Inconveniencing a tenant

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    Inconveniencing a tenant

    Hello
    To cut a story short we need to have a firm come into our let property to decommission a hot water solar system . Its not actually dangerous, but its not working well, is not easily or cost effectively fixable , and we dont want it in the premises any more for fear of the huge tank in the roof, leaking or eventually proving too much for the floorboards or the risk of a future nosy tenant fiddling with the control sand ending up with Legionaires or something!

    The job was going to be done, but the present tenant was desperate to move in immediately . We explained she could , but cleared it with her that she would give access to have this job done at some point, whilst she was 'resident' there .
    What we didnt appreciate, was that the job is going to take a whole day and a couple of hours the next day . There will be drainage hosepipes through the bathroom and two workmen trotting about all day .
    As the loft hatch is in the bathroom, this will make it awkward for the tenant to use the toilet exactly when she wishes to , and its the only one. She has only been there 3 mths and doesnt know the neighbours.

    Am I being unreasonable asking her to put up with this? I can provide a portapotty for use in her bedroom for the day , but is this enough ? She wont want to be out all day or leave workmen there unattended as she has valuable stuff around.

    If Im being too unreasonable, I could leave it till the end of her scheduled tenancy end of June , but as her moving out depends on finding the right house to buy,if she doesnt find anything she likes , she could be with me , month by month indefinitely. She seems an extremely good tenant so far . It would also be difficult to arrange whilst the property was empty , as you have to book these jobs ahead , so I would stand to lose a lot of rent if I didnt know exactly when that would be, and have to keep the property empty .

    Thanks for your advice .

    #2
    Maybe I've not appreciated the extent of this work, but you don't imply the toilet will be out of action for the duration - just that the bathroom will be used for access. Isn't it a relatively simple thing for the Tenant to ask the workmen to give her the time the Tenant might need to use the bathroom... and, of course, my assumption being that it will be available in the evening and early morning.

    It doesn't sound unreasonable to me - unless you say the toilet is actually out of action all the time work is being done. Inconvenient for everyone, then. If the Tenant is a good one, then I'd hope they will be accommodating, especially as they were forewarned about this prior to move-in, when you were trying to help by letting said Tenant move in immediately.

    That's my outsider's view.

    Comment


      #3
      No the toilet wouldnt be out of action all day , but the workmen would be in and out of the bathroom all day , and hoses would prevent the door from being locked I suspect . Yes she could ask the workmen to go away and leave her to it, but Im not sure whether that is asking too much as she couldnt put them outside , and they would be free to poke about in other rooms whilst she was occupied, and shes VERY protective of her stuff. I suppose I could just ask her how she feels about it, but I wanted opinion on here first incase she freaks out and says NO! Could she do that?

      Comment


        #4
        I'd ask "why can't she put them outside?"

        From having many tradesmen work on my house, sometimes over a day, it is my experience that they certainly like to either a) go out to their van to eat butties and listen to the radio or b) drive off in their van to find something like a KFC or sarnie shop... giving an hour or so where they'll not be in the bathroom.

        Anyway, forget that, as I now don't think you're looking for the common sense approach (not meaning to offend) what you're actually asking here is what position you'll be in if the Tenant kicks-off and refuses. I'd say the Tenant probably can - because it's their home right now - and the thing that you're wanting to do isn't something that's necessary... like a broken boiler or something... and maybe the Tenant doesn't benefit from it at all. I'd been aiming my response at what I thought reasonable people would do. The letter of the law might be somewhat different, right?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Bramleyapple View Post
          in case she freaks out and says NO! Could she do that?
          of course she can. Whether she's got legal reasons to do so? probably not. but then this is not what you're after is it? you're trying to find out what we would feel is reasonable. i think it is definitely reasonable to have this done in your proposed matter - how hard is it asking the builders to leave the bathroom for a couple of minutes? mountains out of molehills comes to mind

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for your views Hippograff
            "Anyway, forget that, as I now don't think you're looking for the common sense approach (not meaning to offend) what you're actually asking here is what position you'll be in if the Tenant kicks-off and refuses. "

            Im merely making the most of the post by asking everything I think is relevant lol. Of course Im interested to know how I stand legally if T changes her mind about letting the solar people do the work but it doesn stop me wanting to make sure I dont overstep the mark with my 'asks' . Shes my first tenant , so Im not experienced enough yet to know how much you can expect a person to tolerate --hence the questions.
            Re putting them outside - I suppose thats an option for her to decide not me really.

            Thanks Matti ,I suppose when a new LL is weighing everything up , it must look like the proverbial mountains and molehills, but better over thinking things than under thinking things through till Ive got experience I reckon.

            Comment


              #7
              Seems a shame to get rid of solar hot water. I would love to have it. Isn't it a positive for letting?

