Arghhhh tenant!

(45 Posts)
Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:12:43

Hi, not sure if this is the best place to post. Name changed for this incase tenant is on MN. Basically I own a property about 200 miles away from where I live (long story) that is currently let. It is controlled by a local estate agent who charge a fee to deal with any incidents, etc.
They contacted me yesterday to ask if a certain check could be carried out to which I replied no problem, happy to pay so that my house is safe and my tenant is safe. However, they emailed me about ten seconds later to say that my tenant had mentioned that an injury had occurred when they put their hand through a glass panel of an external door requiring a hospital visit. They have said that the tenant I'd demanding that I replace the entire door with either a solid door or the whole 16 panels with safety glass. This is going to cost me £300 (or the tune of).
Surely if I pay for the repair, then that should be deducted from the damage deposit? The agents I use said no, and that it was in my best interests to replace the door, or risk 'further action' from my tenant... I think this accident has been the result of sheer stupidity on my tenant's behalf and that they are taken advantage (having seen photo evidence of the damage it is clear that only one panel of glass has been broken). I am quite perturbed that I am supposed to pay this amount of money to replace a perfectly good door when it seems that it was the fault of the tenant...
Aibu to just replace the glass panel of the door, or do I have to fork out that amount to replace the entire door (a cheaper option than replacing the glass with safety glass - which would cost an absolute fortune). As an aside, I lived in the property for two years, and never spent anywhere near as much as my tenant has demanded. I may as well pay them to live there for the amount I am shelling out.
Any advice on the legal side of things re the door, sorry this is long and rambling.

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:13:43

Sorry huge amounts of typos on this, phone is being a tad un co-operative

WoodleyPixie Wed 10-Feb-16 18:15:27

I'm not sure but I would have thought that was tenant responsibility? I accidently smashed a sliding patio door. I was cutting the grass and a stone flew out and smashed the door. I replaced it at a cost of over £300. As even though it was an accident it was my doing?

Imnotaslimjim Wed 10-Feb-16 18:18:40

I thought there was laws stipulating safety glass in internal doors when renting out? If so, sorry to say, you are responsible for the replacement

Catphrase Wed 10-Feb-16 18:21:51

I checked this out when I moved into my place, legally the door should have been safety glass and I guess that's the tenants argument? I can't remember where I found that though as it was a few years ago I read it, so do take my post with a pinch of salt!

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:25:43

Assume the agent is getting management fee from you and that you also have to use agents contractor (very over priced contractor usually).

Are you in direct contact with tenant?

Immediately bypass useless rip off agent and always speak directly to your tenant.

If your door happens to be non-compliant (ie no safety glass) and the tenant had indeed had such an accident, you can be fined by the local authority for this.

Also if the agent knowingly let the property without safety glass (they must have known this if they conducted viewings and had an inventory done). Then technically the agent is liable and may even have committed an offence as they knowingly proceeded to let the tenant take occupation of an unsafe property. And they should under their duties under the Estate Agency Act have informed you of safety glass issue prior to tenant taking occupation.

They have failed in their duty to you and you should tell them you hold them liable for not informing you and if the tenant takes action (if there really was an accident) then they are liable for failing their duties under the Act.

It all sounds very fishy and the agent is on the make. I bet there hasn't been an accident And the agent is trying to make a few extra quid.

Next week the tenant will no doubt have befallen some other misfortune which needs a repair person to attend (agents favourite over priced contractor).

Speak directly to your tenant and if you can avoid management agreements and only do let only. Never management and rent collection. Ever.

Did you not hear about Foxtons last year?? They charged some poor hapless landlord £538 for changing one lightbulb under a management agreement.

If the tenant really has had an accident, it's best to make contact and offer any assistance you can to avoid issues.

You must have the tenants details. You should have them from the docs from Deposit protection or from their original credit check documentation. Please tell me at least got that information from the agent?

Sleepybunny Wed 10-Feb-16 18:25:50

Not Having safety glass was something that was flagged up on our home report. I'm wondering also if there is a rule about it? Otherwise I would have thought the tenant would be liable.

BishopBrennansArse Wed 10-Feb-16 18:27:15

There is no way they should have been able to break external glass with their hand.

You could be in a lot of trouble safety wise if they got the council involved. An external door should not be breakable.

You're lucky you have the chance to put it right first, some would just take it straight to the council.

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:27:32

Sorry my view of estate agents sounds a little bleak. No offence meant to the really good ones!

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:28:32

Sorry, should have stipulated that it was an external door...thanks for your replies. If it was an act of good eg tiles falling off the roof then I would understand and happily fork out. But seeing as this is an external door (and quite frankly the photo evidence makes it seem as if a ball or rock or something similar has gone through it), I am willing to replace the pane of glass, but to fork out over £300 to replace the entire door seems extreme, when it was the tenant's fault.

BishopBrennansArse Wed 10-Feb-16 18:29:23

In that case, if you're not prepared to comply with your legal obligations, I hope the local authority force you to.

