My landlord charged me £100 to replace a lightbulb... and then another £50 to clean it - MSE Blog


  • SmashedAvacadoSmashedAvacado Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary
    The curious thing about lightbulbs is the assumption that there is an obligation to replace them in the first place. There are hundreds of posts confirming the wisdom that fair wear and tear is acceptable, yet should a light bulb fail (or come to its natural and perfectly foreseeable end), that seems to be something that the tenant is liable. Very strange.

    It appears that the majority of queries on this site in relation to tenancy agreements concern the lack of clarity as to what they should do when taking a lease and handing back following the end of the lease. Tenants would be well advised to make it clear that any offer they make for premises is predicated on the basis that

    1) the landlord will deep clean the premises before the tenant arrives. A regular complaint seems to be that the property was filthy on taking the space, and better on leaving, yet the landlord finds a bit of dust and wansts to charge for a deep clean. Tenants should insist that the landlord deep cleans.

    2) the landlord will repair any items (be they white goods or other elements of the property) that fail during the tenancy other than by reason of default of the tenant. Most sensible landlords operate on this basis in any event, but given that the law only provides minimum comfort for tenants in relation to what a landlord is obliged to do (basically matters relating to safety and heating and water), the tenancy agreement needs to fill in the gaps. They rarely do.

    3) the tenancy agreement will reflect this

    in addition, before becoming legally committed to the property, tenants should check the taps, the electrics, the doors, the carpets, the white goods, the locks etc. Whilst agents will tell them that the property is in demand, taking such measures will potentially save hours.

    the landlords unwilling to accommodate provisions in their leases such as the above, or a reasonable time for inspections should not be the destination for a tenant's hard earned money.
  • MurphybearMurphybear Forumite
    6.4K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    This is old but surely still relevant today

    "As a tenant, you might hear it said that you need to behave in a ‘tenant like manner’. This can cause a little confusion as to what exactly is meant by it.

    The phrase was originally coined by Judge Denning back in 1953/4 in the Warren v Keen case.

    Basically, it means that there will be certain things that you as a tenant will need to do as part of your normal occupancy of any property. This would include things such as:

    Changing light-bulbs/batteries in smoke detectors.
    Re-pressurising a combi-boiler having been given instruction on how to do so.
    (Although if this is a recurrent problem, you should make sure your landlord gets a plumber in to look at it).
    Unblocking your own toilets/sinks.
    Mowing lawns and keeping the gardens tidy (unless explicitly catered for in the tenancy agreement)
    Generally, things that we just need to accept as part of ‘everyday life’."
  • silvercarsilvercar Forumite, Ambassador
    43.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Once we accept that 'tenant like manner' includes replacing light bulbs, it is not unreasonable for a charge to be made that is more than the cost of the light bulb. Clearly not £150 and clearly nobody cleans new light bulbs.

    Landlord or their agent has to identify bulb type, go to shops, return and fit the new bulb. Clearly not an expensive job, but one that takes some time out of a busy day. Question is whether the tenant would have done it themselves had they known they would be charged, general answer is that they would.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, in my home and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of
  • BellisimaBellisima Forumite
    146 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Why was the landlord even contacted about changing a lightbulb? Surely a tenant can do that themselves, unless it was one of those expensive, trendy filament bulbs? I was a landlord for 2 years and there are ongoing maintenance issues, especially with a 100 year old house, but I did not expect the tenants to fix them at their cost. Rather a greedy landlord, me thinks.
  • Why didn't you change it yourself? A none working light bulb is obvious.

    So if the landlord doesn't live there and has to hire someone to go and do that job - how much will he need to pay? Me I have to pay £70 plus vat just for a person to go and see what the problem is? Would you do it cheaper - How?
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