Reporting Urgent Repairs

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    Reporting Urgent Repairs

    Hi there,

    It's my first time on here and would love some help please!

    My tenant has not paid her rent to me because she has claimed the property has been made "uninhabitable" because of a leaky toilet. This did happen, but she sent me one text message on April 21st to report this. For whatever reason, I did not receive this text. The first I heard of the problem was (via a message on facebook) on May 3rd. I obviously booked someone to look at the problem straight away. She said she had to move to her boyfriends (over the long bank holiday breaks) because of it. Her argument: Toilet not fixed. My argument: I didn't receive the text. A broken toilet is a major problem and needed more that one text message, particularly after she didn't hear back from me.

    Interestingly enough, when I did hear of the problem and did make steps to fix it, she was more forthcoming with her communications.

    Is there any advice that states a tenant has to make proper and reasonable attempts to contact the landlord in these situations. Particularly one which as she said herself made the property "uninhabitable".

    #2
    As L, you are obliged to fix it. Section 11 of LTA 1985 says so, in effect.

    As T, she seems to have left such an urgent problem for quite a long time (21 April - 3 May = 12 days or so); one might have expected her to be rather more active in chasing you for remedial action.

    BUT, either way, she has no grounds to withhold rent; her only possible claim to that would have been if she herself had diverted her rent money to pay for fixing-up what you had not yet fixed-up.

    If it came to Court action, a Court would decide who's right/wrong on the balance of probabilities and in the light of each party's conduct (actions/omissions).
    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


      #3
      Exactly what do you mean by 'broken toilet'? Just won't flush or raw sewage all over house?



      Freedom at the point of zero............

      Comment


        #4
        also are we talking mob tel sms or internet email?

        I would suggest single text for any problem is inadequate. No indication whether mob lost/stolen, customer abroad or in hospital. Only sure sign message received is voice contact.

        Under most rules LL has 1-3 days to attend to a serious problem. Lack of plumbers' over 2 bank holiday periods would make this timescale 'difficult',depending on when problem occurred/notified. The cynic in me thinks the T is covering his/her rear.

        Will not flush eg is not a serious problem, alternatives available.
        Broken pan or overflow of contents is serious - so why only make 1 attempt to contact LL? If this was the case, T would have some resp for some of subs damage IMO
        What was the problem, could the T have caused it?
        T cannot withold rent for slow action, only if she had serious fault repaired at own expense, she could deduct cost from next rent if supported by plumber's receipt.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your replies.

          I'm aware I am obliged to carry out repairs and this something I would never delay in doing. On eventually finding about the leak (late May 2nd, via facebook) I phoned her at 7.50 am May 3rd to arrange a plumber to visit.

          The 'broken toilet' was a small split in the waste pipe. Big enough for water to drip but not any solids.

          Comment


            #6
            A mobile text message was sent reporting the problem to me, but I didn't receive it.

            Comment


              #7
              The problem wasn't caused by the tenant and I have no issue with the my perceived lack of response. It's the one missing text message and lack of communication afterwards about a leaking waste pipe which is my concern.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by dixiedixie View Post
                The 'broken toilet' was a small split in the waste pipe. Big enough for water to drip but not any solids.
                That would not class the property as inhabitable under even the most liberal definition!
                My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by oaktree View Post
                  That would not class the property as inhabitable under even the most liberal definition!
                  Do you mean 'uninhabitable'?
                  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 jeffrey View Post
                    Do you mean 'uninhabitable'?
                    Umm, yes, I did indeed mean uninhabitable. Thank you and apologies to the op
                    My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Have you fixed the toilet yet as you are obliged to and has has been pointed out to you?

                      Apart from the T telling you that they sent you a text, how do you know a text was sent? Have you only their word for it?

                      What do you mean by "The problem wasn't caused by the tenant and I have no issue with the my perceived lack of response"? Have you inserted too many and unnecessary words? It sounds as though you do have a problem precisely with this issue?

                      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


                        #12
                        The Inglish grammar, she come later.

                        OP got the orig text message but not for several days.

                        AIUI OP is happy that T did not cause the crack/leak in the U bend section and that it is LL (OPs) responsibility to repair.
                        OP could not respond until sms received. There are many reasons for non-receipt as I outlined.

                        OP should explain to T that perceived urgent problems need quick LL action but T should not rely on a single text or Facebook, Any problem, LL should be contacted by voice call directly, if no answer then send a text and try voice call again.

                        Comment

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