Tenant not at property to let workmen in for repairs

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    Tenant not at property to let workmen in for repairs

    Hi
    My tenant reported earlier in the week the oven was not working and needed replacing. I purchased a new one and arranged for it to be delivered and installed on Friday morning. The appliance engineer confirmed delivery between 9am and 1pm. I asked the estate agent to confirm the tenant would be there between these hours which they did. The tenant had also been bullish about a cupboard light that stays on longer than it should. It was not urgent at all but I also decided to get an electrician to attend at 9am to sort it out.
    Just after 9am on the Friday I received a call from the oven delivery man and the electrician to say the tenant was not there. Alarmed by this I called the agent who contacted the tenant who said they were not at the property and had sent an email Thursday evening to the estate agent (who closed at 6pm) to say they wanted to cancel the works. I was not notified by the agent or the tenant that no one would be there and I do not believe the tenant is that naive to think that the estate agent would still be open to receive the email. I have been charged by the engineers for their time which is understandable. Can I pass this charge onto the tenant ? I am not sure how to mitigate this situation arising again in the future where they report an issue and I arrange for a workman to fix it , they confirm they will be there to let the workman in and then are not. This could result in me paying significant sums of money in future.
    Thanks

    #2
    I would recharge the cost to the tenant (unless they were otherwise brilliant/been there for years/had to pop out to save a puppy from drowning as a reason).
    They can't behave like that - if they'd arranged the delivery and electrician they'd not have been able to cancel either.

    If the tenant objects or refuses to pay, I'd serve them notice.
    Don't add anything to what you've been charged, it's an unexpected loss and you are entitled to compensation for it.

    If the over is a fixture, you have to fix it, if it's freestanding you probably don't.


    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).

    Comment


      #3
      Or to give an alternative view -

      It is not the tenants responsibility to arrange access, they have reported a fault it's your responsibility as the LL to rectify that fault (within reason).
      That responsibility includes arranging access, - you can ask the tenant to do you a favour and let the workmen in, but in the end it's your responsibility to ensure that the workmen have access.

      But you seem to know that already:
      they report an issue and I arrange for a workman to fix it

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the responses , appreciate it. Just to add I did say to the tenant the day before I was happy to attend to let the engineers in and oversee but they said that was not necessary as they would ensure one of them would be in. So I’ve been put in a catch22 situation where I offer to go down and oversee the work which they didn’t want to happen for whatever reason but then are not prepared themselves to be at the property to let tradesmen in to carry out repair jobs.
        I’m a new landlord so it’s all a bit new to me !

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by nukecad View Post
          Or to give an alternative view -

          It is not the tenants responsibility to arrange access, they have reported a fault it's your responsibility as the LL to rectify that fault (within reason).
          That responsibility includes arranging access, - you can ask the tenant to do you a favour and let the workmen in, but in the end it's your responsibility to ensure that the workmen have access.

          But you seem to know that already:
          If the tenant does not facilitate access then you give the key to the electrician and ask them to let themselves in with 24 hours notice to the tenant. If access if refused then the work simply does not get done. That is the way access is provided if the tenant does not facilitate. Tenants usually prefer to permit the landlord or themselves to access than an unknown workman or delivery person - but they cannot dictate who supervises a workman (if anyone) if they decline to facilitate a time themselves. The presumption cannot be that landlord or agent is any more or less trustworthy.

          This is a rental property not a hotel.

          The tenant is not doing "a favour" of any sort to let workmen in if they want work done. Nor is the landlord a nanny to workmen or delivery persons. Who says work needs to be "overseen".

          Comment


            #6
            1. In doing this, have the tenants breached the terms of their tenancy agreement?
            2. Is it clear in the tenancy agreement what the charge for the breach is/how the charge will be calculated?
            if the answer to either question is no don't think about charging the tenants. If the answer to both questions is yes you may (TFA 2019 permitting) have a legitimate claim against the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
            If you are paying the agent to fully manage the property why did they not sort the problem out and provide access?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by cymro123 View Post
              1. In doing this, have the tenants breached the terms of their tenancy agreement?
              2. Is it clear in the tenancy agreement what the charge for the breach is/how the charge will be calculated?
              if the answer to either question is no don't think about charging the tenants. If the answer to both questions is yes you may (TFA 2019 permitting) have a legitimate claim against the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
              If you are paying the agent to fully manage the property why did they not sort the problem out and provide access?
              There is nothing whatever to say you cannot charge tenant for costs inappropriately incurred as you go along.

