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Question

Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England) | Tenant Obligations (England)

Emergency plumber

14 Nov 2016 | 2 comments

Hi
If a property is managed by an agent and there is a water leak in the bathroom which is coming though the the bedroom downstairs in the middle of the night and the tenant cannot get hold of anyone can they call an emergency plumber?
If so who is liable for paying the plumber?
The tenants had to provide their debit card details and were charged nearly £300 for a call out (which they cancelled after a few minutes as they found the stop cock, so in fact the plumber never called)
Can they ask the landlord to pay for it or towards it as they had no emergency contact number.

Answer

2 Comments

  1. JungleProperty

    The landlord should check their terms of business (TOB) with the letting agent typically defined in a Client Agreement or Agency Agreement and if they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations the landlord should raise a formal complaint. If the letting agent does not provide an adequate response, elevate the complaint to the redress scheme the letting agent is a member of.
    It’s a bit worrying that the tenants ‘found the stop cock’ suggesting whoever did the check-in never showed the tenants where to isolate the water.

  2. guildy

    That answers the letting agent part. Just for interest from a landlord and tenant point of view (if there were no agent) is it a legal requirement to be on call 24 hours?

    No.

    For example, we are a landlord too and we have no emergency number.

    However, it is the landlords duty to keep in repair the installation for water, gas etc. If the landlord (or agent) has no emergency contact then that is the landlords gamble and not the tenants fault. The duty to keep in repair cannot be contracted onto the tenant.

    Therefore, in our case (no emergency contact), that is essentially us taking the risk but if there is a reasonable call out, a landlord would have to then stand the cost in our view. We have had this in the past and paid the bill without question. We benefit though by not having to answer the phone during late hours for no real problem.

    This particular case is questionable because I don’t think the call out was necessarily reasonable on the basis that all that was needed was to shut off the water at least until the morning. I don’t think it matters whether they were shown it at the beginning because I think it’s reasonable that a tenant who lives in the property 24 hours would generally know where the stop tap is located – especially if it’s in a common place such as under the sink. It might be more reasonable to call out someone if the stop tap was hidden somewhere and difficult to find when not shown at commencement.

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