Full kitchen refurbishment while tenant in situ

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Full kitchen refurbishment while tenant in situ

    Hi

    I have a tenant who has rented my flat for the last 7 years and we are now coming up to the 8th renewal. I know the kitchen has needed to be redone and always thought that I would do it when she eventually moved out. She is a good tenant in terms of paying her rent on time etc but I do feel that she doesn't really take care of things as well as she should. While I admit the kitchen was old, the units were pretty solid but now the doors are falling off the hinges etc and she admitted that some of that was due to her small toddler banging the doors. She also took it upon herself to do some redecorating, painting etc in the flat without permission but I overlooked this at the time., and now I have discovered she did that to cover up drawings on the walls from her toddler as well. I also provided her with a brand new full height double wardrobe just a few months ago, and when I was over there last week I asked to see it and she was a little reluctant at first but then showed it to me and the door was already falling off the hinges. She said this was due to poor quality that should withstand her son banging the door but didn't. I was a little dubious about that as the cupboard was pretty solid in my opinion.

    Now she has said that she will not renew unless I renovate the kitchen. I'm happy to do it but am struggling with the logistics of how to manage with a tenant living there, especially a small toddler who is constantly running around. I have had 2 tradesmen over to provide a couple of quotes and they have both estimated it will be about 2 weeks work to remove the old, redecorate the walls, floors etc and then install the new kitchen, tiles etc.

    The tenant has stated that she is happy for the work to happen while she lives there, but I have a few concerns and wondered on folks opinions. As she has small children who are constantly running around I am concerned from a health and safety perspective. What happens if there is an accident? Who would be liable?

    Also when the kitchen is being done it will mean the new kitchen will be delivered and have to sit in the lounge while the walls and floors are being done. It's quite a small flat so there would be literally no space for them to sit. She said she would use a gas camping fire to cook on the balcony but I told her she wouldn't be allowed to do that. I suggested she try and manage with microwave meals during that time but she was not too keen. I also asked her if she was going on holiday and we could maybe do the work while she was away but she says she isn't going anywhere and wouldn't want to leave the workmen in the flat on their own. I even offered to provide a lock on the bedroom so she could put her valuables in there but she is still not happy with that.

    On top of that, I mentioned that as I haven't increased the rent for several years, once I do the kitchen I will need to increase the rent. She is not happy with that either. So I am wondering if it would be a false economy to try and do the work while she is living there, especially as I have concerns around whether she will really look after the new kitchen once it has been completed. The flipside is she has always paid her rent on time, although she hasn't really looked after the property well. So I have to decide whether its worth keeping her as a tenant, or tell her I can't do the kitchen while she is living there and risk her giving me notice to move out. Any thoughts from others on what you would do?
    Thanks

    #2
    Doing major works like this when there is a tenant and child not on really. There will be complaints and maybe insurance claims - don't go there,

    Take a pragmatic business point of view. Give her notice and renew the kitchen and get a tenant with no child that will resolve the banging doors and drawing on the walls. Increase the rent to the current market value.

    It is time to move on.



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

    Comment


      #3
      Your life would be a helluva lot simpler if the work was done while no-one was in residence. Make of that what you will. Will a new kitchen mean the place gets let more or less immediately after being done? Alternative is this... call the Tenant's bluff... say "I'm not going to renovate the kitchen, even if you elect to not renew" and see if she caves or follows-through and moves out. It seems your Tenant is going to be unhappy if you don't do the kitchen, your Tenant is going to be unhappy if you do do the kitchen and your Tenant is going to be unhappy if you raise the rent. Maybe don't do the kitchen and do raise the rent?

      2 weeks for a kitchen fitting sounds like the guy(s) are going at half-speed, though... I've had 2 renovations in my time and we're talking 4 days for both. Both times this included a complete gutting of the old, replacement of all appliances including addition of a dishwasher, installation of all cupboards and a Corian worktop and upstands, extra accent lighting, laying of flooring and partial wall tiling... Monday to Thursday = job done.

      Comment


        #4
        Agree with Hippo here. Two weeks is silly for a professional company. Might be cheaper with your guys, but not good business sense. A good team should turn round a kitchen within 3 or 4 days of solid working. (our last kitchen was two days including cables, plumbing, units, tiling and paint.) It's also up to you/them to store units and materials off premises until needed if she's expected to live there as well.
        Either way, your tenant needs a wake up call, She's paid rent successfully for a long time, but below market rate by all accounts. I'd be managing her into a position where she either leaves, or accepts that you are providing her with a home. A home that she should also be maintaining without her brat breaking every available door (hope you charge her for repairs).
        I may be a housing professional but my views, thoughts, opinions, advice, criticisms or otherwise on this board are mine and are not representative of my company, colleagues, managers. I am here as an independent human being who simply wants to learn new stuff, share ideas and interact with like minded people.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post

