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  • Buy-to-Let

    Should tenant repair stair banister?

    Hi all

    My tenant has reported to me that the stairs bannister is damaged and has fallen off.

    I advised the tenant that this is their responsibility to 'make good'. As stated in the tenancy agreement under tenants obligations, it states the following...

    "Make good promptly all damage and breakages to the Premises and to the items listed in the Inventory that may occur during the Term that are the responsibility of the Tenant (with the exception of fair wear and tear and accidental damage by fire), and to inform the Landlord of any such work undertaken;"

    So am I right in that the tenant is responsible? What would you do in this situation? They are ok tenants, not great but not bad either. If I had time I would go and fix myself, but I don't and I don't want to pay someone to fix it as the damage is clearly down to them.

    I have always been very lenient and forgiving as a landlord in the past few years and I feel I need to toughen up a bit!

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    If it was my property I would make the fix myself, or get a man in to do it.  That way at least you'll know it is repaired to the standard required.  A faulty stair rail could be considered a dangerous hazard.  Should the tenant fall because of the loose/non existent hand rail and the repair is deemed to be your responsibility you could be in deep doo-dah.

    >  I have always been very lenient and forgiving as a landlord in the past few years and I feel I need to toughen up a bit!

    Unless you have been taken advantage of I see no benefit in being a hard LL, it will only antagonise your customers and ultimately bring displeasure to you personally and your business.

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    We generally only expect the tenant to do things like put handles back on kitchen cabinet doors, replace lightbulbs etc. If it is just a means of screwing back in to the wall then yes I would say it is theirs, but if the rail is broken you probably need to replace it, make good holes in the wall and re-fit. 

    If it the part at the top of the stairs that once removed could make it too easy to fall, I would say this is a safety issue and I wouldn't want them doing it as otherwise if one of them fell as well as potentially being tragic, it might invalidate my insurance and I could find myself prosecuted for negligence or worse.

    Maybe I am over cautious but something like repair to a bannister I would want to oversee myself and promptly, if just a handrail, that might be upto them.

    As FredHarry says, it is also good to stay on the side of your tenants and makes the business of being a landlord so much more pleasant.

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    Hi, newbie here, 1st post...

    If they prefer not to reimburse for costs of new/repaired bannister, even though they are responsible as per agreement, can't these costs be taken out of the landlords deposit scheme ?  (Albeit, this may not be possible until they leave...?)

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    But why or how can you prove it is damage rather than an ill fitting bannister or item you should have maintained? All the time you delay you open yourself upto liability for injury.

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    I was renting before, (as well as being landlord of one property - longish story!), and my children slightly damaged single bed slats (bed belonging to landlord), due to jumping on the bed too much. We decided to live with it (not a safety issue), then negotiated a price for replacement - based on "normal wear and tear" for it's age - and had it taken out of our deposit.

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    Hi all

    Thanks for the comments.

    I definitely wouldn't want them to fix this themselves. I guess my question is more if I outsource to a tradesmen, should they pay?safety issue

    I guess it's a good point about the safety issue.

    I am going there in the next few days to assess the situation to see how bad the damage actually is and what it would entail to repair.

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    Go have a look yourself and determine if it's genuinely accidental e.g. fixings into wall were rubbish - or if it's heavy handed tenant.

    Either way I wouldn't want to have T repair themselves due to the safety aspect - but depending on the above might charge them for it (telling them in advance how much)


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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Hi

    once you've assessed the damage and listened to how the rail come to be in its current state then unless the tenants agree to pay in full, I'd offer to go 50/50 which is a fair compromise.

    Good luck.


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    I would get it fixed asap. Then decide who ought to pay having discussed with the trades person the likely cause. It shouldn't cost an arm and a leg anyway but someone hurting themselves might!

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    I think this one you may have to swallow I'm afraid.

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