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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71032
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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we own a rental property, which had new carpets fitted in july

Customer Question

we own a rental property, which had new carpets fitted in july just before new tenants moved in, we have just had a call from them saying there is a water leak, the leak turns out to be from a punctured water pipe due to a nail that is too long being used.
the carpet fitter is adamant he did not do this and that all the nails have been changed.
the tenants are adamant they did not change them
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We need to know where we stand with this as the plumbing repair and ceiling repair will need to be paid for. The tenants say it wasn't them that changed the nails and why would they. The carpet fitter says he did not use the long nails. The carpet fitter has liability insurance

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we nned to know who is liable for the bill for plumbing repairs and also to the ceiling repairs, i don't see why the tennants would replace the nails in carpet door bars within two months of being there, but the the carpet fitter is adamant he did not use the long nails which punctured the pipe

the fitter has liability insurance

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If this were to go to court the matter would be decided on the balance of probabilities so all that needs to happen is one person's version of events needs to be more credible than another person's version of events.
Please bear in mind the carpet fitters are used to knocking nails and putting screws into floors all day long and they know that under floorboards, particularly in doorways, there are pipes and cables.
I think it highly unlikely therefore that this has been done by the carpet fitter.
I think what's probably happened is that one of the threshold plates has been loose and the screw all the nail would not hold it and the tenant has put a longer one in with consequences of the flood.
There is no way of knowing who did it of course but based upon past experience, I think it most unlikely to be the carpet fitter unless he was completely inexperienced which seems unlikely.
If there is more than one doorway which the carpet fitter laid the door plates in it would be easy enough to check whether the fixings are all the same.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Carpet fitter insists all nails have been changed from the ones he fitted to longer ones

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, that is what I would expect.
Did you have a further question arising from that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so we are wasting our time pursuing it then?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ultimately, the tenant is responsible for the damage if it was caused during their period of occupation unless they can prove that this predated their occupation.
If it predated their occupation, and the carpets were fitted in July, it seems highly likely that the tenants have done something since July.
You would claim against the tenants and the tenants would defend the issue and if necessary bring the carpet fitter in as a 2nd defendant.
You either have to write this off or do something and that is the only thing that you can do