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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!

SilverClementine Wed 30-Jan-13 18:33:07

As a remnant I would expect you to sort the freezer as you did, have to pay something towards the hob, buy a kettle and you knock it off the rent, and replace the lightbulbs myself. Never in a million years would I expect my landlord to change/pay for lightbulbs, that's insane

SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 18:09:26

I am astonished they OWN pliers though!

SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 18:07:54

I know it seems as if a few things have gone wrong at once. Maybe it was just bad timing or perhaps they saved up a few things and told me at once. I definitely suspect they've used the freezer for a while with the seal not working properly until the over-freezing caused a problem for them. I don't mind - I decided when I had it repaired the last time that if it went wrong again I would replace the freezer.

Re the joiner - I've used him for years on my own house and the tenant's house. I am pretty sure they've met him. They also have emergency numbers for my preferred electrician and plumber/gas engineer and know if ever they can't contact me in an emergency to contact these guys direct and ultimately in a genuine emergency whoever they need to. All they need to do with the joiner is agree a time for him to call in. It just makes more sense to me than me trying to co-ordinate diaries of other people especially if it takes me a day to get hold of either one.

Thanks everyone some of the responses have made me smile. I'm not going to tell them to leave - it really is just niggles but I will do a more than usually thorough overhaul of the AST next time I get new tenants in.

andubelievedthat Wed 30-Jan-13 16:35:39

change your tenancy agreement i.e. certain"big?" items are your responsibility, others are theirs, and cash flow either way.i rent out a house , if a tennant had called me to change a lightbulb they would have been wearing the old one.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-Jan-13 14:50:30

Oh, good! I was worried you thought I was knocking what I'm sure is a very classy property. smile

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 30-Jan-13 14:43:58

I didn't suggest your property did have mould

I know, I was joking smile

MammytoM Wed 30-Jan-13 14:35:32

I don't think you are being unreasonable to expect them to change a light bulb. I have never asked my LL to change them. As for the kettle, I would just buy one myself and tell the LL theirs is broken. They don't have to get a fancy one and can just take it with them when they leave or you could give them the men for it. The last place I was in I paid to have a shower out in and the LL paid me to leave it in when we left. The freezer I would say is up to you to replace if the house is rented as furnished. If not then they could buy one and take it when they leave - I've done this with a washing machine in the past. The cooker - I would expect my LL to replace the part if the house was advertised as furnished

LessMissAbs Wed 30-Jan-13 14:28:11

I rent out a room in my house, and some tenants are great, while others are Precious Princesses that can do nothing themselves. And some of them just seem to have that magic touch where everything they touch breaks.

Fortunatley my last Precious Princess has now moved out, but before she did so, she broke my washing machine. She had been trying for a while to do this by constantly repeating the spin phase to dry clothes so it overheated, but on her last day she broke the door by not waiting til the 2 minutes safety lock was over and forcing it open. Fortunately as its only 5 months old, its still covered by guarantee.

Before this, she blocked my toilet, complained about her bedroom having a carpet because she was allergic to it, kept switching off my central heating boiler then saying it wasn't working, claimed the hoover was blocked because she couldn't replace the hoover bag, burnt the inside of my oven, and had numerous other little dramas. I also had to replace a light bulb in her room because she claimed she couldn't do it. All of these were quite some feats as the house is a new build and every single thing in it is brand new.

Your tenants sound like a nightmare, as if they expect a free cocierge service. I would honestly make up some polite excuse, such as needing the house back yourself to live in, and give them their notice. Lifes too short to deal with things like replacing people's lightbulbs and you can almost guarantee they will break more things like the knob on the cooker and it will cost you.

StuntGirl Wed 30-Jan-13 14:25:43

Some landlords don't want you doing a single thing in their houses. Others could give a crap as long as the rent is paid. Make it clear to your tenants which kind you are smile

Lightbulbs are pretty standard for tenants to change themselves, anything else my landlord would want to be notified for. She then either lets us fix it ourselves if its a small thing it would easier for us to do, or arranges a professional if its a big job.

The kettle depends on whether it was part of the inventory. If it wasn't, but you left it there anyway they've probably assumed its your responsibility. I guess in future don't leave anything you don't want to take responsibility for, or make it absolutely clear which bits you will.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-Jan-13 14:17:12

I didn't suggest your property did have mould. confused

I'm saying mine does, and thank god they let me paint over it.

I think it is quite common for LL (especially those who've had a bad experience) to be concerned that someone who's renting may not do a repair/maintenance work that's up to scratch. Sometimes that's a fair point, sometimes not. Hence me saying the OP should weigh up what she thinks these tenants might manage.

I would worry, from the sound of them, that they might make things worse because they're obviously pretty useless.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Wed 30-Jan-13 14:16:24

When I moved into my new house, two years ago, my landlady left me a new home card and a bottle of wine.

Now I have drank the wine should I expect them to replace it?? no of course not (although they always give me one at christmas grin)

I take care of properties that my boss lets out. If a tenant told me that a bulb had gone I'd point them in the direction of the nearest supplier!!

SpicyPear Wed 30-Jan-13 14:15:47

I would say

- Lightbulb: YANBU, check the AST agreement but usually tenant responsibility. If I had to replace bulbs at end of tenancy I would deduct from deposit, but maybe I am a cowbag.
- Kettle: If it was made clear it wasn't part of the inventory, they need to get their own. If not you should replace yourself. Asking them to get it is unfair as it's not their repsonsibilty and setting a precedent of withholding rent not a great idea imo.
- Cooker: your responsibilty to fix faulty knob but if their actions increased cost of repair I would bill for this. In any case I would remind them that they are obligated to inform you of it
- Joiner: bit unfair just to give them a number to sort. I would offer them choice of meeting joiner there and supervise myself or they call joiner to arrange time, you having authorised work first.
- Locking out: not landlord's problem really. One or two off is fine but no way would I respond to repeated calls. Emergency locksmith at their expense and bill for any damage caused.

