“The loose tap syndrome” is the term I’ve given to the illness commonly contracted by tenants; primary symptom being the uncontrollable necessity of reporting every bullshit minuscule maintenance issue that a mentally impaired chimp is capable of resolving, let alone a fully grown human idiot. However, instead of being useful and fixing the problem, the highly inconvenient whimpering-cry for help is opted for. Great.
“The loose tap” is an analogy for any small maintenance issue, like a wonky toilet roll holder or a loose door hinge. Of course, a loose tap is not only an analogy, but also a prime example of a piffling little problem I’m referring to, and the nature of my most recent experience, hence why the condition has been named after it. I’m sure many landlords reading this can relate the problem I’m describing.
So, what sparked my hostility (besides from my natural nasty little persona), is what you’re all wondering…
When my Tenant complained about nothing
My tenant sent me a text last week, reporting a loose kitchen sink tap, which he required assistance with. I assumed he had examined the problem, and then realised it was deeper rooted than simply tightening an easily accessible bolt, and that’s why he felt it necessary to get me involved. I had no reason to presume otherwise, because any other possible scenario seemed incomprehensible and plain stupid.
I was tempted to immediately contact my plumber and swallow the costs of his extortionate call-out and labour fees, because I didn’t think I needed to question my tenant’s competence and complete negligence of my finances. I pondered the thought for a few minutes.
Fortunately, my moment of madness quickly passed, and having faith in humanity and my gormless tenant was nothing but a distant blip. I remembered the golden rule of landlording, “my tenant is an idiot”. It’s not personal, it’s just bizz. I remember when I was learning to drive, my driving instructor always used to tell me, “everyone on the road is an idiot” Truest shit I ever heard.
Since I’m a man of extreme integrity and honour, I respect the rules of the land, so I arranged to visit my tenant’s house to assess the problem first-hand, to determine if the problem required the touch of an expert. Bear in mind, I’m incredibly delicate and precious, and my plumbing skills are non-existent, so anything beyond tightening a screw would result in a feeble scream for help.
When I arrived at the property, I went into the kitchen, reached over to the tap, and gave it a firm shake. My tenant was right, it was pretty unstable and floppy (that’s what she said). I opened the unit doors underneath the sink, and stuck my cumbersome nut into the abyss and began searching- for what, I will never know, just something. I almost looked like I knew what I was doing. I felt like resting a cigarette behind one of my ears to complete my role. But i’m not a complete wanker.
Unfortunately, the problem was easily and quickly diagnosed after a brief examination- it was apparent a small brass bolt under the tap needed tightening. I told my tenant to pass me a pair of pliers and step back. After a few turns and twists, the problem was resolved. Tight as a Nun’s…
I say “unfortunately” because I was left in a position where I had to throw him onto the shit-list for being such an incompetent, dumbfounded, lazy-ass donkey.
Turned out, the problem wasn’t deeper rooted than simply tightening an easily accessible bolt *palm-face*
I was in-and-out of there within 3mins [insert sexual innuendo].
But, before I left, I asked my tenant in a lighthearted tone, “did you even check to see what the problem was?”, he replied, “No, I didn’t want to make it worse hehe”
I went along with the dangerous game he was playing with my patience and returned a false chuckle, as I visualised his stupid head being crushed by an industrial vice, while screaming at him:
OPENING THE UNIT DOORS AND USING YOUR EYES TO SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM IS WILL NOT MAKE ANYTHING WORSE, YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER DIP-SHIT
Of course, the pathetic reality was somewhat different.
I bit my tongue, shook his wanking-hand and wished him a pleasant evening. At least he was a happy bunny. I’ve come to realise that that’s actually what a lot of being a landlord is about: biting my tongue and then masturbating about my tenant’s demise.
Thankfully, my complete lack of faith in my tenant had paid off. If I had gone against my better judgement and given the douche an ounce of credibility, I would have shelled out £50+ on a plumber to tighten a bolt.
