Two bathrooms in flat, one shower down and one tenants wants deduction in rent?

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  • Two bathrooms in flat, one shower down and one tenants wants deduction in rent?

    Have a flat in London and there are three tenants, all on individual tenancies.

    There are two bathrooms, one on the loft floor for the tenant (will call Tenant 3, T3) on this 2nd floor, and another bathroom on 1st floor level shared by two tenants (T1 & T2).

    Got an email from T1 on Sunday evening saying their shower had lost all its pressure. She also said that T3 was on holiday.

    I emailed my plumber first thing Monday. And emailed T1 & T2 that I was awaiting a reply as to his earliest availability.

    I got a reply from him late Monday saying he had retired and no longer doing jobs.

    So I emailed another plumber when he could go round. Heard back from him on Tuesday saying he was away till Friday and the earliest he could do was this Saturday morning (tomorrow). So I asked him to drop round then - first thing in the morning, as I didn't consider it to be an urgent fix as T1 & T2 can use the bathroom upstairs in the interim.

    I then get an email from T2 on Wednesday complaining the shower was not being dealt with quickly enough and that it was urgent. Then went on to say her parents were visiting this weekend and staying over and needed to be fixed ASAP. Which brings up another matter, as her AST is for a Single Occupancy. She did not ask for consent for her parents to stay over, so would be in breach of her tenancy, no? To be honest, I don't really mind their partners staying over the odd/alternate weekend which is part of life, but for her to use her parents coming over as a reason to get the shower fixed is taking the michael. If she wants them to enjoy a shower, they can use the upstairs bathroom which is fully working, or better pay for their own hotel room. Because I assume her parents will be staying in her room and she will be sleeping in the lounge inconveniencing the other two tenants to the use of the lounge.

    Then yesterday get another email from T2 saying that it was unacceptable the shower was going to be fixed tomorrow and wanted it done today before her parents came. And expects the rent to be adjusted accordingly for this inconvenience.

    Finishing off saying: "I await your response regarding the deduction in rent before releasing this month’s rent."

    Is she within her legals rights to demand a reduction in rent? To me the fact there is another working bathroom in the house she can use does not make it an urgent repair. T1 has not complained at all. And the last time one of the showers in this flat had an issue none of the T's threatened or demanded a rent reduction. But just wanted to sound out others here what they thought of this situation.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    You should treat it as an urgent repair. It is not convenient to share a single shower among 3, presumably unrelated, tenants.
    Also it seems that shower issues are recurring.

    You don't have to compensate, though. The level of goodwill is up to you.

    She did not ask for consent for her parents to stay over, so would be in breach of her tenancy, no?
    She doesn't need your consent to have a guest over the weekend.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do your Ts' individual contracts specify that their bedrooms only are for their exclusive use, or do also they refer to which bathroom is to be used by the occupant of each bedroom? If bathrooms are assumed to be, or described as being 'communal', (which is more usual), that means everyone can use either or both.

      If the latter, then complaining T is being precious. She has a right tto have visitors to stay over (although if this means she has to sleep in the communal areas and made a habit of it, she would probably be in breach of contract). She does not have a right to demand that you fix a shower immediately when there is another one at her disposal.

      Point this out politely and suggest that if that arrangement does not suit her visitors, that they come another time or stay in a B & B. Explain what you are doing to have the problem fixed. Don't get into a fight about it.

      If the contracts specify that the top floor bathroom is demised to T3 then you are in rather different territory.
      '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


      • #4
        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
        Do your Ts' individual contracts specify that their bedrooms only are for their exclusive use, or do also they refer to which bathroom is to be used? If bathrooms are assumed to be, or described as being 'communal', (which is more usual), that means everyone can use either or both.
        Good point.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is the working shower an en-suite for T3 in the loft room?

          Seems logical to me that it is if other T mentions T3 as being on holiday (no access ?).

          If it is en-suite then no you cannot expect T3 to share it.

          My LLs own a flat in my town too. When the boiler broke down I wasn't expected to use theirs.

          IMO if it IS en-suite then it is T3 that deserves any goodwill gesture.
          I'm a good tenant with great landlords
          I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm curious about the method of summoning the plumber. If I emailed mine I might get a reply next August and to find yours had retired since last summoning is laughable. Surely phone contact followed by text more immediate?

            I am of the opinion that a landlord's plumber/gas engineer is the most important person in successful letting. Nearly everything that goes wrong with property is gas or water related and a good relationship takes the stress out of these situations.

            Young renters (especially in London) are clueless as to how difficult it can be to organise engineers and get problems fixed immediately to suit their convenience.


