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  • FIRST POST
    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 24th May 17, 5:58 PM
    • 6Posts
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    haveaguiness
    Damage caused by Third party we HAD to use
    • #1
    • 24th May 17, 5:58 PM
    Damage caused by Third party we HAD to use 24th May 17 at 5:58 PM
    Hi Everyone, I hope someone is able to offer some guidance...

    In our tenancy agreement, we need to ensure that whitegoods are kept in working order. Our washer dryer recently packed up and so we notified the Landlord

    In our agreement, it states that we HAVE to use the "manufacturer's own repair service" and the landlord passed on the details of his parts Warranty but we would need to pay for the call out. We had no choice in who to contract for the work.

    When the engineer pulled the washer dryer out to perform the repair, he scratched the wooden flooring. This happened because when it was installed (done by the landlord's own fitter) it had had a screw put through the rubber foot in order to stop it moving...

    Our landlord has now proceeded to state that as we called out the manufacturer we are at fault and must pay for the damage as per our tenancy agreement. Out of good faith and to get the ball rolling we have started proceedings with the manufacturer for them to pay for the repair, however, I believe they will only pay for a certain amount, taking into account the age of the floor, wear and tear etc. Or they may even refuse to pay, bearing in mind someone put a screw through the foot!

    As the floor goes throughout our flat, it looks like the only way to repair it is to sand the entire floor and reseal it - at a cost of around £1400

    We are also due to move out of the flat within the next 6 weeks.

    I was wondering whether anyone would be able to offer some advice and where we would stand legally were the manufacturer to come back and only pay for some or none of the repair bearing in mind:
    1. We had no choice who the contractor could be, this was forced by the landlord and the AST
    2. The screw was put in the foot by the landlord's installer at the time of fitting
    3. If they do offer to only pay "some" of the costs, should the landlord pick up the rest?

    I thank you all in advance for your help and suggestions.

    Dan
Page 1
    • molerat
    • By molerat 24th May 17, 6:05 PM
    • 16,624 Posts
    • 10,838 Thanks
    molerat
    • #2
    • 24th May 17, 6:05 PM
    • #2
    • 24th May 17, 6:05 PM
    The damage was caused by an inappropriate modification carried out by the landlord or his agent. Tell him to swivel and argue the case if he refuses to return your deposit. The engineer should not have to check if some idiot has modified the foot nor should he be held responsible for the damage caused. Small areas of damage should be repairable without sanding a whole floor.
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    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 24th May 17, 7:31 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    haveaguiness
    • #3
    • 24th May 17, 7:31 PM
    • #3
    • 24th May 17, 7:31 PM
    Thanks for the reply molerat and that is exactly the position I think we will take if it comes to it. Didn't know whether legally we would have a footing on this though?

    In regards to the floor, we have had a specialist round to quote for the work so we can provide the manufacturer in question with the costs and they advised because of the ageing of the floor the only way to get it so it doesn't look completely out of place is to do the whole thing. We have another one coming round tomorrow so will see if they suggest the same...
    • melstar11
    • By melstar11 24th May 17, 8:37 PM
    • 252 Posts
    • 255 Thanks
    melstar11
    • #4
    • 24th May 17, 8:37 PM
    • #4
    • 24th May 17, 8:37 PM
    Can the scratch not be filled with coloured wax? It would be ridiculous to sand the entire floor and the end result would potentially be betterment as there would be no reasonable wear and tear to the floor, it would effectively be as though it had never been walked on or had any furniture stood on it. If the LL chooses to sand the floor it then that should be at his cost.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 24th May 17, 10:10 PM
    • 953 Posts
    • 643 Thanks
    rtho782
    • #5
    • 24th May 17, 10:10 PM
    • #5
    • 24th May 17, 10:10 PM
    I'm not convinced that his contract term stating you must pay to repair his white goods would stand up. It's an unfair term.

    Otherwise every LL would just include terms saying you are responsible for boiler breakdowns etc.

    The fact that you have to use a specified repairer makes it even more unfair.

