PDA

View Full Version : dripping hot tap



Stephthestudent
12-12-2011, 21:59 PM
reported dripping hot tap to landlord 10 days ago. NO ACTION

When we emailed again, was confronted with aggression and "its not costing us money so its not important"

The hot tap dripping is costing us money?
what is the time scale they should repair?
should we get any compensatory for the delay in repair?

Snorkerz
12-12-2011, 22:05 PM
Unfortunately this would fall down to you if you rent the whole property. Lord Justice Denning in (iirc) 1953 established the principle of "tenant like behaviour"

spare
12-12-2011, 22:49 PM
Can I ask how this would come under tenant like behaviour!
Cheers

JK0
12-12-2011, 22:56 PM
Lord Denning posited that tenants are expected to replace tap washers.

mariner
13-12-2011, 02:03 AM
Lord Denning in Court of Appeal set case precedent that minor, routine repairs eg dripping tap, blocked sink etc is Ts responsibility

Rubber tap valve <£2, replacement within av persons capability, prof plumber should take ~10 mins.

jjlandlord
13-12-2011, 07:41 AM
I am not convinced that Lord Denning's 1953 ruling carries that much weight for a dripping tap when section 11(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord has to:


(b)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),

If it's blocked and T has to unblock it with commercial products, I'd say fine.
But I think that fixing a dripping tap by replacing parts has a good chance of falling within the "keeping in proper working order" duty of the landlord.

Snorkerz
13-12-2011, 08:02 AM
jjlandlord, I would counterclaim that there is no interuption to the supply of water so 1985 L&T does not apply.

Reading council state "As a rule landlords are responsible for most repairs, except damage caused by tenants, or minor repairs like tap washers and electric fuses." http://www.reading.gov.uk/residents/Housing/PrivateTenants/Repairs/repairs/?acc.contrast=0&acc.size=1

theartfullodger
13-12-2011, 08:04 AM
Lord Denning posited that tenants are expected to replace tap washers.

Did he?? I've re-read Warren v Keen
http://www.dilapidationsdirect.co.uk/CaseLaw/Warren%20v%20Keen%20%5B1953%5D.htm
& can find no direct mention of tap washers...

This has recently been discussed at another place -
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3665105

- still think a sensible landlord/agent would sort this out, albeit if continued minor silly complaints keep coming find "better" tenants, but doubt that "dripping tap responsibility" is clearly defined from statute or case law.. Anyone got a firm ruling???

Fixing dripping taps can be tricky & if handled incorrectly by untrained persons (LL, agent or tenant..) can result in interesting floods... so perhaps wise LL/Agent will bear that in mind??

Tenants that reliably advise LL or agent of problems, particularly water-related, are to be highly prised compared to the alternative...

Other views will be held!

Steph: The agent's assertion

"its not costing us money so its not important"
is irrelevant.. sounds like (gosh, what a surprise..) your agent (errr... actually Landlord's agent..) doesn't understand Landlord/Tenant law..

Steph, hope you ain't in one of my houses!

jjlandlord
13-12-2011, 08:17 AM
jjlandlord, I would counterclaim that there is no interuption to the supply of water so 1985 L&T does not apply.

Why would it require an interruption to the supply of water?


Reading council state "As a rule landlords are responsible for most repairs, except damage caused by tenants, or minor repairs like tap washers and electric fuses."

Thanks for the link.
It seems borderline to me as changing a tap washer requires more skills than changing a fuse or bulb, and might be daunting to your average person: I think that a judgement call (inc. by Reading council).

Edit following artful's reply:

Fixing dripping taps can be tricky & if handled incorrectly by untrained persons (LL, agent or tenant..) can result in interesting floods...

Exactly. Imo that's also a test as to whether that's minor diy that T can do or repairs that are within LTA 1985's purview.


but doubt that "dripping tap responsibility" is clearly defined from statute or case law.. Anyone got a firm ruling???

Not sure people would start suing for a dripping tap just to clarify statutes.

Brb
13-12-2011, 09:05 AM
I can change fuses. I can change lightbulbs. (I can even paint decently too).

I would not however feel comfortable with changing a tap washer (although this may be T specific what with my history with water!).

oaktree
13-12-2011, 09:29 AM
I doubt Lord Denning intended this to be taken quite so literally; if a tenant isn't confident to change a tap washer themselves then they should employ someone who is, the same as the landlord would have to.

Including a dripping tap under S11 is pushing the limits of what is sensible IMO, thats like saying a blown lightbulb renders the light circuit as broken.

Snorkerz
13-12-2011, 09:32 AM
I think this is one of those areas where there is a discrepancy between the 'law' and what is reasonable.

I still maintain that ther is no requirement in the law for the landlord to fix the dripping tap. It is a simple task and a 5 minute search on youtube will reveal all.

