Broken shower surround and disabled tenant unable to use bath

by Readers Question

11:35 AM, 22nd May 2014
About 7 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


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Comments

Kulasmiley

11:26 AM, 23rd May 2014
About 7 years ago

Excellent advice from AllbankersarebastardsSmith! I would always get the repair done asap - that means you are covered with council (please do phone them for advice). They will respect you more if you are a proactive landlord. Don't "get rid" of your tenant, they have feelings, they have dignity, they have powers to make our lives hell. Wait for 3 months and see how things progress, then make a calm judgment call. It is refreshing that we are a family at property 118!

Devon Landlord

11:59 AM, 23rd May 2014
About 7 years ago

To a certain extent I agree with ABAB Smith about the tenant, but after a few months issue the section 21 and then get rid. My previous comments still stand. You do not need to give a reason when issuing a section 21 notice, you just have to make sure that all your deposit protection systems are in sound order and then, even though there may be some delay with the Courts you will still get the order to re-claim the property.

Devon Landlord.

Jeremy Smith

1:10 AM, 24th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Devon Landlord" at "23/05/2014 - 11:59":

In a throw-away, consumerist society, I guess the tenants are just another commodity that you can replace when they don't quite live up to your expectations......

I just hope I never have to rent and have a landlord with the attitude of "Deven Landlord" .

I suppose business is business, and profit margins can't be affected by unforeseen costs.

I guess when the family dog gets sick, you just tell the children it 'ran off',.... can't be doing with paying a vet's bill for a "dog" .....even though he loved you unconditionally, probably more than the wife does for your pay-cheque every month.

Roy B

2:36 AM, 24th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "24/05/2014 - 01:10":

Tenants who wreck your property can bankrupt you - why should you allow them to do this. Read through all the posts on this - you will find that the damage done runs into thousands - not hundreds. Business or socialy concious landlord, you cannot afford to let the peoperty become uninhabitable because the tenant couldn't be bothered to report damage and then insists on creating more. There has to be give and take in these situations - and not just the landlord giving and the tenant taking. I wonder how you would feel if a similar situation happened and the tenant was your lodger?

Devon Landlord

10:10 AM, 24th May 2014
About 7 years ago

I think that Jeremy Smith needs a reality check here. How can we be sure that the tenant is disabled? Do they have medical evidence to support it? If so there may be mitigating circumstances, however, I doubt it as the issue would have been raised at the start of the tenancy when the tenant was considering renting it. Roy B has a very relevant point. My considerable experience has shown too, that though the majority of tenants are excellent and many of mine have been happy with me for years now, some are chancers and control freaks and they like nothing more than trying to control their landlords. When you have one of these, the only realistic solution is to get rid asap. Jeremy realises that he has no case by trying to be offensive, but such stupid behaviour only tends to harden attitudes. Not so in my case as I am a very reasonable person to which my many excellent tenants will testify. Perhaps Jeremy needs a few chancers to make his day.

Roy B

13:44 PM, 24th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Devon Landlord" at "24/05/2014 - 10:10":

Is Jeremy a landlord or tanant?

Mandy Thomson

14:34 PM, 24th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Surely this particular issue, and the wider issues concerning property letting aren't, or at least, shouldn't be about landlords v tenants or vice versa, but unfortunately, any issue concerning housing can easily become politicised and polarised, not helped by certain politicians and councils with their own political agendas.

Joe Bloggs

9:59 AM, 27th May 2014
About 6 years ago

QUOTE - '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.'
COMMENT - YOU SHOULD ENGAGE A PROPER TILER TO RE-TILE. TILING SHOWER AREAS HAS TO BE DONE ON A WATERPROOF SUBSTRATE AND SOLIDLY BEDDED USING WATERPROOF ADHESIVE. FEW TILERS DO THIS CORRECTLY EVEN IN TOP NOTCH PROPERTIES. THE FACT THAT THE GROUT IS CRACKED SUGGESTS A PREVIOUS COWBOY JOB WHICH IS NOT THE TENANTS FAULT.

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