Help! landlord losing will to live over bathroom issue

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    Help! landlord losing will to live over bathroom issue

    I'm a landlord with a small portfolio, and run my houses through a reasonably large multi-branch letting/estate agents in the north west. I'm looking for advice from landlords with more experience.

    I've recently hit an issue which has reached the stage that it makes me physically ill just thinking about it. Perhaps this means i'm not cut out for this life, but i've not turned professional so i'm dealing with this issue alongside a full time job.

    I'm going to give you the whole story, from my own point of view but as fairly as I can given there have been mistakes on my side too. The tenants have now been in place for about 5 years and have been paying rent consistently and the property is kept clean and tidy.

    The property in question (mid terrace) has a small upstairs bathroom with a walk in shower. When the shower was originally fitted, it took an amount of work on behalf of the original contractor (of whom i have no details) to get the shower tray to fit, and both the walls and the shower tray were modified to allow the tray into position. the walls around were tiled (none too well i'm informed originally as the bottom gap was fairly large)

    Every year or so over the last few years there have been minor issues with leaks into the ceiling and kitchen below, Contractors have been called in and the shower resiliconed, and the problem went away for a short while. We've also tried having boards fitted around the edge of the shower to no avail.

    In approx march/april last year, the tenants again complained of a leak. The agency emailed me and i replied that in view of the possibility of further damage that they should again get a contractor in. However it appears that my email reply landed whilst they were in the process of saying goodbye to a member of staff (no idea of whether this was voluntary) and it wend astray. I simply assumed that the issue had been dealt with and didn't chase. The tenants next complained that nothing had been done in around August. Unfortunately, this was whilst i was out of the country and the email in question got buried under a deluge of junk mail (agent emails are now filtered into a folder to prevent this.) The tenants complained again in october, at which point we put in a contractor (A) (who was familiar with the shower from previous callouts)

    (A) prodded the ceiling below the shower and it fell down around his ears. His recommendation was originally to start from scratch, remove the entire shower, replace the floorboards, shower tray and retile for which he quoted around £900. With a sharp intake of breath (this represents a sizable portion of the return from the property, given that we're in the north) we agreed. However on removal of the tiles, he discovered the shower tray customisation mentioned above and decided there was no reasonable way to replace the tray itself, so he advised we simply retile up to it and re-seal. We agreed to this and the final cost was closer to £700. At this time we did not replace the kitchen ceiling as we wanted to ensure that there were no further leaks.

    However, before the ceiling was repaired, there were further leaks. (A) had issues getting an appointment to get back into the property. (A)'s view is that there's nothing wrong with the shower barring the way the tenants are using it (their young son has used a small bucket in there for playing). It's now around january (And (A) is less than motivated due to the 'forthright nature' in which one of the tenants relatives was dealing with the issue. ) The tenants complained again around march, and i asked for (A) to be recontacted to look at the issue again. Unfortunately yet again this didn't happen and in early may the tenants rang to complain about water flowing down the wall & into electrics. As an emergency measure, the agents brought in a firm (B) who advised on resiliconing and refitting of boards plus an electrical safety check totalling about £800. At this point i'm less than happy about the costs, but reluctantly agree as this issue has been running on so long and at least (B) can be called back if it doesn't work.

    The tenants are now 'refusing' to have the contractor do this work as they want the entire floor and shower tray replacing as per the original plan from (A). I can see their point to some extent, but knowing what i know about the shower tray i feel like i'm caught in an increasingly expensive loop with no hope in sight.

    I'm not looking to 'do it on the cheap' At each stage i've followed the best advice of the contractors recommended to me by the agents, I'm just at my wits end and want it all finished and done with. I might even suggest (if one can be found to fit) a small bath instead of a shower tray just to make sure the problem never comes back.

    Advice from more experienced landlords appreciated. I recognise that some of the above might have been handled better from myself (Though the agents have been less than proactive too!)

    Thanks in advance

    Originally posted by IgnatiusA View Post
    The tenants are now 'refusing' to have the contractor do this work as they want the entire floor and shower tray replacing as per the original plan from (A).
    You need a proper, permanent solution to the problem, but any tenant telling me what I will or won't do would be a red line, and I'd look to get rid of them. They obviously would feel more comfortable as owner-occupiers - and then they can spend what they like in the way that they like.


