Not to know if this is my responsibility? (tenant/ landlord)

(43 Posts)
RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 20:23:57

About 6 mos ago, we realised that the bolt on the window of the spare room of our rented house was frozen. It's the bolt at the bottom, and the window is currently on the latch.

We reported it to the landlord and he tried to fix it with WD40 (we'd already tried this, obv) and it didn't work. He then sent us a letter saying that in general, it was tenants' responsibility to oil all latches and locks regularly, and if we don't, the frozen bolt is our responsibility and we need to pay for a handyman/ glazier to fix it.

I have tried everything I can think of - WD40, 3-in-1 oil, even taking off part of the catch to get at the bolt myself - but nothing works.

But, it seems to me a bit weird that people are expected to go around oiling window latches regularly. Is this normal? I have to admit I have never regularly oiled the window latches on any other property I@ve lived in blush

Should I pay for a handyman? I'm a bit afraid it will involve taking off the whole window or something and cost £££ sad

Or is the landlord taking the P?

larks35 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:30:09

Landlord is taking the piss, unless he specifically asked you to oil the locks (and none of my previous landlords ever did!). It is up to the landlord, not you. Don't pay for it yourselves.

evansthebread Thu 18-Apr-13 20:31:19

Repairs are the LL's job. If the latch needed oiling regularly, though, I believe that would be like light bulb and battery changing.

Do you have a LA?

If you need a professional answer, try landlordzone.com.

OHforDUCKScake Thu 18-Apr-13 20:32:10

I have a landlady like yours. She's as much of a trying wanker as your one sounds.

He's taking the micheal, see your contract, so long as it doesnt state that you have to oil the latches regularly then he has no leg to stand on.

larks35 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:32:33

Actually if you undertake work that ends up involving the window being removed, landlord could actually sue I think, as this is structual and usually not allowed in most rental agreements.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 20:32:45

Thanks larks. In the contract it says we have to 'use the premises in a careful and tenantlike manner' and also 'replace or repair any fittings damaged, broken, or lost by the tenants'.

But I don't think we have damaged or broken it.

The windows are newish white uPVC and it honestly never occurred to me. I wouldn't have thought they'd need regular maintenance beyond cleaning the panes.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 20:34:03

...But the LL has said we need to have it fixed and recommended a handyman. So he couldn't sue us I don't think. The letting agent specifically recommended doing that and then getting a receipt to prove we paid for it to be fixed.

andubelievedthat Thu 18-Apr-13 20:40:25

if the bolt is now not frozen and is not working ,most likely bolt is either faulty or fitted incorrectly ,also, if u want ? tell landlord that putting oil on such like a bolt allows bolt moving parts to gum up with crap that attatches to oil,W.D. 40 is water dispersant ,if u wish buy "Plusgas" which is top stuff ,but expensive, and why should you anyhow.If u carry out repair or u engage someone else to, how does that go re break in , you get legally blamed ?>dunno re your contract ,but for myself, i would want it fixed pronto and properly

larks35 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:42:08

Based on what you say, I really think it is up to your landlord to fix the lock. What do the letting agents think? Are they saying you should do it and then bill the landlord? They sound crap if that is the case. Mind you, letting agents will always side with landlords and that is where they get their cut.

Look at your contract and if it states something about not undertaking any structural work then there is your solid argument.

Marcheline Thu 18-Apr-13 20:42:47

What? The letting agent should have told you it was the LL's responsibility!

I work in property management and tree is no way we would expect a tenant to oil window latches, that's ridiculous. He has no leg to stand on and, should he try to take it from your deposit, no dispute judge would ever award him money from your deposit for this.

tigerlilygrr Thu 18-Apr-13 20:44:16

Op I would just write an email or letter to the landlord saying "dear x, on date y we informed you that [insert problem]. As the landlord it is your responsibility to maintain the structural elements of the property. Oiling latches goes beyond the normal maintenance requirements specified in our tenancy agreement (and in fact is not mentioned at all). We are therefore not responsible for the cost of any repairs to the latch. Kind regards, etc.

