The issue of costs that are the responsibility of the tenant?

by Readers Question

16:06 PM, 30th July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

The issue of costs that are the responsibility of the tenant?

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The issue of costs that are the responsibility of the tenant?

Recent legislation prohibits the applying of fees to tenants. Our AST clearly sets out the exact nature of the tenants responsibilities during their day to day occupation of the property. For example if a light bulb fails it is their contractual obligation to replace it, likewise If the sink blocks, they damage internal fittings etc.

Before this legislation we would send in one of our approved contractors, costs agreed and the tenant would be sent the bill. Our managing agents say this course of action is now illegal.

How are we to deal with the issue of costs that are the responsibility of the tenants as they have agreed and understood by signing the AST?

Would really appreciate your opinion and guidance.

Many thanks,

Kevin

 



Comments

Binks

11:53 AM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 31/07/2019 - 11:47
I know something about that too. In our rental property, we need to have the drains cleared every 6 months - always full of kitchen roll and wet wipe type of stuff. In my own house, I've not needed to have that done yet in 5 years - I simply don't flush rubbish down the toilet. And these are all really nice tenants we have (5 flats), they just don't care. I suspect they will learn and care once they own their own property..

Lesley Thomas

11:57 AM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I have noted that Let Alliance provides a Tenants Liability Insurance https://www.letalliance.co.uk/tenants/tenants-liability-insurance/. Cover and benefits:
Nil excess
Accidental damage to the landlord’s household goods
Accidental damage to the landlord’s non-permanent fixtures and fittings (like carpets and curtains)
£5,000 cover level
Policy underwritten by UK General Insurance Ltd. (end)
Perhaps this insurance cover goes some way in covering some of the issues mentioned? It is the tenants own insurance, and not the landlords. Landlords could require the tenant takes out this policy under the terms of their tenancy.

Ian Narbeth

12:06 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Lesley, a couple of points.
Unless the landlord has a claim against the tenant, I am afraid the insurance is irrelevant. If there is a lawful claim it might make it easier to recover but the insurers will usually ask for detailed receipts and send the landlord-claimant on a right royal paper chase.
Very important: Under s1(3) of the Tenant Fees Act you cannot require the tenant to take out the policy:
"A landlord must not require a relevant person to enter into a contract with a
third party in connection with a tenancy of housing in England if that contract
is—
(a) a contract for the provision of a service, or
(b) a contract of insurance."
If you do you can be fined up to £5000 for a first offence.

JJ

12:11 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 31/07/2019 - 11:49So what do you do about fitted dishwashers and fitted cookers?
Real examples: Tenant says my fitted dishwasher won't empty. Engineer calls to fix. Replaces pump and clears cooking fat from waste in sink that dishwasher empties to. I pay.
Fitted cooker: Tenant moves in, says fitted cooker doesn't work. I suspect it's the time clock which is an analogue clock but still works. I suspect it may be simpler to replace rather than educate the tenant. Agent arranges contractor to replace. A new Nef oven is fitted. Two years from fitting the new oven the tenant says the oven doesn't work. I visit, examine it. It's filthy, you can't see through the glass. The lining of the oven is peeling off inside. The tenant says the contractor is going to send me a report.
I say it failed within two years so the contractor ought to be able to replace under warranty. I suspect the tenant had an oven fire. The contractor comes back and says it failed after two years. The contractor says the clock on the oven isn't working. He replaces it. I pay.
I do often wonder whether the game between the contractor and the tenant is 'get the landlord to pay'. And if you can't get a report from the contractor/engineer that says the tenant did something wrong you're stuck.
So supplying white goods is problematic. But what do you do if the kitchen has fitted appliances? And how do you stop the contractors and the tenants coming to an agreement to get you to pay?

Lesley Thomas

12:16 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 31/07/2019 - 12:06
Noted. Then perhaps the policy is "offered" as opposed to required under the terms of the tenancy. This policy is a bona fide policy and operates for the benefit of both landlord and tenant, so there must be some merit in it being made available for tenants? It is not the answer but it could fill part of the gap.

Ian Narbeth

12:16 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 31/07/2019 - 12:11Well JJ that's one of the joys of being a landlord! We have HMOs and are forever spending money on repairs and replacements. We put aside a percentage of rent every month to cover this. With our single-tenancy properties we don't supply any white goods.
If it's an integrated unit it's your responsibility. You might take the unit and matching door out and store them and get tenant to supply their own machine.

David Price

12:17 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 31/07/2019 - 12:11
"So what do you do about fitted dishwashers and fitted cookers?"
My solution is simple, do not supply any white goods. I embarked on this policy many years ago as a result of persistent tenant misuse, the tenant fees act has made this mandatory for any sane landlord. Also nothing which requires PAT testing.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

12:22 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 31/07/2019 - 12:17
This is not so simple with students' lets. The Uni gives a list of required appliances and furnishings LL has to provide. It is a longish list. All white goods are mandatory.
So unfortunately we keep paying when necessary...

Ian Narbeth

12:25 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Lesley Thomas at 31/07/2019 - 12:16Hi Lesley
By all means offer it but you need to be clear. Does the policy cover accidental damage or tenant liability?
If the former then does that include the sort of damage we are talking about? Usually insurers exclude misuse or else they would forever be paying to repair damaged electrical stuff.
If it covers tenant liability, then my point holds. The landlord still has to prove his claim, on the balance of probabilities, against the tenant. The tenant will be told by the insurer not to admit liability (same as for car insurance). The landlord then has to try to prove fault/negligence/breach of contract.
See also the comment left by David Price at 12:17 with which I wholly concur.

anthony smiley

13:41 PM, 31st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

So the new law on charging tenants as changed. Therefore, a landlord can not charge a tenant who has little respect, in terms of leaving the accommodation in a very dirty state. Bins not emptied, their belongings left, time to bring back the place to be re -let....? No last months rent paid. Saying use their deposit money of one month to pay rent. So where is the payment to correct their responsibility in leaving place in good order...?

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