Tenant done own electrics without consent

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    Tenant done own electrics without consent

    Hi

    Recently I posted about my tenants who did "modifications without consent". Using the loft, putting in boards/ loft ladder and a concreting in a step. All without permission. I asked them to put the loft back and now they are moving out (yey!). But I've also just discovered they changed a light switch to a dimmer switch, having compared to the inventory I had done. I am doing the checkout with them next week.

    Isn't this very serious that they have tampered with the electrics without telling me!? Before they moved in the house had new electrical wiring with a safety certificate. I don't know if he intends to put back the original switch but I took photos of the dimmer switch as evidence. He is not an electrician and my guess is he just got his wife's Dad to do it, who also put in the step and loft additions. Seems he's a bit of a handyman. Obviously i'm going to have to mention it to them on checkout. I'm thinking of asking for the qualified electrician's receipt or otherwise I will have to make deductions from their deposit (held with the DPS) for an electrician to check if safe. So my liability insurance is not invalidated. I have no idea if he has been tampering with other electrics in the house.

    Also can I claim for lawn damage (it was a new lawn and there is only 1/3 of the grass left), patio stains (they got lots of tar on it that I couldn't get off), broken lawn mower (was brand new 2 years ago and not told me it broke), scratched off chrome on bath taps, stained carpets, glued on paper sheet covering to the meter cupboard top.

    Ann

    #2
    Wait until they have actually moved out: They might change switch back. And after check-out you will know damages & any arrears....
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      The short answer is yes you can claim from the deposit and providing you have evidence of the damage it should be fine. Photos are useful and an independent inventory. Without evidence it is unlikely to be successful.

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        #4
        The real damage here seems to be rather abstract, and will still be there even if the switch has been replaced. The dimmer could be considered an improvement, but the safety certification may have been compromised. My guess is that the most compensation would be the cost of the final certification for the work, depreciated over five years.

        Replacing a light switch doesn't require any building control paperwork.

        Comment


          #5
          Unless they can provide proof that the work was done by a qualified electrician, I would have a full electrical safety inspection done and claim that from the deposit.
          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

          Comment


            #6
            What would you have done about the electrics if you had not seen a different switch?
            As landlord, you have a duty to ensure the safety of the electrical installation, and you have no way of knowing if ANY tenant has done anything to compromise electrical safety.
            Therefore it seems to me that you will need to have a full electrical check done, and would only be able to claim for any remedial work that is necessary due to tenant action (which may include reinstating a switch of the kind that was present at check-in).

            Comment


              #7
              Hi

              Many thanks all for your replies. I agree that the safety has been compromised if they can't prove it was done by a qualified electrician. I'm sure I had to send my landlord insurance a copy of the electrical certificate (as the house had been rewired 2 years ago). So I guess that's invalidated now. So yes I should deduct the costs for a full electrical safety inspection as how am I to know what else they may have done electrically in the house.

              I will suggest to tenants an amount i'm going to deduct from their deposit after doing the checkout for this and other damages. If they aren't reasonable and want to dispute it, then I will tell them I will now need to get the original inventory company back out to do a professional checkout inventory for £94 and this cost I will put in a claim for with DPS. As they would be the unreasonable ones then they should pay that cost. I paid for the check in and was doing the checkout for free if they are fair about their damages.

              Also like to say how great and useful this site is. Day before Xmas they owed me the last month's rent but didn't pay it. Needless to say was rather stressed. So I read the forums on this site which helped enormously. I told them to kindly pay it and that if I did not receive payment by the 27th December this would result in a money claim being issued, as the deposit is held with the deposit protection service and can not be used for rent arrears. I also said I reserved my right to update my tenant reference with your new landlord for a late payment notice. Within 2 hours they paid it, giving some rather weak excuse for not having done so. The deposit remainder after rent arrears would not have left much to cover their damages.

              Does anyone know how much I can reasonably ask for for a damaged lawn??? (20 ft by 10 ft) Lawn was brand newly laid 2 years ago and is now 2/3 mud and 1/3 lawn. Provided lawn mower and rake.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                What would you have done about the electrics if you had not seen a different switch?
                As landlord, you have a duty to ensure the safety of the electrical installation, and you have no way of knowing if ANY tenant has done anything to compromise electrical safety.
                I do understand your point, but to me there's a big difference between the tenant could had done anything without you knowing and you actually knowing that something related to the electrics have definitely be altered. For HMO, the mandatory inspection is every 5 years, I would argue that incurring an inspection expense before them is something one should be able to claim from the tenant. Though going by that argument, one may have to depreciate the cost over 5 years per leaseholder64.
                I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Don't do final inspection yourself, use an Ind Inventory Clerk working from final move in report.
                  IMO you can claim for any unauthorized T damage + any required Certification, if property not returned in move in condition (less FW&T)
                  Changing a light switch is within the competency of most.
                  What would you have said, at the time, if Ts had requested installing a dimmer switch at their own expense?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thank you all for your views. That is useful to know the mandatory electrical checks are every 5 years. Also a good point the DPS could argue I should get these checks done for every tenant move, but I think that would be rather expensive so hope the DPS can see it was wrong the tenants breached the TA which clearly states they need authorisation for this sort of thing. What I can't understand is we would have let them change it to a dimmer switch, we were very accomating for them putting up banister covers costing £100 free of charge to them to protect their child. Hey we would have probably done the dimmer switch for in the beginning when we thought they were decent, if they'd bothered to ask. Or later on we'd at least let it be done by an electrician and they could provide a receipt for the works. But obviously they just did it themselves to save money, and now I think it should cost them to put things right again for my insurance purposes, why should I have to fork out the cost of electrical safety checks on the whole house. Having googled the cost which can be £250, that's probably fives times the cost than if they'd had an electrician do the works in the first place. I really hope the DPS sees sense because it will help stop them being so arrogant for them to think they can just ignore the TA at the next property they rent. I would never mess with other people's electrics. That was worse than when he didn't tell me about the water leak and used the loft without permission. I wish there was an easier way to invest than renting property, its so much more stressful than I could have imagined.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ann74 View Post
                      That is useful to know the mandatory electrical checks are every 5 years.
                      Checks are only mandatory for HMOs.
                      They are advisory for other domestic accommodation (they are effectively a defence should damage, injury or death occur due to faulty electrics, so in the same category as insurance: you hope you never have to rely on it)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you for the information MdeB

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think there is something of a hysterical response. Changing a light switch is no more difficult than changing a plug, you don't need to be an electrician to do it.
                          It would take 5 minutes to open it up and check the connections.
                          I suspect that asking for £250 for that will not be viewed sympathetically, particularly if there was nothing wrong with the job (which is almost certainly the case, it's difficult to get it wrong!)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Only an idiot couldn't replace a light switch: is T an idiot? Check that the connections are secure and then forget it!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well considering the tenant couldn't follow a simple TA, managing to breach every item on it and destroyed a perfect lawn along with many other things, then to answer your question yes to me he must be an idiot. Hence why I am concerned if this dimmer switch has been installed correctly and safely. I don't know how to fit light switches and it would be foolish to open up a light switch that may have been fitted incorrectly. So at the very least i'll have to get an electrician to check the light, but as i've already said I don't know what other electrics he may have tampered with around the house do I.

                              Comment

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