Here is a question to the blog clinic from Kevin (not his real name) who is a landlord
Hello, I am a landlord and I found out this week that the tenants at my property have carried out some modifications without my permission.
They have put up some new lights in the kitchen and replaced the gas cooker with an electric one.
I don’t disagree with what they have done in principle but my electrician has informed me that the work is unsafe and will cost a lot of money to put right – the entire kitchen circuit now needs to be re-wired. The tenants do not seem bothered and I don’t think they will finish the job properly.
As I have not actually agreed to these works, would I still be liable if the tenants are harmed in any way?
As you can understand I am reluctant to pay for something that has been done without my consent.
My view is that you should write to your tenants immediately saying that you note that various works have been done to your property. That these were done without your consent and that you understand from your electrician that they are unsafe.
Say that although you do not object to the changes they have made in themselves, you are very concerned about the safety aspect and that you require them to do what is necessary to put the system in a proper condition and provide you with an electricians safety certificate within 28 days (or whatever period you think is reasonable).
Go on to say that if this is not done you will be charging them for the necessary electrical work from their deposit, and will be bringing a claim against them if the cost of this work exceeds the deposit amount.
Say also that in view of the fact that these works were done without your authorisation and consent, you are putting them on notice that you will not be liable for any personal injury that may result from the unsafe condition of the electrics.
Further, you reserve the right to join them in as third parties to any personal injury or other claims that may be made against you by persons injured as a result of their unauthorised works to your property.
Hopefully that should galvanise them to get something done about it.