I'd be hopping mad if tenants attempted anything but the most basic of repairs as they could do more harm than good

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 30-Jan-13 14:12:11

LRD - I wouldn't have a problem with a tenant bleeding a rad and my property doesn't have any mould to be painted over.

I just like to be made aware of any little problems and then as the LL it is down to me if I let them loose or get it sorted myself. My DH's family are all builders so it isn't a problem for me to get somewhere there pretty quick. The only thing I don't get involved with is plumbing and the boiler - I leave that to the agency to sort smile

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-Jan-13 14:07:32

Yep, I've been told that by LL, betty. One of my LL told me that she let a tenant paint over the marks on the wall and found they'd got paint all over a new carpet and all over the woodwork. Nice. hmm

My last one wouldn't let me bleed a radiator in case I got the gunky water everywhere, either.

Thank god this one lets me paint over the mould! grin

I think you just have to weigh up how much damage they might do trying to mend something.

PaellaUmbrella Wed 30-Jan-13 14:04:33

Obviously they should be buying and changing their lightbulbs, unless it was strip lighting or something in which case it would be reasonable to ask the LL to buy and fit.

Kettle - depends whether it's on the inventory or not. If it is, then you are BU asking them to buy a new one and deduct from the rent. You should supply that.

Cooker knobs - I think that's your responsibility as the LL.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 30-Jan-13 14:02:17

I would not want my tenants doing any repairs to be honest.......

However, I wouldn't not use an agency either...might save a few quid but I would probably spend that money on head ache tablets smile

DeWe Wed 30-Jan-13 14:00:01

The lightbulbs made me laugh! I think you may need to be clear to them that they's their responsibility.

But a lot of landlords don't want tennants doing their own repairs. We were lucky when we rented that our landlady was along the lines of let her know, get a quote, tell her, she'd pay.
But others will get a couple of quotes and want their own people to do it. As someone else said, if you ask them to do it you might find somone like my bil who thinks he's God's gift to DIY, rewiring the kitchen which would be not just dodgy legally, but more than dodgy for anyone using it in the future.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Wed 30-Jan-13 13:53:46

I accidentally killed the freezer in a house I rented, as I killed it I replaced it (I told the LL and they were happy if it was replaced like for like, which it pretty much was I replaced with a newer model )
I generally don't bother my LL unless the boiler breaks (which has only happened once) if I can get something safely fixed/replaced myself then I do.

hmm toilet roll, we were left some when we moved in no tea bags though can I request toilet roll replacement?

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-Jan-13 13:53:18

I think it is ridiculous if they can't change a lightbulb. And if the kettle breaks, frankly, I would not be crying to my LL for a new one. I would mention it'd broken and I suppose if lots of things are breaking (as they are), they may feel less than thrilled to have to shell out for a new one.

You should know the model of the cooker. I think if it was broken, it was broken - I'm not sure why they used pliers, though!

It's tricky - you sound very nice and you're doing a lot of things very promptly that I wouldn't expect. But, if the freezer, the cooker, and the kettle have all broken within the same short space of time, as a tenant, I would be really browned off.

Cosmosim Wed 30-Jan-13 13:34:10

Most landlords leave the manuals for tenants and inventories don't usually include these details, so I would think its normal I include the model number when I tell my LL something is broken on the oven. cheeky about the kettle but then again, in my first let I was afraid to annoy my LL too much and didn't complain when something (non essential) broke. LL then tried to charge me for it at end of my lease shock - taught me to always tell the LL something needs replacing when it happens.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 30-Jan-13 13:32:24

Mine were young too and just a bit clueless, domestically and tenancy-wise. You have to be extra clear about expectations and not assume.

I would not want tenants replacing parts, however cheap and easy, because then I don't know what has been done, can't guarantee the standard of the result and am not the trader's customer.

Them telling you immediately there's a problem is not the same as you jumping to order, you can respond in a reasonable time, I operate a triage type system. So asap if it's a failed boiler in winter, within days or a week or so for a major / minor repair, depending on the problem and when they / I can be there to meet the tradesman.

It is worth knowing straight away though. When my tenants had trouble with the freezer - it needed defrosting, they didn't realise, the ice jammed the mechanism and it stopped working - they didn't tell me for more than two days, by which time their food had all defrosted. Had they told me the first day, I could have taken our cool box round to store their food while it was sorted out, or even offered to store it in our freezer. As it was, their problem, as they hadn't attempted to tell me.

lougle Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:53

Well you didn't say that smile

ScaredySquirrel Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:36

I rent partly furnished and although I replace lightbulbs myself, I do phone the landlord for lots of things that I could possibly sort out myself, or at least would put up with if it was my own house.

I take the view that there are few advantages of renting over owning your own place, but that is definitely one (that you can phone the landlord and ask him to sort it out). So I wouldn't take time off to wait in for a kettle etc, but would do it if it was convenient. the mattress went on the bed and I couldn't carry it downstairs, so the landlord arranged for someone to come and carry it out and brought me a new one up.

SarahBumBarer Wed 30-Jan-13 13:25:19

Yes lougle I should. Unfortunately I lost my blackberry which has these details in so I asked them to remind me until I could take a new copy of the "house manual" which has all the appliance instructions etc in. Hardly the landlord crime of the centrury to expect a little give and take.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 30-Jan-13 13:23:34

I agree with bogey - they sound like first time renters.

Make your position clear OP, don't get too friendly with them and they will soon calm down.

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