Fixing leaking tap: L or T's responsibility?

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  • Fixing leaking tap: L or T's responsibility?

    Hello,
    l'd be very grateful for any advice on this problem.
    We have a badly leaking tap and have just informed the LL agents about it today.
    The agents have replied by saying :
    *Under the terms of the lease to Mr & Mr *Smith * it is the tenants responsibility under clause 3.18 to keep every basin, sink, bath, shower, water closet and water waste and soil pipe clean clear and free from rust and immediately remedy any damage caused by any overflow.
    We must therefore request that you deal with this issue.*

    We are offically "assured tenents" according to the current LL's due to being provided with an assured tenancy rent book in the early 90's. We have never signed any "lease" or document, and it is the rent book that we proved in court yrs back that gave us the "assured tenancy.

    my question is :

    how can we reply to this agents email. we are slightly confused, as repairs for the very same problem with the same tap have already been carried out twice in the past by the current LL.
    The problem is nothing to do with "rust or a blockage" as the agent has assumed.
    The tap is a mains water tap which is leaking very badly from the seal by the handle at the top, also has "no stopcock" which was pointed out to us by the last tradesman who viisted that this needs to be "sorted out " as if the tap fails or springs a leak he said there is no way we could turn off the water.
    l pointed all this out today in the email to the agent, and then they reply by refering to "the lease" which we never have had and some clause which we have no idea what its refering to.

    cheers Montana
    Last edited by montana; 23-03-2009, 18:25 PM. Reason: typing error

  • #2
    sorry!! l will try and make it less complicated.
    T sends email to LL informing him of badly leaking tap from around the handle and tap hole itself.
    LL Agents reply: *Under the terms of the lease to Mr & Mr *Smith * it is the tenants responsibility under clause 3.18 to keep every basin, sink, bath, shower, water closet and water waste and soil pipe clean clear and free from rust and immediately remedy any damage caused by any overflow.
    We must therefore request that you deal with this issue.*

    As far as we can see none of the above applies to us regarding our leaking tap, and we don't even have a "lease" so we are at odds to what clause the agents are also refering to.

    Pls any advice on our postion and how to respond to agents email we would be gratefully recieved.

    Montana.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. You do have a Tenancy Agreement (equivalent to a lease) even if it's only oral.
      2. Clause 3.18 does not include fixing a leaking tap, I agree.
      3. However, if you have no written Agreement, the 'clause' is inaplicable anyway!
      4. Fixing a tap is also not something for which L is normally responsible. It's not within s.11 of LTA 1985, for instance.
      5. Is the cost really so great? Aren't you in danger of making a mountain out of a molehill?
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Jeff,

        The badly leaking tap we were told by the current LL's tradesmen who came round to attempt to fix it over a yr ago says the tap doesnt have a stopcock and it needs to have one fitted in order to fix the tap head correctly and also prevent the chance of serious flooding should something on the old tap fail completely.
        They also said they reported this to the LL back then.
        Are we as the T's responsible to carry out such work ?
        We are just a bit confused now as to why the LL's are saying its not their responsibilty when they have sent workmen around happilly in the past to deal with the exact same problem.
        The problem with the leaking tap according to the tradesman that visited last yr is that its just simply very old and worn out, under those curcumstances do you think we are responsible to change the tap oursleves ?

        Thanks Montana

        Comment


        • #5
          Reasonable wear and tear is part and parcel of using a property- so, no, that alone would not make you (as T) liable.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

          Comment


          • #6
            thanks Jeff,

            l'll put your last sentence in an email to agents today if you don't mind.

            there is a commerical business below our home, and because of what the tradesman told us last yr: *its a mains water feed into your house which really needs a stopcock fitting to fix the tap properly which requires freezing the pipe* we wouldnt want the risk of flooding downstairs or our own home during this repair. the tradesman warned that the pipes are also not in a great state so the sooner this was sorted out the better.

            could l pls just clarify with you, can we now tell the agents we are not responsible for these repairs/works ?

            thanks montana.

