Can tenant insist on ‘local’ contractor in lockdown?

by Readers Question

15:51 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Can tenant insist on ‘local’ contractor in lockdown?

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Can tenant insist on ‘local’ contractor in lockdown?

Colleagues, any ideas? I have a very difficult tenant who has refused access for my builders last year and now won’t allow access for an EICR on Monday.

It’s 2 days left before the deadline, and I’ve been trying to do repairs on the house along with doing the electrical cert. Could be that they are hiding things, but they say they have the right not to allow a workman now as my contractors are out of the area, and it’s lockdown.

They insist it’s their right to insist on a ‘local contractor’ due to safety and their mother is unwell.

I’m going to serve notice and will let environmental health know they are refusing access, but where do we stand with the new EICR deadline?

I’m sure councils are rubbing their hands with glee at things.

Karen

Comments

Devon Landlords

16:27 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I would be interested to know the answer to the EICR deadline question too. One of our tenants has refused access to have it done until after lockdown. We obviously respected their wishes on this, but hope we aren't breaking any laws.

John Mac

9:53 AM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

With regards to EICR deadline, as long as you have documented requests for access then you should be fine.

Tenants requesting "Local Contractors" is a red herring, why would they be any safer than an out of town one?
It's true that they can deny access, so not a lot you can do apart from keep records & maybe inform local council to cover your back. Plus consider Sec21 notice as this might get their attention.

Malcolm Ingham

9:58 AM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I too have a tenant who is refusing access, and has done so for more than 12 months, on the basis that he is shielding due to having had a kidney transplant some years ago. No access has meant that I cannot get the gas safety test done, which is 12 months overdue, and cannot get the EICR test done.

Judith Wordsworth

10:18 AM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Devon Landlords at 29/03/2021 - 16:27
You will be breaking the law. But if you have chain of WRITTEN correspondence I believe that you may have a good defence to any action by LA etc. Get the tenant to put in writing that they are not allowing you or your contractor access.
How old are they? Have they had 1st, or even 2nd Covid jab?
Why are you telling them where your contractors are based? It's not their business.

Paul Shears

11:46 AM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I have found that tenants like this have an instant attitude adjustment when the front door lock breaks or the heating fails.
I understand that TV rental arrears people used to stick a drawing pin in the external aerial cable. The customer instantly became more compliant and paid up in order to get their TV working! But then the loss of the idiot lantern always carried more weight than food and shelter.

Devon Landlords

21:37 PM, 31st March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 30/03/2021 - 10:18
Thanks, yes, we have written communication between ourselves and the tenants if we ever need to show it. We manage the property ourselves so no Lettings Agents involved. Hopefully they will allow access by 12th May. With regards to the "local contractor" issue, that was in the original poster Karen's comments.

raj beri

8:11 AM, 3rd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

As other have commented, entering without the tenants permission is unlawful regardless. Treat EICR same as annual gas cert - they can refuse, so just keep a record of all communications with tenant in case it goes to court?

I guess if people are not happy with tenant behaviour over this, as with any other, it's eviction proceedings

Jessie Jones

9:57 AM, 3rd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I'm assuming that you have written to them to explain the reason and necessity of having an EICR.
Some council areas have schemes such as 'call before you serve', which is a free to use mediation service. The idea is that if your tenant is behaving in an un-tenant-like manner, and you are considering serving a Section 21 notice, then these mediation teams will contact the tenant and explain to them the need to work with you, rather than against you. The benefit for the council of course is that they don't want to have to rehome someone once they have been evicted. Notwithstanding that you won't be able to evict the tenants right now, if they continue to be problematic you will have done your best with them and will have started the process.


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