Whenever I see a tenant’s name flashing on my mobile, signalling an incoming call, my hearts pumps out of my chest and my stomach usually falls out of my ass! I literally have an anxiety attack, because I know for sure it’s not good news.
When does a tenant ever call out of the blue bearing good news? “Oh, Hey Landlordy, just calling to thank you for being awesome!”
Never, it just doesn’t happen. More likely is the case that my bank balance is about to take a battering.
My tenant moved in just under two months ago and since then we haven’t communicated, so when her name randomly flashed on my screen at 10pm a few nights ago… PANIC, PANIC, PANIC!
*Landlord passes out*
I picked up, “Hey, how are you? What you wearing? etc.“, I skipped through the usual formalities.
She responded very quietly, almost as if she was in fear. She eventually muttered the words, “waters leaking from the loft, can you get a plumber out”
*Landlord has a stroke*
I KNEW IT!!
I responded frantically, “SHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII… has something burst? Do you know why it’s happening? TALK TO ME, LADY!”
She explained that she didn’t know what the cause was, and there was no way I could get a plumber out at 10pm.
*Landlord has another stroke*
Surprisingly, and gratefully, she was perfectly calm, which made the whole situation entirely easy to deal with. I’ve been in similar situations before and the response from the tenant was starkly different, “WATER IS LEAKING, I’M NOT PAYING RENT, YOU SON OF A BITCH!! FIX IT!!”
Honestly, what would these people do if it happened in their own home? Who would they blame?
Shit breaks, it’s normal. RELAX!
I explained to my tenant there was no way I could get a plumber out at that time, but I would call someone first thing in the morning. Once again, with pure grace, she was understanding.
In the mean time, I told her to turn off the main water supply by the stop-cock, which was located under the kitchen sink. She followed my advice and shortly after the leaking stopped. Thankfully we managed to stop the leaking before any damage was caused.
If the water had continued to overflow, the entire bloody ceiling could have fallen through. Bullet and lawsuit dodged.
However, now the only problem was that while the main water supply was cut off, she had no access to water. Needless to say, I had to act quickly, because it’s never acceptable to leave tenants without water (or heat) for too long.
Luckily, my accountant’s husband is a plumber, so he attends to my problems promptly (and I know he won’t tear me a new one with cowboy prices, which is always wonderfully reassuring). When I arrived at work the following morning, I told my accountant the problem, and she was quick to assemble her husband.
Later that evening the plumber attended the property and took control of the situation. He said it was nothing major, apparently the float/ball in the cistern water tank had broken (it’s all gibberish to me). Apparently the float controls the water level in the tank, and without it, well, water, everywhere.
Here’s a visual:
Fortunately, it only cost me £50 to fix the problem, for both parts and labour.
I feel lucky. Very lucky!
I think the important message here is that 1) you could do worse than end up with a landlord like me 2) you should always work with your tenant and get issues resolved promptly. If you don’t fix issues related to vital utilities quickly as possible, such as water, not only are you providing piss-poor service, but you’re also potentially creating a bitter tenant (and rightly so).
Right, so, if you have a dodgy leak in your rental property, go fix it! ASAP.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.