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Landlord-tenant AIBU

(28 Posts)
emess Sun 07-Apr-13 23:21:01

We rent out a flat to 2 female students. Did flat inspection on Sat. Had given them a week's warning we were coming up, and said we'd be there about 3pm (it's 2 hours drive each way). One texted to say she'd be at work until 4, so I replied we'd be there 4:30. We were there for about 1 hour, chatting to the other one. The one with the job never did appear before we had to leave. Flat is perfectly fine but we had a minor issue with the absent one's room. We asked her flatmate to mention this when her friend came home. Absent one subsequently texted, asking what the problem was. I emailed to explain, emphasising that it was a minor issue, and that we are happy with the state of the flat in general. She's emailed back complaining that we were "unprofessional" to have discussed her room with her flatmate.

So who's BU here, her or us?

CSIJanner Sun 07-Apr-13 23:23:33

Personally I don't see the problem, especially if this minor thing isn't rectified, it would affect the deposit pot they've both put down.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 07-Apr-13 23:26:42

Yes, if they are both renting together then I wouldn't see a problem with it.

If they are renting independently of each other, with their own deposits and rent cheques, then I suppose it's possible YABU.

Geeklover Sun 07-Apr-13 23:28:47

Suppose it may depend on the lease. If it is a joint tenancy then yes perfectly fine to discuss any issues with the other named person on the lease.
If they both have a separate tenancy agreement which I have had in the past as a student then you shouldn' discuss with the other person.

emess Sun 07-Apr-13 23:34:25

Yes it's a joint tenancy and I viewed it as one flatmate "passing on a message" to the other - her flatmate seemed quite happy about it. I was annoyed because her email was pretty stroppy, and we had already put back the timing of our visit to accommodate her, then she had to work even later and didn't let us know - then complained that we didn't speak to her "personally" about it!

SneezingwakestheJesus Sun 07-Apr-13 23:39:53

If its a joint tenancy, the tenant is being unreasonable. I'd remind her of the joint tenancy by email.

erowid Sun 07-Apr-13 23:43:05

If its a joint tenancy you have every right to talk to either one of them about the whole property. Its also her own problem if she wasn't there for the inspection which you gave plenty of notice for.

fatnfrumpy Mon 08-Apr-13 00:12:10

Please let us know what the "minor issue" with her room was.
We can then decide if you were being unreasonable!
If it was something like "can you ask your flatmate to put her used condoms in the bin" it might BU
but if it was "please ask your flatmate to not dry her smalls on the radiatorit wouldn't BU!
She might think you shouldn't be discussing personal things with her flatmate however if it was a contractual issue you would not BU.

holidaysarenice Mon 08-Apr-13 05:08:24

She is!
And my answer would involve reminding her she wasn't there, and you had tried to accomadater her -->

to avoid any future issues it would be advisable that both tenants are present at inspections. As your landlord I will endeavour to respect you work/life commitments when arranging times and ensure it is mutually convenient as todays viewing appeared to be. Please let me know if you can't attend a future inspection.

Something like that in the reply.

holidaysarenice Mon 08-Apr-13 05:10:37

And I definitely know that accomadater is never ever ever going to be the short version of accommodate her!!!!!!

Toughasoldboots Mon 08-Apr-13 05:32:03

It depends what the issue was. You can't really pass comment on tidiness issues or anything like that. It is to do with the fabric of the property and maintainence of it.
I think that inspections are intrusive and have to be handled carefully so that you are not passing comment on someone's lifestyle.

I rent but am also a long term landlord and get quite stressed about inspections.
I don't think that you were unreasonable though, maybe you could email the other flat mate directly next time.
I wonder if they have fallen out or are not on good terms?

Toughasoldboots Mon 08-Apr-13 05:33:53

I didn't mean my reply to sound quite so patronising. Sorry, can't sleep .

emess Mon 08-Apr-13 18:36:33

Thanks all! I feel better now.

somewhereaclockisticking Mon 08-Apr-13 18:39:25

What Holiday said - she should have been there to meet you - you changed your areed time to wait for her and she still didn;t show. Next time she needs to tell her boss she has to be there.

FredFredGeorge Mon 08-Apr-13 18:50:12

Did you specifically say you would be accessing the absent ones private space in the flat with her not present? Or was her expectation that you would inspect it with her present?

If you didn't absolute spell it out that you would be inspecting the private room without her being present then YABU for doing it, and YABU for discussing it with her flatmate.

If you made it clear you were inspecting without her present, and she made it clear she didn't mind then YANBU.

zwischenzug Mon 08-Apr-13 18:51:13

if it was "please ask your flatmate to not dry her smalls on the radiator it wouldn't BU!

