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Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:27 pm
by NickD
Hi All,

Over the years we have developed the habit of accompanying tradesmen to our properties whenever something needs doing. So what this means is me standing around for hours on end, not contributing anything other than physically being present so the tenant doesn't have to.

My understanding of the law (and most common tenancy terms) is that except in emergencies, tenants must be given 24 hours notice for any trades person to enter. But what happens if the tenant says they won't be in and they don't want anyone to come in unaccompanied? So if, for example, a washing machine needs repairing and the window given by the engineer is say between 08.00 and 13.00, do I have to spend half a day waiting or can I just let the engineer in and leave him to it?

What do you guys do in cases where your tenants aren't the most cooperative and expect you to drop everything for them?

Cheers, Nick D.

Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:17 pm
by Nick
We very rarely accompany tradesmen because all repairs are done in house, or by a small number of tradesmen who we have used for years.

In general we don't have an issue with access for repairs, I'll explain why and then talk about some of the problems that I have had.

Because we use the same people for most small repairs they are known to tenants, and often do tenants favours such as signing for deliveries whilst they are at work. I accept my level of monitoring the properties, and contact between staff and tenants is unusually high, so my experience may not translate for others.

Generally repairs are to the benefit of the tenant, and may actually be in response to a complaint by the tenant, so they want the work doing. There are occasionally tenants who do not want tradesmen in their property unless they are present, but that makes things easier (they let the tradesmen in themselves).

About 10 years ago I did have an incident where 2 tradesmen had let themselves in as part of ongoing work, and later that day the tenant complained that a computer external drive had been stolen. The tradesmen concerned were regulars, and the whole incident was very unpleasant, and caused me to instigate a log of who signs out which keys. As it happened the "stolen goods" turned up in the tenant's wardrobe 2 days later, and I suppose that I should be grateful that the tenant owned up that they were wrong in their accusation. It's a concern & I guess I should be grateful that this is the only occasion something like this has happened.

I've also had an occasion where I had a statutory repair order and the tenant refused to allow me to do the work, whilst complaining to the council that the work wasn't being done. They were of course just being evil. The story ended up with the council doing the work and charging me, and my refusing to pay their bill on the basis that I had been ready and able to do the work. It went to court & the court awarded the council the costs of the work, but no costs or interest. Everybody realised that it was just a case of an evil stupid tenant.

Turning to your situation and tenant, I would write to the tenant asking them to name a day and time when they are prepared to let a tradesman in to fix the washing machine, and then arrange the repair at their convenience.

Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:45 pm
by NickD
Thanks Nick.

The washing machine repair was just an example. With these particular tenants, I have been to the house 10 times in the last 2 months for a huge range of minor issues (some of which ended up being non issues) and we fitted extra shaver points after they moved in at no cost to them. I was mildly surprised to receive an e-mail at 10 pm Friday saying they felt they had been treated appallingly. Apparently this is because a workman painting the neighbouring house dropped a tool onto the glass kitchen roof extension and a pain of glass shattered (but being safety glass, did not cave in).

The tenant tells me I should have fixed the glass myself and then charged the neighbour, instead of waiting for the neighbour to sort it.

So I have decided I will now do what is required of us by the relevant laws and safety standards etc but will not go the extra mile. Hence the question of whether there is any obligation on me to be present as and when future repairs are done. My feeling is the answer is no but as there are far more experienced property managers on this forum, I thought I'd post the question...



Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:04 pm
by Nick
I think that you can't fix the roof without giving the neighbour the chance to do it themselves, and in your shoes I would state that as fact to your tenant.

As for supervising work, I can't think of any reason why you are obliged to. Most work for Landlords is instructed by an agent, so the LL doesn't supervise that & I'll bet that the agent doesn't either! :lol:

Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:28 pm
by Nick
Landlord Law have published an article today reviewing rights of access:

4. If the tenant gets in touch and says that he does not want the landlord to go in

Here the landlord should not enter. He should try to re-arrange the appointment. If the tenant is persistently obstructive he can:

Write to the tenant and point out that he (i.e. the tenant) will be liable for any deterioration in the property due to the landlord being unable to carry out repairs and
That if the tenant is injured by something damaged in the property, he will not be able to bring a claim against the landlord, as it is his fault the landlord was not able to get the damaged item repaired
The landlord may also want to consider threatening to apply to the court for an injunction and/or serving a section 21 notice and evicting the tenant in due course

Landlord Right of Access

Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:35 pm
by NickD
Thanks Nick,

Tenants hey, just received an apologetic e-mail thanking me for everything we are doing!

Re: Repairs and Maintenance To A Let Property

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:24 pm
by Steve Griff
They probably took advice Nick as to your responsibilities and realised they are onto a good thing!