site say that you can use a squirt of WD40 in stuck locks, but they fail to tell you the rest of the story once it evaporates.

jeffrey
11-02-2010, 15:32 PM
So just use lubricating oil (or, if its drips might cause damage, even Vaseline/KY).

grouse
11-02-2010, 18:08 PM
you can buy graphite powder from locksmiths, doesn't cost a lot and is the proper stuff for the job

sparkie
12-02-2010, 10:35 AM
so basically everything that goes wrong, faulty or breaks down is the LL's responsibility. For those LL's with FULLY furnished flats right down to cutlery, toasters, microwaves, TV's etc.. are expected to fix or replace them?

I would have thought that major appliances like ovens, washing machines, and of course boilers yes. But where does it stop with other electrical equipment like plasma TV's, kettle and irons etc.. isn't there a line where the tenant should fix if the it goes down say after 12 months?

Otherwise it seems like an endless replacement cycle for the LL :rolleyes:

theartfullodger
12-02-2010, 11:53 AM
Shelter England's advice on repairs in private lets is here...

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_lets

- and seems thorough and fair (in particular on T advising LL first about any repair they plan to so..) to my small brain...

re..

But where does it stop with other electrical equipment like plasma TV's, kettle and irons etc.. isn't there a line where the tenant should fix if the it goes down say after 12 months? My understanding is that if LL provides it then it must work and be safe (? PAT testing?? I've just done the course so I can do mine ..) . It always seems to me that burnt-2-death or maimed tenants are bad4business, but if one can show (with records etc..) that as LL you took the right steps, gave sensible advice & instructions and had the sensible tests/precautions taken then when at the inquest into the sad deaths one ought to get a not2painfull grilling from the court & the local press..


btw I always thought Tenant was quite entitled to change locks if they so wished, as long as they changed them back at end of tenancy (but not in Scotland): And if they have any sense let the LL & agent know..

If Tenant wishes to exclude all visitors, including LL & agent, including for "Inspections" they are of course entirely entitled to do so..

Cheers!

Lodger

Diversity
12-02-2010, 12:19 PM
The T now informs me her email was in her "drafts" folder. She forgot to send it. Which is why I never got it. In this situation who should fit the bill?

I never got her email. She contacted the handyman before getting my ok.

jeffrey
12-02-2010, 12:29 PM
The T now informs me her email was in her "drafts" folder. She forgot to send it. Which is why I never got it. In this situation who should fit the bill?
Not sure who fits it, but L should perhaps foot it- the property is L's, after all- if, had the lock problem been L's own handiwork, L would have paid.

theartfullodger
12-02-2010, 12:32 PM
I never got her email. She contacted the handyman before getting my ok.

I'd say she should pay, but if she is otherwise OK I'd be tempted to make some sort of gesture (involving money..) to encourage goodwill..

Might just encourage her to treat you fairly & considerately in future... which is worth loads more than a lock-smith's bill..

btw Am I the only LL who always changes locks on change of tenant and bins the old one??

Cheers!

Lodger

JK0
12-02-2010, 15:25 PM
[QUOTE=

btw Am I the only LL who always changes locks on change of tenant and bins the old one??
[/QUOTE]

I do for my better houses. For bread and butter flats let to Indian contractors there seems no point, as previous tenant is back in India.

chappers2341
12-02-2010, 18:10 PM
How much is the bill? Is she generally a good tenant?
This may help you decide

But from a purely by by the book outlook, she should foot the bill, she took the lock apart/away , she instructed the repair man, she should pay the bill.

Maybe if she is a good tenant and the bill isn't too much you could give her the benefit of the doubt and pay it, but point out to her the correct procedure with regards to reporting repairs etc to you.

bullybantam
12-02-2010, 21:45 PM
I go more by the previous history of tenants than the letter of the tenancy agreement.

If they don't take the p1ss and I want to retain them as tenants then I'd stump up whatever the agreement said.

Diversity
13-02-2010, 05:08 AM
Not sure who fits it, but L should perhaps foot it- the property is L's, after all- if, had the lock problem been L's own handiwork, L would have paid.

