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Dripping tap - who is responsible.

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Hi everyone. I would be interested in any views on my problem. I have tenants who have been in my rented property for two months. the check-in drew attention to the kitchen tap which was not tight against the sink surface and the hot and cold handles were not lined up when the taps were off. There was no mention of a dripping tap. The handles have been fixed but it hasn't been possible to tighten up the tap as it is impossible to get under the sink. However, the taps both work perfectly well and deliver hot and cold water on demand. the tenant is now complaining that the tap is dripping and keeping him awake at night. the tenancy agreement says I am responsible the utility systems etc. but I take the view that the dripping tap does not constitute a problem that prevents the tenant from obtaining water as required. The question is, am I being unreasonable expecting the tenant to attend to the problem himself. I have already had an electrician to fix a ceiling light socket. A plumber to sort out a problem with the central heating which turned out to be a finger tight bleeder valver on a radiator (who slackened it off is a mystery) and a second visit from an electrician as there was no current in an annexe. The current had been swithced off at the meter, again, no known culprit. So I am loosing sympathy with the tenant, but am I being unreasonable.
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  • jjlandlord
    jjlandlord Posts: 5,099 Forumite
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    section 11(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord must:
    keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences...

    Thus the landlord is liable to fix the tap.
  • hazyjo
    hazyjo Posts: 15,470 Forumite
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    Trouble is, it's easy to say 'it turned out to be...' whatever. But what if they'd taken a screwdriver or spanner to something and it had snapped, or started leaking (our decorator recently tightened something on one of our rads after taking it off the wall and it was spurting water everywhere, wrecked part of the wallpaper he'd just put up and the carpet was soaked). It should've been a case of 'just tightening a nut' but it turned out to be more. Also, as a result of that, we had a plumber friend over as an emergency (was a Sunday) who managed to get an airlock in the water system, which then resulted in another (local) plumber coming out two days later who knew our water system. I'd already spent the Mon morning ringing round plumbers and hanging around for an hour to see if the final one I called could make it or not - he couldn't - so then had to get in over 4 hours late again the next day...). Cost us £90 for the plumber and I was in after midday for two days at work.

    What I'm trying to say is, yes, you would think it easy and they probably just need to change a washer, but, tbh, if I were a tenant I'd probably be reluctant to do anything just in case...!

    Jx
    2023 wins: *must start comping again!*
  • slopemaster
    slopemaster Posts: 1,579 Forumite
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    I don't think you're being unreasonable and don't think i would be inclined to send a plumber after your experiences so far. I also think it's at least arguable that the installation is 'in proper working order' - I mean, they can hardly go to environmental health because a tap is dripping, can they?
    If it's keeping them awake, why don't they put a rag in the sink so that it doesn't make noise?
  • clutton_2
    clutton_2 Posts: 11,149 Forumite
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    it is the landlords responsibility - if you dont fix it i wonder if any more "mysterious sabotage" might occur - which could be even more expensive to fix.....
  • ognum
    ognum Posts: 4,855 Forumite
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    I would get it fixed!
  • BigAunty
    BigAunty Posts: 8,310 Forumite
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    edited 9 December 2011 at 7:07PM
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    Here is some case law around what constitutes the tenant living in a tenant like manner and doing basic things around the house. It doesn't cover dripping taps specifically but does imply a tenant should do some fairly simple DIY activities.

    I see the dripping tap as a landlord issue, it's a defect that is not simple like changing a bulb or changing a fuse or resetting a tripped fuse on a mains board, and a poor repair which you leave to someone unskilled to do themselves or them employing a cowboy, has the potential to cause a lot of damage. It's invariably something that is caused by wear and tear rather than negligence - washers wear out.

    http://www.letlink.co.uk/case-law/disrepair/warren-v-keen-1954.html
  • Biohazard
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    I had this issue and I asked my landlord to fix it, which they have done.

    It matters to me because I am on a water meter, plus as a consumer I am paying for a product :P
  • gooner63_2
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    Just get it fixed.....not that a big deal is it.....if it is maybe being a landlord is not for you......fixing a dripping could turn into a catastrophe for you...when expecting your tenant to also be your cheap labour plumber !:o
  • G_M
    G_M Posts: 51,977 Forumite
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    edited 9 December 2011 at 7:26PM
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    Oh for goodness sake! This is basic house-maintenance! You are a landlord. Maintain your house!

    If not, quite apart from the fact that you are (probobly) contravening the Act, and your property is deteriorating, your tenents will consider you a lousy landlord - and act/treat you accordingly.
  • jjlandlord
    jjlandlord Posts: 5,099 Forumite
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    BigAunty wrote: »
    It doesn't cover dripping taps specifically but does imply a tenant should do some fairly simple DIY activities.

    Unless said repairs specifically fall within landlord's statutory obligation, which a dripping tap should.
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