Broken shower surround and disabled tenant unable to use bath

by Readers Question

11:35 AM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Broken shower surround and disabled tenant unable to use bath

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Broken shower surround and disabled tenant unable to use bath

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

RachelTiles



Comments

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

11:59 AM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

3 weeks for a repair is not acceptable.... no matter how much it costs you must get this fixed sooner rather than later - argue the toss about cost and deposit deductions later on... get it sorted.....

how would you like to not be clean for such a long time ?

AA Properties Wales

12:08 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi this is Kev at AA Properties Wales. You were not to know about your tenant being disabled. Phone the local housing unit at council and ask their advice. I just fixed a broken shower unit, really easy. After housing advice, give your tenant a letter explaining the remedy and you genuinely want to help, not as a landlord but to help him (make sure he signs for this letter). Forget contractors, get a plumber from shop window. You can sue this tenant if he is costing you time and money. The shower is wear and tear, you can claim allowance off your tax bill. Take charge please, it is your investment...

John Frith

12:11 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Because of the location of the broken tile, it's unlikely to be malicious damage, and anyway the cracked grouting is wear and tear. I suggest it's not worth fighting over.

Was the water damage visible to the tenant? If so, you do have a little leverage as they should have reported it as soon as it was noticed.

Ask your contractor if they can do a temporary fix straight away that would allow the shower to be used.

Ask tenant if they can find a reputable contractor to do the work sooner.

Offer compensation for the delay in getting it sorted.

Let them know you understand it's a difficult situation for them.

Ask for a medical certificate to prove inability to use bath before offering bath lift.

John Frith

12:19 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Consider letting them use the shower. Ok it causes a bit more damage, but probably less than compensation to the tenant, or installing a chair lift.

Rachel York

12:42 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Thank you for all your replies, it's not for lack of trying to get a contractor to fix the problem I wish it could be fixed already. I have offered alternative bathing methods that I have offered to cover all costs on which have been outright rejected even where there are private disabled facilities available.

I have managed to locate a company that will hire a bath lift and this will be installed tomorrow. Please be assured I don't want anyone to be without bathing facilities and have spent many hours trying to get the problem resolved.

The tenant has failed to notify the agents about the very obvious water leaks in the floor below.

Up till now I have never experienced an almost 5 week wait for a contractor to do some work and I have chased many contractors about quoting and doing the work to speed things up!!

Rachel York

12:46 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "22/05/2014 - 11:59":

Noted, they do have a full separate bathroom for use, a motorised bath seat is being fitted tomorrow

Carl Allan

13:16 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "22/05/2014 - 12:19":

Don't put a plaster on it - fix it once and for all. It will be cheaper in the long run.

Michael Freer

13:16 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "22/05/2014 - 12:19":

You seem to be taking care of this this yourself when there is a LA involved.

Ask them for contractors details, they'll have a long list, and work through them (yourself or ask the LA to do so) until you can find someone to do the work immediately. 1 week is too long let alone 4-5 weeks.

Ian Ringrose

13:49 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

RatedPeople.co.uk will come up with someone that can do the work quickly if you put the job on at a high enough price.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

14:12 PM, 22nd May 2014
About 5 years ago

irrespective of offers for "alternative bathing" facilities and irrespective of who is at fault, and irrespective of whether the tenant did not tell you before about the leak you still have a responsibility to provide the tenant with bathing facilities. If they have said they cannot use a bath - they cannot use a bath - and spending £600 on a lift device is mad... you could probably have replaced the whole shower unit for that !!! Why not ask on here if anyone who posts here and who is from your town has a good contact ? This week I asked for help in a similar way and I got a new engineer to replace one who had not been trying to sort it out for the last 3 weeks... I have a quote already and job booked in Monday..... good luck

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