Electric gone - pay to rehome tenant till fixed?

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    Electric gone - pay to rehome tenant till fixed?

    I desperately need some answers if anyone can help me, please.

    I let out my (leasehold) one-bed flat to a couple and the electricity went. No one knew why until an electrician visited. Basically the electrical wire leading from the distribution box to my electric meter had come loose and overheated, melting some equipment. This needs replacing at a cost of £230 plus VAT. ANd it can't be done until five days from now because the electrician has to wait for the wire! My tenants are currently in a B&B at my expense, and will be till it is sorted. Do I really have to pay for that? They are also demanding a rent reduction.
    Furthermore, the electrician and my letting agent think it's the responsibility of the managing agent to fix, but they asked their solicitor who apparently said anything after the distribution box is my responsibility. Is that right? How can I be responsible for electric cable that was fitted when the flats were built, long before I bought mine? Also, can this not be claimed on buildings insurance or the service charge I pay be used for it? Any help would be much appreciated, as it's driving me insane and bankrupting me!!

    As the LL you have a statutory obligation to ensure that the electricity installations and supply in your flat are (i) safe and (ii) in working order.

    If they are not, you do have an obligation to rehouse the tenant at your own expense, so yes, you do have to pay for the B & B (or other suitable accommodation) until they is fixed. However it seems unreasonable of the tenant to demand a rent reduction in addition, so I would politely tell them that is not possible. A rent reduction might be appropriate if, for example, the Ts stayed in the property and 'made do'.

    As far as responsibility for the repair is concerned, unless your lease states otherwise, then you must assume you are liable for the state of the wiring inside your property. Just be glad it has not failed more dangerously, i.e. started a fatal fire. You would be criminally liable in that case if you could not demonstrate that it was safe before it failed.
    '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


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