              Presumably it doesn't heat the water directly, but circulates antifreeze, so how could that be any more likely to breed legionnaire's disease than a normal system? Regarding the tenant fiddling with the controls, couldn't you put a padlock on the loft access?
              To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

              Comment


                #8
                It IS a shame really, but one of the valves is intermittently faulty , and the second one is due to expire too we're told , as the incorrect ones were fitted in the first place. It was a very specific system , more complicated than the norm , and the firm folded a few years ago after a legal class action against them . Its now impossible to find a firm able to sort it out for a reasonable cost, and it would still have to be serviced regularly at high cost too. Im probably over worrying about the weight of the huge loft tank , but I just dont want the risk .

                As I dont understand the system really , I cant answer the Legionaires question , I just know we were warned about it , and that lack of correct temperature can cause the problem.
                Yes we could put a padlock on the loft , but can you always trust tenants not to just cut it off if they want to store stuff up there , and then have a fiddle with the controls as they pass because they think they can improve performance or something.Ive been shocked reading on here just what seemingly ok tenants get up to!

                It could help me get a tenant I suppose if they thought it would offset their bills, but I know that the savings are not great even when working especially as the shower is electric, and peoples washing machines are cold fill . The maintenance costs certainly wouldnt benefit me , and Im hoping I will get a tenant regardless when present lady leaves.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I would have thought it a simple matter to isolate the solar water panels from supply and drain the loft tank overnight, then remove the redundant infrastrutcure during a T void?
                  Have you checked if there is a green eco grant available for replacing obsolete solar water system orproviding solar PV panels, where T would benefit from generated elec at time and LL from the feed in tariff payments? Depends on principal roof alignment being SE to SW and not shaded.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi mariner
                    No we hadnt actually specifically looked into that sort of grant - will take up that suggestion thanks and see whats on offer . Weve had such a bad experience with this alternative technology from the beginning , that its been a matter of just wanting out really . Left us very suspicious of all these types of firms .
                    Re 'simple job' - this is what we have been quoted by the ONLY proper experienced solar firm we could get , who would even touch it . Our ordinary plumber just recoiled in horror. There is one huge hot water tank plus pumps and pipes in the roof and just two panels of tubes on the roof each about 5ft sq,and a Worcester combi boiler (half the problem as we found the system wasnt suitable or cost effective with combis really .
                    -----------------------------------------------
                    For us to fully decommission your solar Thermal system and to switch back over to your combi boiler.

                    This should take 1 day but might run over half a day at the most. We will cover all floor areas where we are working and be extremely careful to the newly painted walls.
                    Total for all works £385.00+VAT
                    -----------------------------------------------

                    This seemed to sound long winded and thus expensive to us, but we dont exactly have much choice! The solar firm we were in touch with ltwo years ago (not the original defunct one) asking about repairing, said the correct part wasnt even on the market , so old system irreparable and for them to convert it to new simpler system (still water) would cost over £2k to convert . Last year we were in touch with someone who claimed to understand our system having worked for the installing company . We arranged to have him do the repair using the valves he had sourced , only to be told later in the year that those valves hadnt worked out in other jobs he had done . He would get back to us with a 'better' version . He didnt . We just dont have much trust left Im afraid. Its the sort of situation too where its hard to see whether or not a 'repair' would have been effected or not.

                    I will make enquiries though about the voltaic grants. Thank you.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think you are overly worrying about the whole issue. If the tenant is living in the property for a minimum of 6 months the day and a half works that need doing is 0.82% of the time they would have been in the property for. If they've got issue with that then.....
                      "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                      What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks Wanna .From all the replies Im beginning to realise its not such a big deal . Hopefully the tenant will see it the same way , she seems a nice lady. Thanks all.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          A good bit of maffs always helps too... "you're kicking-off over a period of time that amounts to less than 0.82% of the time you'd be in the property, are you serious?" ...keep that one in your back pocket.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Or the top drawer Griff. It's a classic.

                            Watch your maths though, the figure I quoted was for a 36 hour period!
                            "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                            What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Bramleyapple View Post
                              This seemed to sound long winded and thus expensive to us, but we dont exactly have much choice! .
                              Of course you have choice.
                              I suspect the plumber you ask recoiled because you asked him to "decommission" the entire thing. As I understand what you really/basically need is for that tank to be empty and the system not to be in use. How about asking the plumber to JUST drain the tank empty and shut off the inlet to the tank. i.e. put a valve or something in the pipe that bring sin water to the tank, nothing fancy, just physical blockage. That should be straightforward enough. Is there any reason the remaining pipes/pumps etc need to be removed? I suspect not. And as for the controls in the loft you're worried about, again perhaps you could simply remove them with screwdriver and pliers after you turn off the main electrical fuse. And leave everything else as is.

                              Re the T and the day job - you could suggest that everytime she wants to be alone in the house for 30 mins, she could offer the workmen to go have tea/lunch/snacks on her, and on her would mean her giving them some, cash which you have given her. That's what I would do.

                              Oh, and another thing - I thought that they have solar heating in poor/developing countries because it's cheaper. Hence logic follows that these systems are simple with easy and cheap maintenance. How did it get so complicated in the UK?

                              Comment

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