Landlord wants money back from tenant for work done.

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    Landlord wants money back from tenant for work done.

    This is a long and complex issue and I won't bore you with all the history...so to cut a long story short.....

    Tenants move in to a very 70's property, which was 'to let' with us. It had been vacant for a few months because it was incredibly dated.

    The tenants who moved in were exisiting tenants who were renting from our office and were looking for premesis elsewhere as their landlord has decided to sell. They made an offer on the '70's property and the LL accepted.

    The tenants loved the property despite it's shortcomings and as the LL had inherited the property and informed us that it was only ever going to be a 'let' property and never to be sold, the tenants asked whether they could modernise it.

    The LL said of course, as they wanted to put in a new WC, bathroom (white suite instead of old avocado) and eventually a new kitchen.

    Whilst the tenant was laying vinyl in the bathroom, he pulled away the bath panel to fit the vinyl underneath and discovered a load of asbestos attached to it. He was most concerned, especially as they wanted to dispose of the whole bathroom at some point and install a new one.

    After much to-ing a fro-ing with the LL, I arranged a company to come out and dispose of the asbestos, charging the LL £150.
    They said there was no point in examining it to see if it was 'good' or 'bad' asbestos as it would bump up the charge considerably. So it was disposed of.

    12 months later, the tenancy is due for renewal and the tenants are keen to sign for 5 years. The LL said that 2 years would be preferable as 5 years seemed such a long time.

    Then the LL wanted to put the rental up £50 for this coming year and £50 for the year after.

    I advised her to think cafefully, as they were good tenants, improving the property, never in arrears etc etc.

    The tenants were upset and decided to only re-sign the tenancy for another year as the LL still wanted to go ahead with the increase and they are working to a budget.

    The tenants have not as yet installed the new bathroom (although they have purchased it)and for obvious reasons are not sure whether to go ahead.

    The LL therefore wants them to reimburse the £150 for the disposal of the asbestos in the bathroom as it was only done because they wanted to install a new bathroom suite.

    My own feelings about the whole scenario are not for here but what are the legal implications for this?

    I would have thought that once asbestos is uncovered, it is a H&S issue and regardless of whether a new bathroom is installed, at some point the bath panel would have had to be rmeoved anyway, maybe for leaks or putting down new vinyl in the future.

    Can anyone advise?

    Kind Regards
    K.

    #2
    When the landlord agreed to pay for the asbestos removal, did he specify tha he was doing so on the condition that the new bathroom suite would be fitted?

    Comment


      #3
      No. She is now saying that she authorised the work to be carried out as the tenants wanted to put in the new bathroom. So she is saying said she agreed 'On the understanding that the new bathroom was going ahead.'

      Comment


        #4
        Yes, that may have been the understanding in her head. With the rest of the world not having telepathic powers, then she was the only party to the agreement.

        As she declined the offer of a 5 year let, maybe she is contemplating selling when the market picks up. In which case there is no asbestos for a surveryor to find. I recon thats £150 well spent.

        As the property is let to students, it is a HMO (probably no need for a license) so does it comply with HMO regulations? The phrase '1970s' would worry me in that respect.

        Comment


          #5
          It is rented to a family!!

          Yes, that's what I thought regarding the asbestos.

          Thanks for your input Snorkerz.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Le Chat View Post
            It is rented to a family!!
            Oops, confusing with another post

            Comment


              #7
              I don't know who is legally liable for the asbestos removal but there is a really good chance it's going to be the landlord.

              I don't suppose any contract was agreed about the T carrying out works to the property - one which might have said that T was liable for any consequences of carrying out the works or something to that effect? I'll presume not. Leaving aside the asbestos issue, what happens if T eventually installs the new bathroom and the plumbing is badly defective? Who is liable then? Has the LL considered this possibility, or is it all a case of eagerly grasping after the prospect of a *free bathroom*?

              Nevertheless, it seems to me unbelievably penny-pinching as well as unreasonable for LL to challenge liability for the asbestos removal in the circumstances.

              BTW, with the talk of granting a 5 year term, you do realize that this would have to be executed as a Deed?

              Comment


                #8
                Surely removing asbestos from the property makes it more valuable, even if it were 'good' asbestos as the LL would have to remove it if they wanted to sell for the same reasons as it was removed in this case. Therefore LL has incurred no loss and would get no benefit from suing.
                Disclaimer:

                The above represents my own opinion, derived from personal knowledge and should not be relied upon as definitive or accurate advice. It is offered free of charge and may contain errors or omissions or be an inaccurate opinion of the law. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relying on the above.

                Comment

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