Licked by a lollipop stick

by Readers Question

19:53 PM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Licked by a lollipop stick

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Licked by a lollipop stick

My tenants of six months made an emergency call out for a plumber to unblock the kitchen sink. Plumber found a lollipop stick in th U bend which in turn had caused food waste to accumulate. Licked by a lollipop stick

I am inclined to bill the tenants, but the argue they definitely did not drop a lollipop stick down the plug hole and that it was probably left over from a previous tenant.

I can’t prove they caused the blockage, likewise they can’t prove the didn’t.

If they refuse to pay the bill I have thought about issuing a notice to quit.

Any constructive advice would be welcome.

Thanks

Stewy (BluDo)



Comments

Mark Alexander

19:55 PM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

How much was the bill, I'm guessing not much?

Do you really want the hassle of evicting, finding new tenants and the potential of a void period over this?
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Monty Bodkin

21:22 PM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Assuming this is not clearly covered in the tenancy agreement.

Assuming I had not explained on handover of the property that blocked kitchen drains is very much the tenants responsibility, in explicit terms .

Assuming I had authorised my new tenant carte blanch to instruct whatever repairs they think fit and had also given them the impression that a blocked kitchen sink is an emergency.

Assuming my trusted plumber didn't give me the courtesy of at least phoning me first.

Then I would pay up happily and regard it as money well spent for my education.

And never, ever make the same mistakes again.

Mark Alexander

21:26 PM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Monty Bodkin" at "12/03/2015 - 21:22":

.... and if you had done all of those things yet still found yourself in the same position as Stewy what would you do then?
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Monty Bodkin

22:03 PM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/03/2015 - 21:26":

Hah! Caught me out on the practicalities.
You are a clever bugger Mark!

What I would actually do (and have done) is pay the bill on this occasion and explain sweetly but in no uncertain terms to the tenant exactly what is an acceptable emergency and what they should sort out for themselves in future.

I would have then told my plumber, at the Friday 5 o clock pint, that I find his abuse of our business relationship intolerable and if he persists, I will be forced to take further action (or words to that effect).

Mike McDonagh

11:38 AM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

I would not blame the tenants for the lolly pop stick as it could easily have been a previous tenant.
However, I would charge them for the "emergency" element of the call out for 2 reasons.
1) If as described the blockage was caused by a build up round the stick this did not happen instantly. The run away will have been progressively slower and should have been reported earlier and not wait until fully blocked.
2) A water leak, a gas leak, a roof leak, a broken window or an electrical short is an emergency. A blocked sink is an inconvenience, not an emergency and could easily have waited a day for a normal appointment.

Mark Alexander

11:50 AM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

There are plenty of sink and drain unblockers available in Supermarkets for around £2.50 these days. Furthermore, once the water is flowing again it is not rocket science to unscrew a ubend and take a look at what's going on.

In future, ask the tenant to contact you to report any problems in the first instance.

I agree that a blocked sink is not an emergency.
.

Mandy Thomson

12:05 PM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

I'd just like to point out that if caustic soda is used to unblock a drain, which is the most effective way to this chemically, it is highly toxic, flammable and corrosive, and extreme caution must be taken. For example, it can permanently blind if it gets in the eyes. Neither should it be mixed with bleach.

robert gillies

12:17 PM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

If the tenant called out the emergency plumber, then the plumber should have sent the bill to the tenant.

I put a clause in the tenancy agreement that the tenants can only contact me for a repair. As , in the past I had a tenant who called out her friend to fix a leak, then gave me a receipt written on a cigarette packet. I suspected no leak ever happened.

Mike W

12:35 PM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Stewy,
Life is too short to bother about this. You cannot 'prove' they did it. They cannot prove they didn't. Its like having children. You live with the issues. As to whether it was an emergency depends on your point of view and perhaps your capabilities at DIY.

Look at it as if you had bought the house and found out 6 months later that the previous owner had left the stick in the drain. Could you do anything about it?

As regards trust. Yep I would be more suspicious if there were another similar incident but again whether that merits termination of the lease.

I had a slightly different case recently. I could prove the tenant had lied. I was bound by a fixed term. At the end of the term the tenant asked for an extension. I said no as he failed my criteria. I need a tenant who would look after my property and tell me the truth when an incident occurred. I was surprised he asked for an extension knowing that he knew the facts that I had presented to him a few months previously.

Joe Bloggs

14:49 PM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

unblocking a sink is not a landlords repairing obligation:

http://www.dilapidationsdirect.co.uk/CaseLaw/Warren%20v%20Keen%20%5B1953%5D.htm

its such an easy job cleaning a blocked trap. who placed the lolipop stick is pretty irrelevant.

however, if you agreed to pay the callout then you must honour this.

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