    I would tell him he can take you to court if he likes.
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    • sheff6107
    • By sheff6107 24th May 17, 10:33 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 276 Thanks
    sheff6107
    • #6
    • 24th May 17, 10:33 PM
    • #6
    • 24th May 17, 10:33 PM
    You merely made the arrangements for the landlord's agent to attend the property and carry out work for him.

    You have no legal liability. If the landlord's agent damaged the property, the landlord is liable to you for any damage and the repairer is liable to him.

    I think you need to take a step back and tell the landlord you have taken legal advice and you are under no liability and have provided quotes as a goodwill gesture but it his reponsibility of liase with his agent and decide what to do.

    You're leaving in 6 weeks anyway and presumably the deposit is in a scheme and you will get it back.

    If the landlord just replaced white goods instead of being a cheapskate he might not have problem he now has.
    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 25th May 17, 9:24 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    haveaguiness
    • #7
    • 25th May 17, 9:24 AM
    • #7
    • 25th May 17, 9:24 AM
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I think our course of action will be that we send all the details off to the manufacturer and let them decide. It may be that they foot the entire bill, in which case, no issues. The likelihood is though, that they won't. If they don't then we will be passing this back to the landlord advising that we have done our part as goodwill and that he must now top up the amount required, or if the manufacturer will pay nothing that he must challenge the manufacturer on this. We can simply pass the account over to him.

    I think stating that we had no choice in the contractor we had to use and the screw being installed by himself/his installer would easily be enough for us to not have to warrant paying anything even if he thinks he can hide behind a clause in the AST, although as you have pointed out, these would likely be determined unfair. Additionally, we would have been very accommodating in pushing this forward in the first instance, which would most likely go in our favour, especially if a % of the repair is paid for.

    Sheff6107, yes the deposit is in a protection scheme and we have already spoken to them, although they were unable to give too much advice at this point. If needs be he can go that route, but as above I think we are in a strong position from what you have all stated.

    Interestingly, this whole process has given me a lot more knowledge in terms of the deposit and how to challenge certain amounts the LL will try to bill for, so I will also be doing that when we move out as well! Can't wait to own our own home after all this!!!
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 25th May 17, 9:33 AM
    • 15,012 Posts
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    pinkshoes
    • #8
    • 25th May 17, 9:33 AM
    • #8
    • 25th May 17, 9:33 AM
    I would not be paying for ANY of the charge, including the call out fee.

    The LL is playing you for a mug!!

    Unless it broke through misuse, then it is not your job to pay for it to be fixed!!
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 25th May 17, 9:41 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    haveaguiness
    • #9
    • 25th May 17, 9:41 AM
    • #9
    • 25th May 17, 9:41 AM
    Thanks for the reply pinkshoes. We did research this and get some advice when we moved in and the LL is well within his rights to put the responsibility onto the tenant for whitegoods (section 11, Landlord & Tenant Act 1985), this doesn't include things like the boiler and gas hob though, which are his responsibilities.

    What is unfair here, we believe, is that we have been forced to use the repairer he wants to use, who have then caused the damage. If we contracted someone who caused the damage then fair enough...
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 25th May 17, 9:49 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 365 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I think stating that we had no choice in the contractor we had to use and the screw being installed by himself/his installer would easily be enough for us to not have to warrant paying anything even if he thinks he can hide behind a clause in the AST, although as you have pointed out, these would likely be determined unfair.
    Originally posted by haveaguiness
    I wouldn’t be arguing against the clause to maintain white goods as this actually helps you.

    The damage was caused by either (or both) of two physical factors:
    1) the screw on the machine
    2) the repairer dragging out the machine (should they have checked / stopped when they heard a slight scratching sound?)

    (1) is definitely your LL’s problem to go after their installer. With (2) if it was a repairer of your choosing, the LL can claim off you and it is up to you to sue the manufacturer. However the clause that you must maintain white goods using this person/company means that effectively the repairer is your LL’s chosen agent not yours which means the LL would have to go after them without making it your problem.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 25th May 17, 10:45 AM
    • 4,826 Posts
    • 4,467 Thanks
    eddddy
    The only way that the engineer is liable is if he was negligent.

    It doesn't sound like the engineer was negligent. (i.e. a reasonable person would not expect a screw to be protruding from the bottom of a washing machine.)


