Today's Landlord dilemma

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  • Today's Landlord dilemma
  • Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    So the wife owns a flat which is basically an utter nightmare. Last Tenant stopped paying rent and took months to evict and pretty much trashed the place, so the total cost of lost rent + eviction + all new carpets and paint was something like £8k. This is on a flat renting for £550ish pcm.

    We tried selling it after this but because it has had some movement in the past the whole sale fell through with the buyer’s report raising the possibility of subsidence. A whole load more expensive surveys and drain inspections all came back negative, but not after the sale was gone.

    So, it went back on the market as a let and now we have a new tenant but the electrics have just gone awry and the RCD won’t reset as there is Live to Earth fault on the kitchen ring main. Electrician has been for a £200 inspection and won’t touch it and says it needs a complete re-wire. Having seen the photos, I’m inclined to agree. Only the rewire is a £2k+ job, on a flat which has been bleeding us dry….

    So, what to do? We could give notice and just try and flog the place asap. Forking out another £2k on a re-wire of a tired flat seems a waste as we’ll never get the money back. Then there is the tenant who currently has the kitchen powered off an extension lead from the other ring main….

    What to do?

    NB got to do an interview, so back in an hour or so….

    iolo
    Member

    You have a contract to supply her a suitably wired property.
    Safe electricity.
    The tenant can move out while you fix it to a hotel.
    You will end up paying for this unless you sort it quickly.
    If you end the tenancy early you will have to pay any disruption costs to the tenant.
    You should have an NIC inspection on the power before letting.
    Just fix it.
    note: I’m not a lawyer but that’s what happened to me a long time ago

    jekkyl
    Member

    I think you know the answer. Who’s going to want to buy a flat that requires a complete rewire and if they do they’ll be haggling you to lower the price by the cost of the rewire. Either way you’re going to have to pay for the rewire I reckon so bite the bullet and get it done asap, to get it back on the market or back up to rent.

    titusrider
    Member

    put the flat up for auction and get rid quick?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    rent it out for a bit more.

    You can offset all the costs against tax liability that way.

    rene59
    Member

    Quit being a slumlord.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    You should have an NIC inspection on the power before letting.

    Well strangely enough we have this or at least were charged for it by the letting agency. Although I now suspect the chap never actually visited the flat.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    put the flat up for auction and get rid quick?

    That is certainly the preferred option.

    As for upping the rent, I would guess the agency has already got the max they can for it. Even if it went up £100, it would take years to pay back a re-wire…..

    Given the movement it will only sell at below market rate, so I don’t think it will make any difference to the sale price whether we re-wire or not.

    sbob
    Member

    What about renting the place to an electrician who could do the work in lieu of rent?

    jambourgie
    Member

    rent it out for a bit more

    Pass the cost of the rewire on to the tenant? Nice one. 🙄

    What about offering the tenant dirt cheap rent for living in a hole and keeping schtum. As house prices have shown, the flat will probably be worth circa £9 Billion in a few years. You could then get it rewired.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Pass the cost of the rewire on to the tenant? Nice one.

    I hate to shatter your delusions but no one rents out flats at a loss for the good of their heart. As for the current tenant, they have a contract, so their rent won’t change until the next renewal date.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Pass the cost of the rewire on to the tenant?

    I didn’t say up the rent.

    Or should he just let people live there for free in case he inadvertently uses some of the rental income/tax laws to pay for the upkeep of the place?

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    2K to rewire just the kitchen ring 😯 ,or the whole flat?
    I’d get each circuit tested and only replace the kitchen ring if that’s the only one with a fault…

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I’d get each circuit tested and only replace the kitchen ring if that’s the only one with a fault…

    I did ask, but the Electrician is unhappy to do this as he doesn’t want to sign off anything he’s not happy with. The original remit was to do an inspection, take the socket covers off, find the fault and fix it. He has come back with a basic list of things he says need fixing as a minimum so he can then sign off the whole flat, which is £1800+Vat minimum.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Get another electrician.

    iolo
    Member

    So is your tenant paying less due to this?
    All he needs to do is report you to Environmental Health and you’re in a heap of shit.
    If they’re DHSS you have even more trouble and the fine will be crazy.
    Just fix it.

    Premier Icon spawnofyorkshire
    Subscriber

    Get another electrician

    +1

    Don’t just rely on one quote

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    All he needs to do is report you to Environmental Health and you’re in a heap of shit.
    If they’re DHSS you have even more trouble and the fine will be crazy.

    Don’t talk nonsense. By getting an electrician in he’s clearly fulfilling his obligations, provided he gets it sorted in a reasonable time, and doesn’t leave an active hazard in the meantime. Getting a few quotes is entirely normal either as an owner occupier or a landlord/agent.

