T needed locksmith to gain entry- who pays bill?

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  • T needed locksmith to gain entry- who pays bill?

    Hi,

    In the case of a tenant being locked out as a result of a 'loose' catch, who is responsible for paying the locksmith's bill?

    I must say that this wasn't due to my tenant's negligence - I repeat, the little catch dropped, making it virtually impossible to open the door from the outside - and because this happened out of hours, after midnight, she had no other choice but to resort to a locksmith.

    The bill amounts to almost £300, which she paid on the spot cash. She would like to get her money back from us but I am just not sure whether I should be responsible at all for paying.

    Please advise

  • #2
    What made the little catch drop? Insured risk?
    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).

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    • #3
      Thanks for your prompt response...
      Well, the catch dropped by itself, so I am assuming that it wasn't stable or secure enough to stay in place.
      Not insure as far as I am aware...

      Comment


      • #4
        Landlords are generally responsible for ensuring the functionality of items in and around the property.

        Equally, tenants are generally responsible for carrying out small repairs that say, for example, require a screw tightened.

        Without knowing more detail its difficult to judge where the fault lies.

        Comment


        • #5
          I presume that the £300 bill included replacing the defective lock or lock part so that everything now works satisfactorily.
          I would think that the LL is responsible for the repair.
          It's just unfortunate that the incident occurred late at night, otherwise you might have been able to find a cheaper remedy. It doesn't sound like something your insurance policy would cover but at least it will be a tax deductible expenditure.

          Comment


          • #6
            If the defect was due to wear and tear, insurance would not usually cover it.
            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


            • #7
              There isn't much more I can add really...
              I suppose it was a case of 'wear and tear'. There aren't any screws or else that would have avoided the catch from dropping. The only solution was to remove the entire lock system.
              She has been a tenant of mine for almost eight years, in the same flat, and I have never had any issues with her.
              ??

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                If the defect was due to wear and tear, insurance would not usually cover it.
                Would we then have to foot the bill?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Probably, unless you can prove that the defect arose due to T using the premises not in a proper tenantlike manner.
                  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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by johnjw View Post
                    I presume that the £300 bill included replacing the defective lock or lock part so that everything now works satisfactorily.
                    I would think that the LL is responsible for the repair.
                    It's just unfortunate that the incident occurred late at night, otherwise you might have been able to find a cheaper remedy. It doesn't sound like something your insurance policy would cover but at least it will be a tax deductible expenditure.
                    Yes, the bill covers all services, including a new, durable lock

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would be repaying her sharpish, AND sending her a bunch of flowers. Poor thing, stuck on the doorstep in the middle of the night because your lock had worn out.

                      And be grateful she hadn't got ME out of bed to sort the problem - nor the LA who would have charge an extra £100 for out of hours service, and £400 for the locksmith.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would probably cough up if the tenant was otherwise reliable and not a serial complainer.

                        But, I would perhaps first check with the locksmith that the fault was indeed as reported (and not a case of T losing the key, for example).

                        Make sure that the replacement lock meets the standards required for any insurance policy, is of the same quality as the original, and that the work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard without damage to the door.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                          Probably, unless you can prove that the defect arose due to T using the premises not in a proper tenantlike manner.
                          I can't prove that no...and I doubt it anyway...

                          Oh, I've just remembered that we changed the lock (keyhole only) around March this year after somone broke into the flat. I wonder whether the work done on the lock at the time might have contributed to the catch getting looser...I am no expert but I want to be fair on my tenant!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by westminster View Post
                            I would probably cough up if the tenant was otherwise reliable and not a serial complainer.

                            But, I would perhaps first check with the locksmith that the fault was indeed as reported (and not a case of T losing the key, for example).

                            Make sure that the replacement lock meets the standards required for any insurance policy, is of the same quality as the original, and that the work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard without damage to the door.
                            Well, she sent me a copy of the bill. I haven't spoken to the locksmith but there was a note on the bill, from him, quoting the cause of the problem and what he had to do to resolve it.
                            I haven't been to the flat yet. According to what the locksmith told my T, the lock is of higher quality than the previous and this situation shouldn't happen again in future.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Personally, I'd say if it wasn't the tenants doing, then it's your obligation to pay. As the tenant seems to be a good (and normally inexpensive one) I think it's just one of those things - pay up and don't forget to claim it against your tax.

                              HOWEVER....

                              If it was a pain tenant, I would consider these questions...
                              • Is there ONLY one door? Should the tenant have had her 'back door' key on her?
                              • Would it have been cheaper to smash a pane of glass and gain access that way?
                              • Why didn't the tenant contact you for advice / hammer?

                              None of these would move the cost to your tenant but might give a little room for negotiation over the amount of the repayment. They are all a bit petty and could damage the goodwill that seems to exist between you and your tenant - and that's probably worth a lot more than £300.

                              Comment

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