My Tenant Keeps Breaking Things (Who’s Responsible For Repairs?)

Frustrated Landlord

*deep, gigantic breaths*

Lord, give me strength, patience, and understanding, because I’m dying a slow and painful death out here. Failing that, show me mercy and dart me with a tsunami of horse tranquilisers.

I know it’s remarkably easy to hate on landlords, but at what point will society allow us to be victims? I’m hoping there’s a good argument for dealing with a gormless twit of a tenant that’s on a clumsy streak of breaking shit.

My tenant, she’s as sweet as rhubarb pie, bless her, but slap me silly and call me Susan, she’s one goofy-arse numpty!!

Naturally, my inner demons are itching to make this blog post into one big blasphemous and unreasonable tirade, but unfortunately for your sake, I’m going to do my best to demonstrate great restraint by tapping into my inner peace. Sorry!

*deep breaths* Woosah.

Landlord meditation

What my tenant has broken in the space of a month (so far)

Technically speaking, this calamity has been going on for six weeks. Tomayto, tomahto.

For context, I should clarify that my tenant is a wonderful long-term occupant and a gentle soul. I think it would be fair to categorise her as “demanding”, but this recent flurry is out of the ordinary even for her, and quite frankly, beyond fucking ridiculous.

Note, I’m just the messenger, so I’m only going to tell you what has been broken and how I was told it happened.

  • Glass shower screen – while taking a shower, my uncoordinated tenant misplaced her feet and took a tumble.

    Don’t worry, she’s fine.

    I’m not, though.

    Unfortunately, she was holding onto a long handled wooden back scrubber at the time, and as she tried to grab for support, the end of the scrubber managed to smash its way through the glass screen.

    No, I’m not joking.

    It looked like a shotgun wound.

  • Loft hatch door – in the middle of the night my tenant was startled by an extremely loud noise. I quote, “I was scared for my life”

    She went out into the hallway only to discover that the loft hatch door had fallen off its hinges and crashed onto the floor.

    “My Gosh, you poor dear, are you okay? That could have fallen straight onto your fragile little head” *grin*

    Tenant Broken loft hatch door

    She uses the loft to store furniture and boxes filled with her possessions, and her son is frequently ordered to pop in and out of there to curate her junk. Don’t ask, I don’t.

  • Thermostatic radiator valve – during the process of rearranging the furniture in the living room – just ’cause she fancied a change – a runaway sofa managed to knock a radiator valve clean off the pipe.

    Apparently her sofa walked away completely unscathed.

    Right, phewwww!

  • Boiler control panel flap/cover – another item that managed to magically snap off its hinge.

    No real reason for failure was given, other than “normal usage”

    Now, on a side note, I was actually caught off guard when I found the details of this particular case on my desk.

    Broken boiler cover

    I personally would have taped it back together, even with chewing gum if that’s all I had available.

    What kind of tenant goes out of their way to report such minor silliness? Not once, but twice. She *really* wanted this fixed.

    Evidently my type of tenant. Okay? Mine! She’s all mine, every square inch of her. Get your own.

    Ironically, her relentless pursuit for perfection was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed me to finally make use of an extended boiler warranty I splashed out on many moons ago.

    When liaising with the manufacturer on the phone to order the replacement part, I was notified that I could get the cover replaced and fitted under warranty. A very pleasant surprise.

    *shakes fist* Finally, I GOT YOU! 10 more claims like this and you’ll wish you never sold me that warranty. Suckers!

    The engineer that was assigned to replace the cover (yes, they actually dispatched an engineer for this absurdity), provided me with a diagnosis after he was done, which suggested it was highly unlikely that “normal usage” would have caused their premium product to break like that.

    Obviously I thanked him for his service, and then abruptly told him to shut his filthy little gob and get out of my premium sight, because I know for a fact my sweet rhubarb pie wouldn’t lie to me.

  • Back door lock“Something is wrong with the back door lock, it doesn’t work. I’m having to climb over the fence to get into the garden”

    Déjà vu hit me like a steam train!

    I’ve heard this song before, not too long ago either.

    Before getting back to my damsel in distress, I rummaged through my box of receipts only to discover what I expected to.

    Ah ha, I KNEW IT!

    The back door lock was changed 18 months ago, after she reported similar issues.

    Nope, I didn’t skimp either, I got her a sweet high grade Yale 5 lever thingamajig (although, the £2 Taiwan import on eBay did make me ponder momentarily). I know how to take care of my ladies.

    I know what you’re thinking, and you’re totally wrong. She assured me it’s not her, it’s the locks. So you can stick it!

Now, we wait to see if the storm has passed.

