Leak – Tenant delay reporting and made problem worse?

by DSR

9:08 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

Leak – Tenant delay reporting and made problem worse?

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Leak – Tenant delay reporting and made problem worse?

The tenant called in with a ‘slight leak in the bathroom ceiling’. He sends a photo and clearly no way this is just a few days old – he then backtracks and says he’s been away for a few days and comes home to it as it is (really – we are in lockdown!?!)

The plumber goes round today, his view is this has been going on a lot longer than a few days too for sure as there is black mould alongside where the roof plasterboard meets the wall (and where the leak is) indicating water has been sitting in the area for way longer than 48 hours.

I have to repair the leak of course, but the damage may cost a lot more than it would have done if the tenant had reported it earlier.

Can I charge the tenant something towards the bill?

Anyone had a similar problem?

Reluctant Landlord

Comments

John

9:37 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

No you can’t. Clearly your tenant is an idiot who doesn’t care about your property. As soon as the restrictions on evictions are lifted you should get rid of him.
John

Ian Narbeth

9:38 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

Hi, yes I did. A tenant in one of our HMOs moved out without telling us to start a job elsewhere. He kept paying the rent as he said he might want to come back if the new job did not work out. When he returned a slow leak from an upstairs bathroom had caused substantial damage to the plasterwork. Black mould was on the ceiling and wall.
Fortunately, the tenant was reasonable and when I explained that if the damage had been reported when it first occurred it could have been dealt with for minimal cost, he agreed to pay the whole cost of repair which was over £150.
I suggest you ask the tenant to pay for the full cost of the repair. I would write to him along the lines of: "Thank you for explaining you were away for 48 hours. My plumber's expert opinion is that the problem started a lot more than 48 hours previously. You should have reported the matter sooner. If you had done so we could have nipped this in the bud and there would not be the damage which has occurred."
It is important to put in writing without delay what the tenant has told you. Unless he comes back pretty quickly to deny that's what he said, your unanswered letter/email will be good contemporaneous evidence if you have a dispute later.

DSR

9:48 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 26/02/2021 - 09:38
I was planning to go down this letter/formal route, but I know he wont pay. The only thing I can see is me having it as evidence to take off the deposit...

Graham Bowcock

9:50 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

It's one of those things that tenants do. When I hear these stories it re-emphasises to me why some tenants will never be capable of being owners.

Personally I'd live with it. As I say tenants do make these errors of judgment, but for every one who does I've found many who go overboard to keep their house looking shipshape. BY all means point it out and see if they will contribute, but don't lose any sleep over it.

Ian Narbeth

10:00 AM, 26th February 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by RL at 26/02/2021 - 09:48
For the price of 20 minutes of your time I would write to him.so that you have a better chance of taking it out of the deposit.

Lesley Smith

11:11 AM, 27th February 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by John at 26/02/2021 - 09:37
I have had this happen to me by tenants lying about when and who did what.


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