            Comment


            • #7
              Read s.11 of LTA 1985 re supply installations for which L is inescapably responsible. There are many threads about this- so do an LZ search.
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by montana View Post
                thanks Jeff,

                l'll put your last sentence in an email to agents today if you don't mind.

                there is a commerical business below our home, and because of what the tradesman told us last yr: *its a mains water feed into your house which really needs a stopcock fitting to fix the tap properly which requires freezing the pipe* we wouldnt want the risk of flooding downstairs or our own home during this repair. the tradesman warned that the pipes are also not in a great state so the sooner this was sorted out the better.

                could l pls just clarify with you, can we now tell the agents we are not responsible for these repairs/works ?

                thanks montana.
                For a plumber, freezing a pipe and installing a stop cock is a very simple job and not very expensive. I had one installed last year using that method. It took about 30min. with most of the time having a cup of tea and waiting for the water to freeze.
                Having said that, it could be a bigger deal for this plumber if he doesn't have the machine and has to beg,borrow or steal it.
                ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paragon View Post
                  For a plumber, freezing a pipe and installing a stop cock is a very simple job and not very expensive. I had one installed last year using that method. It took about 30min. with most of the time having a cup of tea and waiting for the water to freeze.
                  Having said that, it could be a bigger deal for this plumber if he doesn't have the machine and has to beg,borrow or steal it.
                  You don't need a machine - an £8 aerosol is all he needs: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13369/...FREEZE-_-13369

                  There's frequently another stopcock outside in the street (though that's likely to cut off other properties, ie the business downstairs). That would be the preferred method of installing a stopcock within the OP's home, which I agree should be done.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Depends on the diameter of the pipe. The aerosol will not freeze mains water if the pipe's diameter is more than 15mm. In such a case you need a machine.

                    Changing a washer is almost certainly a tenant's responsibility as a minor repair. I really don't see fitting a stopcock where none previously existed as being a tenant's responsibility. Get your landlord involved. If he doesn't, give your the landlord/agent written notice that you are going to have the work done and deduct the cost from the rent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                      You don't need a machine - an £8 aerosol is all he needs: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/13369/...FREEZE-_-13369

                      There's frequently another stopcock outside in the street (though that's likely to cut off other properties, ie the business downstairs). That would be the preferred method of installing a stopcock within the OP's home, which I agree should be done.
                      Hi Eric,
                      That aerosol should be fine for the pipe going to the sink tap. Good link. In my case, I was actually putting in a stop-cock on the main water pipe coming in from the street which is larger than the 15mill limit on the aerosol can. Maybe that is why my plumber used the machine. He didn't charge me for the machine just his time. Not even sure he charged me for the stop-cock. I think the total was about £40.
                      ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                        Changing a washer is almost certainly a tenant's responsibility as a minor repair.
                        Interestingly there is actually case law opposite to this... don't have it in front of me right now but IIRC it went almost if not to the house of Lords and was over a tap washer! It was decided that changing a tap washer was not a tenants responsibility and IIRC it went along the lines of 'as it required some amount of expertise and that the possibilities of it going horribly wrong were endless'
                        Borat hope his post are some help. Borat thinks people should double check anything someone who refers to himself in third person says...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thats what concerns us Borat. Our current LL actually sent contractors around last yr to change a washer on the tap in question now. The plumber was there for ages freezing the main pipe just to do this simple job.
                          We really don't know why the LL is saying now it is not their responsibity to do this. The leak is a "flow" now from the tap and there is water also leaking from the pipe somewhere under the sink.
                          l think we are being very responsible informing the LL of this problem of the leak and no stopcock,especially as there are commercial business premises below our home, he has been aware of this problem of no stopcock to switch off the mains in our home now for well over a yr.
                          l think the guy is just continueing to be as awkward as possible with us over any matter we raise with him, as has proven to be the case with him many times since he purchased our block.
                          We have sent the agents a follow up email today, telling them that we are not liable/responsible to carry out the repair to this tap which is due to its age and wear and tear.
                          l will let you know as soon as we here from them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would certainly contact a lawyer. What you don't want to find out is that it is your responsibility and you become liable for any damage to your own home and the property below you. Just because Borat knows of some vague reference to some vague law case, be extra careful and find out exactly where you stand. The consequences could be dire.
                            .
                            ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi

                              I think it is generally accepted that replacing a washer in a standard pillar or bib tap would come within the definition of "little jobs about the place" which (unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise) are the tenant's responsibility under Warren v Keen.

                              However, a worn or defective tap would be the landlord's responsibility under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, assuming the disrepair has not been caused by the tenant (other than through fair wear and tear).

                              Preston

                              Comment

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