Who's responsible for missed call-out fee?

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    Who's responsible for missed call-out fee?

    The relevant parts of the lease:

    A) "The tenant will permit the Landlord [...] or appointed contractors at all reasonable times by prior appointment upon giving at least 24 hours written notice (except in Emergency) to enter the Property[...]"

    B) "Having previously agreed and arranged an appointment with any contractor appointed by the Landlord or Landlord's Agent, the Tenant will be liable for all cost imposed by the Contractor and incurred by the Landlord or Landlord's Agent as a result of the Tenant breaking that previously agreed appointment."

    Question: Suppose 1) the landlord arranged for a contractor to come out for a non-emergency repair but only gives ~12 hours notice, 2) the tenant nevertheless says they will be home to let the contractor in, and 3) the tenant isn't able to let the contractor in. Who is responsible for paying the fee incurred for the missed appointment: the landlord for not giving enough notice, or the tenant for agreeing to the appointment anyway and breaking it?

    Thanks

    #2
    Based on the text of B, the notice period in A is academic.

    A gives the landlord a right they can enforce, B refers to any appointment agreed between the tenant and the contractor.
    They're separate and independent.

    B doesn't apply to any appointment agreed between the tenant and anyone other than a contractor though.
    So if the appointment was agreed between the tenant and the landlord or agent, it doesn't apply.

    And, although it's a very spilt hair, if the contractor arranges the appointment with the tenant, that's also excluded - so, next time, I'd at least remove the "and arranged" text.
    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
      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      B doesn't apply to any appointment agreed between the tenant and anyone other than a contractor though.
      So if the appointment was agreed between the tenant and the landlord or agent, it doesn't apply.
      Thanks, I hadn't considered that point. Normally, the agent arranges any work being done, but the contractor contacts us to make sure that someone will be in. In this case though, the landlord arranged the contractor himself (without involving the agent at all), and just told us when to expect him. If they try to charge me the fee, I'll make sure to point this out to them. Thanks again.

      Comment


        #4
        It doesn't really matter.

        If you're the tenant and you'd agreed to let someone in and then didn't, the landlord can seek compensation for any actual loss arising that was reasonably foreseeable as a result of your failure to do what you'd agreed to do.
        Which a call out fee would be.

        Clauses like this in tenancy agreement don't really help anyone.
        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


          #5
          Fair point, but if he cites clause B above as his reason for seeking compensation, I will at least dispute that that actually applies here. That wasn't really my main point of contention with this situation to be honest: I was just curious if either clause could apply.

          My main issue is the "failure to do what [we] agreed to do" bit. In this case, we were told that the contractor would arrive "a little before 9 AM". We were home and waiting by 8:45, but the contractor had already arrived, rang the door bell, and left when no one answered. If the landlord had given the contractor our contact information (as has been normal practice, when he's allowed the agent to handle these things), if he had just given a little more info about when the contractor would be there (e.g. "between 8 and 9" would have been less vague), or if he gave us a little more notice, this wouldn't have been an issue. Just seems like we're being punished for poor planning on the landlord's part, rather than for actually failing to do what we agreed to. We agreed to be there "a little before 9", and we were.

          But thank you for answering my original question!

          Comment


            #6
            If that's what happened, you're completely right and you shouldn't be charged.

            You didn't break the appointment, so the landlord couldn't rely on clause B even if it did apply.
            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


              #7
              I agree you aren't liable for the fee. If I was the LL I wouldn't pay the fee either, but then I wouldn't have accepted "a little before 9" as an appointment time.

              Comment


                #8
                Don't pay. Landlord can ask you to pay (don't) then sue or attempt recovery from deposit. In both cases defend you corner strongly! I doubt LL would win, but you never know.

                You only have a contract with landlord. In all cases communicate with Landlord (& agent if you like) declining or agreeing.

                But you may (eventually) get evicted by s21 (no reason required)
                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


                  #9
                  Even if the clause were properly worded, it would probably be unenforceable. It is the landlords responsibility to ensure the property is maintained and that includes facilitating access. The landlord can ask the tenant for a favour, (eg letting them in) but he cant penalise them for not fulfilling it. If he tries, just dispute it with the deposit scheme.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    DPT57 but that also mens that the landlord simply gives the keys to the contractor, which is something many tenants are also not happy about. So then you're in a catch 22...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                      DPT57 but that also mens that the landlord simply gives the keys to the contractor, which is something many tenants are also not happy about. So then you're in a catch 22...
                      That doesn't alter the facts. Its why many landlords say dont have a rental property a long way from where you live, or if you do, appoint an agent. Put bluntly, tenants can't be held liable for deficiencies in the landlords operation.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        What? That’s not what I said or meant.

                        The tenant is of course under no obligation to be at home to facilitate access to the landlord’s tradespeople. But in this case the landlord is simply able to facilitate access directly (or through an agent, or by giving the keys to the tradespeople directly).

                        The landlord’s location is irrelevant.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Quite correct

                          Comment


                            #14
                            ChrisDennison,

                            It sounded like your post was suggesting that if tenants didn't accept the responsibility, landlords would just bypass them and hand the keys to contractors, which is a policy that imo puts unreasonable pressure on the tenant to accept a responsibility that is not theirs. Your post can be read in different ways and if that was not your meaning then fair enough.

                            I dont agree though that the landlords location is irrelevant. There is a trend of landlords living in the South buying cheap properties in the North and cutting corners with their management which ends up with precisely this type of enquiry.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It's also unreasonable to ask a contractor to enter someone else's home when they're not there.
                              It would make me pretty uncomfortable, it would only take one misplaced accusation of theft to destroy years of hard earned goodwill.
                              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

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