But if this nonsense continues, I’ll likely end up in a straitjacket.

What a bloody wally I’ve been lumbered with.

Landlord in straitjacket

On the flipside, I ‘spose I’m grateful my tenant is the type of tenant that doesn’t shy away from reporting every damn issue, as opposed to the type that wouldn’t even bother to send me a text message if the bath fell through the ceiling.

My glass = half full.

Who is responsible for breakages (Landlord Vs Tenant)?

Sure, I may as well make this blog post somewhat useful and informative. I’m not a total Neanderthal after all.

While there is a binary and obvious answer to the question [who is responsible for breakages?], I think most warm-blooded landlords quickly realise – on-the-job – that there are both lawful and humane/practical considerations when it concerns breakages.

The obvious answer: tenants are responsible for repairing anything they or their family or guests damage, and that includes repairs that the landlord would normally be responsible for.

If you didn’t know that, well now you do.

However, there are often cases when landlords may decide to take a more practical approach by covering the costs they’re not legally obligated to, and yes, even when the damage is orchestrated by a bumbling buffoon. I’ve done this on a few occasions for three different reasons:

  • Gesture of goodwill – sometimes it’s my way of saying thank you for not being a total scumbag tenant. I appreciate that quality in my tenants.
  • “It could do with replacing anyways” – if my tenant breaks an item that I would ordinarily be responsible for, which is not quite on its last legs, but isn’t in particularly great condition.
  • “I’ll get it done at the same time” – for example, if I’ve m already scheduled a handyman over to do some work at the premises, I’ll often get them to take a look at whatever it is my tenant broke while they’re there.

Essentially, I think it boils down to showing some gratitude. I’ve found it goes a long way in this dog-eat-dog business.

I only provide the bare minimum in my rental properties in order reduce my breakage liability. It makes life so much easier. Too many landlords make the grave mistake of adding unnecessary bells and whistles (e.g. iron, lawnmower, kettle, hair straighteners etc.) when all that does is increase liability, and rarely does it move the needle when it comes to rent.

What if there’s a dispute about who is responsible for the damage?

Man, it’s sickening when this happens, because it usually results in tension, bad blood and a fist fight on the driveway. It’s just about bearable when the tenant is on their way out at the end of a tenancy, but when it happens during mid-tenancy… *vomit*

Miraculously, from what I can recall, I’ve only been involved in one dispute over damages, which was several years ago. I’m not bragging, I’m just sayin’. I know I’ve had a good run.

I blogged about it at the time, although I have no idea where I’ve buried it – it’s around here somewhere. The incident may have occurred before tenancy deposit schemes were a thing. Truly the golden era of landlording, when we could retain entire deposits for a single blemish on a skirting board without resistance.

And now? Now I can’t even make a friendly unannounced visit to my tenant’s home, in my skimpy little denim shorts, without risking harassment charges. Fuck, we’ve really been stripped of everything good, and now we’re just pathetic mere mortals. I don’t even recognise the man I see in the mirror anymore. Anyways, I digress.

Basically, the front door had cracked in half and it looked like it had been brute forced open with a battering ram, and my brazen tenant tried shrugging it off as fair wear and tear.

Son, you crazy?

Broken front door

Eventually, after some uncomfortable and snotty exchanges, she conceded and coughed up the doe to replace the door, or at least the majority of it (I may have contributed). She was in the process of moving out, which was fortunate, because the negotiations got pretty heated and I’m not sure our relationship was strong enough to recover.

Still to this day I can’t believe she thought she was the one being hard done by. In hindsight, it seems clear that she was off her meds.

I’m going to point back to the legal and practical considerations, because I think it’s especially relevant during disputes:

  • I’ve always believed that reaching a compromise is usually the way to go, even if it feels unjust (which it often does). I would personally always thrive for this outcome, especially during mid tenancy. However;
  • if it’s a clear-cut case and the dispute erupts during an end of tenancy inspection, I’d be more inclined to go for glory with a capital I’M COMING FOR YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR BOSS, YOUR HAIRDRESSER AND YOUR DIGNITY, SO I’LL SEE YOU IN HELL!! But first, I would internally ask myself a couple of questions before making any chaotic decisions:
    • Has my tenant generally been decent?
    • Have I got my money’s worth over the duration of the tenancy?
    • Are we squabbling over anything significant here? Is it actually going to financially kill me?
  • All disputes can be raised with your tenancy deposit’s resolution service for free. However, from my experience, the burden of proof usually falls onto the landlord’s lap, which means it’s our responsibility to provide an airtight case. This is usually best accomplished with a solid inventory.