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:31:10

I do have the tenant's details somewhere buried under a never ending pile of paperwork but was under the impression that the fact that the (reputable?) EA was to make all contact. I just find it odd that the tenant was contacted over something completely unrelated and then this happened to come up.

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:32:02

Oh and one last thing.

Rather than installing new glass you can get a much cheaper safety film installed.

Lots of high St shops had this done with the regs regarding glass were changed in 1994 as they couldn't afford to have lots of huge panes of glass toughened.

You could do this yourself. Do check that the one you install is approved.

This certainly wouldn't cost you £300.

Again I'm assuming your door is intact and not broken.

Another thing. If a pane in the door is broken. How is the door currently being secured?? Did you ask the agent?

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:33:57

OP phone your tenant!!!

And tell the tenant always to phone you from now on.

You tend to have much better L&T relations when the agents are not involved.

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:34:28

bishop all the checks were done, I was not informed that there was an issue with external doors (in no way connected to the house) were required to have safety glass. Maybe I am just naive. But I am only asking for other's points of view. There is not need to be so hard hmm I am trying to protect my own interests as well as that of my tenant, without either of us being ripped off.

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:37:03

I would deal with the tenant directly but as I live really far away (as in four other counties), I cant just pop down there. Plus it was my understanding that if you pay an estate agent a rate to sort out the maintenance of the property then that is what they do. Little bit concerned by the email just stated (in a nutshell) 'you need to replace the door, costing you £300 or face 'further action' from the tenant...

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:43:39

And as it is a private let, through a reputable agent, I don't understand why the local authority should be involved? Perhaps you can explain bishop?

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:45:02

OP. That's what I am trying to say. Younwill face endless bills for random stuff from this type of agent. You can easily arrange things from a distance.

We let out several places and one of them is the other end of the country and we still self manage.

Do turn this around on the agent. Reply to their email stating they failed in their duty to you and the tenant under the estate agency act as they failed to inform you of this risk.
Inform them they are liable and any losses you suffer as a result, you will pursue them for.

Grrrrwhattodo Wed 10-Feb-16 18:47:22

Thanks mrs that is really useful advice. I shall email the EA now. But in your experience should I replace something at over half the rent for a month, that technically was the tenant's fault?

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 18:54:27

Your tricky issue here is the lack of compliance with regs regarding the glass.

Technically the tenant broke it. However the broken glass wasn't compliant. And it could be claimed that of the glass had complied then it wouldn't have broken. Hence tricky.

Ordinarily when tenants break something, they have to foot the bill (as it will state your your short hold assured tenancy agreement).

However when the item broken isn't compliant and possibly was easier to break because it wasn't compliant then you're left footing the bill.

However I would tell the agent they failed to inform you prior to the tenants occupation and they failed in their duty to you. And you expect them to recompense you accordingly.

You can't ask them to pay for the entire door but you could technically ask them to pay for the broken pane and you pay for the rest. As you can state that you would not have let the tenant take occupation had you know this danger. And in turn they would have missed out on their large fee etc etc.

Btw are you sure it's not safety glass? It is possible to break safety glass although extremely hard!

snowypenguin Wed 10-Feb-16 18:55:41

One thing that jumps out at me is telling you what had happened and telling you the cost. Surely, if the tenant had said there was an issue, the agent should have written saying explaining what had happened and asking if you would like to get a quote. How they only found out about it and were able to quote for the job immediately is beyond me.

bibbitybobbityyhat Wed 10-Feb-16 18:59:03

What do you mean by external door "in no way connected to the house" and what are the rules re. safety glass in rental properties? Is there anything in the tenancy agreement or the letting agreement you signed with the Agency?

Can't comment until those two things are made clear.

PseudoBadger Wed 10-Feb-16 18:59:46

You are letting out a property. I am very worried that you have no knowledge of how the local authority could be involved.
If the tenant complains to the LA about conditions in the property they will likely come and inspect the property under the Housing Act 2004 using the Housing Health and Safety Rating system. There are 29 hazards. If any of them are a category 1 hazard the LA has a duty to take action.
For your sake and more importantly your tenant's sake know the legislation that applies to you.

LIZS Wed 10-Feb-16 19:04:48

I would have thought it should be safety glass anyway or have non shatter film applied. If it broke relatively easily it probably isn't secure and may not meet your insurer's criteria. I think it is in everyone's interest to replace but you can probably arrange it cheaper direct than via the agent.

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 19:09:44

Pseudo.

The agent is in the wrong here not the OP!!

The agent was retained by the OP to carry out letting and management services.

Under the estate agency act the agent has a duty to carry out a health and safety inspection prior to a tenant taking occupation. If any breaches of the housing act are found, the agent has a duty of care to delay occupation until breaches have been remedied.

The agent has failed in their duty both the the tenant and the OP.

They took the OPs money though the management and letting fee but failed to carry out the necessary health and safety inspection.

The agent is in the wrong here - not the Op!!

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