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peppercorn
10-03-2007, 10:45 AM
Hi

I have recently been contacted by my tenant requesting that he can change the bath in his rented apartment. He says this is due to health reasons large size and that the council will pay for this and end of the tenancy will put right.

He has been a good tenant of two years........ help!! are there legal implications???????

the apartments were newly built when he moved in and i dont really wont changes to be made..... any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Poppy
10-03-2007, 11:45 AM
So, are you saying the tenant is asking for a different bath because of his large meaning fat size?

If you don't wish to make changes then simply don't. Nothing is forcing you. There is nothing wrong with the bath.

You could do all the work and then your tenant leaves for whatever reason. When is the tenancy due to end? What would have been the point?

Do you want to continue a tenancy with this particular tenant? Then make a contract with the council for them to do the work and for them to reinstate the property as it was. Find out what equipment they propose. Would you be happy for it to remain once the tenant had left?

You have a choice in this matter. Think about re-sale/re-letting at all times.

Worldlife
10-03-2007, 12:02 PM
Could you quote the clauses of your tenancy agreement that relate to condition of the property at the end of the tenancy and in connection with alterations.

For example the Lawpack AST that I use states:-

To yield up the Property and the items on the Inventory (if any) at the end of the Term in the same clean state and condition it/they were at the beginning of the Term <snip>

Not to make any alteration or addition to the Property nor without the Landlord's prior written consent (consent not to be withheld unreasonably) do any decoration or painting of the property

Other members of the forum may have experience of this type of problem but it seems as if your tenant may be seeking grant aid towards the proposed works. Is your tenant likely to be registered as disabled?

Whilst waiting further comment it might be useful for you to read:-

Disability discrimination (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights/disability_discrimination.htm)


A landlord's duty to make alterations for disabled people


If you're disabled, you can ask your landlord (or future landlord) to make certain changes to the property, and to their policies, when this is necessary for you to be able to live in the property. These changes are known as reasonable adjustments. Landlords who refuse to make reasonable adjustments, and who cannot justify this, are discriminating against you and they are breaking the law.



Reasonable adjustments can include:


providing aids and services, such as a copy of the tenancy agreement in Braille or a temporary ramp for a wheelchair user with a small step up to their flat
changing practices, policies or procedures. An example of this would be to change the parking policy so that a disabled occupier who has difficulty walking can park in front of the building
changing a term in the letting agreement. An example of this would be changing a term in the letting agreement which says that tenants can't make improvements so that a disabled person could make a disability-related improvement. Another example would be changing a term which bans pets for a disabled person who has an assistance dog.

What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances including:


the type and length of your letting
how much difference the adjustment will make to you
how much money your landlord has.

Your landlord doesn't have to take any steps that involve the removal or alteration of physical features, for example, putting in a permanent, concrete ramp or major works which would involve serious damage to the property.



Your landlord must not discriminate against you, for example, by evicting you or increasing the rent because of the cost of the adjustment.

See also Help with home improvements (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/family_parent/housing/help_with_home_improvements.htm)

Ericthelobster
10-03-2007, 14:09 PM
Other members of the forum may have experience of this type of problem but it seems as if your tenant may be seeking grant aid towards the proposed works. Is your tenant likely to be registered as disabled?I'd have thought that the crux of this issue is whether or not the tenant is classed as disabled, isn't it? I don't know whether being too overweight to fit in a standard bath (if that's what the situation is) counts as disabled or not.

If it does, then my understanding is that disability discrimination laws would mean that you cannot refuse the request, but it would be on the strict proviso that the bathroom is reinstated as 'normal' once the incumbant tenant leaves. That would need to be guaranteed in writing at the outset.

If it doesn't count as being disabled, then presumably the council would have declined the request to replace/reinstate the bath, and presumably so could you have done.

I would suggest that the fact the council are willing to pay for all this means that you don't have a choice in the matter. Just my take on the situation, not from the benefit of experience, and I could be totally wrong.

Worldlife
10-03-2007, 15:40 PM
I'm sure merely being obese would not be the reason for a grant from the Council :eek:

The obesity could be associated with other conditions. We wouldn't want a fat man with a serious heart condition stuck in the bath would we!!!

The first thing to decide is whether or not changing the bathroom is reasonable work within the criteria quoted above.

Is this by any chance some form of lease rather than an AST? Cannot imagine the Council agreeing to the costs of work for a short AST - the type and length of tenancy have to be considered.