That wouldn't be unreasonable, it would be ridiculous and outrageously offensive.

zwischenzug Mon 08-Apr-13 18:56:34

Hard to say if OP is being unreasonable here, I suspect the tenant may well be upset at the 'trivial' issue that the OP if it was overstepping the bounds of a landlords remit. The OPs evasiveness of what the issue was makes this seem quite likely.

It is unreasonable though to impose yourself on your tenant for a whole hour, they have been kind enough to allow an inspection for you to evaluate your repairing obligations, extend them the courtesy of minimizing how much you are imposing on their privacy, they are perfectly entitled not to allow you round at all but are obviously trying to be polite.

lustybusty Mon 08-Apr-13 19:20:42

As a tenant, I'd be a bit stroppy too I'm afraid hmm I get where you're coming from, I really do, she could/should have been home from work. But....
I would expect you to inspect my room. That's what you're there for, you've given minimum 24 hours notice, that's fine.
I would expect you to discuss communal areas with the tenants present (if any, at my last inspection, none of us were here!!), and follow up in writing/email to all tenants.
I would NOT expect you to discuss my PERSONAL space with my flatmates. I wouldn't come and look at your bedroom and then say to your friends "oh, let such-a-body know there's dirt on the walls/clean the mould off the ceiling/whatever." I would phone/email you and let you know in person.
Having said that.... If the message was along the lines of "radiator's leaking, we'll be back on x day to fix it" that'd be ok, cos it's not personal iykwim?
I guess, I think what I'm saying is, if the problem was of the tenants making, YAB a little U. If it was of the "flat's" making (eg structural) YANBU.
Oh, and sorry for essay!! blush

emess Mon 08-Apr-13 20:40:47

Oooh, thank you all: lots more to think about!
Here's the issue: she's pinned dozens of posters to the wall - one huge thing (A1?) and about 12-15 which are A4 size, making lots of holes in the walls. The posters are up and any damage is done, but we asked if she could take them down TEMPORARILY (ie for 1 day) to allow DH to photograph the room (lease ends in a few weeks and we want photos for advertising). The posters are on a 'feature' wall painted in a very eye-catching colour - this wall was the reason she picked that room, apparently!
Anyway, had another email tonight in which she's citing the clause that says LL must not interfere with her right to 'quiet possession and enjoyment of the property'. Considering this is only our second visit to the flat since they moved in, and will be the last apart from DH tomorrow to get an electrical check carried out ) I think she's being OTT.

BTW, we were not 'imposing' for an hour - DH carried out some minor maintenance, we explained what will happen tomorrow, and afterwards spent part of that time on social chat with a neighbour (and hoping absent one would turn up!)

SneezingwakestheJesus Mon 08-Apr-13 20:47:06

Oh, oh! That's changed my opinion. YABU to expect her to do that so you can take pictures and she's right, it does affect her quiet enjoyment. Did you take her posters down or just ask through the flatmate? She has the right to refuse.

PicaK Mon 08-Apr-13 20:51:46

Ooh dear. That's a pain for you. Student sounds a stroppy know it all tbh.

I would have thought the pin marks would mean a job involving filler and repainting. Suggest you cost up now to the exact penny and withhold from her deposit once she's left.

Photograph when she's gone. Surely you have old photo from when you rented it to them.

ShesAStar Mon 08-Apr-13 20:58:27

I think you are being unreasonable. She has put the posters up and when she leaves you can photograph the holes and send them to the company that is holding the deposit if she hasn't made good the damage, then you can claim a fair amount of money back. Why should she take them down for you to take photos before she leaves? I am a landlord and would never ask a tenant to remove poster/wall hangings before their tenancy is up. It is her home while she is paying rent.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 08-Apr-13 21:03:30

Mmm. You are being unreasonable. If you didn't ban posters, it is not very fair to expect her to take them down.

Basically, tenants have 'right to quiet enjoyment' - that means you shouldn't expect they will mess around with their living space for you.

It's not unusual to have a clause saying tenants should not put pins into the wall, or should make good holes before they leave - might be an idea another time?

FWIW, I think the prior issue was with your tenants not communicating. If they are joint tenants, they need to agree together whether you'll be allowed in. They are entitled to refuse a visit, even with a week's notice, if it's not convenient. But they're not entitled to tell you it's ok to come then claim it isn't.

emess Mon 08-Apr-13 21:04:08

OK ... MN jury declares IABU. <gavel>

Meantime DS's LL has asked him and his flatmates to move/protect their belongings so he can send painters in for a few days to have the flat repainted around them. I'd never dream of doing such a thing! Must check his tenancy agreement for 'quiet possession and enjoyment' clause grin

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 08-Apr-13 21:06:38

Right to quiet enjoyment is the law, not the clause. It's a basic point anyone who rents or lets should know.

Your DS is entitled to ask his LL to put off the painters - obviously if he keeps insisting, the LL might get stroppy, but your DS doesn't have to let anyone in except for an emergency.

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