Should landlords have the right to refuse DSS tenants?10:43 AM, 20th May 2019
About 4 weeks ago 124
I have had a tenant in my property since 2012. The most recent letting agent inspection report identified a major leak from the shower area affecting the room on the floor below. The tenant does have a bath they can use, but I have just been told they are disabled and cannot use it.
On investigating it has been found that the grout is very badly cracked and a border tile has been broken within the shower enclosure (it’s a shower tray with sliding doors). The inventory report undertaken before the tenant moved in and previous letting report of January’14 showed no damage at all – I suspect the shower area has suffered some form of impact/damage of an unknown origin that has occurred since the end of January’14 and end of April this year. I nor the agent have received notification of the fault from the tenant prior to the agent inspection.
The tenant refused to stop using the shower after the agent inspection visit, I had to arrange for a plumber to temporarily fix the major cracks (in case they decided to use the shower area) and removed the shower hose so the shower could not be used until the shower is fully repaired. The tenant does have a separate bathroom with bath available for use.
Since the identification of the fault the tenant has stated that they are disabled and cannot use the bath, I have offered to buy a bath seat or pay for the tenant to use private shower facilities at the local leisure centre until the problem can be fixed. I can’t change the mixer unit on the bath to a shower as there is limited tiling above the bath and no shower screen over the bath – I don’t want damage to the plasterboard above the bath and to end up with another problem. Also a temporary plug on shower hose can’t be affixed as there are none available that will fit the mixer tap to the bath.
My insurance company has also finally agreed to accept paying for the necessary and urgent repairs (first notified on the 9th may), the earliest the plumber can get there to fix the problem is in 3 to 4 weeks time (regardless of the insurance situation this is the time frame I was given by the contractor), other contractors have stated longer time periods. ( I am chasing another contractor who may be able to do the work sooner).
The tenant refuses to accept the temporary alternatives, has accused my letting agent of being discriminatory, has stated I’m breaching the Equality Act and has rejected the options offered and insists that the change of mixer unit to a shower mixer unit is the only option (the agent has explained why the shower over a bath can’t be used, it would also take the same length of time to get the plumber to do all of the necessary other work too as it would to fix the shower).
I have tried to provide suitable alternatives to assist the tenant and have tried every possible way to remedy the problem asap. The tenant is also now threatening to go to the media along with legal action and is stating they have spoken to the housing department (I don’t think it’s the LA housing enforcement department but some social housing staff?) who allegedly agree with her objections. The tenant also states the mixer shower replacement unit alone (without tiling or shower screen) is ‘reasonable adjustment’, I have concerns regards damage as mentioned already and a also safety risk from slip injury from water washing over the bath edge and onto the floor.
Does anyone have any suggestions/remedies other than get the shower fixed asap which is what I’m working on. I will see how much it is to hire a bath lift (in and out of bath) seat as the tenant has previously stated only this would be acceptable (these units are around £600 +vat).
Thanks for your thoughts and assistance
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