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  • FIRST POST
    • Branagorn
    • By Branagorn 11th Oct 16, 8:45 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Branagorn
    Drainage Dilemma
    • #1
    • 11th Oct 16, 8:45 PM
    Drainage Dilemma 11th Oct 16 at 8:45 PM
    Here is a complex situation, so it might be nice to get a wealth of opinion a forum may offer.

    I do not have the contracts to hand, so please just try to answer from a fair opinion rather than assuming anything that might be legally binding.

    I rent with two others in a 3 bedroom flat. We found our flat through an agency, but now deal directly with the landlord, the agency was purely used for us to find the property, as is the way the landlords wish to run their property. While we were being vetted as potential tenants, the Landlords (Husband and Wife team), explained to us about the maintenance of the property, just reiterating that they want us to take care of the place, and mentioned how every 3 months, they would like for us to ensure the pipework is maintained by pouring some Caustic Soda down the Bathtub, and that this would take care of the whole building. They even said who they would be keeping a track of this in that, they would send a text/email reminder when this would need to be done, and even come around and provide the soda.

    5 months into renting, we get the email notice, and arrange a day and time one of us would be in to receive the soda. I might mention at this point that we have experienced no drainage issues, but are happy to carry out the maintenance, especially as it specifically asked to be done so.

    I was the one to answer the door, the wife showed up handed me the bottle and said just to pour most of the soda down the Bathtub, and use the rest in the kitchen sink, be careful not to breathe it in.

    Now here is where things get tricky. I do exactly as I was told, and some of you as you're reading this may already know the ending.

    Upon the next use of the bath, the caustic soda solidified and caused it to block.

    I handnt read the bottle where it explains that the soda needs to be dissolved, I just took the LLs verbal instruction at face value.

    We have had an email from the Landlords stating that it took husband 6 hours, and Wife 5 hours out of their time to rectify this, and that Husband normally charges £1000 a day for his time and that they are going to charge us £200 for the work.

    They are also going to bill us for a decorator needed work in the lounge (underneath the Bathroom) as they will be needed to rectify what was done to gain access to the pipework.

    There are clearly two sides to this story, and I've tried to describe it as it happened, with no bias writing.

    What do you guys think of this?
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Oct 16, 9:06 PM
    • 37,092 Posts
    • 41,049 Thanks
    G_M
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 9:06 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 9:06 PM
    Dear Mr & Mrs landlord,

    Further to your letter/email/whatever dated xx/xx/16 holding us liable for the recent drain blockage, we are writing to deny responsibility.

    1) We followed the instructions in your email dated xx/xx/16
    2) we followed your verbal instructions when you provided us the caustic soda on xx/xx/16
    3) we therefore cannot be held responsible for the consequences
    4) In retrospect, we are concerned that you provided us with a potentially dangerous substance to use. This is not in line with a landlord's H&S obligations.
    5) we would also refer you to the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 section 11 (1) a) which makes the landlord responsible for maintenance of the drains. As tenants we are not responsible for this task, or for the consequences of undertaking it on your instruction.

    Kindly therefore confim in writing that the charge you refer to in your email dated xx/xx/16 was levied in error and does not apply.

    Yours sincerely

    B Ranagorn

    Note1: depending on your tenancy term, there's a risk you may find yourself receiving a S21 Notice.........

    Note 2: if the LL continues to insist this charge applies, ignore it. Continue to pay your rent as usual. The LL then has 2 options
    1) take you to court for the charge. You defend and will win

    2) wait till the tenancy ends and deduct the charge from your deposit. You raise a dispute and will win.
    Last edited by G_M; 11-10-2016 at 9:41 PM.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 11th Oct 16, 10:08 PM
    • 3,288 Posts
    • 6,400 Thanks
    DaftyDuck
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 10:08 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 10:08 PM
    I suggest you send a coda
    On the use of caustic soda.
    In your missive, be not vitriolic
    Do not moan, be melancholic.

    G_M suggests you bake a cake,
    That's not the route I would take.
    If you aren't of acerbic heart
    I'd recommend to bake a tart.

    I'd suggest a suitable filling
    As something rather slowly killing.
    That light and fluffy rounded pie,
    I'd fill and coat with copious lye.

    Edit to add: G_M is, as usual, both sensible and sober in his advice. I am neither
    Last edited by DaftyDuck; 11-10-2016 at 10:13 PM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Oct 16, 11:52 PM
    • 37,092 Posts
    • 41,049 Thanks
    G_M
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 11:52 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 11:52 PM
    Just as a precaution, in case this later goes to court/arbitration, make some notes while you memory is clear:

    * Dates of all conversations you had, with who/where, and what ws said (verbatum)
    * and print out/keep all emails texts letters etc
    * maybe even take photos of the caustic soda - including the 'Warning' label - a judge would take a dim view i suspect......

    A further thought occurs: the LLs appear not to be too clued up. So you may have protection from eviction via a S21 Notice (assuming they take offence).

    Did all the following happen:

    * your deposit has been registered & the deposit's ‘Prescribed Information’ given?
    * EPC provided?
    * gas safety report provided?
    * Gov leaflet
    "how to rent provided?

    If the answer to any of the above is 'no', then any S21 Notice they serve will be invalid.
    Last edited by G_M; 12-10-2016 at 2:43 AM.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 12th Oct 16, 8:40 AM
    • 1,099 Posts
    • 1,504 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:40 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 16, 8:40 AM
    In addition to the above, this

    "and that Husband normally charges £1000 a day for his time"


    is irrelevant.

    If you rent a flat from a leading barrister he can't charge you £5,000 to spend an hour fixing a shelf just because he would charge £5,000 an hour to represent you in court.


    Incidentally I'd be glad to know what job you can get that pays £1,000 a day for someone stupid enough to turn up at the door, give caustic soda to their tenants and swan off. That's a ridiculous thing to do.
    Last edited by ScorpiondeRooftrouser; 12-10-2016 at 8:43 AM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Oct 16, 4:26 PM
    • 37,092 Posts
    • 41,049 Thanks
    G_M
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 16, 4:26 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 16, 4:26 PM

    Incidentally I'd be glad to know what job you can get that pays £1,000 a day for someone stupid enough to turn up at the door, give caustic soda to their tenants and swan off. That's a ridiculous thing to do.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    To be fair, it was the dopey wife who turned up.

    Women eh?
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 12th Oct 16, 5:37 PM
    • 3,061 Posts
    • 2,708 Thanks
    Hoploz
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 16, 5:37 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 16, 5:37 PM
    What I can't understand is, if it was so important to them that the (probably on its last legs and had been causing trouble in the past) drain was dealt with in this way - so important that they took the trouble to bring the stuff round - why on earth didn't she just do it herself?!?!
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Oct 16, 5:45 PM
    • 37,092 Posts
    • 41,049 Thanks
    G_M
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 16, 5:45 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 16, 5:45 PM
    I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a moment ago!
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