    If I objectively thought I didn’t have enough evidence to support my case, I would question whether mediation is the best route to take. The concern is, if the adjudicators end up siding with the tenant it will likely result in a bigger financial hit than if I had compromised with the tenant from the start.

  • If you haven’t secured your tenant’s deposit (for whatever reason), then I’d:
    1. try desperately to compromise (hoping they don’t realise I totally screwed up and don’t have a leg to stand on). Failing that;
    2. forfeit the dispute, and pray to God they don’t get ambitious, pushing for more compensation.
  • Finally, consider whether the pursuit is actually worth it. Value your time and mental health.

Boom! I think we we did it.

We have reached our destination, so it’s time for you to show me some sweet loving… grab the mic and drop a comment xoxo

51 Join the Conversation...

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Judi 7th July, 2022 @ 09:49

Expect we’ve all had this example of tenant we refer to them as ‘always the victim’ type - they have no intention of owning up and shout loudly and foam at the mouth if you point out it is their responsibility. They don’t improve with age , kindness or fairness because it’s not their fault .
We had one crazy woman accuse my husband of sounding just like her dad 😂 he’d obviously had to put up with her far longer than we did.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 09:55

@Judi

So true!

hahaha @ "accuse my husband of sounding just like her dad"

Was that a compliment?

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Mike 7th July, 2022 @ 10:12

My Tenants: so far so good for over three years now. BTW I do not use the deposit scheme as I do not take deposits, just two months in advance at start. They don't seem to mind, gives 'em breathing space should they decide to leave. All the best Mike
PS having said that, you watch something ull effing turnup tomorrow I can't handle that will cause me grief.

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David 7th July, 2022 @ 10:13

Happens to us all.
We had a cooker went faulty and I replaced it as it was a bit ancient, even though our agreements state we are not responsible for repair or replacement of appliances. Within 12 months the tenant has destroyed the brand new cooker to the point where it’s tripping the electric. He is demanding another replacement because apparently “I work for him”.
Well, I’ve paid for an electrician to confirm it’s his fault and that he’s not going to kill himself, but he’s not having another cooker!

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Graham 7th July, 2022 @ 10:22

I'm curious @The Landlord if you have accidental damage cover on your insurance and would you claim on it? Glass shower screens and fitting are not cheap......

As a general question do you think accidental damage cover is worth having/paying extra for on your cover?

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Gary Jackson 7th July, 2022 @ 10:25

She may be as sweet as a blueberry muffin but she may have a big arsed angry boyfriend coming round smashing shit when he’s had 2 gallons of snakebite!

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Richard 7th July, 2022 @ 10:27

@The Landlord - I think we all occasionally get a tenant that it seems things break/go wrong with them a lot. I've had one in the last year where it seemed things went wrong within 2 months of her moving in (kitchen extractor fan, boiler noise, squirrels in the loft, ant infestation etc. I fixed everything except the ant infestation as she realised it was because she was not getting the bins collected from the right place. Now she's said she doesn't like the neighbours......not sure what I can do about that!

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Steve 7th July, 2022 @ 10:40

We have one who recently flooded the flat and property below because; "the Loo was faulty" so landlords fault. The tenant must have blocked the loo with a nappy or something then broken the flush then cleared it before handyman got there. Smile sweetly and replace the loo!
Electrician call out for a socket not working. Half the house plugged into extension leads into a bedroom socket which happened to be on a spur but fused 13amp. £100 electricians fee. "But I only plugged things in"!
She will definitely get a bill for that one. Are section 21's still allowed?
I really do wonder why I am a landlord. It certainly isn't for the money, I make more on the stock exchange!

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Emma 7th July, 2022 @ 10:50

Maybe we could introduce coordination and eyesight tests for potential tenants to check the ‘it just happened factor’ The worst was when we rented out our own house at £3K+ a month…. despite our huge mortgage the tenant seemed to think we should be on hand to pass squares of toilet roll to him, despite us not being in the country. Therefore he made the agents life hell who took the easier route and gave in to his every request at our expense. Broken toilet seats, toilet roll holders ( what did he do in there) Blinds randomly falling down. The boiler mysteriously breaking when we initially refused a new water tank cos he couldn’t run 2 baths and 2 showers at the same time despite being a sole tenant. Broken washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher, oh and a load of marker pen marks over the pool table ( clearly not v good at colouring in)
Learnt from that. Leave/ furnish the house with the bare minimum ( lead based pool tables not easy to move though) and manage it yourself.

