8:19 AM, 10th August 2022, About A year ago 6
What to do for the best? I have long-standing tenants (from 2016) who don’t appear to have done any cleaning since then.
The shower cubicle resembles a 21st-century Black Hole of Calcutta (i.e. it is black moulded from top to bottom) with the moving door parts so heavily limescaled that they barely grind into a closing position. The lead tenant reported her feet getting wet as she walked barefoot into the kitchen last week – her text said she thought there was a leaking pipe above the ceiling. Directly above is the awful shower cubicle.
I visited immediately. The tenant’s husband was equally clueless as to the leak. I haven’t seen much of him as he’s an HGV driver and is either away or asleep at times I’ve visited. The tenants arrived as a married couple expecting their first child shortly and all was fine at the time, with Mrs Tenant in nesting mode.
I can’t repair the shower cubicle in its seriously unhygienic state – and that’s the issue! There is likely to be more to it than failed sealant – but no tradesman would want near of it, for sure. I know what my duties are – but if the tenants are neglectful of their responsibilities to ‘keep the interior of the property in the same condition, cleanliness, repair and decoration, as at the start of the tenancy with allowance for fair wear and tear’ – does that let me off the hook with repairs to a well-used facility which is now damaging the fabric of the building? For clarity, I would have no issues with the repairs if the shower resembled being looked after.
As the main bathroom also has a full-size bath with a shower attachment on the taps, I wouldn’t be denying the tenants a bathing facility if I had the electric unit removed from the shower cubicle. This would give them the opportunity to clean it as fast (or slow) as they like. I’d be ready to make any repairs necessary when the shower cubicle is in a fit state to be worked in – and then happily re-instate the electric shower unit.
Would you – other landlords take the same approach??
Due to extenuating circumstances, I wasn’t able to make the usual checks following a new tenancy. Please follow the relevant information below and then apply the impact of the Covid pandemic on it – thank you!
Relevant information on the negative side:
*Mrs Tenant had a horrific childbirth experience and nearly died. She was in hospital for a long time after the birth and now has a No-Win No-Fee medical negligence case pending, which I know has caused her considerable distress to prepare. It’s also cost her £8k to lodge.
*Their child has been diagnosed as severely autistic. Thankfully the child is now in receipt of a full benefits package plus re-started educational support (which got cancelled during the pandemic)
*Mrs Tenant has an immuno-suppressive condition and couldn’t receive the Covid vaccine. She was shielding for a long time with their child.
*Mrs Tenant has been hospitalised more than once, as has her child. Her husband is often away at the time (and from my observations, isn’t involved in the running of the family household or childcare).
*Mr Tenant doesn’t speak English well enough so he relies on his wife to do everything in his stead.
*The family has no UK relatives
*They remain vulnerable tenants who are fiercely private about their situation. It’s not an open door by a long chalk.
Relative information on the positive side:
*Rent is paid regularly
*Communication with Mrs Tenant is great – however, it’s in and out of long absences but that is only sometimes due to health issues
*Mrs Tenant is an academic workaholic and is a published author – unfortunately, repairs reporting comes after all her deadlines are met. By the time I’m notified, things needing attention have been malfunctioning for a while.
*Mrs Tenant is a genuinely nice person and due to the multiple workarounds I’ve arranged for her with my tradesmen to suit her situations over the years, she is very respectful of me – which cuts both ways.
All that said, the issue remains: how do I sort out this shower repair without a dereliction of duty on my part? Is taking out the shower unit the way to deal with the house-keeping issue?
Depending on the result, a regular inspection regime could be implemented afterwards, particularly as matters appear to be more stable for the family now.
Clearly, after 6 years, wear and tear will become an increasing consideration from my point of view. As this family is unlikely to move, I need to think this out loud.
All your contributions will be much appreciated. Thank you!
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