Repair responsibilities

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    Repair responsibilities

    Our tenant has been in for 4 months. We have an agent who wrote up the STA agreement and did an inventory for us.
    The tenants have asked us to go and repair broken kitchen cupboards and drawer fronts and that the bath is coming away from the wall.
    These were in good repair when they moved in and this is stated on the inventory.
    The agreement states that the tenant should take care of all fixtures and fittings. So am I right in thinking that if they cannot make the repair themselves, that they can be charged for the repair if we do it?
    Thanks in advance for replies

    #2
    You say "..STA agreement..." .. this isn't Scotland by any chance??
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      The agreement says "take care of" and not full repairing obligations.

      Take care of my car while I am away on holiday , does not mean pay for
      a service, or renew the clutch if found to be slipping.

      You need to inspect, and you just may find excessive force has been used on
      bath and doors, but only an inspection can determine this.

      R.a.M

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
        You say "..STA agreement..." .. this isn't Scotland by any chance??
        Sorry, I meant to write ASTA - Assured shorthold tenancy agreement

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ram View Post
          The agreement says "take care of" and not full repairing obligations.

          Take care of my car while I am away on holiday , does not mean pay for
          a service, or renew the clutch if found to be slipping.

          You need to inspect, and you just may find excessive force has been used on
          bath and doors, but only an inspection can determine this.

          R.a.M
          Hi. Thanks for the reply. The sentence in our agreement actually states " Look after all furniture, equipement and fittings that we have provided, and repair or replace them if they become damaged or lost (taking account of fair wear or tear)"

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JeanieW View Post
            The sentence in our agreement actually states " Look after all furniture, equipement
            and fittings that we have provided, and repair or replace them if they become
            damaged or lost (taking account of fair wear or tear)"
            then you have your answer !

            However, a bath coming away from the wall is not fixtures and fittings, it's
            either faulty workmanship, or people / kids jumping up and down on the side
            furthest from the wall. It's one or the other.
            you have to inspect and decide which one.
            It could also be that with constant use over the years, it is inevitable that
            something may come lose.

            Same with cupboards. How old are they, have you had 10 tenants, over 10 years ,
            and 10% wear and tear adds up to 100%, in which case you should renew the
            cupboards and draws due to constant wear and tear.
            If they are brand spaking new, either they were not assembled corrctly, so your
            obligation to fix, or they have been swinging on them.

            Remember that things wear out, fixings ( screws, etc ) will move / dislodge
            over time with use, and not be the tenants fault.

            Go inspect.

            However, ( and this is where I tell you off ) your contract says they must repair,
            so the question need not have been asked ?
            It's like saying, the contract says they have to pay me rent, do they have to ?

            but being the kind sod I am, I have given you some pointers above to investigate
            and hope you can come to a decision how to resolve your question.

            R.a.M. xx
            Last edited by ram; 28-01-2012, 10:07 AM. Reason: spelling mistakes corrected

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ram View Post
              However, a bath coming away from the wall is not fixtures and fittings, it's
              either faulty workmanship, or people / kids jumping up and down on the side
              furthest from the wall. It's one or the other.
              you have to inspect and decide which one.
              To be honest It's hard to see how a bathtub - desiged to hold a couple of hundred kg - moving away from the wall is down to the tenants. I've installed plenty of bathtubs myself over the years and never experienced it - my own current one has been in 10 years and there's no way I'd get it moving without the use of a crowbar or sledgehammer.

              As regards the cupboards - you'll just have to inspect and see how they look, especially compared with 4 months ago. Seems unlikely that several have suddenly failed due to wear and tear during that short time period, if that's indeed what's happened.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ram View Post
                However, ( and this is where I tell you off ) your contract says they must repair,
                so the question need not have been asked ?
                It's like saying, the contract says they have to pay me rent, do they have to ?

                but being the kind sod I am, I have given you some pointers above to investigate
                and hope you can come to a decision how to resolve your question.

                R.a.M. xx
                Ram is not correct. It's not as simple as looking at the contract alone. You cannot escape liability for repairing the bath, whatever your contract may say. Section 11(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 says:

                In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14)[NB this section will almost certainly apply to an AST] there is implied a covenant by the lessor—
                (a)to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
                (b)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
                (c)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.


                Section 11(4) contains a very clear anti-avoidance provision:

                A covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises is of no effect so far as it relates to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (c), except so far as it imposes on the lessee any of the requirements mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (c).

                If is the tenant's fault you don't have to repair. But, as has been mentioned, it is hard to see how that could be the case.
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by bhaal View Post
                  Ram is not correct. It's not as simple as looking at the contract alone. You cannot escape liability for repairing the bath,.
                  I disagree.

                  no where did I say repairs do not have to be done.

                  i said it's either the landlord who pays, or the tenant who pays, and
                  only by inspection can that decision be made.

                  R.a.M.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I don't think any answer is quite right. The L & T Act 1985 is worded to avoid contracting out; but a clause that states that the tenant is responsible for remedying their own act of waste is most likely enforceable as it does not run contrary to the Act.

                    Oddly enough the tenant could require the landlord to repair, and under the 85 Act, must repair it irrespective of who caused it. They would have a counter claim or parallel claim for the cost of repairs, or if significant seek possession.

                    It would require one or other to "shoot first".

                    As suggested an inspection in neutral terms to compare the inventory and seek an understanding not an explanation of how these things happened, without assigning blame during or at the end of the inspection, will allow you together information and decide which course of action is best. Don't discount insurance claims.

                    You might suspect many things, reasonably to, but could you convince a judge or arbitrator, and at a sensible cost?

                    The belief that a tenant might be an inconsiderate cack handed brute with no respect for where they live, can only be treated as a fact if you can show that they were the sole cause & that they were not using it in tenant like manner; it was fine when I gave you the keys isn't a sufficient argument, sorry.

                    Similarly cheap kitchen units and baths propped up on scrap timber, secured with screws just long enough to bite, might survive use by the light considerate user, but be exposed by the robust but still reasonable tenant like use of another.

                    Good luck
                    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                    Comment

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