Wasn't my handiwork. The lock has been there ever since I bought it. I also remember my handyman lubricating the said lock only like a year ago


I'd say she should pay, but if she is otherwise OK I'd be tempted to make some sort of gesture (involving money..) to encourage goodwill..

Might just encourage her to treat you fairly & considerately in future... which is worth loads more than a lock-smith's bill..


good advice. i have emailed her saying she is responsible for the bill in light of the new information. i have asked my repairman to bill her directly. not heard from either yet.

i have to concede my suspicion why the lock wasn't to be found by my repairman when he turned up. generally she's an ok tenant. i don't think she's malicious.

just incredibly annoying she jumped the gun even though I emailed them all less than 2 months ago to contact me in the first instance (unless its an urgent emergency, which this wasn't one) if there are issues/repairs at the flat so that I can deal with it. Just like when the fridge/freezer and washing machine had to be replaced. They emailed me first and then I sorted it with Dixons - delivery, installation and taking away the old ones etc. Now in the instance with this lock incident it's not dissimilar to her calling Dixons to order the washing machine and F&F and charging it to me and telling me afterwards!



How much is the bill? Is she generally a good tenant?
This may help you decide

But from a purely by by the book outlook, she should foot the bill, she took the lock apart/away , she instructed the repair man, she should pay the bill.

Maybe if she is a good tenant and the bill isn't too much you could give her the benefit of the doubt and pay it, but point out to her the correct procedure with regards to reporting repairs etc to you.

but that's just it, i have told them the correct procedure already. and this still happens. it was a double mistake on her part, 1. that she didnt send the email, and 2. still contacted my repairman without waiting for a response from me. This wasn't an emergency situation. There were still two other working locks on the door


I go more by the previous history of tenants than the letter of the tenancy agreement.

If they don't take the p1ss and I want to retain them as tenants then I'd stump up whatever the agreement said.

I'll wait to see how much the bill is first. I'll consider paying 50% of it as a good will gesture towards it. I think that's fair

ram
13-02-2010, 17:42 PM
This wasn't an emergency situation. There were still two other working locks on the door.

It's only a lock, which belongs to you, and in fact, you are renting it to her. She was LOCKED in. I would in this instance, be a good landlord and pay the bill, as you can be sure the lock was not dismantled and oiled, only oil put on the key, and inserted.

Bit like saying, but I put oil in my car engine, and I even changd it every 6000 miles, but the engine died at 180,000 miles, how is that possible, I kept it oiled ! ( It bloody wore out, just like locks do, and oil is only temporary on locks )

All new locks and handles are dismantled by me and greased properly from new. You will find handles are never greased properly. Just try undoing an interior handle and watch all the metal dust drop out.

But as you say, there were 2 other locks on the door, but why are there 3 locks on one door. Tenants should not be encumbered with 3 keys to open one door. Perhaps she does not have the other 2 keys and finds she only has one key to open the door ?

Pay the bill, its only a sodding £ 5 lock, probably 25 years old.

ram
13-02-2010, 22:52 PM
so basically everything that goes wrong, faulty or breaks down is the LL's responsibility. .. We are expected to fix or replace them?

WHAT ?

what planet are you on ?

Good job you dont hire out 13 month old cars -- "Sorry mate, broke down ? -- tough, fix it yourself.
YOU own the plasma TV's, kettle and irons, not the tenant.

bullybantam
14-02-2010, 00:32 AM
I


btw Am I the only LL who always changes locks on change of tenant and bins the old one??



Nope. Always change the locks after a change of tenant, you might trust the previous tenant - but what about anyone else who has copies of the keys?

havensRus
14-02-2010, 08:35 AM
btw Am I the only LL who always changes locks on change of tenant and bins the old one??


Nope. Always change the locks after a change of tenant, you might trust the previous tenant - but what about anyone else who has copies of the keys?


I change locks too, but don't bin them unless faulty in teh first place. Able then to reuse the lock elsewhere/different property/different location.