Tenant wants me to pay for her "consequential loss"

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    Tenant wants me to pay for her "consequential loss"

    I have a longstanding tenant who is in many ways very good and never late with rent. But getting access for workmen is always a problem as she works full time. Recently with ill grace she took a half day off work without pay as she said she had used up all her leave allocation. Unfortunately the workman did not turn up.

    She has now sent me a formal letter stating that she has suffered "consequantial loss" as a result of the "failure of my agent" to keep the appointment. She has enclosed a letter from her employer detailing her loss of pay for the morning and stating that she wants me to meet these costs before any further appointments can be arranged. She says she has obtained legal opinion and that in law I am responsible for the financial loss and inconvenience she has suffered.

    She says she is not there ot provide a "free concierge service" for someone elses property and points out that if I got someone from the agency to "sit in" and provide access it would cost me a considerable sum and more than a mornings pay for her. She has suggested that on future occasions I meet the cost of her "financial loss" and that she gives me a receipt for the sitting-in fee which I can then claim back as a business expense.

    #2
    We have tenants who insist on being in during repairs. You could explain that it is reasonable to expect her to let in tradesmen when she's not in the flat. I would suggest she is liable because she insists being at the property during repairs. IMO you can't be responsible for the no-show by the workmen.

    Comment


      #3
      There was an issue on a previous occasion where keys were given to a workman and she claimed that they used her tea, coffee and milk and left a mess for her to clean up.

      She argues that this represented an infringement of her privacy and showed dishonesty on the part of the workman. She is very security and privacy conscious and states that she does not feel "comfortable" with strangers having access to her space and possessions without her being present. She feels that in these days of ID theft there would be nothing to stop people going through her papers and obtaining sensitive information or copying her keys and coming back to rob her when they know the house is empty.

      While I feel she has exaggerated the risk to some extent she is a lone female and a good tenant and I have some responsibility to respect her wishes because of the previous incident. That caused a great deal of akwardness and she still brings it up.

      Comment


        #4
        She sounds a bit precious, doesn't she. Although it may be your responsibility to organise and pay for the repairs, it is not your fault if the workmen do not turn up and she is being ridiculous in saying that you must pay her wages for the day she took off. (She has not suffered any loss anyway, because presumably she was being paid for that day if it was part of her holiday leave, but that's beside the point). I am amazed that you think she is 'a good tenant' when she is so unreasonably threatening to sue you.

        The point is that tenants are required to behave in a 'tenant-like manner', i.e., as far as reasonable, like an owner-occupier would do. This means arranging that someone (it does not have to be her), can be at home when tradesmen come to carry out repairs. We've had tenants come back themselves from work/lectures to let engineers in, or arrange for a friend or the neighbour to come in - nobody forced her to take the day off. If she won't let anyone else let tradesmen in do this (e.g. a neighbour, a trusted friend, you or your agent), then she'll have to do it herself and take time off work if need be (given that most tradesmen work Mon-Fri, 8-5). She cannot have it both ways.

        I appreciate what you are saying about the previous occasion it happened, but if she does not trust anyone except herself to be there, she will have to be inconvenienced and be there herself. Given that most tradesmen have a reputation to protect, you could try reassuring her that the behaviour she described (by the builders) is unusual to say the least.

        Tell her to go ahead and sue (she will get nowhere) and in your shoes I would be serving a section 21 notice to this tenant with a view to regaining possession of the property as soon as legally possible in order to re-let it to somebody normal.
        '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


          #5
          As a one-off, I would write her a letter and give her a rent free day. Due to her taking the day off, and the workmen not turning up.

          It's annoying when you wait in all day for a delivery/workmen, and nothing happens, and not even a message to cancel.
          If your workmen did indeed just not show up, then it's you that is ultimately responsible.


          Simarly, if they showed up and she wasn't in, and they wanted a call out fee, I would also find her responsible to pay it.


          I would also state that in future, you won't be paying a "stay at home" fee, as she has the choice whether to do so or not.
          If she insists on it, tell her that the repairs won't be done and get rid of her by means of a notice to quit.