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Sally 7th July, 2022 @ 10:56

Made me laugh so much.. Think as a landlord these days you become a bit hysterical at times🤪. Sure there are rogue landlords but for those of us who try our best to be good landlords it is a frustrating time being demonised by the media & politicians for their own political ends! I digress now. Thanks for your hilarious posts & keeping my spirits up😂

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Claire 7th July, 2022 @ 11:01

We are on our third bathroom in three years!! They literally pull out the sealant and let the place flood.. our responsibility apparently... section 21 here we come!

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Stephen 7th July, 2022 @ 11:47

Thanks for your insightful comments.

So far ( Places hand on head to touch wood ) I’ve been lucky. No silly breakages from my tenants. ( OK, So I must be on borrowed time. The brown smelly stuff has got to make contact with the fan soon ). I’ve been lucky enough to have had to replace broken items that could reasonably classed as ‘fair wear and tear’.

You watch, now I’ve said it, the ‘silly breaks’ are going to start. Trust me to open my mouth.

Keep up the good work, Landlord.

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Susan Watson 7th July, 2022 @ 12:15

Informative as ever and as always, leaves me rolling around in stitches with laughing. I just love your humourous way of putting pen to paper. Please don't stop! 😂

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Santokh Ghai 7th July, 2022 @ 12:24

My tenant started making demands for extra furniture, a new bigger fridge freezer, replace wooden flooring with carpets, install cooker hood (extractor fan already in place), broke the door and then the floor of the shower requiring installation of a new shower, washer dryer packed up and had to be replaced and worst of all he let the water leak underneath the hand wash basin for months resulting in the damage of the newly replaced wooden base (raised above the floor). He did not report until it started leaking in the flat below.
I had to be patient. Did not know whether I could ask him to pay for the damages hoping that each damage would be the last one.
Some damages were during the pandemic and I had to bear the loss.
Some tenants are from hell, indeed

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Santokh GHAI 7th July, 2022 @ 12:27

Adding to my previous comment,
Yes, the boiler packed up and had to be replaced.

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Liz 7th July, 2022 @ 12:39

Here are some of the issues I have had with my current tenant.

I live overseas and have a property management company engaged to deal with rental. I use this term loosely as they always seem to side with the tenant.

Have replaced every tap in flat.
Broken/shattered shower door had to be replaced
Replaced every light fixture, the last one she didn’t like as it caused shadows.l!!
Replaced oven, cooktop and boiler - yes that was expensive!!!! She was not happy with installation of boiler but didn’t say anything for two years.
Replaced bathroom extractor fan as it was too noisy. They broke ceiling fire alarm trying to get it to stop beeping. Think she used a broom handle. Can’t honestly remember how many times they had issues with radiator controls which warranted a repair.

The last straw was her contacting the Factor to have repairs, which only she could see, needed done to the front door. I blew a gasket at this one, didn’t help I was still sent the bill.

Seriously thinking of selling!!!

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Pip B 7th July, 2022 @ 13:06

I had tenants who reported a broken sash window pane. Claiming a random firework ftom bonfire night must have hit it. When I attended with the glazier I noticed the curtains, curtain rod and fittings had been taken down. Hmmm. Do we think it was a bizarre one in a million freak accident or do we think the tenant climbed a ladder and was clumsy with a screwdriver? The glaziers laughed long and loud when they heard the ‘firework’ story.
Another lot told me the dishwasher had suddenly leaked from a ‘faulty pipe fitting’ and flooded the kitchen warping the wood floor. Plumber attended and no sign of any ‘leak’. Do we think they failed to clean the filter which got blocked causing the flood? Since only cold water goes into the machine and the warping was caused by hot water . . . And since these same tenants kept the house like a pigsty and lied about moving a nanny in without permission . . .
Hmmm.
How are we going to be able to get undesirable tenants like these out without section 21?
It’s a nightmare.

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Nige 7th July, 2022 @ 13:59

My daughter has a tenant who sets the room thermostat at 30 degrees 24 hours a day.2nd boiler now after multiple repairs. Only consolation is rising gas prices should bankrupt them.

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Graham 7th July, 2022 @ 14:51

I've got two lovely ladies mother and daughter as tenants. Got an email to say the bath might be a bit wobbly. Went to look and found one end did move a bit then I lifted the non slip mat in the bottom of the bath only to find that the plastic bath I fitted 7 years ago was cracked in half. Due to the grief I had doing the job last time I couldn't face doing it again so got a plumber to fix it but this time the bath is an enamelled steel one which even if they jump up and down in it they cannot crack it. Took the hit financially but in their defense they are rather obese. OK very obese at least twice my weight of 73KG. The plumber only had one instruction from me and that was "the plumbing must never ever leak".

