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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently paid my agents (09/05/2013) for: 1) Repair cracks

Customer Question

I recently paid my agents (09/05/2013) for:
1) Repair cracks to dining ceiling created from previous leak from bathroom £33.00
2) Repair/replace flashing to flat roofed kitchen extension where it meets main house + stain block water stain to kitchen ceiling from above leak £155.00.

I have now recieved notification from the agent :
(With regards XXXXX XXXXX Road, the tenant has now had a problem with the ceiling leaking under the bathroom. Our plumber has gone down there to investigate the situation and has explained to me the following: Has quoted to take the bath out and turn it around so the taps are at the end where its not leaking. He said the bath is not level and the water is running down one edge. He said this will cost approx £200 but some tiles may be broken doing this and therefore there will be additional works to quote for. I have asked the plumber if there could be a more cheaper solution such as raising the bath to make it even and level. He has quoted to do this work for £55, however this might not work and therefore if the leak still occurs there will be the charge of the approximate price of £200 for the orginal works quoted.)

If there was a leak, I would expect it to have been resolved before the repair work was carried out. Is it reasonable to have been charged to repair the ceiling damage in May and then be charged again in August /September after the tenat moved in in July
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


The beginning of my email shows the wording from my initial invoice for work which was carried out in May this year. Below that is the agent's latest recommendation of works that are required.


I feel that I am being taken advantage of by the agent managing my property. As I live 300 miles away from the property, I have to rely on them to advise me accurately of any work that is required.


By way of background, as part of their service, the agent inspected the property when the last tenants moved out and prior to the new tenants moving in. In their report they raised the issue of a damaged ceiling. I was subsequently told that there had been a leak in the bathroom, which had damaged the ceiling, and in addition to this the flashing on the flat roof adjoining the building required attention. I gave the go ahead for this work to be completed.


I am now being faced with further repair requirements for the same issue. Surely the source of the leak should have been dealt with prior to any repairs.Please read the agent's comments regarding the work recommended by the plumber. This sounds to me like a job creation scheme. Fixing the source of the leak must be the priority, not turning the bath around so that the taps are at the opposite end of the leak, and preparing me for a further invoice for broken tiles. In addition, when the tenant moved in, the report showed that there were no broken windows in the property. The tenant is now claiming that windows are broken and the agent has told me that it is my responsibilityto repair them because of health and safety. They have however confirmed that when they inspected the property prior to the tenant moving in, the windows were intact.


The plumber's recommendation does not inspire confidence.The agent's handling of the broken window issue shows me that the agent is not questioning or indeed managing the situation. I would like to know how to proceed with this, as I feel that I am being taken advantage of by the agent, the tenant and the tradesperson.


Thanks and regards,

Gerard Berlie

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Yes, Ive seen the facts above.

I was just wondering what your question was about this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Having read the facts, is it right that I should be billed for the repairs (leak and ceiling) a second time and if the inspecion report and agent has confirmed that no windows were broken prior to the tenant moving in am I still liable for the broken windows that the tenant is complaining about and that the agent is telling me that I should fix due to healt and safety.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

When you did the work originally, was your contract directly with the tradesmen or did the agents instruct them and collect your money?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The agent handles everything.I rely on them to tell me what needs doing. I have no contact with any tradesmen

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

You could argue that you should not be liable to pay a second time on the basis that the world must have been performed negligently on the first occasion.

It is a little more complicated than that but thats the essence of it. You have to show that the first tradesmen should have noticed the extent of the fault and diagnosed it properly. Normally your claim would be directly against the tradesmen but since the agents instructed him on your behalf your claim is against them.

On the point of the breakage, that is a double edged sword. You do have to do the work under the disrepair regulations. However, if this is a breakage and you can show that it was within the tenant's occupation then the tenant is liable to pay and you can deduct the cost from the deposit.

Is there anything I can clarify for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for confirming what I believed to be common sense and fair. I am keen not to exacerbate an already fraught situation and would appreciate some guidance as to how best to broach things with the agents, as the party you say my claim is against. Should I simply accuse them of negligence and insist that they rectify the matter? Or will I have to appoint another tradesperson to assess the competence of the initial repairs and the current repair requirements? In either case, are there key phrases or legislation that I should refer to in my correspondence to them?


Thanking you once again for your assistance.



Gerard Berlie

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No problem.
There's no real need to quote law or legislation. In fact, I wouldn't suggest it. It will just lead to a further dispute.
Just set out your position on the point. However brilliantly you argue with them they will never accept your view of this. Ultimately it doesnt' matter what they think. The issue is what the court thinks on the point.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As you believe that they will not agree with my stance, should I write to them initially , follow this with a letter from a solicitor and then go to the small claims court , or just inform them that I hold them responsible and will procced to the small claims court within x days if they do not concede .


Am I right in thinking that I can qoute you as I would any solictor that I had sought advice from face to face.

Are you able to write to the agents on my behalf if necessary. if so can you give me an idea of your charges

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No, write to them. They won't agree.

There is no point in a solicitors letter. It will just rack up costs and won't add anything.

You can quote me if you like but you need to bear in mind that this is a question and answer site for general information not a source of specific advice.

I cannot write to the agents on your behalf under the rules of this site but you really don't need to more than once. I wouldn't get involved in protracted negotiations with them. Just send them one letter and sue in default.