Deposit deduction for repairs - landlord responsibilites

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    Deposit deduction for repairs - landlord responsibilites

    I moved out of a flat a few days ago. While I was in the flat there was a leak due to a punctured pipe in a wall cavity that the landlord is claiming a deduction from our deposit for repairing.

    The total cost being claimed is £492.50 for the plumber's work and £180 to repair the wall.

    To me it's a very large amount but I have never had to hire a plumber before so I am not sure whether the cost is reasonable or not. Is the landlord required to shop around for a good deal? Or if they happen to choose a particularly expensive plumber/builder is that fair provided it's documented?

    What documentation can I ask for from the landlord? Just a receipt or anything else?

    #2
    When there is a leak, it needs to be sorted out or the water stopped as soon as possible so that it does not affect other parts of the property or other flats.

    Plumbers will raise prices based on the nature of the works, they may also work on an hourly basis. Depending on what the pipe was for, it may be feeding into a radiator, in which case the central heating may have needed to be drained, and refilled once the pipe had been fixed.

    Since your paying for it, your entitled to ask for a receipt, I would provide it on request, after all if the T raised a dispute, the receipt would need to be provided to the adjudicator.

    The majority of T's don't know the price of plumbers/ electrician etc, hence why when issues happen and need to be fixed, they are then surprised why their rents are going up.

    Comment


      #3
      Was the leak your fault?

      And, yes, the landlord is required to keep their losses to a minimum (the legal term is mitigate their loss).

      But an emergency plumber will cost more than a routine or scheduled visit and it may be that the urgent need to stop the leak doing more damage precluded shopping around.
      If a tenant reported a leak in one of my properties I'd call my regular plumber without looking around for quotes or a cheaper alternative.
      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


        #4
        Ask for copies of the bills and if not just dispute the costs with the deposit scheme.

        Comment


          #5
          The landlord tells me that the leak was caused by a picture hook inserted into the wall which punctured the pipe.

          I've written to the landlord asking for receipts and a detailed breakdown for work already done and a quote for planned work (a separate person is coming to restore the wall - a messy gash was torn in it by the plumber).

          It wasn't an emergency, I notified the landlord that there was a leak, shut everything off when I left and the plumber made two visits more than a week later. Do the costs above seem reasonable?

          Comment


            #6
            Where is the property?
            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
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              Where is the property?
              London zone 2

              Comment


                #8

                For clarity - did the leak only start as you were packing up to leave and so started when you pulled the nail out of the wall? Did you quickly then turn off the water? i.e. not much water damage and no emergency plumber called?

                If so, seems very expensive for the plumber as if it was obvious where the leak was my plumber (not London) would sort that for just the call out fee which covers the first hours work (so around £50 + VAT). Definitely ask for invoices and see what the reply is.
                All advice given by me is purely on the basis of being ‘in my opinion’: please check with the relevant professional before acting on it. If my advice saves you money, mine's a pint.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Turbine Terry View Post
                  For clarity - did the leak only start as you were packing up to leave and so started when you pulled the nail out of the wall? Did you quickly then turn off the water? i.e. not much water damage and no emergency plumber called?

                  If so, seems very expensive for the plumber as if it was obvious where the leak was my plumber (not London) would sort that for just the call out fee which covers the first hours work (so around £50 + VAT). Definitely ask for invoices and see what the reply is.
                  Yes exactly as you describe. The picture hook was pulled out, the leak was immediately obvious and the water shut off within seconds. The wall was a bit wet around the hole but that's it, no damage. No emergency plumber needed as it was safe to leave it until it could be looked at properly.

                  From the checkout inventory I can see that the plumber (or someone) has torn a very messy 3 foot hole in the wall to get access to the copper heating pipe inside.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It is unusual for a copper pipe to be buried in a wall. Mortar and some plasters will corrode the copper. It is against building regs to do this now.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by gnvqsos View Post
                      It is unusual for a copper pipe to be buried in a wall. Mortar and some plasters will corrode the copper. It is against building regs to do this now.
                      Does that change the liability in any way? The building is modern, probably around 20 years old.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Doesn’t change your liability as issue caused by nail in pipe not by type of pipework. From what you say above I would heavily dispute the deductions the landlord seeks. Tell him you have been advised to use the deposit dispute resolution service as the costs he seeks are unreasonable. Let us know what he says and we can advise further.

                        All advice given by me is purely on the basis of being ‘in my opinion’: please check with the relevant professional before acting on it. If my advice saves you money, mine's a pint.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          p.s. do you deal with the landlord direct, or through a lettings agent?
                          All advice given by me is purely on the basis of being ‘in my opinion’: please check with the relevant professional before acting on it. If my advice saves you money, mine's a pint.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Turbine Terry View Post
                            p.s. do you deal with the landlord direct, or through a lettings agent?
                            The deposit is managed through Foxton's online portal, but I am discussing this with the landlord directly who is handling the repair. At the moment I've asked them for all relevant documentation - quotes, invoice, detailed description of work and photos so I can evaluate what has actually been done and then I'll work out what to do from there.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by fpyards View Post

                              The deposit is managed through Foxton's online portal, but I am discussing this with the landlord directly who is handling the repair. At the moment I've asked them for all relevant documentation - quotes, invoice, detailed description of work and photos so I can evaluate what has actually been done and then I'll work out what to do from there.
                              Did Foxtons provide or recommend the workmen? They have form with expensive repairs.

                              My zone 2 plumber is £65/hr but Pimlico (for instance - no idea why anyone uses them) can be over £100. But even at that rate there would have had to have been a lot of complications to add up to almost £500 to repair a puncture in a pipe in a cavity, without even making good after. It should have been a pretty simple job with all the kit on the van. Do you have any idea what was involved? A heating pipe may have been more than a fresh / hot water supply because the system might be drained and then refilled, but even so... I can see that plaster repair might take two visits in which case £180 is high but not so bad.

                              Did your contract require permission to hang pictures and was it sought and granted? If yes to all three questions then I'd argue it's landlord fault for not highlighting where the pipe was.
                              Assume I know nothing.

                              Comment

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