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ken standing 7th July, 2022 @ 15:04

The trouble is .... you're dealing with 'People'. All life is there and that is an inescapable element of the deal.

I have been very lucky and only had one couple who were tricky - well, it was the bloke actually. (His very nice girlfriend paid the rent.) He told porkies about his work. When they left after six months I popped around to say goodbye, they were getting in the van to leave and looked very sick to see. When I went in I found a know on the oldish but good boiler had been broken and was held on with a small piece of matt surface selotape and the place was awash with water.(I went skidding.) It was to cover all the scraping and scuffing of the varnished, sanded floorboards, my pride and joy. They weren't serious tenants, more camping for a few months. The bath looked as though he'd cleaned his motorbike engine in it, all scoured and blackened. He might have been mixing concrete in it.

I didn't take any action. They were a 'young couple' and I think in money troubles. My hearing engineer friend had a suitable know on his van, I redid the floor surface - came up nicely - and I had the bath resurfaced for £600 but offsettable as an expense.

I think it is part of the game but I'm very careful who I let to now and always make sure there's a woman involved. Things happen in any house and I feel it's a matter of reducing risk but trying to judge personalities, and if the place is very nice tenants will tend not to spoil it.

The most important thing for me is good friendly relations and I think that makes them want to be careful. I do tell them that I recognise accidents will happen and I've got the paint and filler and glue so don't worry. Things can be fixed. But breakages will occur. In real life there actually are Father Dougals.

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Paul Barrett 7th July, 2022 @ 15:17

Tenants struggle to use fridge freezers.

Most don't understand that freezers need defrosting at least every 6 months.

Nope what they do is pull on the frozen in draws and break them.

In future would only ever purchase frost free fridge/freezer versions even though more expensive.

Replacement freezer draws aren't cheap!

In the 15 years I had 4 flats I had to replace 8 washing machines.
3 fridge freezers

Integrated appliances cost more though I didn't bother with Replacement integrated washing/dryers.

Just free standing washing machines which went defective about every 3 years.

So just had to save £10 every month to pay for inevitable Replacement.

There is no doubt that tenants are able to break things that in my domestic circumstances I have NEVER broken!!!

Just goes with the territory of being a LL.

LL just have to factor in tenant IDIOCY into the letting business model

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Stealth Bomber 7th July, 2022 @ 16:01

It really is a tight rope over the grand canyon balance. Theres no accounting for how people live, and damage that can be caused. The odd repair in a year, i find is a healthy relationship. Yes its a problem when its every five minutes, or they're breaking the same item over and over. Biggest red flag for me has been less and less contact, no reports and dont want to let trades in.

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Tim 7th July, 2022 @ 17:47

I have a couple of fat tenants. They are lovely but reported the baths was giving way. I stood in the bath. It didn’t move a joy. I took the panels off and they had bent the metal frame.
I give them adjustable legs for kitchen units and asked them to sort it. Done

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:05

@David,

Oh man, I know exactly what you mean. I'm no stranger to the "you work for me" attitude. Some tenants think landlords are their personal concierge. I have no problem helping my tenants, but when they come at me with an entitled attitude, it really does boil my tampon!

One common example is when a tenant reports an issue, expecting us to work at to an unreasonable timescale. I recently had a tenant report an issue with a plug socket, so I informed my electrician on the same day via text message. I didn't expect to get a response that day, because it was a Sunday. My tenant text me first thing Monday morning, telling me that if my electrician can't get it fixed with in 48 hours, they want me to find someone else to do it.

Stuff like that blows my mind.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:14

@Graham,

My building insurance policy does include accidental damage and I most likely could have claimed.

But it wasn't worth it in this case, because 1) my tenant covered the cost to replace the shower screen 2) I still would have had to pay an excess fee if I made the claim.

I paid to have the screen fitted by my handyman because there were a few other odd jobs that needed doing anyways.

From what I'm aware, most policies include some form of accidental damage by default, and if it doesn't, it's not that much extra to bundle it in (approx. £15), so I think it's worth having. Although, for minor damages, it usually doesn't make sense to make a claim because of the excess fee.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:15

@Gary Jackson

Plot Twist: I'm her alchi boyfriend.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:17

@Richard
Agreed. Just like we'll all likely get a tenant that falls into arrears.

lol @ squirrels in the loft!

Do the right thing by your tenant and buy up the neighbours houses and leave them vacant, so your tenant can live in peace. Only seems fair.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:24

@Steve

Gosh, I feel your pain.

Reminds me of when my tenants reported a drain blockage in the garden, which was excessively overflowing. I sent out Dyno-Rod to take a look, and they reported that the occupants had been tipping hot cooking oil and rice down the sink drain, which pretty much clogged up the entire draining system.

