Toilet Flush Handle - Should I pay for this to be fix / replaced?

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    Toilet Flush Handle - Should I pay for this to be fix / replaced?

    My tenant has just texted me to say that the handle for the toilet flush has broken! He has been there just over a month. The handle has been fine and there was no sign that it was about to break. I am baffled by how it could break! In all of my life I have never experienced a simple toilet flush handle break off on me!!! May be I have just been lucky?

    Tenant sounds like he expects me to pay for replacing it. We did an inventory and walk around the flat prior to him moving in and I have photos that show the toilet flush lever still there. The flush and lever were both fine - I used the toilet while I was waiting for the tenant to turn up!

    I live quite far away from the property and so can not just pop around and do it myself so would have to pay somebody (an arm and a leg) to go round to replace the handle.

    My question is, should I be paying for this or is it the tenant's responsibility as he broke it?

    Thanks.

    #2
    Originally posted by good_landlord2 View Post
    I live quite far away from the property and so can not just pop around and do it myself so would have to pay somebody (an arm and a leg) to go round to replace the handle.
    Tell him it's is own fault and either he can pay for someone to come and sort it out, or if he's happy to replace it himself, you'll magnanimously send him the necessary part in a jiffy bag (cost: £2.64).

    Plus 2nd class postage.

    Comment


      #3
      Does it make a difference that it is the flush for the toilet? He has no means of flush the toilet now other than by using buckets of water I suppose. Is this not an essential service and therefore the landlord might still be held responsible?

      If I lived within a reasonable distance of the property I probably would have just offered to go round, have a look, buy the right part, and then just replace it myself. But in my current situation it would either cost me a lot in petrol (and an entire day written off) or cost me a lot to hire somebody to go and do the job.

      Would like to get a few more opinions before I reply to the tenant. What are the opinions of other people here? Should landlord be responsible for fixing this or should the tenant pay for it or fix it himself as he broke it?

      Thanks.

      Comment


        #4
        Yes, technically (as it is the toilet), you're right - it is your responsiblity to get it fixed, but if he has broken it it is legitimate to charge him for the repair. Explain that to him and offer him the option : either you can get it fixed at some expense using a handyman/plumber and deduct the cost from his deposit or bill him directly for the repair, or you could send him the part and he can screw it on (assuming that is all it needs), at a much reduced cost. Or he can source a handle himself this weekend and not have to wait for you to do so.

        Is the handle a special one which matches the bathroom suite or would a bog- standard (!) one be OK?
        '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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          #5
          Has it actually broken or just become disconnected?

          pm
          Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

          Comment


            #6
            I don't wish to make your life any more difficult than it already is BUT.......having experienced exactly the same situation just a couple of months ago, I should tell you that it may not be quite so simple as just buying a replacement handle.

            Not a lot of people know it but there are different sizes. If you are really unlucky, like me, you will find that most of the usual DIY outlets will only stock one size and you will need the other size. Like me you will also expend much time & effort locating the particular correct handle required.

            I wish you luck.

            Comment


              #7
              I think i might take a different view from the others.

              As you say it's very unusual for a flush handle to break....in fact i don't even know how you might go about breaking one if you wanted to.

              This, to me, might indicate that there is a fault with the handle - maybe due to age/problem when manufactured etc

              The other possibility is that the handle isn't broken but it has become disconnected from the mechanism inside the cistern which actually controls the flush.

              Have you asked exactly what the problem is?


              On another note, its a shame that there isn't some kind of scheme whereby landlords could list their (approximate) address and the address of their property and help each other out for want of a better phrase. I bet loads of us live very near each others let properties but miles away from our own. It would be so much easier in cases like this for someone to pop up the road and have a look at the problem and save a fortune in letting agent fees.

              Comment


                #8
                Thinking about this further, I think it's probably down to you to sort out unfortunately - have a read of this post from one of the forum's legal eagles.

                That said, given the distance involved etc for you I wouldn't just roll over here...

                I agree with sparrow - it's highly probable the hook on the syphon (if it's that sort) has simply come adrift, and anyone with half a brain can lift off the cistern lid and hook it back on: that's definitely within the realms of what a tenant might be expected to do in managing a household. You need to talk it through with the guy and find out exactly what's wrong. The information you've been provided with sounds about as much help as telling an IT tech support person that 'my computer's not working properly'.

                Worst case scenario - it's definitely a 'handyman' type job; no need to engage a plumber, with the associated costs.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                  Thinking about this further, I think it's probably down to you to sort out unfortunately - have a read of this post from one of the forum's legal eagles.
                  I later qualified that post by this one:

                  My post above needs a bit of qualification.

