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Unhappy tenants - WWYD?

(42 Posts)
strandedabroad Sat 23-Jan-16 13:25:26

Here's the background. DH and I let out a small 2-bedroom house. Our tenant is a guy in his late 20s and has been a great tenant so far. He's been there for about 2 years.

I used to live in the house. Did it up for myself to live in and loved it. Then met now DH who had his own place and we decided to move into his and rent mine out.

For the last month or so there's been an ongoing problem with the boiler/hot water. The tenant gets intermittent hot water problems. He has been in touch half a dozen time and every time we called a plumber/boiler man/gas man. It's very difficult to get them over quickly. People are busy. DH is very handy and on the various workmen's advice he replaced the shower unit and a boiler part. Then went over to help with the thermostat as the new boiler part had interfered with it. The problem is not straightforward. We managed to get the plumber in once, that's when he advised we change the part.

Plumbers don't come out at the drop of a hat for non-urgent issues. We have tried several. Yesterday the tenant phoned to say the issue is still there. DH is now abroad so I'm dealing with this. The plumber said he'd call this morning to arrange a time. He called at 11 to say he could go to the property shortly. I phoned the tenant and he said that didn't suit him and he still had to have a shower. We then agreed on Monday.

I then received a text from tenant to say he's not happy with the situation and he wants a chat. I'm calling him back at 3.

I suspect the bottom line will be that he wants a discount on the rent as this has been an inconvenience for him.

WWYD? Do I have to put my foot down? We honestly couldn't have done any more. There's nothing in the contract that mentions interruption of services or similar.

Just to clarify, this is not a money-making thing for us. The rent just covers the mortgage and with the insurance and expenses we certainly don't make money. We will sell as soon as practical.

Thanks for your opinions.

LIZS Sat 23-Jan-16 13:30:25

Well him turning down a plumber's visit today isn't smart. However I do think you could have done more, got a different contractor in, had a maintenance contract with emergency cover etc. presumably you are no agent in which case you do need to be more involved yourselves, profitable or not. Did you replace the boiler while you lived there?

Bearbehind Sat 23-Jan-16 13:34:03

When I saw the thread title I expected unreasonable tenants who are demandng the problem was solved yesterday but Boiler/ hot water problems that have being going on 'for a month or so' sounds very vague.

From what you've posted it sounds like you've tried the cheap route ie your DH doing the work and that hasn't suceeded and now you need a plumber to visit again.

It's not unreasonable to be unhappy about not having adequate heating/ hot water for several weeks during the coldest months.

The fact it doesn't make money for you is irrelevant to the tenant, except in so far as it is possibly the reason you've not had the problem resolved satisfactorily.

I think you need to promise to get it fixed for once and for all this week at the very least.

Kerberos Sat 23-Jan-16 13:35:15

It's frustrating for him. I can see his side of things. You should consider offering a goodwill payment to compensate for the problems he's having. Yes it's a complex problem to fix but it's yours to manage with your tenant.

KoalaDownUnder Sat 23-Jan-16 13:40:44

I would be careful about relying on the contract. There may be legislation that covers tenants' rights, which can't be contracted out of.

For example, in Aus we have the Residential Tenancies Act. This provides that hot water, as an essential service, has to be fixed within something like 24 hours.

In hindsight, you should probably have replaced the boiler outright after a couple of these issues (esp in mid winter).

PurpleHairAndPearls Sat 23-Jan-16 13:40:59

Is your DH gas safe registered, if he is doing work on the boiler?

PurpleHairAndPearls Sat 23-Jan-16 13:41:59

When was your last gas safety certificate done?

Jesabel Sat 23-Jan-16 13:43:48

You do make money - he is paying your mortgage, how can you not see that as making money? Don't convince yourself you are doing your tenant a favour by letting him live there.

MajesticSeaFlapFlap Sat 23-Jan-16 13:45:27

Its been a month, it needs sorting properly.
Id reduce his rent for a month, you say hes been a good tenant for two years so id suck it up to keep on good terms

MajesticSeaFlapFlap Sat 23-Jan-16 13:46:11

Also what Jesabel said ^^

DrE678 Sat 23-Jan-16 13:49:40

If your DH isn't Gas Safe registered you are already likely to be on shaky ground. There are always plumbers who will come out to a non emergency but it will cost you more. Intermittent hot water and heating for a month is unreasonable and it needs a permanent fix asap. He was silly to refuse a plumber today but he's presumably very frustrated by the situation.

SauvignonPlonker Sat 23-Jan-16 13:50:20

This is where it is worth having a maintenance contract for boiler servicing & repairs. If you are self-managing & don't have a reliable plumber on hand then you really do need it.

Does your LL insurance policy have any cover in it for boiler issues?

