Shower waste broken away, tenants refusing to pay rent

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    Shower waste broken away, tenants refusing to pay rent

    Hi all,
    I have a small 1 bed in London that I have rented out to a young couple and have managed by a letting agent.
    There have been many issues, but I will not elaborate now.
    The main issue is they refuse to clean their hair and soap from the drains. They have informed my letting agent that this isn't their problem. This has lead to two blockages in the shower. When the engineer looked at the shower he found that the waste trap has broken away. I cannot in good faith say it was these tenants that caused this issue, however I believe their refusals to clean the drains could have agrevated the problem.
    Initially we thought it would cost £1,600 to repair. It took around 2.5 weeks for the engineer to get to the flat and complete the repair. It ultimately only cost us £200.
    After three days the tenants had demanded compensation.
    This repair held for a few months. Now there is a blockage again. It was reported on the 28th May. The engineer is able to start work tomorrow.
    My letting agent has told me this will cost £2,000.
    The toilet was also reported to be blocked. Once again the tenant has refused to attempt any sort of effort to unblock it themselves. I lived in this flat for 4 years before the tenants moved in and didn't have any issues.
    Questions:
    1. Is it my responsibility to send someone in to clean the drains? This would happen on a regular basis and at a large accumulated expense to myself if this is the case.
    2. The tenant has now threatened to withhold rent unless the repair is done. I was having this done urgently in any case, I had already lined up the engineer. Does the tenant have a right to do this after only a week or so?
    3. The tenants have told the letting agent that I need to pay for a cleaner to clean the floor of the water closet as some of the toilet water spilled. Is this reasonable? I have never heard of this before.
    Thank you for your time.

    #2
    Normal use of a shower should not cause blockages after 3 months, even if they both have long hair. What are they putting down there?

    Comment


      #3
      The plumber found clumps of tangled hair and soap. I allowed them move in with a dog. I had two cats without any issue. I assumed a dog would be the same. I am not sure whether they wash the dog in the shower.

      Comment


        #4
        There is implied into a tenancy agreement, or in some expressed, that tenants act in a tenant like manner. This would include basics like cleaning the shower and sink traps, unblocking toilets, cutting grass etc. Your difficulty lies in establishing what is causing the blockages. Did you attend with the plumber, because that's what I would be doing in order to establish actually what is going wrong? But then I would not be using the agents plumber either!

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          #5
          Sadly it would be difficult for me to attend with the plumber. I have requested images and a report. My concern with not using the letting agent's plumber/engineer would be implications further down the line. A plumber I get isn't necessarily better. My other concern with attending myself is that the tenants have threatened my letting agent with their mother's solicitor, if I go, anything I say may be used against me.

          Now that you mention this, however, I will contact the letting agent and request to be there. I will have to make a plan as this is escalating and am at a loss as to what do do. I feel that their behaviour now and in the past has been unreasonable, but if I am taken to court I am not sure it will be seen this way.

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            #6
            I would serve notice on the tenants as soon as possible.
            They're not behaving reasonably and you may as well give up on them.

            1 - No.
            2 - Tell them (or let the agent tell them) that if they withhold rent they will simply be evicted and perhaps they should speak to their mother's solicitor before they do anything so stupid.
            3 - Tell them not to be stupid (the agent should have already done this.

            If it's a 1 bed flat, there's no way they should be keeping 2 cats and a dog in there.
            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
              Two months ago I instructed the agent that I would not be renewing their lease. Their behaviour in the past has been incredibly selfish and they have cost me around £8,000 in unnecessary call outs and broken appliances that have previously shown no issue. They have also created tension with the neighbours I have always gotten along well with.
              The tenants have been informed and section 21 given to them. Perhaps thus explains some of their behaviour, however unjustified.
              Thank you for your replies. I appreciate your advice and the time you have taken to reply. It is good to know that I am not being unreasonable.

              Comment


                #8
                I think I'd also have a think about your agent, or maybe have a conversation at least.

                If you're paying the agent to manage the property for you, a lot of this should be sorted by them.
                If they're a big chain, it's probably a very small element of their business and it might be worth seeing if they have a smaller local rival.

                Although, to be fair to you and the agent, it does sound like you were just unfortunate with the tenants.

                As you used to live there, you also have to go through a bit of a mind change - tenants aren't home owners (and most of them never have been), they won't put up with things that you'd put up with when you lived there (and were paying for your own repairs).
                Your nice loved and appreciated home is now a business asset and you should look at it through those eyes.
                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


                  #9
                  I will definitely be having a word with my agent, I do not need to know all of this unless absolutely necessary. I have complained about the agent who was handling my account and she has been changed. The current woman seems much better. I will have to see how it goes.
                  And of course you are right about having to emotionally detach myself from the situation. Forums like this are a great sounding board for exactly this reason. Thank you.

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                    #10
                    Get rid of the tenants. You're not their mum or her solicitor.

                    I would get rid of the agents as well frankly. Am not sure what they are managing.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Handson View Post
                      Get rid of the tenants. You're not their mum or her solicitor.

                      I would get rid of the agents as well frankly. Am not sure what they are managing.
                      Ditto, what you describe is out of order, god knows what they are doing in the shower and toilet ! They will never be anything but trouble.

                      This post though is an intersting one, in light of the banning of S21, in the new '' world '' how would these tenants be ..... got rid of ? Its not ASB........the landlord does not wish to sell...... the rent is being paid...... interesting !

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I can only hope they will see reason, or in the very least decide to leave legally. When filing my self assessment I see they have cost me around £8,000 in unnecessary call outs, new appliances and general maintenance. That was before this whole shower palaver. I'm hoping the threat of the solicitor is scare mongering to get their way.
                        The lease is up in August, I can only hope they will honour it.
                        In the meantime I believe a search for new letting agents is in order.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Landperson View Post
                          I can only hope they will see reason, or in the very least decide to leave legally. When filing my self assessment I see they have cost me around £8,000 in unnecessary call outs, new appliances and general maintenance. That was before this whole shower palaver. I'm hoping the threat of the solicitor is scare mongering to get their way.
                          The lease is up in August, I can only hope they will honour it.
                          In the meantime I believe a search for new letting agents is in order.
                          Keep a record of any communication.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What kind of dog is it? I had a tenant who washed her Sheltie every single day and she managed to completely clog up the drain from the bath. Silly bitch, and I don't mean the dog.

                            Let's be clear, the tenancy is not up in August. The fixed term ends in August which is not the same as the tenancy ending. If the tenants choose to remain in the property following the end of the fixed term that is their right either under contractual or statutory law and the tenancy will simply become periodic. If you want them to leave you will need to start by issuing a Section 21 notice.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Presumably these are tenants who will claim they were given a S21 for no reason! How will we evict this sort of tenant once S21 has been removed?

                              Comment

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