Need for repairs hindered by a challenging tenant?

Need for repairs hindered by a challenging tenant?

0:01 AM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago 11

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Hi, I have a block of 10 small studios, all long term and lovely tenants – one of my lovely tenants has become tricky since his girlfriend moved in – his shower leaks into the studio downstairs, a couple of repairs have been made over the last couple of years as there was nowhere for him to go for a full renewal.

I’ve now offered him another flat in the building for a couple of weeks whilst I have the shower room fully refurbed – and I can then do similar for the flat downstairs that has suffered damaged from his leaks.

He ignored my first communication on this – a month’s notice – so we were down to two, and now wants a professional moving company, with insurance – he’s moving downstairs!

I had expected a few boxes and would give him a hand and he would still have access to his stuff just take what he needs, we’ve had a few emails back and forth and the last one from me was that as this is emergency works given the damage caused I would not be able to renew his contract and I would carry out the works then.

He has always been very much a minimalist so does not have a lot of stuff to move – but suddenly this is all going pear shaped and he’s talking about ‘valuables’ and ‘office equipment’ – I thought it was a great idea and I’d suffer likely a months lost rent on the other unit but two repairs done.

He has also written to say that the leaking shower predates his tenancy – which it does not, but an odd thing to write.
Always hoping that he will go, as he’s been a lovely tenant it’s just this new outside influence that sadly always happens, I should have said no to the girlfriend.

Do Property118 readers think carrying out essential repairs is a reason to not renew? I think I know the answer but would appreciate some input.

Thanks,

Harlequin


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Comments

Cider Drinker

7:47 AM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

I’d contact an eviction specialist with a view to issue a Section 21 Notice (if timing is right) and a Section 8 Notice (Grounds 6, 9 and 12).

Don’t let the tail wag the dog. You are the landlord and the property is yours.

Could the underneath of the shower be accessed from the flat below by any chance?

Harlequin

10:59 AM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 02/04/2024 - 07:47
I really hoped I wouldn't have to do this, I always feel that once you go 'official' they will dig in their heels, this tenant has been with me for likely 4 years and has always been absolutely fine, I just don't understand the change when he will benefit from a new shower room, it can't be accessed from below as it is the shower tray that has cracked, it was a 'kubex' unit, all in one and they've been amazing for not leaking unlike a separate shower tray and tiles, or aqua boards that I will have to do now

Rob Crawford

12:17 PM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Unfortunately I see this many times between landlords who like to build a friendly relationship with their tenants. It's a landlord weakness that will at some point be exploited by the tenant. You need to reestablish you authority and serve notices as suggested by Cider Drinker. Once served, you should expect the relationship to deteriorate further, but you need to stand firm. Employing a professional repossession representative will act as a buffer between you and the tenants.

Kat Scott

13:21 PM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Harlequin,

It is important to be fair all around, including to yourself. A cracked shower tray is damaged and would not be considered F&T, therefore a chargeable repair. Provided you had a check-in inventory carried out at the start of the tenancy, I would have one carried out before the work starts. This would also provide a good record of the condition of the present shower tray. I would consider the works as an emergency due to the poor conditions and ongoing further damage to the flat below.
Speak to the tenant about the plans and arrange and provide a copy of this in writing via email with set times the schedule of work and move back it.
I would say you may want to consider leaving him in the lower flat.

Harlequin

13:54 PM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kat Scott at 02/04/2024 - 13:21
The shower is worn, they were brilliant at the time being one piece moulded and around £1000 a unit but over the years (20) they have worn some cracked in the seams (probably due to a tenant leaning on it, it wouldn't happen by itself) and been siliconed and a couple have broken in the base, maybe heavy tenant, but given the age I'm 'happy' to now renew for a more updated but probably less durable shower. I've tried all permutations of moving the tenant around, compromised on timings to take in his delay (ignoring the request) then excuses of holiday, so delayed it again, then we had the professional moving co and insurance demand and all alarms bells started going off - so easier to say just go and I'll do it when you're gone - I have to do these works in a sequence or will have people standing idle, so working from a different area now. I would allow him to stay in the lower one but he's not even gone to see it. I've not had much contact with him which is why I consider him a good tenant - this is out of character though.
The shower base has been repaired with silicone so it is temporary and yes it is an emergency.

DAMIEN RAFFERTY

14:08 PM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Take photos of the downstairs flat and maybe a short WhatsApp video and send it to your tenants.
This is the flat in the same building I am offering to you while we carry out a replacement bathroom.
Email and write with pen and paper what needs doing.
Keep copy of letter and send with proof of posting
If tenant refuses then serve s21

SimonP

21:00 PM, 2nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

The OP mentioned "office equipment".
My AST does not allow business to be conducted on the property. If the OP has similar wording then perhaps the tenant is in breach of the contract, which may be grounds for terminating the agreement.
Also, if the shower leaks, which could then attract black mould, a health hazard, would that make the flat Unfit For Human Habitation and then the tenant will have to move out per government guidelines.
In fact, Shelter have a page devoted to this very subject. Good for Shelter, helping a landlord for a change. LOL. Hope it helps you.
https://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/legal/housing_conditions/responsibility_for_repairs/fitness_for_habitation_in_rented_homes

Michael Booth

8:37 AM, 3rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Eviction notice plain and simple

Southern Boyuk

8:19 AM, 6th April 2024, About 2 months ago

Issue a breach of tenancy for using the property for business if this applies to your ast. Its then on record.

Options for the repairs,

Temporary move him downstairs, do not pay any costs for him moving furniture downstairs.

Find him a place not on your property with another person for about the same rent, choices up to you whether you pay removal costs. Don’t allow him back.

Allow him to use downstairs shower only, this way he maintains his flat upstairs whilst works are going on. Take photographs of everything and get him to sign that he was only using it for that, nothing else that he has no rights to store or use any part of the other flat.

Say the relationship is broken down Or not, tell him you wish to do a major refurb and you’re giving him two months notice

Stop trying to be a buddy to everybody.

Harlequin

8:46 AM, 6th April 2024, About 2 months ago

I’d be on a hiding to nothing there as he works for the NHS. O idea in what capacity though - could be his new girlfriend works at home. I just wanted to get the shower fixed! Can’t believe it has become to difficult. It is the girlfriend For sure as she has made other demands in the short time she’s been there.
He’s not confirmed that he will go at the end of his tenancy and now gone silent - if he doesn’t he will find himself responsible for any future water damage - I’m getting on with other stuff - rearranged the refurb programme - I don’t ‘buddy’ As you put it. I’ve done this for 40 years and a good working relationship is what I look for.

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