However, where one values ones tenants then it isn't beyond the realms of reasonableness for the landlord to pop round in due course (doesn't require a special trip - no one is going to consider it a desperate emergency) and change the washer. 30p for a washer, 10 minutes max in the property.

In Stephs case though, it may be that the landlord doesn't value his tenants (as no amount of goodwill will make them stay once the course is over) so he doesn't feel the need to keep the tenant 'sweet'.

If it is a HMO with individual contracts then the teps in the communal area would definately be the landlords issue and Steph could get help from the HMO officer whether the place needs a license or not.

cymro123
13-12-2011, 10:11 AM
I would say this is the Ls responsibility for the following reasons:

1. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 section 11, which is implied into all tenancies of less than seven years duration, states that the landlord must keep in repair and proper working order the installations ... for the supply of water. The tap is part of the installation for the supply of water.
2. Lord Denning LJ stated 'If the house falls out of repair owing to fair wear and tear, lapse of time .... then he (the tenant) will not be liable to repair it.' Using a tap repeatedly will inevitably lead to some wear and tear and with the lapse of time leak. Wear and tear is what tenants are paying rent for.
3. Would you want/trust your tenants to fix your plumbing armed with a monkey wrench?
4. Quibbling over this relatively minor task sends out a message about your respect for the people who pay you good money every month. Refusing to help or simply dragging your feet is not going to create happy tenants and we all know the simple equation...happy tenants = good tenants, unhappy tenants =....

BTW Things published by councils are not always 100% correct, fair or reasonable and will remain that way until somebody big enough challenges them so take what councils publish with a pinch of caution

LeslieH
13-12-2011, 10:28 AM
Lets apply a little logic.
A dripping tap will waste very little water/heat.
A dripping tap going plip plip plip all night can drive you mad.
Water can do an awful lot of damage and though this job is not difficult, has the potential for a serious leak.
Replacing a tap can be expensive.
Somebody not familiar with basic maintenace could wreck the tap by cross threading it etc.
They might not even realise you have to turn off the water at the stop cock.
I think I would repaire it before somebody like my son got at it.

Darth Wookie
13-12-2011, 11:22 AM
An old house we used to rent had a dripping cistern on the loo. The landlady took almost one year to replace it. (replacement was beyond a tap washer which I wouldn't hesitate to fix myself as it's easy. The loo cistern had a micro crack causing the leak.)
With no change in houshold size or notable reduction in water use, the bill for the following year was just short of a £115 less, largely attributable to the leaking loo.
It does cost money.

oaktree
13-12-2011, 11:53 AM
The loo cistern had a micro crack causing the leak.)


Micro??? :-0 Filling an average bath is about 80 litres at a cost of around 18p - if my maths is correct then £115 per year equates to around 140 litres per day! thats over 30 gallons per day. Thats a bit more than a micro

Darth Wookie
13-12-2011, 12:07 PM
Oaktree, thanks for that. I'd never done the math to go with it. Our former landlady was one the great numpties of the world and cost us a packet in other issues we ended up forking out for just to keep the place habitable (we made the mistake of accepting the property on the promise of having some decorating and carpet replacement done - previous tenants had trashed a couple of rooms which we didn't expect to use regularly anyway).
The aforementioned crack ran into the bowl so whilst it was evident that there was a 'drip' it wasn't accumulating. Now you mention it, it must have been constantly running. What a waste.
To go back on topic, I would be of the opinion that the LL is not obliged to fix a leaking tap, but would be foolish to leave it up to the tenant unless he/she's up to the job. I personally, wouldn't hesitate to do it myself, but then I'm a competent (though not expert) DIYer.

JK0
13-12-2011, 12:42 PM
Actually, you know what guys:

When I renovate flats I usually find the cause of dripping taps not to be the washers, but the cheap metal that the seat the washer bears on is made of. The water seems to eat away channels in the metal causing drips. (Of course the washer is often damaged as well by grinding away at the uneven surface.)

I cure this with a tap re-seating kit. This one looks similar to mine:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0001P0G08/ref=asc_df_B0001P0G085651262?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=hydra0b-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B0001P0G08

This screws into the tap and has a cutter at the bottom that grinds away the seat until it is flat. Then I turn over the washer, and usually there are no more drips.

Stel
13-12-2011, 17:15 PM
Regardless of whether it is tenant or landlord's responsibility surely 10 days isn't the end of the world? OP has not said if LL has agreed to get the repair done in due course? The mention of are we owed compensation rings alarm bells.
Generally polite requests get better results than threats of compensation claims! Maybe an offer to get a quote from a handyman or plumber might prompt some action. As a landlord Id rather someone I knew as competent fixed it so I would get it done but not as an emergency!

mariner
14-12-2011, 01:48 AM
Good reply Stel
IMO if T reports a fault, any diagnostic visit should be at T expense. if fault was later determined as LL liability then LL would be liable for cost