Obviously if changes are to be agreed there should be a bond to cover restoration work at the end of the tenancy because one would not want to be involved in a Court case to recover the debt. There is a limit to the normal amount of deposit a landlord may hold so I'm wondering what special procedures there might be to accept a bond.

Would I be correct in my impression this is a small bathroom and a large bath would be unsightly i.e the bathroom is too small to take a larger suite and retain it when the tenant leaves.

peppercorn
10-03-2007, 16:43 PM
Thanks everyone,

what i need to establish from my tenant is whether he has been officially classed as disabled by the council.

I believe that infact he must be he is over weight greatly and has health problems. It is difficult we have a larger than average shower in the ensuite which i cant see him not being able to use but he has requested the bath in the main bathroom to be changed.

His tenancy is on a periodic basis after a six month AST

Would the council put the bath back to its original state ie the same bath also the flats have underfloor heating would this be affected by removing a bath?

Ericthelobster
10-03-2007, 18:29 PM
I believe that infact he must be he is over weight greatly and has health problems. It is difficult we have a larger than average shower in the ensuite which i cant see him not being able to use but he has requested the bath in the main bathroom to be changed.Well... I'd have been more sympathetic if you'd said that the bloke wasn't able to use a bath and needed a shower to be installed. I thought that highly overweight folk were usually more disposed to using a shower than a bath - quite possibly with a special stool in there - for the very reason that they are likely to get stuck in the tub; not because it might by too narrow but because it's to hard for them to sit up and climb out. I have a couple of elderly relatives (infirm, not obese) who haven't had a bath in several years because they would never manage to extricate themselves without help.

Hard to be sure without 1st hand info, but my perception is that this tenant is taking the mick.

Bel
11-03-2007, 06:56 AM
Regarding underfloor heating; you would need to make any tradesmen aware of this.

IMO a shower and stool is adequate. Its what my disabled relative has in their flat. (They had the bath removed to make the space bigger.)

But some people do "like a bath".

It depends how much you want to keep the tenant, and how easy it would be to relet the flat if he goes.

I expect its perfectly legal to use an s21 to regain possession if you don't want to be bound by any disability laws; because you don't have to give a reason to use it.

Ericthelobster
11-03-2007, 08:33 AM
IMO a shower and stool is adequate. Its what my disabled relative has in their flat. (They had the bath removed to make the space bigger.)

But some people do "like a bath".But if that's all this is about, I can see no reason why any disability laws have anything to do with it, and furthermore, can't see any justification for council money to be spent on this (the fact that the council are apparently willing to do so does make me wonder whether there's more to the story?)

M.A.O.H
11-03-2007, 12:40 PM
i didn't know you could get giant baths from the council! my mum has severe arthritis and it was social services that had to set the wheels in motion for her house to be modified by the council (even though it's a council house anyway, they didn't want to know). they removed the bath altogether and put in a v large shower unit, much like the disabled ones you see in the gym, with a seat and a pully thing to help her up. i really would have thought that he would be offered the choice of this or nothing - usually what you would prefer and what you actually get are not the same thing, esp if council money is involved. if he is slim enough to get in and out of doorways in the flat then i think he should be ok with the shower already there. surely a bath would be more dangerous in case of a heart attack or whatever? you can't drown in a shower and i think the council would take the same view. i would ask to see what written advice and promises he's actually claimed to have received.

Bel
11-03-2007, 18:22 PM
But if that's all this is about, I can see no reason why any disability laws have anything to do with it, and furthermore, can't see any justification for council money to be spent on this (the fact that the council are apparently willing to do so does make me wonder whether there's more to the story?)

Its intriguing, Eric.

Possible justification:

There could be a medical reason for needing a good soak with treated water...don't know what it is though

Perhaps its a human rights issue

There is all this stuff about better housing coming through...like everybody has to have a kitchen less than 25 years old. Must have a bath may be on the list??

Its cheaper for the council to install a bath rather than rehome the tenant in a care home with a big bath?

johnboy
12-03-2007, 16:21 PM
If you do let the tenant have the bath fitted make sure you get it in writing that the council will make good at end of tenacy. The reason being is that i have just arrgreed for a tenant to have a stair lift fitted by council at councils cost but they do not take it out at end of tenancy.

I dont mine cos they are long term tenants and the lift does have a resale value (no corners)