To give you some perspective on the overall scenario, my tenant is a 40-something I.T technician. Granted, we’ve established he’s a lazy, inconsiderate asshole, but he’s not stupid, and I’m sure diagnosing a loose bolt and fixing the problem is within his limited capabilities. If the problem was reported by a 90 year old lady that was immobile, bed-bound, and prone to uncontrollably shitting herself, then it would have been a different situation altogether, and I wouldn’t have held any resentment. I’m not a monster after all.
Another day, another loose tap!
I’ve been in similar situations in the past. In fact, I remember when a tenant contacted me to report a broken gate in the back garden, which “needed” replacing because it was unusable and compromised her security.
I went to assess the damage, only to discover the hinge had come loose, and the solution was to tighten 2 screws. In hindsight, that scenario was even more demoralising, because there’s nothing more bog-standard than tightening a regular flat-head screw. Ironically, she looked at me in amazement, like I had just given a blind man his sight. It didn’t even enter her mind that I wasn’t working miracles, she was just an incomparable buffoon.
I’m always quick and efficient when it comes to resolving any maintenance issues, and I appreciate it’s “part of my job” as a landlord. But give me a break. This was like calling an ambulance to entertain a splinter. I have no qualms with attending maintenance issues, but when a tenant can’t even be bothered to try and resolve the most basic of repairs, it’s annoying as hell. Tightening a bolt doesn’t even constitute as DIY, it’s like fastening a cap on a bottle of Evian. Alas, the loose tap syndrome. Sigh.
Words of advice and tips for landlords when dealing with maintenance reports…
- First and foremost, the moral of the story: personally assess all reported maintenance issues before deciding what to do and seeking professional help.
- Your tenant is an idiot! Don’t assume otherwise.
- Your tenant DOES NOT give a shit about your finances. In fact, your tenant is pissed at you because “all landlords are rich”. Your tenant will NOT care if you spend £1,000 on getting a light-bulb changed, as long as it’s done.
- Don’t allow your letting agent/tenant to take responsibility for fixing problems with the convenience of being billed later. That’s usually the most impractical and expensive way of dealing with maintenance problems. This is tricky for overseas landlords, and landlords that don’t live with in a reasonable distance from the property.
- If professional help is required, and you don’t have an existing relationship with a reliable and reasonable tradesman, get quotes! Always get a few quotes from recommended tradesman to achieve the best value.
- Being lazy is an easy trap to get caught in- don’t fall victim! When my tenant initially reported the problem, my initial thought was, “I can’t be bothered to get off my fat arse and deal with this, I’m just going to disperse my plumber and wipe my hands with the problem” Yes, I’m only human. But I’m glad I eventually saw the light, because I escaped from being the mug that paid a plumber to tighten a bolt.
- Tenants are paying for a service, so don’t ignore/neglect their reach-outs for assistance, regardless of how minuscule the bullshit problems appear to be (and eventually is). Despite how irritating it is, suck it up and play the game, because an unhappy tenant will make your life a lot more miserable than catering for their incompetence.
- Another major reason for not leaving small maintenance issues unattended is that they can quickly manifest into more serious problems, which will cost a lot more time and money to resolve than if you had resolved the problem efficiently in the first place. In my case, the loose tap could have caused leakage, and then ruined the carcass and worktop. Nip it in the bud while you can.
I was going to categorgise this blog post in the Ranting Landlord archive, along with my other childish ADHD outbursts, but that would be going against my nature, fighting for the greater good. I want to prevent the problem, not cure it. Subsequently, I decided this would be better served in the advice for tenants archive. Here’s a piece of advice for every tenant out there: think twice before reporting every bullshit little problem. If you can efficiently fix a small problem, then do it, don’t inconvenience some poor schmuck because you’re an incompetent and/or lazy arsehole. Don’t be an idiot, be a man.
So landlords/agents, what’s the most ridiculous maintenance issue that you have had to deal with, which screams “The loose tap syndrome”?
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.