*slaps forehead*

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:35

@Emma
Ahh, MAKE IT STOP!

That's too much incompetence for me, I wouldn't have been able to handle it. I would be in a padded room, fo'sho!

I'm trying to be entirely unbiased, and I feel 100% confident that if I were a tenant, and I broke half of those items (toilet seat, bog roll holder, blinds etc) I would have just fixed/replaced them. No need to make a fuss.

You raised a really good, and one that I've touched on before, and it actually inspired me to update my blog post to include the following:

I only provide the bare minimum in my rental properties in order reduce my breakage liability. It makes life so much easier. Too many landlords make the grave mistake of adding unnecessary bells and whistles (e.g. iron, lawnmower, kettle, hair straighteners etc.) when all that does is increase liability, and rarely does it move the needle when it comes to rent.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:38

@Sally

Thank you, I appreciate that, and I'm totally with you about being unfairly demonised!

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:39

@Claire
WTF @ 3rd bathroom in 3 years.

*mind blown*

Are your tenants walruses?

Get 'em out of there ASAP!

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:41

@Stephen

Christ, if you haven't just jinxed yourself I'll be shocked.

Man, I can only prey for you now. Best of luck!

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:47

@Nige,

Hahah @ "rising gas prices should bankrupt them"

I guess that is the silver lining for all landlords during the energy crisis, boilers are likely to have a longer life expectancy due to lower usage!

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 18:57

@Santokh

Man, that's a slippery slope - once you start buckling to every unreasonable demand, you can find yourself in a tricky and uncomfortable spot. I've found that with demanding tenants, you need to hold your ground, otherwise they get a taste for weakness and take advantage.

I had a tenant several years ago that moved in for a week before making demands. She wanted me to change all the lights (from spotlights to pendants so she could fit lamp shades) and install fitted cupboards into the bedrooms (this as an unfurnished property).

Bizarre.

I was like, "you did view the property with your eyes open, right?"

I changed the lights (which really annoyed me, to be honest), but said absolutely not to the cupboards, and she actually had the audacity to get shirty with me about it.

Anyways, I think it's okay to concede to some stuff, but there needs to be a reasonable balance.

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Kay 7th July, 2022 @ 19:50

Bring back RACKMAN I say
With the ongoing nonsense governments seem to want to continue issuing,we are gouing to need them.
Trust me it’s comming

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:04

@Liz

I imagine dealing with such issues while abroad is frustrating as hell.

Besides from your tenant sounding particularly reckless, it doesn't sound like your agent is working for you! They need to keep your tenant in check.

Similarly what I said to @Santokh, landlords shouldn't concede to every issue, especially when it's not their fault/responsibility.

Over the years I've come to terms with the fact that my time and mental health is more valuable than anything else, so now I'm more comfortable with making changes to help achieve that. So my advice is, don't be scared to make tough decisions like changing agents and/or tenants (or even selling, if that's the right decision for you) if it's going to improve your quality of life in the long run.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:12

@Pip B

That's the concern right there, without a S21 how are landlords meant to mitigate against these risks?

While I am concerned, I'm going to reserve my hissy-fit until I know the facts. From what I'm aware, if S21 gets scraped, then S8 will get reworked (i.e. the grounds for eviction will get updated), and I'm hoping it will make allowances for these kinds of issues.

I imagine there will be a huge surge of S21 repossessions if the scraping of S21 gets confirmed, because lots of landlords will get rid of "difficult" tenants while they can. Surely the GOV must anticipate that? But then again...

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:16

@Graham

Hahaha @ "even if they jump up and down in it they cannot crack it."

The ultimate test of a solid bath!

Mind you, you've probably jinxed yourself. You'll probably get an email next week, "Hi Graham , I don't know how to tell you this, but the bath is now in the kitchen"

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:23

@Ken
Yup, I'm totally with you.

When you work with people, building healthy relations is key. More often than not, I generally assess each situation and hope I make the right decision, because it's hard to apply the same ruleset to every situation.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:28

@Stealth Bomber

Definitely, it really is about finding that balance when dealing with people.

I really don't mind when things break, it happens, and like you said, it helps maintain that healthy relationship.

But some of the stories people have shared in here have been horrifying! Some tenants are just serial wrecking balls. I don't know if it's possible to find a balance there.

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The Landlord 7th July, 2022 @ 20:34

@Tim

Haha, you're the second landlord that has shared a story about overweight tenants creating unstable/wobbly baths (Graham Comment #19). To be honest, that concern has never even crossed my mind, but I guess it makes sense.

