to think that tenants can do SOME repairs themselves

(56 Posts)
SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 12:08:31

Minor issues.

I rent out a house. Current tenants have been in there for 8/9 months. They moved in the day after my previous tenants moved out. The freezer stopped working properly a week or so ago. It is a recurring problem (the seal comes loose) and the freezer is no longer in warrranty and it made sense to replace the freezer rather than repair it. I immediately checked what day they could be in for delivery, confirmed that they wanted me to have the old freezer removed by the delivery people (rather than them put it outside for the free council collection) etc etc - all fine and a new freezer was delivered within 48 hours of them letting me know it was not working properly.

In addition they noted that the kettle was not working. I asked if they could possibly pick up a new kettle for c£30 and deduct it from their next rent. They advised that they were a bit busy at work and could I drop one round. I wanted to measure the freezer space anyway so I agreed (and resisted pointing out that I was a bit busy myself because hey - I'm a landlord and have obligations).

A knob has come off the cooker. Apparently they could not turn it so used pliers and it cracked and came off. I am organising the replacement knob but it has taken me a week or two mainly because they failed ro respond to my query as to the model number of the cooker and I've just had a chaser email.

They texted me before Christmas to say that two lightbulbs had blown. Standard bayonet lightbulds - nothing fancy or difficult. I told them to replace them themselves. Had they just moved in I would have replaced them - I think tenants can expect to move in with everything fully functioning.

Am I getting the balance right in terms of what I am doing compared to what they should be doing? I think that perhaps they should be replacing the cooker knob themselves (although I will do it now as I have said I will) and am not too sure about the kettle. They are adults and a lease is a legal interest in land after all but am I expecting a bit too much? I feel a bit like their mummy sometimes and am starting to think they are cheeky feckers!

idlovetogo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:12:34

Lightbulbs, really? Do you have to fit the bulb for them too?

I can understand the freezer and cooker if it's advertised as furnished but surely they should get their own kettle and lightbulbs?

carabos Wed 30-Jan-13 12:12:41

Are you renting furnished or unfurnished? If furnished, then they are right to let you know about the kettle, but it's not unreasonable to ask them to replace it and bill you in some way.

Perhaps they are new to renting and not sure about what they can and can't do? Some LLs are very fussy indeed about things and would want to know about any little thing, others, not so much.

fairylightsinthesnow Wed 30-Jan-13 12:13:09

If the kettle was part of the inventory then you need to provide one, though I agree perhaps they could have popped and got one themselves. As to the lightbulbs they are being ridiculous but to save you bother, why don't you go and buy a job lot and take them round so you don't get called out all the time for that. How old are they? The cooker knob - was it actually broken hence the need for the pliers or were they just being numpties? If the latter, then as you say, replace it this time but make it clear that in future any issues need to be reported FIRST before they make it worse or else you will not step in.

hopenglory Wed 30-Jan-13 12:13:33

They should be replacing the lightbulbs themselves shock but as a tenant, in a fully furnished house then yes, I would be expecting things to be repaired / replaced and not expected to do it myself and then knock the cost off of the rent.

If they are slow in giving you the info needed then it's their fault if repairs take a little longer than they would like, but rent should be kept as a separate issue otherwise you'll end up in a situation whereby they could start not paying you the full amount every time something needs doing

Bejeena Wed 30-Jan-13 12:13:39

Of course rental laws are different in different countries and it depends on what is written in the contract. If it says in your agreement that you provide light bulbs and kettle then you are obliged to. Does it say in the lease that kettle is provided? I would personally use my own as a tenant anyway.

jester68 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:13:50

When they rented were things like kettle/cooker etc included in their lease/rent prices?

Years ago I rented a room in a shared house. Things like kettle/cooker/microwave etc were all included in terms of lease. So if any went wrong/needed replacing then it was the landlord who had to fix/replace the items.

Can't remember about light bulbs though -pretty sure we replaced them once they ran out. They aren't much to buy anyway

jester68 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:18:04

And though I understand saying pop out and buy a kettle and take it off next months rent when I was living where I lived I could not have afforded that.

Used to work/go to college. When I was paid I used to pay rent, bus pass so I could get to work and college, food and other groceries etc. Very rare once I had paid all this that I even had £30 left spare

FeckOffCup Wed 30-Jan-13 12:19:45

YANBU about the lightbulbs but YABU about the kettle, I'm assuming they pay the rent by standing order not cash and it would be a load of hassle for them to change the amount for one month with the bank when you should replace it for them.