    I'd suggest that the LL was negligent - by providing you with a washing machine with a screw protruding. So the LL is liable for the consequential damage.

    (The LL may in turn have a negligence claim against whoever he paid to put that screw in his washing machine.)
    • david1951
    • By david1951 25th May 17, 10:53 AM
    • 339 Posts
    • 381 Thanks
    david1951
    What part of section 11 are you referring to (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/11).

    Based on a (very) brief review this doesn't seem to apply, as subsection 1 (b) specifically excludes "appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity" from being covered by this section.

    I am willing to stand corrected. In any case, as others have pointed out it is irrelevant, since the damage wasn't caused as a result of your, or your agent's negligence.
    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 25th May 17, 11:03 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    haveaguiness
    eddddy, thanks for the reply. That is exactly what I was thinking in regards to being negligent. You would simply not expect someone to put a screw through the foot of an appliance to hold it in place. Coupled with the fact the screw was so small it likely wouldn't have done anything anyway.

    The problem here is if the manufacturer then came back stating this (which as it is going through their insurance department will be most likely), the LL will try and hold us to account.

    I think I am going to consult a solicitor before contacting the Landlord so I have full clarification on this. It is really starting to annoy me that the LL feels he can pressure us into getting the repair done!
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 25th May 17, 1:11 PM
    • 7,880 Posts
    • 4,697 Thanks
    teddysmum
    I agree,that the screws caused the problem and that the repair person should not reasonably be expected to predict this.


    The argument that he should have stopped moving the machine,when hearing a slight scraping noise , is void, as it could very well have been the noise caused by the flexible hoses catching on the kitchen cabinet.


    The repairing of white goods clause does seem unfair, as though it is reasonable for someone to put right anything caused by their own negligence (eg putting cooking foil on a ceramic hob),they should not have to maintain a possibly old item, which would have worn out due to age/years of regular use.
    • haveaguiness
    • By haveaguiness 9th Jun 17, 3:08 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    haveaguiness
    Thanks to everyone for their advice a few weeks back. I thought I would give a quick update as this has now taken another turn...

    For ease to get this sorted we sent everything off to the manufacturer, including 2 quotes as requested. Surprisingly, they have actually agreed to pay for the full repair, which is actually quite a large amount in the end as the whole floor throughout the property needs to be done so that it doesn't look out of place.

    All through this process, our landlord has told us to deal with the manufacturer to get the repair done and for them to pay for it - we even asked the Landlord to send someone round to give us a quote, but he didn't want to provide one. We have done this, but as the chosen company said the best time to do it will be when we move out of the flat (which is in 4 weeks) I wanted to pass on the landlord's contact details to them so he can arrange this for when we are no longer in the property.

    When I told the landlord this and advised why (because the property needs to be empty) to my shock, the landlord has now stated that the repair is "problematic" and wants ALL documentation sent to him. He has not stated why it is problematic, but both quotes we got highlighted the same repair required.

    We have sent one final polite but strongly worded email to the Landlord now as we have done everything asked and believe he really is now trying to just be annoying. If he continues to be, do you think we are within our rights to say the deposit people can deal with it and we can provide the proof that the manufacturer is willing to pay for the repair and that we have done everything we can to perform the repair?
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 9th Jun 17, 3:22 PM
    • 4,826 Posts
    • 4,467 Thanks
    eddddy
    We have done this, but as the chosen company said the best time to do it will be when we move out of the flat (which is in 4 weeks) I wanted to pass on the landlord's contact details to them so he can arrange this for when we are no longer in the property.

    When I told the landlord this and advised why (because the property needs to be empty) to my shock, the landlord has now stated that the repair is "problematic" and wants ALL documentation sent to him. He has not stated why it is problematic, but both quotes we got highlighted the same repair required.
    Originally posted by haveaguiness
    I'd guess the LL means it's problematic because...

    It's your responsibility to get the repairs done (apparently), so the LL expects you to do them before your tenancy ends.

    And/or...

    The floor laying company needs to be given access to the flat and be supervised - and you won't be there to do it. (So the LL will have to find somebody else to do that.)
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