I would be sure to insert the point about the date as you probably DH gave a clause in your agreement requiring you to inform the landlord of any faults. Beyond that though, I agree he is taking the piss.

tigerlilygrr Thu 18-Apr-13 20:44:50

Sorry that should read you probably do have ...

specialsubject Thu 18-Apr-13 20:46:32

what everyone else says.

tenant like means stuff such as reporting problems, not letting water overflow, not doing silly things with electrics and normal things like that. Unless it is explicitly in your lease or you've glued up the lock, this issue is ABSOLUTELY the landlord's problem.

RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 20:48:38

Wow thanks tigerlily.

I think you are right but I have also never had trouble with a LL or letting agent, and this one is normally pretty reasonable except for the time when he tried to wiggle out of exterminating the last tenant's fleas

I have just made the rather wonderful discovery that there is a 'no job too small' handyman literally 7 doors from us!

How does this sound - I get him to do a quote and if it is cheapish (say under £40/50) I'll just pay it but if not, send the email you suggested?

RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 20:49:48

special we have done nada, zilch, zero to that lock - it's in a spare bedroom that has been slept in possibly a grand total of 7 times in the 18 mos we've been here. We just left it on the latch for a bit to air the room and bazoom, it was stuck.

WeAreEternal Thu 18-Apr-13 20:51:59

I am a landlord.

It is absolutely your landlords responsibility, not yours as the tenant. He is clearly trying to pull a fast one.

Tell him that you have consulted with the council and as per the law it is the landlords responsibility to fix the bolt.

You can not be held responsible for not oiling it as you were never told to do so and it is not listed in your tenancy agreement.
It is also not standard practice to do so unless told to.

pigsDOfly Thu 18-Apr-13 20:52:11

If I remember from my other house, which has uPVC windows and doors, they shouldn't be oiled and should be virtually maintenance free.

As a LL I wouldn't expect my tenant to deal with such repairs, they're the LL's responsibility, unless damage caused by tenant.

Look at your tenancy agreement, your LL can't make up the rules as he goes along. Sounds to me as if he's trying it on.

AvrilPoisson Thu 18-Apr-13 20:57:40

It sounds very odd- we have UPVc double glazing and have never oiled the latches! They aren't stuck at all... I reckon it was faulty before you took the property, and has never worked!

AuntLucyInPeru Thu 18-Apr-13 20:59:10

No, this is his job.

sonofzod Thu 18-Apr-13 21:10:24

your landlord is pulling the wool over your eyes, next he will tell you its your responsibility to retile his roof and repoint his chimney

Tell him straight

RevoltingPeasant Thu 18-Apr-13 21:20:08

Er, wow! Looks like I am not such a weirdo after all.

I was worrying it was one of those bizarre things you suddenly discover everyone else in the world does but you never knew about.

Yeah I always thought upvc windows should be good for years and years, too....

MN is very validating at times grin

whois Thu 18-Apr-13 21:23:05

Totally the LL responsibility. I say that as both a LL and tenant.

tigerlilygrr Thu 18-Apr-13 21:25:50

OP, you could go that and it would probably be fine but if there is a further problem I do think he could legitimately ask you to repair that too as you have conducted a potentially unauthorised repair. To cover yourself I would see what the cost is, and then if you're happy to swallow the cost of that repair for an easier life, email the LL and request him to confirm that he approves you undertaking this repair at your own cost, using [named handyman] but that you cannot be held responsible for any further issues uncovered as a result (eg you are happy to fix the latch but you will not be responsible if the frame is found to be leaking).

The reason this is all a bit tricky is because he is not living up to his responsibilities thus rendering the situation more 'grey area' rather than less, iyswim!

BoffinMum Thu 18-Apr-13 21:30:45

I am a landlord and would expect to repair this at my expense not yours.

mateinthree Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:21

The letting agent should have told you it was the LL's responsibility!

What people often forget is that the landlord is not an impartial go-between, they are a proxy of the landlord, ie they are on the landlords side and represent the landlord. Tenants should never go to a letting agent for advice, or believe what a letting agent tells them without verifying it themselves independently.

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