              The tenant has to facilitate access - the agent does not "provide" it.

              The charge is what the charge was. It was incurred as a result of the tenant's behaviour. It would be the same if the tenant agreed to let the engineer let themselves in, and then when the engineer attended, refused to let them in or changed the locks. Or if the agent arranged to let the engineer in after the tenant agreed, and then the tenant refused on arrival.

              In any event I guess the tenant is going to wait very very long for their cooker. The landlord has fulfilled their duty.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post

                There is nothing whatever to say you cannot charge tenant for costs inappropriately incurred as you go along.
                I think the TFA may well prevent it, although the landlord may be able to increase the rent and recoup the costs that way. I'm not sure about recovering it from the deposit either. I just had a look at my TAs and I'm not sure the wording about deposit deductions would allow it, especially if the tenant hasn't breached any contract terms. I dont know what the schemes would make of it either.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's not a fee, it's compensation for a loss that was not contemplated when the contract was formed.
                  Which is the basis of most claims at the end of the tenancy made by landlords (a loss beyond fair wear and tear).

                  It is quite possible that a court might rule that pretty much anything charged by a landlord is a breach of the tenant's fees act - which is extremely restrictive
                  But it hasn't happened so far (as far as I know) and there would be a tension between deductions from a deposit for a loss beyond that contemplated when the contract was formed - which is the underlying reason for tenancy deposits (and which the act allows) - and a demand against a loss during the tenancy.
                  As almost all deposit deductions arise from acts or omissions that actually occur during the tenancy, it would be odd if the timing of the demand for payment made any difference.
                  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).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I dont think that's ever going to fly jpk. The tenant is under no duty to be present when the landlords workers want access and his failure to do so in this case is nothing more than a broken promise, regardless of what it cost the landlord. As you say, the TFA is not just about fees, it seems to cover most things that are not rent. I can see any court or deposit scheme entertaining a claim.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      "a broken promise"?
                      A "promise" is an agreement and can be a contract.

                      The tenant agreed to do something and didn't do it.
                      A loss arose from their lack of performance.

                      I don't think that the general duty of a tenant is relevant in this case because a specific undertaking was made.

                      The tenants fees act? Just not sure at this point.
                      It does seem an odd vehicle to overturn decades of contract law cases.
                      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).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Even without the TFA I cant see this working. Just as when the tenant says they're giving notice next week but fails to do so, the landlord is unlikely to be able to recover the money he's shelled out on advertising from the tenant because they didn't do what they said they would do.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          so, something else we need to explicitly state in the tenancy agreement so we can reclaim costs from the T?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                            Even without the TFA I cant see this working. Just as when the tenant says they're giving notice next week but fails to do so, the landlord is unlikely to be able to recover the money he's shelled out on advertising from the tenant because they didn't do what they said they would do.
                            That's a different situation, unless the tenant and the landlord agreed that the landlord would do that on the basis of what the tenant said.

                            The landlord has to mitigate costs and can't justify advertising the property before the tenant actually served notice.
                            If the tenant had served notice, I think that the costs would be claimable.

                            A lot depends on when the first cases when a tenant tries to defend a claim on the basis of the TFA.
                            Wouldn't be the first time the court system didn't do what I expected!

                            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).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              In the past I have given tenants tel number to Gas/Electrician to arrange a time that's convenient to them. Then they invoice me the bill once the work is done and tenant confirms they did the work.

                              This is precisely why the govt should consider making tenants responsible for gas safety certificates once tenancy commences. Any failures is theres also. Because the right to quiet enjoyment trumps everything.

                              Comment

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