          I also don't understand how her taking the day off would be a consequential loss unless she suffered another loss other than her pay due to her taking the day off.
          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
            As a one-off, I would write her a letter and give her a rent free day. Due to her taking the day off, and the workmen not turning up. ..
            Not sure of the logic in that, except as a goodwill gesture (which I would not be inclined to give, in this case). You may as well buy her a crate of wine or pay for a delivery of flowers (except that she probably wouldn't be there to receive it/sign for it!).


            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
            It's annoying when you wait in all day for a delivery/workmen, and nothing happens, and not even a message to cancel.
            If your workmen did indeed just not show up, then it's you that is ultimately responsible..
            Agreed, but if you have done what a LL reasonably would (as OP has) and are willing to re-instruct for another day, then she should do what she as a T can reasonably expected to do - i.e. arrange to be in, or agree to someone else being there on her behalf. There is nothing to stop her padlocking one room with her valuables in it, if she's paranoid about workmen rifling through her stuff.

            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
            I would also state that in future, you won't be paying a "stay at home" fee, as she has the choice whether to do so or not.
            If she insists on it, tell her that the repairs won't be done and get rid of her by means of a notice to quit...
            You cannot threaten not to effect repairs - that is daft. You'd be in breach of your contract!

            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
            I also don't understand how her taking the day off would be a consequential loss unless she suffered another loss other than her pay due to her taking the day off.
            She is saying that loss of pay is 'consequential loss' - which it might be, had she lost it and had it been the LL's fault. That does not however mean the LL must compensate her in this case.
            '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


              #7
              Originally posted by thesaint View Post
              Simarly, if they showed up and she wasn't in, and they wanted a call out fee, I would also find her responsible to pay it.


              I agree with that, but it’s a situation that is known before the event, that if no-one is home the tradesman will charge.

              I would have sympathy with the tenant in this case if she had agreed with the landlord prior to the appointment that if the tradesman does not appear the landlord would cover her loss of pay, but that agreement did not exist did it? The landlord might not have any idea how much the tenant is paid per hour, and so I think it’s quite unfair to hit him with a bill after the event.
              I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Mars Mug View Post

                I agree with that, but it’s a situation that is known before the event, that if no-one is home the tradesman will charge.

                I would have sympathy with the tenant in this case if she had agreed with the landlord prior to the appointment that if the tradesman does not appear the landlord would cover her loss of pay, but that agreement did not exist did it? The landlord might not have any idea how much the tenant is paid per hour, and so I think it’s quite unfair to hit him with a bill after the event.
                Next to none of the tradesman I use do not charge for tenants not being home, so it's can't be accepted that it happens one way or the other without agreement.

                The tenant has introduced a retrospective condition. She can't have her cake and eat it.

                If the tenant insists on being paid, I would refuse to get the repairs done and evict.
                Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                  The tenant has introduced a retrospective condition. She can't have her cake and eat it.

                  If the tenant insists on being paid, I would refuse to get the repairs done and evict.
                  You cannot refuse to get the repairs done!
                  You can however refuse to pay the tenant.
                  .
                  '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


                    #10
                    I think some of you have misread my post!

                    Firstly I pointed out that she had to take a half days leave WITHOUT PAY because she had used up all her holiday entitlement. She did point this out to me when the arrangement for the workman was made. She also pointed out that if a utility company does not keep an appointment when you have taken time off work they usually pay you a compensation fee of around £25. Because she took a half day off without pay and he did not turn up she will now have to take another half day off - so in effect she will have lost half a days pay because my agent failed to keep the appointment.

                    Secondly obtaining legal advice on a matter is not the same as "threatening to sue" someone. I have several times myself obtained legal advice to clarify a situation (regarding a neighbour and their right of access to my land) without any casual intention to sue the person in question.

                    Thirdly the tenant has pointed out that the workman was acting as "my agent" and that I am responsible for the behaviour of someone I employ or contract. I have to say she is right there. I used to run a small mail order business. If someone's item got lost in the mail it was my responsibility to compensate the customer by refunding or replacing and then myself obtain compensation from Royal Mail. It was not the customers responsibility to seek compensation from Royal Mail because their contract was with me.

                    I can see where she is coming from not wanting workpeople roaming around without someone "responsible" present as I would not want this myself in my own home.

