Here is a question to the blog clinic from Denise who is a landlord
I am a landlord renting out my house to three young professional sharers who have been living there for about 6 months. There have been very few maintenance problems but each time I have had problems getting my contractors into the property because the tenants are so inflexible and will not leave a key with my agent.
Most recently they reported that the toilet flush had failed, I have been trying to get my plumber there but the tenants want him to go after 7.00pm or on a Saturday. If he goes then, he will charge me more. The tenants mostly communicate by smartphone email, this is the latest
“Denise. We have been waiting over 2 weeks for our toilet to be sorted out. We are using a bucket as a flush which is not an acceptable way of living not to mention embarrassing when visitors come to the house. As we have said many times before we all have full time jobs and do not have time to meet contractors. Also we do not want strangers coming into the house when we are not there unless they are accompanied by you. Or if you are happy to pay one of us a days wages to sit in and wait for the plumber we may be able to come to some arrangement. Whether the plumber charges you extra for working late is not an excuse for neglecting your duties as landlord.”
The tenancy agreement clearly states that the tenants have to permit contractors access.
Are my tenants being totally unreasonable? I don’t feel that I should back down and pay extortionate plumbers rates just for the sake of their convenience
To answer this question properly we really need to see your tenancy agreement and what is says about access, but (subject to this) I think your tenants are being unreasonable.
I suggest you go back to the tenants and point out that their tenancy agreement provides for them to allow access to contractors for repair work.
Say that this does not entitle them to limit access to out of office hours but that if they insist on this, you will hold them responsible for the additional charges incurred by you.
Then, if they refuse to pay this, which they probably will, you can see about deducting the money from their deposit at the end of the tenancy (make sure you keep full records of the extra costs incurred by you).
I cannot guarantee that this would be allowed by an adjudicator if the claim was challenged but I think there is a reasonable chance of this – depending on what the precise wording is in your tenancy agreement clause.