            Be Kind - I hope you find a reliable, good, not ready for retirement plumber and stick with him.



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

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't know why you are emailing plumbers and not phoning. Whilst it's not as urgent as it would have been if there were only one bathroom, I don't think you have dealt with it quickly enough. There's no guarantee the shower will be fixed at the first visit, either.

              There is no automatic 'right' to a rent reduction, however, and the T is being unreasonable in demanding one after less than a week and when there's another bathroom.

              I agree with MTG that you should try not to get into a fight about it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Do your Ts' individual contracts specify that their bedrooms only are for their exclusive use, or do also they refer to which bathroom is to be used by the occupant of each bedroom? If bathrooms are assumed to be, or described as being 'communal', (which is more usual), that means everyone can use either or both.

                If the latter, then complaining T is being precious. She has a right tto have visitors to stay over (although if this means she has to sleep in the communal areas and made a habit of it, she would probably be in breach of contract). She does not have a right to demand that you fix a shower immediately when there is another one at her disposal.

                Point this out politely and suggest that if that arrangement does not suit her visitors, that they come another time or stay in a B & B. Explain what you are doing to have the problem fixed. Don't get into a fight about it.

                If the contracts specify that the top floor bathroom is demised to T3 then you are in rather different territory.
                The tenants' AST's state which specific bedroom is there's in the flat. T1 & T2 have use of the 1st floor bathroom and T3 has the one on the loft floor. Although that has never stopped them using either with prior agreement amongst themselves. Last year when the 1st floor shower needed fixing (different issue to pressure) the T's on 1st floor used the bathroom on the loft floor, and T3 was quite happy to let them use it. They all get on really well.

                Originally posted by Brb View Post
                Is the working shower an en-suite for T3 in the loft room?

                Seems logical to me that it is if other T mentions T3 as being on holiday (no access ?).

                If it is en-suite then no you cannot expect T3 to share it.
                T3's bathroom is not an en-suite (ie, not off the bedroom). It is separate to the bedroom and T1 & T2 can readily access it..

                Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
                I'm curious about the method of summoning the plumber. If I emailed mine I might get a reply next August and to find yours had retired since last summoning is laughable. Surely phone contact followed by text more immediate?
                My long-time plumber had told me was thinking of retiring for the last 18 months, and so I emailed him first if he wanted to do it. He lives 5 mins away too. But since the last time I used him, he had finally decided to retire for good.

                The reason I email them is that they are usually busy on a job and don't pick up. Furthermore I can forward the emails to T's if needed.

                Young renters (especially in London) are clueless as to how difficult it can be to organise engineers and get problems fixed immediately to suit their convenience.
                Well, try telling such a tenant as T3, as her highness probably wouldn't believe it..

                Be Kind - I hope you find a reliable, good, not ready for retirement plumber and stick with him.
                I did find one a few months ago, which is the plumber going round tomorrow, as I knew I had to find one to replace my long-time plumber, who then, was contemplating retirement

                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                There is no automatic 'right' to a rent reduction, however, and the T is being unreasonable in demanding one after less than a week and when there's another bathroom.

                I agree with MTG that you should try not to get into a fight about it.
                I'm not intending in getting into a ruckus with this particular T. She is just going the wrong way about it. You can ask nicely and see that another working bathroom is 1 minute upstairs and there is no need to act like a drama queen about it, demanding this and that. I doubt I will be inclined to renew her tenancy when it comes to an end later this year.

                Thanks everyone for your input and advice

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by be kind View Post
                  The tenants' AST's state which specific bedroom is there's in the flat. T1 & T2 have use of the 1st floor bathroom and T3 has the one on the loft floor.
                  If agreements state which bathrooms are reserved for which tenants, at the moment T1 & T2 have no shower.
                  They can ask T3 whether they can use his shower but he is obviously free to refuse.

                  This makes the situation quite urgent, indeed.

                  At the very least you should thank T3 and consider a good will gesture towards all 3 tenants, imo.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As mentioned, T3 is happy for T1 & T2 to use her bathroom. She knows that it would be reciprocal should an issue arise with her bathroom.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by be kind View Post
                      As mentioned, T3 is happy for T1 & T2 to use her bathroom. She knows that it would be reciprocal should an issue arise with her bathroom.
                      Even so, you should still treat the repair as a matter of urgency and I agree with the other comments about your delay in summoning a plumber. Just google yell.com and find one near the property who can come round soon to fix it.
                      '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
                        Yes, the plumber is going round first thing tomorrow

                        Comment

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