Called out Repairman – Nothing wrong – Can we charge tenant?

by Readers Question

15:36 PM, 10th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Called out Repairman – Nothing wrong – Can we charge tenant?

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Called out Repairman – Nothing wrong – Can we charge tenant?

The other week we had a report from the tenant saying that the dishwasher wasn’t working. We asked them to check the fuse-box and check the troubleshooting in the manual. They did this so we booked an engineer to come round at a cost of £135.

The engineer sent by the manufacturer said there was nothing wrong with the appliance and that the tenants said that it had been working for the last few days so left.

The problem with the list of permitted fees is that there seems to be no provision for such scenario. In the past we would not have hesitated to re-bill this to the tenant.

Can anybody shed any light on if this cost can be billed back to the tenant without breaking the law? I guess it can’t be recouped at the end of the tenancy via the deposit.

Many thanks
Pablo3uk


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Comments

NEIL T

15:44 PM, 11th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Personally, I always go and check it out myself before getting the repair man involved. Quite often simple things are not always apparent to a hands off tenant. Otherwise it depends how you value your tenant. I usually take the hit and then build it in to the rent rise when/if they renew.

Smartermind

17:52 PM, 11th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by neilt at 11/03/2020 - 15:44
I agree. Student tenants in my son's property reported a problem with the security alarm and wanted to disable it. They said it keeps ringing. I went and checked and it was fine, didn't ring once while I was there. They called again the following day considerably distressed saying the alarm still keeps ringing. So I duly went and checked it again and of course again there were no issues. So I questioned the tenants about when the alarm was ringing - they said it rings when we are in the kitchen! Transpires the novices-at-life had confused the smoke alarm with the burglar alarm. Always worth checking things out yourself unless distance is an issue. Of course they now want to disable the smoke alarm and wrapped it in plastic, which I've told them to remove. Advised them not to burn their food and open a few windows.

paul kaye

17:53 PM, 11th March 2020
About 7 months ago

course you can claim this cost back and or deduct from the deposit,but you may have more to deduct from the deposit,so I would not reduce that total and send the tenants a bill for call out.
I would also say what ever are you supplying a dishwasher for,is it in the tenancy agreement ? if not you are not obliged to have it repaired if it packs in.
In fact all you have to supply is a sink you are not obliged to supply any appliances at all.

Paul Shears

23:25 PM, 11th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 11/03/2020 - 17:52
Some people can be really heavy going. It makes you wonder how they have survived this long, let alone what will happen in the future.

Rob Crawford

12:18 PM, 12th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by paul kaye at 11/03/2020 - 17:53My understanding is that it can only be charged as a default fee if detailed as an obligation of the tenant in the tenancy agreement and that should be deducted from the deposit. Or does this only apply to keys and security? See TFA.

paul kaye

12:25 PM, 12th March 2020
About 7 months ago

I only let unfurnished with a cooker freestanding or a built under cooker with a hob.
you are not obliged to even provide a hob,but I always do and will replace it if faulty.
I have been a landlord for over 20 years and only let unfurnished.
I insure the heating and boiler for breakdowns etc and an annual service and gas certificate.
I would never supply appliances,you are asking for trouble,lesson learnt !

NEIL T

16:15 PM, 12th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Here's a thought. A friend of mine supplies white goods, if requested, but has a rider in the lease saying that the tenant is responsible for all repairs and is required to return the flat/house with all said white goods in proper working order.
Sound good or not enforceable?

Paul Shears

16:20 PM, 12th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by neilt at 12/03/2020 - 16:15
Probably not enforceable
My own solution, which may be legally incorrect but certainly works in practice over many years is to provide a very good washing machine and nothing else. All other electrical goods are the property of the housemates and they can do what they like with them. Sometimes they replace an item. Everyone knows where they stand and it works. But I only take people with significant disposable income.

Jim S

23:29 PM, 14th March 2020
About 7 months ago

This is a great question and I notice that nobody has answered it yet, everyone I can think of (including the RLA/NLA or NRLA) skirts around answering it and just says "Deduct it from the deposit" the idea being if it is deducted from the deposit it somehow becomes a legal deduction. Obviously if an independent adjudicator makes the decision then we are covered but what if it doesn't go to an adjudicator and the tenants just agree the deposit deduction. Just because the tenant has agreed the deduction does not mean that this is no longer a prohibited fee. In theory the tenant could come back and sue you under the tenancy fees ban. Even during the tenancy if the tenants agree to pay the call out fee they could technically come back and then sue you.
Also its not a very good idea to keep banking a deposit deduction for when the tenancy ends because obviously the value of the deposit keeps reducing, so when the tenant does leave and there is cleaning, damages and rent deductions to be made you find that their is hardly any deposit left.
Is there a Government department that this question could be sent to?


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