You need to give your bath the ultimate test like Graham did, jump up and down in it!!

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JOE CLIFFORD 7th July, 2022 @ 20:57

Great read . So much sounded familiar. I am not alone.

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shiralee 8th July, 2022 @ 10:28

i have had some nightmare tenants , currently renting what a eye opener
i have a landlord who refuses to do repairs ie window that didnt shut , shower doesnt work guttering that was leaking so bad u couldnt walk out the door without getting drenched heating on when it was switched off fence that came down in storm still down now everyone uses my garden as the loval short cut
But am i the mug who always got things sorted for my tennants immediately

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The Landlord 8th July, 2022 @ 11:04

@shiralee
Don't worry, a lot of mugs around here (which is a good thing), so you're in good company.

I start feeling super anxious if I don't attend to things for my tenant immediately. I'm amazed how some landlords just let things drag on, I genuinely struggle to understand how they're able to block it all out and carry on as normal, completely care free.

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Smithy 8th July, 2022 @ 15:35

My tenant rang - late afternoon between Christmas and New Year. Toilet was blocked. My builder went down there at 8pm. Entire bathroom in a state of flood. Despite the toilet overflowing, they had carried on using it. (Her mum lived quite near - so she and child could have gone there for a day or so.)

You know those plastic things you hang over the edge of the toilet with a bleach block in them? This one had come off (as they do) and they had flushed it down the toilet - it was stuck in the bend. My builder obligingly sent a photo - plastic thing covered in toilet paper and poo.

Following week, tenant contacted me again. Toilet blocked. This time the blockage was baby wipes.

And she sent me a really irate email about what a bad landlord I am.

I issued a S21 - they left before I had to go to Court. But not before accruing over £5,000 in rent arrears.

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Mike the Boilerman 8th July, 2022 @ 22:27

I get a tenant like yours once in a while. They never get any better in my experience so it's best to draw a line under it after a decent amount of time and give them notice to quit, if you can bring yourself to. Make some weak excuse like 'the place needs doing up' or better.

Alternatively go for "I'm reviewing the rent and raising it to £xxx, (with £xxx being faintly ambitious but not out of court for the area)" in the hope they'll tell you to shove it and they are moving out.

Point being, a tenant who creates a steady stream of management work needs to be paying full market rent. The lovely ones you never hear from from one year to the next and always pay their rent on time like clockwork, I reward with NEVER raising their rent. But once they start soaking up my time, then I require compensation!

P.S. I see it is a Worcester boiler. "Wooster botch" as we call them in the trade lol. They actually have long guarantees and pretty good customer service. Horrid things to fix though, I avoid them like, well, certain types of tenants :D

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Coops 12th July, 2022 @ 11:26

My last tenant claimed that the uPVC front door was damaged when they were taking out the kid's old cot. Er, no. Neighbours told us the tenant's POS boyfriend tried to kick the door in!

It took months to go through adjudication + get the deposit back from DPS but hurrah it arrived in my account yesterday.

My biggest lessons from her tenure: get a really good inventory done and don't let regular inspections slip once a tenant has been in residence for a year or two. I definitely took my eye off the ball.

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The Landlord 14th July, 2022 @ 07:23

@Mike the Boilerman
Agreed, at some point it's easy for a problematic tenant to become a financial liability, at which point it's important to take action (not talking about good tenants here).

Ha, yup. Funny enough, every plumber I have ever met has said, "Either go with Wooster botch or Vaillant, they're both work horses"

... and then you come along and burst my bubble!

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The Landlord 14th July, 2022 @ 07:25

@Coops

Congratulations, man! Today we celebrate! :)

Routine inspections are critical, it's just a shame so many landlords don't bother. It's one of the best ways to minimise risks!

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Debbie 23rd July, 2022 @ 19:20

My tenant was a lone parent daft wee lassie who couldn't do anything for herself.

Within the first three weeks of the tenancy she had broken the flush on the toilet ! I duly fixed it. The best one was one cooker ring broke. The cooker was brand new at the start of her tenancy ! I spoke to her by phone and said you can use the other three rings until I decide what's wrong. To which she replied "but that's my favourite ring you need to fix it". I said listen leave it for a while and it might rectify itself (some appliances do).

I got a bit fed up with her attitude so I told her the house inspection was overdue and I'd come to inspect plus I need the boiler serviced and a new Gas Safety Certificate.

A week later on inspection she gleefully said the cooker did sort itself out and it did. I was looking into a used same cooker by then. She was adamant she didn't break it ! It was wear and tear.

All the drama ! She somehow managed to break the front door bell too. She said that would be sorted when she left . Upstairs bedroom window lock managed to break. For safety (cos I didn't want her two year old falling out the window). I paid £30 to renew it.