                  Subsection (2) of section 11 says:

                  The covenant implied by subsection (1) ("the lessor’s repairing covenant") shall not be construed as requiring the lessor—

                  (a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part


                  There is an argument that some or all of the obligations which I said seemed to be down to the landlord could be included in the tenant's obligation to use the premises in a tenant-like manner.


                  My initial reaction was that repairing the handle was the sort of job a tenant should do. However, some comments suggest it could be a bit tricky. On balance I am inclined to think it is down to the tenant.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It is just a 'bog standard' sliver toilet handle / lever. He has sent me some pictures. The handle itself is not broken. The shaft part that pushes into the the silver handle has snapped! I suspect that he or one of his visitors has broken it and is trying to get me to pay for it.

                    I only just bought a brand new washing machine for the flat and have always been very polite and checking that things were OK with the washing machine and the guys delivered and installed it properly etc. I think he thinks that I am a 'soft' landlord and will just roll-over. I definitely know he has lied to me about things even at the start of the tenancy - he told me he didn't smoke (information he volunteered during viewing) yet I saw him chuck a cigarette end out of his car window as I was leaving (after we signed the tenancy agreements!). He is already late on paying the 2nd month of rent saying it is due to a change of job. I will allow a little flexibility on this and he has promised to be on time the following month. But the signs have not been good so far. We will see how things turn out overall with this chap. Just glad I insisted on a 6 month tenancy (rather than 12 month) to begin with.

                    I am going to suggest to him that he is responsible for fixing the damage and paying or it since it was broken by him. Wait to see how he responds and then go from there. At least then he will know that I am not going to be a complete push-over and just pay for whatever he wants without argument.

                    As always, thank you to all of you for your helpful comments and opinions. It is very much appreciated.


                    Sparrow - I really like your idea of landlords helping each other out. Even if it is going over to the property to check on the damage/problem and report back to each other the extent of the damage/problem (perhaps take some photos etc.). I guess most landlords have their properties close to where they live. It is just people like me who have had to move for jobs and were unable to sell up (and become reluctant landlords) that have property that is just a bit too far to manage. Some people might say that I should use a letting agent - tried that and it was more than just a bit of a nightmare! They closed down and and almost managed to run away with the deposit!

                    Perhaps we could try and start some kind of landlord buddy system among the members of this forum?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      By the way, if you lift the WC lid and push the ball-float down the toilet will flush. No need for a handle at all acctually.

                      If I were you I would explain how far away I am at that time, and that you cant realisticly be expected to come all the way back to fix a toilet handle, and just to go out and buy one, and fix it yourself (which is very very easy) or assuming you are renting to someone who is mechanically useless, get a friend who lives local to go and do it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Terry_Baker View Post
                        By the way, if you lift the WC lid and push the ball-float down the toilet will flush.
                        Eh? It'll just cause the cistern to (over)fill with water. In the absence of a handle you need to yank up on the syphon to action a flush (assuming a conventional syphon flush, which the presence of the handle suggests)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by good_landlord2 View Post
                          It is just a 'bog standard' sliver toilet handle / lever. He has sent me some pictures. The handle itself is not broken. The shaft part that pushes into the the silver handle has snapped! I suspect that he or one of his visitors has broken it and is trying to get me to pay for it.
                          in this instance it sounds like this is the section that pulls up the ball valve and makes the toilet flush which is very easy to replace (I have done this myself in the past and am female!). Get him to take the broken bit to b and Q, or plumbers merchants and they will provide the right bit for a few quid.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                            Eh? It'll just cause the cistern to (over)fill with water. In the absence of a handle you need to yank up on the syphon to action a flush (assuming a conventional syphon flush, which the presence of the handle suggests)
                            I think Terry means where the flushing part meets the handle inside the loo (older style). Though I think the sensible suggestion would be to tell the tenant to stop being so rough and fix the handle.

                            We had a tenant break a low flush button. When asked if he'd had a touch of it denied with enthusiam, then asked why there was a screw driver to the side of the bowl eventually admitted had tried to put a loo freshener in the cistern

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm not sure of the names of all the seperate bits inside a WC, but I know how to flush a toilet without a handle, the handle pulls a lever on on a mechanism so I'm just manually pulling the lever with my hand.

                              Anyways I've never come across the problem of having a broken toilet handle, I was just experimenting.

                              Comment

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