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Tenant's Responsibilities

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CW1 | 15:53 Thu 05th Mar 2020 | Law
6 Answers

Long one, sorry …

Had a bad leak from the shower at a rented property last week, the kitchen ceiling was unaffected until the tenants used the shower again in the evening after I'd asked them earlier not to until a plumber could visit the next day. That resulted in a terrible leak in the ceiling & them calling an emergency plumber as they said they couldn't get hold of me 1st. That's rubbish, I was at home & missed no calls. The tenant had to pay at the time & now wants me to reimburse them. 

A bedroom carpet was badly damaged, noticed 3 days before I was told there was a problem as they thought their child had maybe dropped a glass of water (or had been "caught short" !). The whole carpet was SOAKING, no way that happened so quickly. The tenancy agreement states the Tenant agrees to 

"Not to damage the Property and Contents"
"To immediately pay the reasonable costs reasonably incurred by the Landlord in replacing or repairing any furniture or other contents, lost, damaged or destroyed by the Tenant""To keep the interior of the Property and the Contents in at least as good and clean condition and repair as they were at the commencement of the tenancy, with fair wear and tear excepted".
"To notify the Landlord promptly of any disrepair, damage or defect in the Property or of any event which causes damage to the Property."

My insurers will likely take months to decide if I'm covered by the buildings insurance I have, let alone pay out, not helped by having to wait for everything to dry out to see what repairs are needed (I know now the kitchen ceiling repairs alone will be £100s, I'm told that if the bathroom floorboards need replacing that'll be at least £500). I will get the bedroom carpet replaced eventually but as the tenant said the room was unusable, I've paid for it to be deep cleaned just so the room can be used asap. I made a point of telling them the room needed to be completely emptied but despite having at least a week to do that (plenty of time I would've thought as the child wasn't using the room), they didn't & the cleaning company are having to go back to finish the job. Meantime the tenant's complaining the room still smells - it would do when some of the carpet still needs to be cleaned, surely !

Obviously the tenant's not responsible for the original leak, & it would've only come to light when other areas were affected, but their actions (& inactions !) have resulted in the damage being far worse than it need've been.

Am I within my rights to not reimburse the emergency plumber's bill before (& if !) my insurers deal with it ? If my insurers don't pay, or there's a huge excess (they can't tell me yet), can I "ask" the tenant to at least contribute towards the repairs in the kitchen &/or cost of cleaning &/or replacing the bedroom carpet ? Aside from the initial cause of the leak, I feel some of the responsibility, certainly for the severity of the situation, lies with the tenant.


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//My insurers will likely take months to decide if I'm covered by the buildings insurance I have, let alone pay out, not helped by having to wait for everything to dry out to see what repairs are needed//

I don’t have tenants, but I have had a major leak in my house recently. My insurer immediately paid for people to find the leak and others to dry it out and then for carpets and redecorating.
Speak to your insurer and then tell your tenants what’s happening.
Question Author
I wonder if that was dealt with by contents insurance, cloverjo ? I have buildings insurance, the tenant has contents insurance (& I did mention to the tenant they might want to look into that but they seem to be ignoring every request or action I ask of them).

I spoke to the insurers last week & made an arrangement for them to call me back on Friday (tho' wasn't sure why as I told them I wouldn't know more 'til it all dried out). They never called, I sent them the plumber's report they wanted when I received it earlier this week, along with photos of the damage. Have heard nothing.

Ok, will give them a call.
do you like the tenants?
I usually pay for this myself and claim as an expense in the tx form.

I have only threatened to have them pay under the lease
chucking them out which is what you are heading for has on=costs for both parties and if they are good payers I tend to bite the bullet

alw bite the bullet
by all means say that you are short of moolah and you will reimburse when the insurance pays
but then I would whether or not the insurance pays out
Question Author
Peter Pendant, not really about liking them or not, I was "spoilt" by the previous tenants in as much as they'd let me know whenever there a problem (& they were few & far between), they'd get it sorted, send me the bill & I'd reimburse them. They didn't want to leave but sudden unforeseen circumstances that I couldn't help with forced their hand. This one has been there less than a year & there's always a problem &, 'til now, I've always got it sorted asap. They paid a year in advance (self employed so no credit references) but I know they want to stay for at least 2 more years & would want to pay monthly, which I wouldn't have had a problem with. This is the last straw now tho' (there's much more happened before this that I've just let slide) & I've decided, reluctantly, they have to go when the tenancy's due for renewal &, after 14yrs of letting & never had so many "issues" (light bulb not working, toilet not working properly - it was - loose wire in a plug socket, animals they're not s'posed to have, it goes on) as I have in the last 9 months, I'll probably sell the house as this is actually making me ill now :(
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Not cash strapped as they paid a year in advance, I usually would just pay but this is a step too far. On top of the big bill for the emergency plumber, initially they wanted me to pay the £15 "beer money" they gave the plumber too ! Arghhh !

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