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Oct, 2014

Wednesday

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Gotta love being a landlord

    Sunday lunchtime, just about to sit down to a roast with the family.

    I get a call from a tenant saying the front door lock's knackered; the key won't work and he's locked out; what to do? I thought to myself; well if I ask him to come round to collect my spare key then at best I won't get my key back any time soon; however but more likely outcome is that mine won't work either, and then what? So: "OK, I'll nip round with my key - see you in 10 mins".

    I arrive at the house; sure enough, the key (a Eurolock type in a uPVC door) doesn't work either. The key seems to go all the way in; or is it protruding maybe half a mm? Anyway, 20 mins of messing about and clearly it wasn't going to work. Tenant said the housemate was out; not answering his phone, and anyway obviously his key wouldn't work either.

    So I start adding up in my mind the likely cost of a Sunday locksmith, thought about my lunch waiting for me, decided I couldn't really have the tenant sitting on the pavement, and decided to have a go at d-i-y'ing; which tenant seemed OK with. I went back home to fetch my trusty cordless drill, and having had a chat on the phone to someone who knows about this stuff, attacked the lock with gusto. I eventually was able to drill through the mechanism completely, over about half an hour, but for some reason it still wouldn't yield, so I had no choice but to Google a locksmith on my phone. Got a quote of £100 including the lock, and he'd be straight round; which wasn't actually too bad I thought.

    The guy turned up, and 5 mins later the door swung open... to reveal the housemate coming downstairs in his dressing gown saying very sleepily "What the f***'s going on?". (His key was in the lock on the inside of the door; hence the key outside was a gnat's away from being fully home and hence wouldn't turn).

    Not sure whose jaw hit the pavement first: mine, the locksmiths's, or the other tenant's. Anyway, the lad who called me out was pretty mortified about it, and at least there was never any question of me having to cover the locksmith charge. (Might have been different had I just authorised the locksmith without going round in person, I suspect...!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    5,112

    Default

    Yes, I was going to suggest an internal key in the lock when you said yours was protruding.

    How much did housemate have to drink on Saturday night, that he did not wake up when someone was drilling out the lock?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Foundation trench for New Shed@ Ham on Rye
    Posts
    15,036

    Default

    Always start the call with if this repair involves anything arising form your action or inaction then you are responsible for all the costs, understand?

    We can argue about legality, but it certainly puts the tenant in mind of the consequences of their actions or laziness. You develop a sense after a while of "the heatings broken", and its just that they turned off the isolation switch marked do not turn off.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers. More ramblings atleaseholdpropertymanager.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    5,112

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
    Always start the call with if this repair involves anything arising form your action or inaction then you are responsible for all the costs, understand?

    We can argue about legality, but it certainly puts the tenant in mind of the consequences of their actions or laziness. You develop a sense after a while of "the heatings broken", and its just that they turned off the isolation switch marked do not turn off.
    Oh, that reminds me of my female tenants when the only male sharer was away for the week. They called me out to London because the heating wasn't working, and I found the thermostat was set to 10 Centigrade.

    I would never have thought to ask if the thermostat was turned down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Foundation trench for New Shed@ Ham on Rye
    Posts
    15,036

    Default

    Did they text you OMFG the heatings not working .. and changed their Facebook status to " Frigid"..


    Any landlord worth a pound of bananas produces a what if card or leaflet...

    What To Do If

    1: dont put this away in a ****** drawer.

    2: see 1; seriously, dont.

    and then helpful and handy tips.

    Ours are fridge magnet types or framed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,078

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JK0 View Post
    I was going to suggest an internal key in the lock when you said yours was protruding.
    Well yes, I get that, which is why I mentioned it - both me and the tenant outside noticed it, but discounted it as it was such a tiny amount, and decided it must be how that lock looked normally. And from my point of view, there wasn't the slightest possibility of anyone being inside anyway, as the other guy had said his housemate was out for the day (ie, not 'probably' out).

    How much did housemate have to drink on Saturday night, that he did not wake up when someone was drilling out the lock?
    God only knows but he looked a bit rough when he appeared! Maybe he'd gone out, was too ill, and came back home to bed after his mate had left? I never did get to the bottom of exactly what happened as there was clearly an almighty row about to kick off; so once they'd agreed to paying for Mr Locksmith I just took my leave...

  7. #7

    Default

    No doubt the lock has now been replaced. However, you might want to consider getting one where having a key left inside the lock doesn't affect operation from the other side or, getting one with a thumb turn for the inside. (Before you have a repeat incident!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Location Location Scotland
    Posts
    953

    Default

    In HMO's you must have a thumb turn internally for safety reasons. Tenants must be able to escape without needing a key. Worth fitting to any rental property for this very reason IMHO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    2,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by QuestForFreedom View Post
    In HMO's you must have a thumb turn internally for safety reasons. Tenants must be able to escape without needing a key. Worth fitting to any rental property for this very reason IMHO.
    Wouldn't this cause additional security risk?
    The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the salient facts BSc (Hons)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Location Location Scotland
    Posts
    953

    Default

    A thumb turn to get out not get in!

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