Hot water call outs

Question from Karl updated on 20th May 2014:

My tenant claims they run out of hot water regularly. I sent a plumber to check and the plumber made some adjustments but the tenant still ran out of hot water. I sent the plumber out again and the plumber could not find a fault. Can I charge the tenant for the plumber’s second visit?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

Yes, you can charge a tenant for a “false call-out” where you have incurred the cost of a plumber to address a tenant’s complaint and there is found to be no fault with the property. It helps if you have a clause in your tenancy agreement that warns a tenant in advance about the liability for such costs, but in any case the costs can be passed to the tenant. The problem most probably lies with the tenant’s use of the water. Often people can underestimate the time they spend in showers, or the amount of water a hot wash takes in a washing machine. You might like to suggest to your tenant that they try to keep track of how they use hot water on common household tasks such as these and also how many people (occupants and visitors) are using the hot water. Long showers are usually the main culprit!

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