                    The tenant has no relatives living in this city who can sit in for her. The alternative would be that I sit in myself or have someone from the agency do it. As she points out, the agency would charge a whopping fee and I dont have time.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by biglouis View Post
                      I think some of you have misread my post!

                      Firstly I pointed out that she had to take a half days leave WITHOUT PAY because she had used up all her holiday entitlement. She did point this out to me when the arrangement for the workman was made. She also pointed out that if a utility company does not keep an appointment when you have taken time off work they usually pay you a compensation fee of around £25. Because she took a half day off without pay and he did not turn up she will now have to take another half day off - so in effect she will have lost half a days pay because my agent failed to keep the appointment.

                      Secondly obtaining legal advice on a matter is not the same as "threatening to sue" someone. I have several times myself obtained legal advice to clarify a situation (regarding a neighbour and their right of access to my land) without any casual intention to sue the person in question.

                      Thirdly the tenant has pointed out that the workman was acting as "my agent" and that I am responsible for the behaviour of someone I employ or contract. I have to say she is right there. I used to run a small mail order business. If someone's item got lost in the mail it was my responsibility to compensate the customer by refunding or replacing and then myself obtain compensation from Royal Mail. It was not the customers responsibility to seek compensation from Royal Mail because their contract was with me.

                      I can see where she is coming from not wanting workpeople roaming around without someone "responsible" present as I would not want this myself in my own home.

                      The tenant has no relatives living in this city who can sit in for her. The alternative would be that I sit in myself or have someone from the agency do it. As she points out, the agency would charge a whopping fee and I dont have time.
                      In that case, I am struggling to understand why you are seeking our advice in the first place. You seem to be in agreement with your T and to have it all sorted.

                      Enjoy your day.
                      '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


                        #12
                        I actually agree with The Saint's advice. Seems highly sensible to me. And MTG - she says she used her holiday allowance, so she has lost money as that was half a day's unpaid leave.

                        So, I would either give her a free rent day or give her half a day's wages, whichever is the more reasonable amount. I'd make clear that it was a gesture of good will.

                        I'd then say that in future if she insists on being there, she'll have to make her own arrangements. I'd point out that allowing access to workmen is something she has to do as part of "acting in a tenant-like manner", as per her contract, albeit she has a right to arrange this at her convenience.

                        I'd also say that you will reiterate to any workmen not to help themselves to tea/coffee/ameneities in the house. When you do say this to workmen, explain that you've had complaints about workmen before doing this - if they want any repeat business, they'll leave her stuff alone.

                        She is being a bit precious but I'd be annoyed if a) people I didn't know used my stuff and b) I lost half a day's salary (whether or not the workmen turned up).

                        That's the way I'd approach it in the interest of a) maintaining a good relationship with a good T, and b) being firm on the extent of my liability as a LL.

                        Edit - I really think the rolleyes emoticon should be removed from message boards. It really is unnecessary, condescending and rude.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by GillsMan View Post
                          I
                          Edit - I really think the rolleyes emoticon should be removed from message boards. It really is unnecessary, condescending and rude.
                          I disagree. I think it is a useful and uncondescending way of signalling minor frustration (not to mention gentle sarcasm or an awareness of irony), as in this case where people have spent quite some time giving the advice requested, only to discover that OP has actually been wasting our time!
                          '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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post

                            The point is that tenants are required to behave in a 'tenant-like manner', i.e., as far as reasonable, like an owner-occupier would do. This means arranging that someone (it does not have to be her), can be at home when tradesmen come to carry out repairs.
                            "Further points: if the property is in disrepair and the tenant informs the landlord of that disrepair and demands that work is done, is the tenant obliged to be available to permit workmen (or the landlord or its agents) to enter the property to do the work? Nothing in the law requires it, nor has any tenancy agreement that I have seen. But its a great landlord excuse. Many of my landlord (clients) have said to me "well, we tried to contact the tenant to arrange a time to do the work but we never managed...", to which my response is: the tenant has no obligation to do so as I read your lease."

                            Francis Davey - Barrister

                            Dial 999 For a Landlord

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              You cannot refuse to get the repairs done!
                              You can however refuse to pay the tenant.
                              .
                              Depends on the repair.

                              Dial 999 For a Landlord

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