When i rented i saw the landlord once when he came to fix a leak under the sink with his plumber brother. Other times when things broke under the agreement or needed painting ect i sent a quick email to check it was ok and worked out what we do if i bought anything then i did it myself. it worked well but then i was at college part time at home the rest i might of begrudged it more if i worked full time. No chance would my landlord have paid for lightbulbs!

MrsBertMacklin Wed 30-Jan-13 12:21:02

Light bulbs are not furnishings, they are consumables. Tenants should replace (might be worth tightening up the wording in your contract for avoidance of doubt in the future).
Personally, I'd get the kettle myself, if part of the furnishings. I'd want to know it was brand new, i.e. not likely to cause a power short or worse. They are being arsey though, nothing to stop them from buying one online and getting it delivered to work.
The other minor repairs mentioned are part of being a landlord, bearing in mind that if they've been caused by carelessness, rather than fair wear and tear, I'd be considering whether to recharge the repair costs to the tenant.

Sneezingwakesthebaby Wed 30-Jan-13 12:26:44

YABU about the cooker and kettle etc but YADNBU about the lightbulbs! That's something they should be dealing with unless they have physical reasons why they can't which would probably have been discussed with you already anyway. Oh my I can just imagine my landlords response if I rang him about bulbs!!!

lottiegarbanzo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:26:49

Depends on your contract and inventory. They should replace lightbulbs but no harm leaving a few spares there. They should not have damaged the cooker knob. Make it clear they should tell you immediately about problems, not take things into their own hands. This relies on you responding when they do.

Don't ask them to deduct money from rent. They may start to do things and knock money off without confirming first, if that's how they think you want to operate. If it really is easier for them to replace the kettle and they are happy to, reimburse separately.

Communication is key to good landlord tenant relationships. I would always rather hear from them too often than too little. My last ones called me round to unblock the u-bend under the kitchen sink and defrost the freezer, both jobs I consider regular domestic tasks a tenant should do, not a repair but, I'd rather that than them not tell me when there's a problem that could get worse and become dangerous or expensive.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 30-Jan-13 12:27:34

I was ready to come on and say that YABU but actually they are being pathetic. We rent a furnished property. The dodgy old electrics mean that some lightbulbs need changing every couple of weeks. Also we are getting the tap washers replaced as they are old and it makes the taps difficult to turn off. We have also replaced other types of things like this around the house.

We have complained (and are still waiting on our landlord) for actual repairs that I would expect the LL to deal with - such as a broken boiler.

Needing new lightbulbs replaced is just ridiculous. Time to check the Tenancy agreement and see whether you have those items down as yours, otherwise it falls under wear and tear and reasonable maintenance of the tenants.The cooker knob came off but they broke it by using pliers so that actually makes them liable for the repair costs.

Bogeyface Wed 30-Jan-13 12:28:26

I am surprised that a kettle is part of the inventory tbh. White goods, fair enough, but things like kettles and toasters are part of a tenants possessions surely?! I would knock things like that off the inventory in future. And unless the lightbulbs are actually mentioned in the contact/inventory, email them to say that as they consumables, they are the tenants responsibility. You can get value ones from Tesco for about 20p!

This is the exact reason I rent unfurnished. If anything you provide breaks then you are obliged to mend or replace it.

However, asking you to replace light bulbs is just ridiculous.

Are you renting privately or through an agency?

LIZS Wed 30-Jan-13 12:34:08

Surely the tenant can pay for and install a lightbulb unless it is a particularly awkward fitting (like a sealed bathroom fitting). Maybe make a folder of all the appliance model numbers (for your ref too) and list the standard bulbs and batteries which go where. cooker knob tricky - they should have notified you that it wouldn't turn rather than force it but even then it isn't rocket science to fit one and you can easily order a replacement from espares or manufacturer. If kettle was on inventory then you have a duty to replace , could you not order one via www ?

DizzySometimes Wed 30-Jan-13 12:35:22

Just from reading the title, I was ready with a YABU, as it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure repairs are completed. It's one of the few perks of renting - that repairs are not the renter's responsibility, as long as the problem is due to wear and tear.

I agree with other posters - if the kettle was on the initial inventory then, yes, it is up to you to replace it. As for the cooker - that's a tough one. If it was not usable anyway, then it would have needed replacing so, again, your responsibility. However, if it's not clear whether it was broken anyway or if they have made it unusable, I would be tempted to suggest sharing the cost.