    Rockhopper
    Member

    My spark was more than happy just to run a new ring around the kitchen, feed to the fuse box, six double sockets plus a cooker point and a new db just for the kitchen – £480. All correctly signed off as well.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    if he’s not happy with the fuse box maybe get a separate breaker board (forget the name) put in just for that one circuit – they did that for a shower when we had the old ceramic fuses.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    So is your tenant paying less due to this?
    All he needs to do is report you to Environmental Health and you’re in a heap of shit.
    If they’re DHSS you have even more trouble and the fine will be crazy.
    Just fix it.

    Not yet, issue only arose a few days back.

    We have all the relevant tickets showing the flat was tested and met all applicable standards, when it was let out. Rental agencies make a fortune out of charging you for them all using their own people, even if you have them already.

    They’re not DHSS.

    Get another electrician

    Probably a good idea.

    Hindle Pie
    Member

    Get another electrician.

    Aye, try a few more electricians. Some are a lot better at fault finding (experienced ones generally) than others. Get just the kitchen electrics sorted and then get rid of the flat.

    bigyinn
    Member

    plus

    equals

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    He has come back with a basic list of things he says need fixing as a minimum so he can then sign off the whole flat, which is £1800+Vat minimum.

    oof! – get another quote.

    toby1
    Member

    I was a Cambridge based tenant for years (8 actually I think). In that time I paid our landlord a fortune and when asked he replaced the full bathroom. I guess it just depends on a) the quality of the place you rent and b) the quality of your tenant. I needed a reasonably priced flat for a long period as a place to live while I saved a house deposit, he loved us as tenants as we always paid on time and he had to fix very little in that time.

    Essentially invest a little in the tenant you have as you never know how long you might have them for. Spend a bit, make a lot in the longer term?

    Premier Icon mactheknife
    Subscriber

    footflaps, you need to think about what you want out the flat. Is this a short term money maker for you or a long term investment.

    My wife inherited a decent house a few years back and we decided to rent it out long term with the view of it bringing in an income when we eventually retire. To that end we don’t mess about if anything needs done to the house. We have great tenants who pay a high rent, so if anything needs fixed or replaced i do it straight away. If it is not worth that trouble to you then get rid as soon as possible. Or spend the cash doing it up properly and get some good tenants in.

    Why do you have a letting agency doing the work for you. Bugger that. Do it all yourself.

    Get a solicitor to draw up your tenancy agreement. Get the flat on Gumtree and advertise it yourself. Cut out those complete waste of spaces.

    Infact if you want a copy of the tenancy agreement i use then let me know. It is in word format and was drawn up for me by my solicitor. I just amend as needed.

    49er_Jerry
    Member

    I was a self employed sparks until October. Since moved to another industry.
    Seriously, GET ANOTHER quote / opinion.

    A fault on a kitchen ring is very repairable. BUT, it can be tedious and hard to find faults in fitted kitchens. BUT, a fault location can be isolated relatively simply. Replacement cable and accessories can be installed, even if surface mounted (not pretty, but safe and cheep).

    Whenever I did an Electrical Condition Inspection Report (ECIR) which required work to ‘bring the installation up to the required standard’, I would ask the client whether they would like me to supply a quotation for the work. I always suggested they got alternative quotes based on the ECIR for the required work.

    I won quite a few great contacts by supplying work for people who had been told they needed a full Rewire. Yes, a full Rewire will solve any issue. It’s also a nice little earner for the sparks too. It will also leave your property in need of plastering, decoration and possibly new carpets.

    Feel free to contact me for free advice. Not able to do any work now, but happy to give you I partial advice.

    [Contact details in profile]

    hora
    Member

    Second opinion.

    Why does an Electrician charge £20 for an inspection?

    Oh and stop being too nice to people? Aka a pair of doormats?

    Harsh but..

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Why does an Electrician charge £20 for an inspection?

    It was £200 for a visual inspection.

    What happened was, tenant phones agency saying leccy has gone, they phone us, so we say OK, call an electrician and have them fix it. Electrician comes out and can’t get RCD to reset, so diconnects kitchen ring main, which allows RCD to reset. He also rigs up an extension lead for the tenant.

    Next day I phone the electrician for a breakdown and he suggests an “inspection” to try and identify the fault. So I agree to that. I was expecting a Part P approval type inspection, measuring impedances etc to locate the specific fault. Instead they undertook a complete visual inspection of everything which uncovered many other issues as it does look like a previous owner did a lot of DIY electrics with scant regard for best practice, but all legal at the time (pre part P).

