Does L or T pay emergency plumber wasted call-out fee?

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    Does L or T pay emergency plumber wasted call-out fee?

    Dear All

    I am a landlord with a problem.

    The boiler failed earlier this year and the tennant arranged for an emergency plumber callout. A time was arranged between Tennant and plumber.

    Plumber arrived at the property and the tennant failed to turn up. Plumber sends landlord an invoice with a call out charge.

    I am happy to pay for emergency call outs as and when they are needed. However, I don't think I should be paying this charge. I have passed it to the letting agent (who were managing the property at the time) to pass onto the T. But the letting agent say I am responsible for the invoice and are threatening me with legal action if I do not pay it.

    Any help or clarification on this matter would be greaty appreciated.

    Thank you
    Phil

    #2
    There are quite a few issues here.
    1. What does it say in your terms of business with the agent about emergencies?
    2. Why did the tenant call out the plumber and not you or the agent?
    3. What time of day did the boiler fail and what season of the year?
    4. Whose name is on the invoice? Was the agent invoiced, or was it in your name c/o the agent's office?
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      Dear Paul

      Thank you for your help with this matter. The answers to your questions are as follows:
      What does it say in your terms of business with the agent about emergencies?
      The Agents will be authorised to but not required to administer any miscellaneous maintenance work that needs to be carried out on the property.

      Why did the tenant call out the plumber and not you or the agent?
      The agent had full management of the property. I am guessing the agent or/and tenant felt it necessary to have the call out.

      What time of day did the boiler fail and what season of the year?
      Morning. March

      Whose name is on the invoice? Was the agent invoiced, or was it in your name c/o the agent's office?
      Letting Agents name

      All repairs were made to the system and paid in full by me without question. Just this one invoice under dispute.

      I hope this information helps
      Thank you
      Regards
      Phil

      Comment


        #4
        The tenant instructed the plumber so i would say it is their responsability to pay and you have no obligation to do so unless any T & C's state otherwise.

        Comment


          #5
          The AST agreement I was advised to use specifically states that if the tenant has agreed in advance to be at home to let a tradesman in (irrespective of whether T or LL calls out), and fails to be there, the wasted call-out charge is payable by the tenant. Probably worth writing this in, in future?

          However, even if it doesn't say that specifically in your guy's TA, and if it was the tenant himself who made the call then failled to show up, that must surely shift the responsibility to him.

          If the Agent made the appointment and the tenant agreed, but then failed to show up, I suppose it gets trickier, because the agent is acting for you...but whichever way you look at it, the moral responsibility to pay rests with the tenant who has wasted everyone's time and energy.

          Legal responsibility? (Is it clear cut? Is it ever?!)
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

          Comment


            #6
            Can you be 100% sure that the plumber turned up at the right time? Have you checked with the tenant about the missed visit?
            I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
              The AST agreement I was advised to use specifically states that if the tenant has agreed in advance to be at home to let a tradesman in (irrespective of whether T or LL calls out), and fails to be there, the wasted call-out charge is payable by the tenant. Probably worth writing this in, in future?

              However, even if it doesn't say that specifically in your guy's TA, and if it was the tenant himself who made the call then failled to show up, that must surely shift the responsibility to him.

              If the Agent made the appointment and the tenant agreed, but then failed to show up, I suppose it gets trickier, because the agent is acting for you...but whichever way you look at it, the moral responsibility to pay rests with the tenant who has wasted everyone's time and energy.

              Legal responsibility? (Is it clear cut? Is it ever?!)
              You have identified a problem that often exists concerning not keeping an appointment; you would only be able to charge a tenant if they failed to keep one if you also were able to similarly compensate the tenant if a tradesman or agent failed to show too when they had waited in or taken time off work. It's a test of reasonableness as you can't penalise a tenant and then expect the agent or landlord etc. to get let off if they failed to show.
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

              Comment


                #8
                I have had similar problems to this in the past where I have arranged for tradesmen to call and the tenant has not been in at the appropriate time and I have successfully recovered the wasted call out fee from the tenant.

                Similarly, I have had tenants wait in for tradesmen who have not appeared and I have recovered some compensation for the tenant for their wasted time.

                However, in this case, the tenant called the trademan out thereby taking control away from the landlord or the agent. In my agreements I state that if a tenant does this, then they must pay the tradesman and I will CONSIDER reinbursing the tenant if the action was reasonable. No way do I consider myself liable for a hefty bill just because a tenant decides to bypass my repairs protocols (they phone me, day or night 24/7/365 - and yes I have had a call on Xmas morning about a leak!!!).

                As the tenant controlled this callout and should have been there but was not, there is no contractual agreement or basis for any such between the plumber and the landlord. The tenant is liable to pay for the wasted callout.

                Comment

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