          2 weeks for a kitchen fitting sounds like the guy(s) are going at half-speed, though... I've had 2 renovations in my time and we're talking 4 days for both. Both times this included a complete gutting of the old, replacement of all appliances including addition of a dishwasher, installation of all cupboards and a Corian worktop and upstands, extra accent lighting, laying of flooring and partial wall tiling... Monday to Thursday = job done.
          Thanks Hippo - was that only 4 days in an empty property? And how many men did the work? Where are you based? (If close enough to the Harrow, Middlesex area I'd be tempted to ask if you would pass on details of those contractors...hehehe)

          I'm tempted to do what you say and see if she gives notice herself. But I agree with you and Interlaken - it's not worth doing it while they are staying there - way too risky and too much hassle. Thanks for your responses.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by gizzmo View Post
            Thanks Hippo - was that only 4 days in an empty property? And how many men did the work? Where are you based? (If close enough to the Harrow, Middlesex area I'd be tempted to ask if you would pass on details of those contractors...hehehe)
            One of the times I was living there, it wasn't a let property at all... so not empty. It was just 2 guys - a main man and an apprentice type. I'm up in South Yorkshire. I had takeaways for the 4 days... could've done with 3 days, but really wanted a curry on the Thursday.

            Comment


              #7
              Why not:
              Tell the tenant the rent is going to go up once the kitchen is done.
              Tell the tenant that she can be there when the kitchen is being done but you strongly suggest that she stays away for the 3/4 days it will take.

              Children grow up, and a steady rent paying tenant is better than an unknown possible future tenant.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                Been there and trust me refurbishing any rental when you know its not going to be looked after is bad business sense. Rent is too low for what she has now? Rent needs to rise?

                I would either:
                1. Make a clean break or agree rent increase and she moves out while work is carried out then full inventory so she pays for any damage. When T's start saying things like "it was poor quality" you are in trouble!
                2. Tidy up what is already there and keep rent lower for her. You can have doors and hinges repaired easily.

                Finally, a proper kitchen refurbishment with tiling, painting etc will NOT happen in less that a week unless you have 5 or 6 units in the kitchen. T will want compensation etc.. you will lose out.

                Good luck!
                Long suffering Landlord.

                Comment


                  #9
                  My friend has just had her kitchen done.
                  Her landlord is the council. they took 2 weeks to do it. Work takes a lot longer if there is a tenant in situ.

                  I would not change the kitchen for this tenant. I would evict her, replace the kitchen, and get a new tenant that disciplines their children.

                  I have a tenant that has an unruly 2 year old. They are forever asking me to ask the landlord to get extra items fitted because they are failing at parenting.
                  If their child is climbing on the windowsill to escape out of the window, they can either buy window locks, or teach their child not to do it. Its not for the landlord to foot the cost.
                  Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The kitchen in my current property is about 3 m each wall, and was FULLY replaced earlier this summer, as part of the local authority's updating scheme. They took it right back to plaster, channelled walls to put more sockets (and an extractor fan) in, painted, re-tiled, new lino on floor, new cabinets (two under sink, one either side of cooker point, one - plus gap for tumble drier or under-counter fridge - opposite sink, two up on wall so 7 in total). Took 4 days, working 9 - 4 with LOTS of tea breaks.

                    We needed to eat out/"cook" (aka microwave) in lounge for a week, which was annoying but in the big scheme of things wasn't too bad (just hubby and me). Not sure it would be as easy if there were kids involved.

                    As a Landlord-to-be (I'm viewing potential BTLs now) I don't think I'd replace the kitchen until either the tenant was gone or the child had got past the "banging doors" stage, simply because it doesn't seem worth it, especially seeing what you've said regarding the wardrobe.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      why renovate the kitchen completely? leave the units as they are, fit new worktops, sink and new doors, make sure you put 180 degree soft closers on the doors, that way they don't get opened past the hinge allowance and soft closers stops them banging shut. don't add anything extra such as sockets etc, if they NEED extra sockets fit pop up sockets that fit into the worktop.

                      don't overspend , it will look as good as new, because basically it is! new doors and worktops will take a day to fit including tiling splashbacks (or even the fancy one piece ones) if two fitters are on the job and they have measured up correctly to start with - got worktops pre cut etc they can get worktops mitred for corner joints etc - I use a local company that specialise in 'seconds' and they just cut out the bad bits or resin fill if minor damage. they mitre joints etc and will even cut it for sink/hob etc if you give them the correct measurements/templates. it saves quite a bit of time on the actual job site!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Don't do any renovations with existing tenant in residence. They trashed the place. Let them live in it or find elsewhere.

                        BTW. I trust you will be mentioning damage to any other landlord who rings up for a reference.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          On the issue of whether it's possible to replace a kitchen with a tenant in situ: we had an extension built when we had three young kids, and it included involving the kitchen being out of action for days. We didn't consider moving out, we just put up with it the (major) hassle, and kept the kids safe.

                          Now, major refurbishment in a let property is certainly not something I'd normally consider doing, but if the tenant's specifically asking for it, and you (a) want to do it and b) want to retain the tenant then I don't see a problem. I agree that I would want to sort out potential issues of liability though.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Difficult thing this but I somehow struggle to see how the landlord can prohibit the tenant from cooking on a gas bottle cooker?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              i think there is a difference between prohibiting something happening and actually stopping it happen.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X