      I have to say I don't blame your tenants, and I'm usually on the landlord's side. The problem is that tradesmen and builders will always bodge a job like that, as it will take many months or even years for the bodges to come to light.

      You do need to get your tenants out, and then start from scratch. I suggest you find a shower tray to fit, as this sounds like part of the problem. (They aren't intended to be modified.)

      Before fitting the tray, you also need to reinforce the floor joists and boards to prevent it moving. I suggest you hack off the plaster surrounding the tray and vertically batten at 300mm spacing with treated 19mm by 32mm timber. Make sure the battens are in a flat plane by adding shims to any brick that is out of line.

      Above this fit cement board. with aquapanel screws:
      Tape the joins, with Aquapanel tape

      and fill with waterproof tile adhesive:

      Then tile, with the same adhesive, but butter both the wall and the back of the tile.

      Grout with epoxy grout:

      Do all that, and your shower will be fine for years.


        sounds like you should get JK0 round to do the job!

        from the tenants' point of view, they have been dealing with this issue for about a year and a half and, if it was their own property, would possibly have paid to have it done properly in the first place. So, I can see their gripe with how long the process has taken and the fact that it's been 'solved' a number of times only for them to have to live with continually failed 'solutions.'

        Seeing as they have a good track record, I think I'd consider this my issue to solve permanently no matter what. After all, this issue won't go away just because the tenants do, and better the devil you know...


          After you have repaired the bathroom floor maybe a moulded shower cubicle would solve your problem.


            I had a similar, long running issue with a first floor flat I rent out which had a free standing tiled shower unit.
            The whole thing was dismantled and rebuilt at one point but still the issues kept coming back. affecting both my property but also the downstairs neighbour's. I finally bit the bullet and ripped the whole bathroom out, getting rid of the shower unit and installing a P-shaped bath with shower over it and have had no problems since.......


              Errata: I should have said 22mm by 47mm treated timber.


                If you replace the shower tray with another, then I would suggest tanking the room, so any leaks from within the enclosure are retained in the room.


                  you don't need a shower tray. get the whole room tanked and fully tiled including the floor AFTER the current tenants have left of course


                    Originally posted by MisterB View Post
                    you don't need a shower tray. get the whole room tanked and fully tiled including the floor AFTER the current tenants have left of course
                    Why of course? I'm afraid my sympathy is entirely with the tenant.

                    Shower trays are not designed to be "modified" and there should never be a "large gap". So the original work was bodged and you have been paying for it ever since but so have your tenants. Unless the kiddie is pouring water over the floor outside the shower a bucket is not the issue and is just an excuse for a botched job. Even if the kid was doing just that it would be hard to say what part of the problem was caused by the bodged shower. It's the classic buy cheap, pay twice.

                    I'd sack the agent, get a better job done by neither A nor B and try to keep the tenants as they sound to have been quite patient with a situation not of their making.


                      You've had tenants for 5 years who have paid rent on time and keep the place neat and tidy

                      The least you could do is fix the problem properly. I can't believe people on here who say you should get the tenants out - no wonder landlords have a bad name.


                        Originally posted by ian90210 View Post
                        I can't believe people on here who say you should get the tenants out - no wonder landlords have a bad name.
                        That'd be me. My red line is the idea that a tenant is going to tell me what to do or how to do it. Let them buy their own house, and do what they like. I'd remind you that I also said that OP needed a proper solution to the shower problem. Failing to do proper repairs is much more likely to give landlords a bad name: my tenants have nothing to complain about.


                          Ah children. My darling daughter thought it a great idea to flood the bathroom to play "puddle jumping" aged 5. She's 21.

                          I'm still reminding her that she owes me two ceilings.


                            I totally agree with Ian that some of the comments are disgusting.

                            The tenants have been more than patient and although it seems like the contractors have chose to bodge the job each time which isn't your fault, it isn't there's either.

                            I think your actually lucky there wasnt a major accident and you aren't being sued.

                            Get the job done properly and pay for alternative accommodation for the tenants if it's inhabitable while the work is done, or at least offer them a reduction in rent.

                            They are paying you to live in a property thats sub standard and possibly dangerous. Theyv had a hole on their ceiling and have spent over a year trying to have it corrected. I'm sorry if I sound harsh but whatever the cost you should be looking after these tenants


                              I think o/p must have already topped himself. He hasn't been back here since Saturday morning.


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