    Upshot is the electrician isn’t prepared to work on the flat, just replace most of it.

    We’d love to just get rid of it and did try but the suspected subsidence killed the previous sale, hence we let it out again. The flat is 90 miles away, hence managing it directly, nipping over and finding the fault myself is logisticly tricky as it’s a 180mile round trip each time (4 hours).

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    49er_Jerry – Thanks, I will!

    bigyinn – yep, that has already crossed my mind!

    alanl
    Member

    I’m a self employed sparky who does inspection and testing.
    If you want to mail me the list of what is required, I’ll give you an unbiased opinion, but of course without seeing it, some things may not be obviously faulty or safe for continued use.

    £1800+Vat is quite cheap for a rewire, especially by someone who is VAT registered, so just from that quote I’d be a little sceptical.
    I come across reports regularly that are just made up, the Inspector has not got a clue about things, just says ‘it is unsafe’, but they cannot give any regulation (BS7671) to back up their claim.
    If it is dangerous, he should have given you a ‘Danger notice’, and isolated the relevant circuit. If the whole lot is dangerous, it should be isolated. I suspect there are a few things wrong with the installation, but I doubt it needs a full rewire, most houses do not need a rewire, certainly not if they have PVC wiring, but could do with being upgraded.
    Alan
    alan ( at ) maydavid . co .uk

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    There is no danger notice and all the faults get “Code 2” whatever that means.

    The inspection report came with photos so all the issues are real, although I’ve seen far worse in my time doing DIY!

    These are the issues listed:


    Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 19.01.12 by brf, on Flickr


    Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 19.05.09 by brf, on Flickr

    Having spoken again today, the £1800+VAT is to remedy the issues found, rewire the kitchen and put in a new consumer unit, although there’s nothing wrong with the current one that I can tell.

    alanl
    Member

    That price is ridiculous for those faults.
    There is no evidence there of what is actually wrong with the installation, just a list of general, not dangerous faults.
    “danger from heat” 2 minutes at each fitting to secure the cable away from the heat.
    “evidence of spurs”, so what, every installation has spurs!
    “smoke detector hanging” 5 minutes, 2 screws.
    “poor installation” what does that mean? Not clipped, shaeth cut back too far?
    Co detector missing – that has nothing to do with the electrical installation.
    “No RCD protection for fan”, if it has supplementary bonding, or is ELV, then no need for an RCD for it.

    I’d say a day and half tops to do that, if there is a need for a consumer unit change. With no CU change then it’d be a day with a full, proper EICR.
    If there is already RCD protection for most of the circuits, then there is no need for a new CU.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    alani – thanks, very helpful.

    Anyone know a good electrician near Warwick they can recommend?

    alanl
    Member

    Hmm, I’m close by, I thought you were in Cambridge?
    I’m the South side of Leicester, Blaby.
    If you’d like more details, my email is:
    alan (at) maydavid .co .uk

    Obviously spam blocked, so remove the spaces etc.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Mail sent. We live in Cambridge now, but my wife used to live in the flat before moving across here. The plan was to rent it out and make a small profit, but so far it’s just cost us money!

    49er_Jerry
    Member

    Footflaps, I don’t know the company, but that report is rubbish. I’d offer to pay them when they send you a full set of results from their inspection

    Note. A visual inspection cannot diagnose poor insulation. £200 is a fair price for a full ECIR by the way. That would include all test results, and reference to deviations from BS7671.

    Out of interest, are this outfit registered with any of the professional bodies – NICEIC, NAPIT, ELCSA etc? If so, I would make a formal complaint to the. I don’t like to use the term, but just let me suggest cows and young men, Indians and John Wayne

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    The company was http://www.conradpope.co.uk arranged through the letting agency.

    £200 is a fair price for a full ECIR by the way. That would include all test results, and reference to deviations from BS7671.

    A full ECIR was what I was expecting. I don’t see how looking at living room ceiling lights can help diagnose a kitchen ring main fault.

    49er_Jerry
    Member

    I’d inform NICEIC, TrustMark and the letting agency know that you are far from impressed by their utter lack of professionalism.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    alanl – Member

    Hmm, I’m close by, I thought you were in Cambridge?
    I’m the South side of Leicester, Blaby.

    What a Star alanl is and what a great resource STW is!

    Alan has been and fixed the problem this morning, wasn’t even a wiring fault, just an extension lead under a washing machine which has been dripped on. Unplug extension lead and everything OK. He’s fitted some new sockets in the kitchen so the tenant can plug everything in properly with no extension leads and also fixed a dimmer switch for the tenant, so everyone is happy.

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