Sensible answer for out of hours emergencies?

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    Sensible answer for out of hours emergencies?

    We had a tenant who apparently had to call out an engineer out of office hours to sort out a house alarm that was going off, and he's presented us with a large bill. We've since heard on the grapevine that the engineer is a mate of his and it looks like the whole thing could be a scam. What's a sensible set of rules to give to tenants for out of hours emergencies. I always imagined that giving tenants a list of numbers of trusted workmen would result in them calling them out at emergency rates for the slightest dripping tap rather than waiting until the following day, but maybe that's better than risking being scammed or having them call out some cowboy. Does anyone have this covered in a way I haven't thought of?

    #2
    Simply make yourself contactable 24/7 through a mobile phone and state that no tenant is to deal with any emergency works other than that which the emergency services would be required to (i.e. house fire)

    In the event of electrical problem, isolate the section of the supply to the affected part/applicance etc. Inform the landlord

    In the event of water leak, turn the water off. Inform the landlord.

    In the event of window breakage, forced entry by thieves requiring door security - contact the landlords insurers on...............number.

    I have had a tenant phone me at 9.30 Saturday night demanding I do something about a leak through the ceiling from under the bath area. After insisting they turned the water off (they hadn't up to the point of telephone call) I was cajoled into sending a plumber out on emergency rates. £90 + VAT later - advice was to turn the water off and look to repairing it on Monday!!!!

    If I get a leak at my home - I turn the cold water off - if it still drips, then its on the hot water side - drain hot water off. Simple - a trained monkey could do it!!!!

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      #3
      I once got called out to a tenant at midnight as he had no electric, having driven 20 miles as he thought it was the fuse but did not know how to change it I arrived to find he was stood in the hall, bit drunk and low and behold the bulb in the hall had gone - he had not tried any other lights - I smiled sweetly, changed the bulb and sent him a bill for 55.00 for my time - he paid immediatley.

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        #4
        Midnight? Your tenants were clearly early birds - how about 2.30am Sat/sun? I was in no state to drive and was some distance away, the silly tenant had locked himself out and wasn't prepared to wake the other tenants in the house so expected ME to get out of bed and let him in!

        Tiggy, I like your style, but how the heck did you get him to cough up?!

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          #5
          Originally posted by Surrey View Post
          Midnight? Your tenants were clearly early birds - how about 2.30am Sat/sun? I was in no state to drive and was some distance away, the silly tenant had locked himself out and wasn't prepared to wake the other tenants in the house so expected ME to get out of bed and let him in!
          That's why they don't get an out of hours number! We used to let tenants have a mobile but they would pester us day and night with, well, sh*t, basically :-) The type of tenant we mainly deal with has grown up being dependent on the government for everything and doesn't show a lot of initiative, to put it mildy. There has to be a compromise answer that covers emergencies but doesn't allow tenants to call you out to change a bulb!

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            #6
            Err.........Greengriff, it is considered to be unreasonable not to give a tenant a telephone number at which to contact the landlord or his agent 24/7 and unfortunately I know it can be bothersome. However, if you subsequently discover the tenant was at fault and did not undertake a reasonable assessment first then you can ligitimately charge them for any expenses incurred. If they then don't pay a S.21 might just be in the post at the earliest available opportunity!
            The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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              #7
              Unfortunately I can't think of any specific monetary charge one could make for a broken night's sleep! Shame, but there ya go...

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                #8
                I run an alarm website and get alot of tenants looking for alarm manuals, most of them are on the site for them to download.

                No code or manual for your alarm panel?
                Free security help and advice

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by greengriff View Post
                  That's why they don't get an out of hours number! We used to let tenants have a mobile but they would pester us day and night with, well, sh*t, basically :-) The type of tenant we mainly deal with has grown up being dependent on the government for everything and doesn't show a lot of initiative, to put it mildy. There has to be a compromise answer that covers emergencies but doesn't allow tenants to call you out to change a bulb!
                  My tenancy agreements state (and I think it is part of landlord & tenant law ?) that the tenant is expected to tend to minor matters in the same as they would do in a home of their own. When I was in prop man, I found some tenants used to think that they were receiving "serviced accommodation" and expected us to resolve whatever happened within an hour or a day, regardless of how minor or how non-urgent the matter was (shelf a bit loose, etc.)

                  So if there was suddenly no light in a room, it is not reasonable for the tenant to reach for a 24/7 emergency electrician as the first reaction - for they wouldn't respond that way if the home was their own and the money was coming out of their pocket.

                  After a few years letting properties and dealing with tenants, I came to the realisation that the most important thing about letting is knowing who you are putting into your properties and that if they are decent/quality people, everything else is relatively easy. This has served me well for a long time now.

                  If you only stand for accepting decent/good people, such things as have been written here just don't happen, but I accept that sometimes Landlords don't have a good choice.
                  Last edited by TenantsLuvMe; 24-03-2008, 22:33 PM. Reason: text added

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