Fairly compensating tenants for overrunning repair?

Fairly compensating tenants for overrunning repair?

0:01 AM, 18th May 2023, About 10 months ago 6

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Hello – long-time reader, first-time poster – many thanks in advance for any suggestions!

I have a repair which has significantly overrun, due to mistakes made by the freeholder’s repair company. Looking for suggestions on appropriate compensation/mitigations for me to offer to tenants.

I am the landlord of a 2-bed flat in London, shared by 2 friends (so they use both bedrooms separately). The flat is leasehold and is part of a small block; repairs to the exterior are managed by a ‘repair partner’ company. Lease states that certain repairs, including windows, should be done by this company (and, based on past experience, they are inflexible regarding letting owners complete these repairs themselves).

4 months ago, I logged a repair for a window with a broken opening mechanism (due to normal wear and tear). This has a repair SLA of 20 working days (as per the ‘repair partner’ written guidelines) but was initially delayed by 5 weeks because the ‘repair partner’ repeatedly gave the glazier incorrect address details – meaning repeated missed appointments.
When the glazier did attend, they noted a new part was needed, with an 8-10 week lead time, which the ‘repair partner’ said was on order.

The glazier sealed the window closed in the meantime (I provided tenants with a dehumidifier and offered payment for running costs).

I reached out to the ‘repair partner’ after 6 weeks to check if the replacement part was on track and to see if we could book a date in advance for glazier to fit. It turned out that the ‘repair partner’ had forgotten to place the order. This means a further 10-12 weeks wait time – so bedroom with no opening window going into the summer months.

Setting aside frustration with the mismanagement of repair by the ‘repair partner’ , my main concern is how to mitigate discomfort for the tenants – and ensure that they feel I’m recognising their discomfort and treating them fairly.

I’m thinking:
– Provide de-humidifier and pay for running costs (already done)
– Provide a portable air conditioner and pay for running costs
– Provide a flat-rate per week rent refund (not sure how to calculate a fair amount? Maybe 10% of monthly rent?) per month of overrunning work.

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions!

I should note that tenants have not made a fuss or asked for anything here – but the further 10-12 weeks delay will be a big blow and I want to get ahead of their understandable frustration by offering some sensible mitigations/compensation upfront.

Thank you,

Pip


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Comments

GlanACC

7:42 AM, 18th May 2023, About 10 months ago

I agree they should be compensated, what you suggest sounds reasonable. It should cover any extra expense that the tenant has had to make. I did a couple of kitchen refits and paid the tenant for take away food for 4 days. Also when heating broke down and couldn't get a plumber I put in heaters for a week and paid the tenant for electric (£10.00 a day)

Kopf Schmerz

8:53 AM, 18th May 2023, About 10 months ago

I have a tenant (a “professional”) who has reported repairs to the council, but who will not allow access to undertake the repairs. The council say they intend to enforce. Has anyone experienced similar?

LordOf TheManor

16:32 PM, 18th May 2023, About 10 months ago

Hi Pip
If I were you, I would be questioning the wisdom of the window being sealed shut as a solution to what sounds like the common problem of a hinge mechanism repair.

Besides providing daylight & ventilation, windows are also emergency escape routes - particularly from flats. I'd be seeking an alternative solution to sealing the window shut. 'Long occupation' rooms are bedrooms & lounges making them key exit routes..... hence why I wouldn't accept the sealing up whether in the short or the longer term.

Windows and building control: do the windows have a FENSA certificate - past or present? If so, get on to FENSA to advise on an alternative solution while you wait for the lease folk repairers. If you really do have to wait for them - ask them who is responsible for the occupiers' safety with the window sealed shut.

Nationwide, there are plenty of professional double glazing window repairer companies. Have a look under 'Which Trusted Trader' and 'Checkatrade' for the area of your flat - and check out the reviews for the top rated people and contact them for advice.

Trader Platforms - such as the above - have Q&As where you can post a question to a professional in the double glazing window repair business.

Ask the experts! They may have an alternative solution such as the installation of a window restrictor which preserves ventilation while making sure the window doesn't get opened beyond the limits of the faulty hinge mechanism. This won't cost you much and there would be no need to compensate your tenants.

If the experts agree that sealing up the window is the only way to wait out this lengthy repair along with its inherant safety issues, then get that in writing and send it to those in charge of the repair. Keep evidence of your correspondence - just in case.

Lord

David Houghton

21:58 PM, 19th May 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kopf Schmerz at 18/05/2023 - 08:53
Yep. Record all events in writing. Send the council copies and ask for their advice. They won't help. Then if worst comes to worst you have a defence at a tribunal. In the meantime serve notice requiring possession

Judith Wordsworth

16:43 PM, 20th May 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kopf Schmerz at 18/05/2023 - 08:53
The Council, as Freeholder, or their workman, has every right to enter the property to effect the repairs.

You own lease will clearly state that and in turn your Tenancy Agreement should state that the Tenant must abide by the terms, conditions and obligations that you have as Leaseholder.

I always have the tenant sign and date a Deed when taking on the tenancy which states this.
"I [the tenant] Hereby covenant with [my name] of ]my address not the property address] and Freeholder [name] of [address]

To observe and perform all the covenants and obligations of the Lessee [my name] in the Lease relating to [the property address] other than in the case of Ground Rent, Service/Maintenance charge and Buildings Insurance.

Judith Wordsworth

16:52 PM, 20th May 2023, About 10 months ago

Window handles and hinges are readily available over the counter from double glazing merchants and from B&Q/Screwfix/Wickes/Tool Station etc

This length of time to repair is unreasonable and I would write and tell the Freeholder this (2) tell them a breach of statutory H&S; a breach of Fire Regulations 2022 and probably the buildings insurance to have the window sealed so it cannot open. (3) Should there be a Grenfell then they as Freeholder and whose workman/agent carried out this sealing up will be wholly liable for injury or death of your tenant or other occupants

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