Whose Responsibility For Change Of Locks?

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    The tenant does have a general obligation to mitigate costs, but, if I were them, I wouldn't have been phoning around for quotes.

    Fit a thumb lock, you could have had a dead tenant.
    It may not be a legal requirement, but it's a good idea.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      A thumb lock was already fitted (as I mentioned in post #12) and unfortunately it was the thumb lock that broke. There was no key, just a handle on the outside and a handle and a thumb turn on the inside.

      But moving on from my issue, I was trying to start a discussion about how far LLs are liable, such as in the over-exaggerated example I gave in post #15.

      Some other examples could be, as someone mentioned above, if someone had kicked in the door then who would responsible for the damage? Or if an electronic garage door or electronic entry gate failed and would not open and the tenant damaged it by forcing them open?

      One time the managing agent at a property installed new lighting in the car park and it was so bright it disturbed my T’s sleep so much that he went out and smashed the lights and refused to pay for the damage as he claimed the lights breached the agreement of giving peaceful occupation.


        The tenant is in control of the property and is responsible for what happens while they have control of it unless it's obvious someone else is responsible.
        It doesn't really matter who actually caused the damage.

        If the issue is, essentially, an act of god, that's what you have insurance for.

        A lock failing is a maintenance issue / one of those things, particularly if it locks someone inside a room, so the other damage arose because of the lock failure. It wasn't realistically avoidable,
        A garage door/entry gate failing is an inconvenience, but not life threatening, so any damage would be unnecessary (unless there were other circumstances).
        Same with the new lighting which interrupted sleep - there are other ways of dealing with the issue.

        The only instance I have seen where I have issues is when the police kick a door in.
        Even if they arrest one of the tenants, it's hard to say that the damaged door is the tenant's fault in any meaningful way.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


          You last two examples are self remedy cases. In the light case, I would say that the tenant was responsible and there would be a reasonable case for a criminal damage prosecution if the freeholder wanted to prosecute. The appropriate self help would have been to install blackout curtains, and the initial legal step would be to try and get the council to rule it a nuisance. Borderline would be be removing the bulbs. That tenant clearly had anger management problems and was particularly unsuited to living in property with communal facilities.

          The gate case would depend on whether the amount of force would have been reasonably expected to cause damage. There might be cases were deliberately breaking it was reasonable, but they would be rare. I think there was a thread, some time ago, on this specific case.

          If there had been smoke coming out of the bedroom and the fire brigade was not sure that there was anyone in the building, they could use an axe to the door, at the relevant landlords expense. Communal area doors often have fire brigade overrides, or locked for safety, not security, using locks for which the fire brigade have keys. (The landlord might be able to recover from the tenant if the smoke was due to negligence or breach of the lease.)


            Does the locksmiths invoice specify the work and corroborate his story? If not I think I would want to hear it from the locksmith before agreeing to pay. It's at least theoretically possible that the tenant removed the bedroom door lock himself as part of a cover story because he forgot his front door key.


              In the end I would say the latch failed and that's the LLs responsibility to repair or replace.

              Any action taken by the tenant subsequent to that failure is the tenants responsibility at the tenants cost.



                So are you saying that as landlord I would be responsible for the cost of fixing the bedroom door handle that failed and that the tenant would be responsible for the cost of drilling the front door lock and fixing it because through his action of putting the latch on then his flatmate was not able to unlock the front door?


                  Yes thats my take on it.

                  There was a problem caused by something that failed.
                  Whatever the tenant did to rectify that problem (call a locksmith, break the door down, whatever) is their choice and their responsibility.
                  If it was the minimum needed (like going back to bed until the flatmate came home to help) it shouldn't have been a problem.

                  You say that the flatmate couldn't get into the flat anyway because the trapped person had latched the flat door? His choice to latch it so his responsibility.


                    This was prob an Emergency call out for the locksmith, whom the T, not LL, engaged, so T liable for all related costs for releases . T pays IMO


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