The boiler engineer duly came and just like that he slapped a warning sticker on boiler and he shut off the hot water. I was just as shocked as my tenant especially as it was a brand new 2 year old Worcester-Bosch. That engineer never came back. I still got it fixed within two days. But on the second day with no hot water she sent me a message to say she and her son would have to stay in a b&b so did I want to pay for that, or reduce the rent ! I told her neither. It's not an emergency. She could boil the kettle. The plumber would come tomorrow. The plumber and I turned up an hour and a half earlier than stated. You know how tradesmen are. It was a Friday and the earlier the better. The tenant was at work as well.

She sent her old hag grandmother for some reason. Who was holding back work by interfering and ask asking questions in an aggressive manner ! So I'm wondering how she now sees me as a bad bad landlord. Before she was ok with house inspections without her or anyone's presence. What's changed ?

I worked out that her new b/f was selling illegal substances from the house !

I was wondering how I could evict her. It was my first year of being a landlord and unsure of the procedure. When she gave written notice to end the tenancy. Music to my ears.

The best things about this tenant was she always paid her rent on time. She painted the living room with my permission and we both chose the paint colour. She left the house in a very good condition. No she didn't fix the door bell. Apparantly it was missed off the inventory at start of tenancy !
The worse things about her was she texted love hearts and kisses as if I were her personal friend. She was 20 years old so I just thought young and a bit silly. She kept breaking things and phoning me a lot! Her nan was a nightmare. She said I was breaking the law by not providing a carbon monoxide detector. I could not be bothered explaining to her ....Oct 2022 yada yada. Too stressful trying to get boiler sorted !

The guy that came and sorted it all out could not get on with it cos of auld nan speaking her mind.

Then the tenant texted to say I shouldn't have come early to fix the boiler ! I should have asked her permission first (true) Cos she had left her keys under a flower pot at the front door for nan and I saw them. And she shouldn't have done that.

It seems a thankless task to be a landlord but the money compensates until it doesn't. I might just yet choose a stress free life by stopping with renting my house !

What do I do with an empty house though. Until I can think of an easier way to make money from it I shall remain, stress and all !

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David 14th August, 2022 @ 11:13

@Landlord

I agree with your sentiment, the only thing I would say is that when you do your Tenant a favour you need to make them fully aware in writing that this is a gesture of goodwill and any further damages will need to be paid for by the Tenant.

Some Landlords recommend clumsy Tenants take out contents insurance, the other day I called a Housing Association and while I was in the glorious queue I heard them offer reduced price contents insurance for their Tenants.

For your clumsy Tenant I would explain to her that she seems to be accident prone and should take out contents insurance and ideally not touch things like the boiler unless she knows what she is doing.

The most important thing is to deal with things as they arise, never wait until the end of the Tenancy as you will have a maximum of 5 weeks rent in the deposit since the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

I would also use any favours to negotiate/justify rent increases, some Landlords put inflation rises in their tenancy agreements, by next year inflation is likely to be 15% for the previous 12 months, so the way to make sure you are appreciated is to first approach the Tenant to inform them that in line with the terms of the Tenancy the Rent is due to be increasing from April in line with CPI+2%, but you are mindful of the cost of living crisis and so would like to hear of their intentions, are they happy, do they plan to stay in the property for the next year or two.

The bigger the repair the firmer you need to be, I have seen clients with door breaks like that and some taking out the frame too. These tend to be the Police on a drugs raid or the fire brigade breaking in if the Police can't, often due to a mental health crisis, such as the person saying they are going to self harm.

They are usually required to secure the property after with some sort of temporary but secure fix, you might argue that they did not need to damage it so badly.

If you know they have a MH condition, you might also prevent such damage by informing the local Police, Mental Health Trust etc that you are the Landlord or by putting a strip outside the property near the bell or on door frame to say "in case of emergency to gain access to this property please email landlord @ tempemail.c o m and have that account forward email to yourself.

You can make it part of your onboarding process to ask if the Tenant has any known mental health problems so you can make reasonable adjustments.

As you say it is always a balance and provide as little as possible, my Housing Association clients do not provide a fridge, Oven or Curtains or Carpets. Even when Tenants leaving them behind they get rid of them to avoid liability. They also so not decorate but do fix mould etc, however, some have a scheme to part fund the materials for decorating within approved colour schemes.

As for the "victim" if she broke in herself it is her own fault and paying a local locksmith would have been cheaper. Better still, bury a spare key (in a plastic bag with no detail of the property) nowhere near the property or give spare key to a relative.

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