10:50 AM, 3rd November 2014, About 9 years ago 29
Our tenant has informed us today that her £500 pram has been destroyed beyond repair due to a collapsed kitchen ceiling and she wants to claim the full amount from us. In a nutshell, I would like to know if we are liable please. Any advice gratefully received.
To give a bit of background, 2 weeks ago on Sunday afternoon, she said there was water dripping through the kitchen ceiling and demanded an emergency plumber on the spot. She said it had being doing it since Saturday but that she couldn’t get through to us to report the problem. Not true, the phone was with us constantly, we received at least 5 calls, none from her. We declined this request and said we would have a plumber with her on Monday morning which we did. Our usual plumber was too busy to go but we used our regular handyperson who builds extensions etc and does small plumbing jobs for us. He checked the sink, under the bath (removed the panel etc) and whilst he found the floor and vinyl behind the sink was wet could find no obvious cause. He felt that the children may have overfilled the sink and it had dropped through. There was also no water dripping in the kitchen.
We heard no more until last Sunday. Same scenario, water p**sing through the ceiling etc etc, again demanding an emergency plumber. Again we declined and asked the tenant to turn the water off and we would have someone there first thing Monday morning. This was met with verbal abuse, being sworn at and the phone being put down on us. We were then called back to be told she was going to get her own emergency plumber and deduct it from the rent. We reiterated that this was not acceptable. Phone put down again… (Strange how this is always Sundays!) this time on Monday, we had our regular plumber who identified the fault as the sealant around the bath not doing its job. He jacked the bath up as much as possible but didn’t have time to rectify the fault. He said it needed to dry out and a frame made for the bath, new silicone etc. he returned to the property on Friday to complete the work. We were called again Saturday to be told it was still leaking and water was still dripping through the ceiling. The plumber agreed to go back again this morning. Apparently a push-fit joint was weeping which he has replaced.
We then received another call this morning, stating that after the plumber went, the ceiling fell in. He had already informed me on Friday (as well as the tenant) that it was vulnerable and I had given him the go ahead to get his plasterer friend to take the ceiling down, replace, redecorate etc. he had informed the tenant that this will be happening on Tuesday. So, all of a sudden, after he left , it caved in its her v expensive pram under it….. Why would you out a pram there knowing it was dodgy is my first thought? The plumber told me this morning that it looks as if they may have been pulling on the ceiling as it was much lower than Friday and that there was no water going down the sides of the bath when he left. It had been filled and blasted with water as a test. Of course proving that would be difficult,nay impossible no doubt.
Of course this could all tie in with her telling me on Friday, (I challenged her as my plumber told me she had found another property) that she is looking for somewhere else as the property is not fit to live in and that we don’t do repairs… She has lived there only 3 months. In that time, there have been new carpets throughout, repairs to window catches, replacement of a cracked bath panel, the roof ridge tiles repointed and £100 given to them for work they have done on the garden. Apparently we are very negligent as she reported this 19 days ago and only now are we doing something about it. The house is now suffering from mould on the upstairs walls, again in 4 years of owning the property, it was never a problem and this has been blamed on the leaking roofs etc. the roofer tells me there was no water ingress at all. Other requests we have had are to sort out the aerial, it was working fine on arrival but now isn’t for some reason and the kitchen cupboard handles which are rusting and new window locks for the upstairs windows as her 2 year old is likely to climb out?! Everything is usually accompanied by ‘this is not healthy for my children’
Quite happy for her to go away but not to then try and take us for a new pram, return of bond etc.
as I said at the start, any thoughts, suggestions gratefully received.
Apologies for the war and peace, it’s just that the devil is usually in the detail!