Tenants threatening to take LL to court.

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    Tenants threatening to take LL to court.

    Hi all,.

    This is a bit of saga and I have been here before with this issue but now tenants say they have been advised by a solicitor that they can pay £25 to take me to a small claims court - I would welcome advise whether or not I should just let them as they can't prove I was negligent - or, have they got a case.

    When tenants moved into my property March last year there were two showers - a walk-in cubicle and one in the bath. In February this year I had a new combi-boiler installed and as a result, the walk-in no longer functions (no overhead tank) so I told tenants I would up-grade the one in the bath as it will now be their only shower.

    Tenants were not happy as they said they took my property mainly because it had a walk-in shower (I didn't know this before) - one tenant is very large and claims she can't get in and out of the bath unaided.

    I looked into installing an electric shower in the cubicle but it will require major work, electrical and structural, and the cost is prohibitive at this time and would actually involve re-wiring the house which I plan to do when these tenants move out - hopefully in September.

    My first question is - am I under obligation to provide a walk-in shower if there was one there when the tenants moved in? (I did not know that the walk-in shower wouldn't work with the new boiler.)

    The tenants are now saying they are going to take me to a small claims court as, they claim, their computer and furniture were damaged when the ceiling came down in the room below the bathroom, due to a leak - water getting through seal around the bath. This shower has been used for the last 3 years without problem and I was unaware of any leak until the ceiling came down. I have reasons to believe they are making up the damage - but they say their solicitor has told them they have a case because they should not be out of pocket due to losing the walk-in shower and having to use the one in the bath, that leaked. ( the leak has been fixed and the shower up-graded)

    My next question is -
    Is the solicitor right - do they have a case and do they really only have to pay £25 to take me to court? The tenants are on HB.

    And lastly - whether they go ahead or not -

    Should I get my own solicitor? If so, how do you find a good one and and how much would one cost, roughly?

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you and all the best.

    #2
    Are the rent payments coming in OK? This sounds rather like a prelude to witholding rent because of the shower defect.
    On the other hand it might be worth considering whether you could do the wiring for the walk-in shower without at the same time, rewiring the whole house. Modern electric shower require a heavy duty cable and it will always be necessary to take the wire right back to the consumer unit - so you should be able to do this independantly of the whole-house rewiring, which can come later.
    The tenants threat is probably an empty one, but installing a new shower is something you have to do anyway and it will be cheaper than employing a solicitor

    Comment


      #3
      Insurance (yours or theirs) should cover the damage to their property.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by animo View Post
        Hi all,.

        This is a bit of saga and I have been here before with this issue but now tenants say they have been advised by a solicitor that they can pay £25 to take me to a small claims court - I would welcome advise whether or not I should just let them as they can't prove I was negligent - or, have they got a case.

        When tenants moved into my property March last year there were two showers - a walk-in cubicle and one in the bath. In February this year I had a new combi-boiler installed and as a result, the walk-in no longer functions (no overhead tank) so I told tenants I would up-grade the one in the bath as it will now be their only shower.

        Tenants were not happy as they said they took my property mainly because it had a walk-in shower (I didn't know this before) - one tenant is very large and claims she can't get in and out of the bath unaided.

        I looked into installing an electric shower in the cubicle but it will require major work, electrical and structural, and the cost is prohibitive at this time and would actually involve re-wiring the house which I plan to do when these tenants move out - hopefully in September.

        My first question is - am I under obligation to provide a walk-in shower if there was one there when the tenants moved in? (I did not know that the walk-in shower wouldn't work with the new boiler.)

        The tenants are now saying they are going to take me to a small claims court as, they claim, their computer and furniture were damaged when the ceiling came down in the room below the bathroom, due to a leak - water getting through seal around the bath. This shower has been used for the last 3 years without problem and I was unaware of any leak until the ceiling came down. I have reasons to believe they are making up the damage - but they say their solicitor has told them they have a case because they should not be out of pocket due to losing the walk-in shower and having to use the one in the bath, that leaked. ( the leak has been fixed and the shower up-graded)

        My next question is -
        Is the solicitor right - do they have a case and do they really only have to pay £25 to take me to court? The tenants are on HB.

        And lastly - whether they go ahead or not -

        Should I get my own solicitor? If so, how do you find a good one and and how much would one cost, roughly?

        Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you and all the best.

        Avoid court and solicitors at all costs !, the courts will almost certainly side with the tenant, they also have access to legal aid funding.

        Honestly, its much cheaper to get the shower working than end up paying compensation and their legal costs.

        Comment


          #5
          Do your contracts say that a working shower will be provided? How will they prove they took the place because of the walk in shower? Do your contracts read (like mine do) that it is recommended that a tenant should have their own contents insurance?

          Speak to your own lawyer. Even if you fixed the shower, they will probably threaten court action over their belongings. Going to court only means a third party will make a decision based on the facts, not on wants or wishes.
          ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you for your reply. They are paying rent ok - but they have been 'difficult' in other ways. The electrician said it wasn't possible to put new cable and supply as it is - it's an old house and with the new regulations it wouldn't be compatable and basically it needs rewiring - which can't be done whilst the tenants are there. I trust the electrician - he would have done it if he could. However - I've just got back on to the plumber after reading your reply and he reckons he might be able to do something. Now - I've just got the issue of their claim to deal with......

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by driver View Post
              Insurance (yours or theirs) should cover the damage to their property.
              I only have buildings insurance which doesn't cover there possessions - and they ddo not have their own insurance.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by porridge View Post
                Avoid court and solicitors at all costs !, the courts will almost certainly side with the tenant, they also have access to legal aid funding.

                Honestly, its much cheaper to get the shower working than end up paying compensation and their legal costs.
                Thanks for that. I would like to avoid court action. but if they are intent on going to court I have something - when they reported the ceiling collapse they did so by leaving a message on my answer phone and then they accidently left the phone off the hook so I was privy to their conversation which does not show them in a good light and gives the impression they are fabricating the story re. damage. I have kept a recording of the message.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Paragon View Post
                  Do your contracts say that a working shower will be provided? How will they prove they took the place because of the walk in shower? Do your contracts read (like mine do) that it is recommended that a tenant should have their own contents insurance?

                  Speak to your own lawyer. Even if you fixed the shower, they will probably threaten court action over their belongings. Going to court only means a third party will make a decision based on the facts, not on wants or wishes.
                  No, it does not specifically say I will provide a walk-in shower. That was there when they moved in but if they lose it - surely a good shower in the bath will surfice - as it is now as I have up-graded it because it is their main shower. I will try to settle this amicably - but I strongly suspect they are trying to get me to pay for a computer which wasn't even damaged this way.

                  Comment

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