I'm not surprised that the tenant is annoyed- he's had to make a half-dozen or so phone calls to get something sorted & it's still not fixed.

Basically, you need to get someone out at your own expense & perhaps in your own time (rather than expecting the tenant to wait in).

strandedabroad Sat 23-Jan-16 14:01:38

Thanks for your opinions. I appreciate them.

I completely agree that my profit plays no part in this. I only mentioned it as I didn't want to give the impression I do this for a living.

The boiler was 2 years old when I moved in. It's now 6 years old.

We have emergency cover and HomeServe came out but left as it wasn't an urgent problem and they wouldn't deal with it.

It's been intermittent, that's why it's so tricky to solve. Heating and rest of the house are fine, it's just the shower that is sometimes a problem. Another plumber came out and advised which part needed changing, but he couldn't do it for another week. He ordered it and explained to DH how to fit it as it was 'dead easy'. But the part hasn't fixed the problem, nor did the new shower that DH installed in the meantime as we thought it might be a pressure problem.

We should have probably tried harder to get another plumber but we seemed to have run out of reliable options.

This morning was a wasted opportunity. I appreciate people have busy lives and want to relax in their home, but he was given notice yesterday.

Thanks everyone.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 23-Jan-16 14:06:56

It fucks me off when landlords insist on trying to fix things themselves before getting a professional in. It causes unnecessary delays and most of the time they don't fix it properly anyway. You should have got a plumber in sooner. However he was a div for turning down the plumber visit and should understand that you can't Magic a plumber out of thin air at his convenience.
You shouldn't be reducing his rent unless he has genuinely lived without hot water on and off - including heating? If so, then a reduction would be reasonable.

LIZS Sat 23-Jan-16 14:07:09

Did you offer to go round and see the plumber yourself or assume he would be in? Does the shower have a pump?

strandedabroad Sat 23-Jan-16 14:08:06

Gas certificate is done once a year. Just done in December. DH isn't Gas Safe registered. He changed the shower then changed a boiler part on the plumber's advice. I didn't check LL insurance as I didn't think it would be included. Will do so now.

I always go round to let workmen in (on 24 hours notice). But as it was Saturday morning I phoned him to ask if he was in as it would be pointless me running over if so. I don't expect him to be managing the issues.

It's taking so long as every time we've done something to it, the tenant has then texted to say 'it seems to be fixed'. Another week then passes and the problem comes back.

I do see that he's paying my mortgage. I didn't mean it like that - only wanted to say that I'm not a professional buy-to-let agent.

Thank you.

strandedabroad Sat 23-Jan-16 14:10:18

Yep, I started getting ready as soon as the plumber called, on the assumption that he wouldn't be in. But of course I have to ask permission to enter the property - so I phoned and that's when he said no.

I appreciate we could have pushed more for a plumber. He will go back on Monday.

DH only got involved over Christmas when it became apparent that we couldn't get a plumber for a few days.

strandedabroad Sat 23-Jan-16 14:11:17

No pump in the shower, and not a power shower.

Will speak to him and report back. I don't want to fall out with him - he's a good tenant.

Rikkitikkitemper Sat 23-Jan-16 14:14:12

www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/heating-and-hot-water/

Have a look at this link. After reading it, it seems to me that you really need to get the problem fixed asap. Living without a reliable source of hot water would be terrible.

PrimalLass Sat 23-Jan-16 14:18:25

You should get boiler cover.

PrimalLass Sat 23-Jan-16 14:20:00

Oops. Didn't RTFT.

PrimalLass Sat 23-Jan-16 14:21:15

British Gas cover is good. I've booked them at midnight before for the next day. Well worth it, and the price includes an annual service.

Lucsy Sat 23-Jan-16 14:23:38

Second BG.

Muskateersmummy Sat 23-Jan-16 14:31:16

Is it not possible to give the tenant the plumbers number (or visa versa) and let them arrange a time that's suitable for them? Much easier than running between them both, that's what's I have done both as a tenant and a landlord. Once the plumber is in, he can call you with a run down of what needs to happen and a plan be made.

TheLesserSpottedBee Sat 23-Jan-16 15:47:57

We have an old old boiler and weird wiring and after our boiler stop working we had a local chap come and look, he said go with British Gas because they will work on a first fault find fix thing for £99.

The cost of the subsequent repair was far in excess of the £99 we paid and the monthly fee to be covered under their service plan.

Since then our boiler died on a Christmas eve, they offered to come out on Christmas day but we booked them for boxing day as we were out Christmas day. The pump died and they replaced that. The something else went with the boiler.

The point is they are out within 24 hours, easily. I can count on them. They may cost me money every month but frankly they have been worth every penny.

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