As for the lightbulbs - no way should you have to pay for those. And I would be careful about providing them, to be honest, although I'd check the wording of your lease first about what exactly they should be doing. In all the places I've rented, I've never expected the landlord to pay for my lightbulbs - I would equate that to expecting them to pay for my food or something. Very nice, but not what the landlord should actually have to do.

In two houses we have lived in DP has cleared the drains on moving in himself as they were blocked.

He has also repaired the oven door and the heating where we are now.

Our landlord is lovely and very quick to respond to any issues. But honestly, we would feel terrible if we called her about lightbulbs or a broken kettle.

SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 12:49:35

*Idloveto" - I think that was the idea.

On they day they moved in I checked all the lights and smoke detectors with them and replaced one bulb and I'm certain that I left the couple of left-over lightbulbs that I had from the pack after I replaced the odd lightbulb so I suspect they used what I had left and then texted me the next time a bulb went and they had none left. Maybe I created an expectation by leaving them that I would be responsible for them.

They are quite young - I have their ages somewhere as I had copy driving licences but not to hand. They make two payments of rent, generally by bank transfer and not always for the same amount (he seems to sub her on some months) so I adjusting the rent would not have been a big deal admin-wise I don't think.

Good points re the kettle. It is rented furnished but I think the kettle is not on the inventory because then it has to be part of the electric testing. I think the old tenants left it though (we have quite an accumulation of kitchen equipment which I make clear is not in the inventory, I don't care if they use it/lose it/throw it out but I actually forgot about this when they raised the kettle with me. Must check.

I don't really know about the cooker. They said it was too stiff to turn hence the pliers so I guess they would say it was faulty. It's only around £9 to replace (assuming it does not need more than just a new know) which I don't care about it's just been a very long time since I rented but even then I can't remember ever not just quickly taking care of little things that I would see as wear and tear. It was quick for me to order a part as text/email/call my landlord.

Oh yes - they had a problem with a door sticking so I asked them to call the joiner/handyman ( I provided name/number etc because it is the guy I usually use and told him to expect a call) because it would be easier for them to agree direct with him when they would be in for him to call round and look at it (unless they want me to meet him there without them - many tenants are fine with this but these guys don't seem they type - which is fair enough). They have not done this yet but I have been reminded that it needs doing.

Thanks everyone. I think it is the jump when we click attitude (but without the courtesy of responding to my queries - eg re cooker model/letting joiner know when available) that has me a bit bemused.

SlowLooseChippings Wed 30-Jan-13 12:50:00

Check the contract - the AST agreements I've signed as both landlord and renter specifically mentioned lightbulbs as being something the tenant is expected to replace themselves. I've seen it expressly mentioned in some letting agencies' standard agreements.

As someone else said - lightbulbs are a consumable item, not a furnishing. Don't buy the job lot and deliver them to the property as suggested above, it's more unnecessary expense and you're setting expectations that you'll do it every time.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Wed 30-Jan-13 12:59:38

I feel I am missing out as a tennent. I am now contemplating billing my landlord for 5 years worth of lightbulbs that I've replaced and not told him about hmm
Yanbu.
I think you need to be very clear with your tennents as to what you And they are expected to replace/repair.
Personally I think that the cooker door knob is their responsibility as they broke it, and have a duty under the tenancy agreement to keep the property and contents in good working order.

SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 13:01:20

Sorry - to whoever asked - it's a private let. I've actually been pretty lucky with tenants both in terms of finding - mainly through a large local emloyer whose employees are always looking for lets and issues during the let and these are no different really - it is just minor niggles that I have.

Worst issue usually is locking themselves out the house (usually late on a Friday night) but then I got a bit ruthless about chucking the spare keys into a taxi and charging them for it!

MrsBertMacklin Wed 30-Jan-13 13:05:07

"There was toilet roll in the bathroom when we moved in and it's now run out, can you replace it?"
One of my old flatmates actually asked our letting agents this question.

Bogeyface Wed 30-Jan-13 13:11:23

Is this their first rental by any chance? Sounds like they are used to Mummy doing this sort of thing for them, and now expect you to do it.

If the kettle is not on the inventory then explain that it was left by the previous tenant and if they need a new one then they can get one for less than £10 from Argos.

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