How much is fair contribution to broken oven door? (UK rented apartment)
July 3, 2014 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Hi - outer glass shattered on our oven door. Google suggests this does sometimes happen without provocation (oven is approx 7yrs old). Housing contract (London, UK) stipulates tenant responsible for 'broken glass' but I presume this refers to windows. Letting agents got quote of £220 for new door panel. New oven costs £295 and they prefer to do this. Ask I contribute 40% (£120). Is this a fair deal - should I negotiate lower? Thanks!
posted by ManOfPlans to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Did it shatter during normal usage?

If so, I would refuse to pay anything.
posted by Salamander at 5:13 AM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

(By which I mean, you didn't drop something on the open door, or kick it, or accidentally hit it with a cricket just exploded 'without provocation'?)
posted by Salamander at 5:15 AM on July 3, 2014

Hi Salamander - yes shattered during normal usage: oven was on, opened the door and whoosh! Glass all over floor.
posted by ManOfPlans at 5:19 AM on July 3, 2014

Well, I don't know about UK tenant law, but in Australia that would be considered 'normal wear and tear'; basically, the oven glass exploded because it got old and weakened by use (or it was faulty when installed), not because of anything you did. The owner would be 100% responsible for replacement.

Can you find a copy of the relevant legislation for your area online?
posted by Salamander at 5:23 AM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would strongly argue this falls under normal wear and tear.
However if you do end up paying it, I would pay no more than 50% of the replacement door cost (i.e. £110) - no reason for you to subsidise the landlord getting a new oven.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:06 AM on July 3, 2014

Talk to Shelter about this - they will be able to advise you further especially as it sounds like wear and tear/fault, rather than deliberate misuse. Their tenant's phone line is very helpful.
posted by halcyonday at 6:07 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

For an amount of £120, I would not focus on the law, but I would instead focus on whether or not your tenancy agreement is a good deal if you had to pay an additional £120 one month. The law here is somewhat irrelevant - I highly doubt you would go to court over £120 and if you would consider it, I suggest not doing so because it will make you a highly undesirable tenant in the future. If you aren't going to go to court, the agents have no reason to care about the law since you aren't going to do anything about a law violation anyway.

At that point, the negotiation becomes one over who bears the cost rather than who is responsible for the cost. The letting agents want to pay as little as possible, as do you. If your lease rate is below market rate, you may consider bearing more of the cost in order to continue with a sub-market-rate tenancy. If your lease rate is above market rate, you may consider being more firm in having the agents pay more of their share, because you could simply move in the future due to the higher cost of living.

For what it's worth, I think they're offering you a decent deal here. If I were them, I'd expect the oven to have a 15-20 year life span. If it lasted 7 years, there's a residual 8-13 year life that needs to be accounted for, and they're only suggesting you paying for 4.6 years of residual life. I happen to live in a sub-market-rent property, and if I were offered such a deal, I'd take it to be a better tenant in the future.
posted by saeculorum at 6:13 AM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

You should have renter's insurance - talk to your insurance company and let them battle it out with the letting agent.
posted by missmagenta at 7:00 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Offer to pay half the difference between new oven and new door (£37.50), because the owner is supposed to provide you with a working oven, and you aren't the one who made it non-working. That's the point of renting.
posted by Etrigan at 7:19 AM on July 3, 2014

If you aren't going to go to court, the agents have no reason to care about the law since you aren't going to do anything about a law violation anyway.

This might be the case in the US, but in the UK (where the OP presumably is), a tenant can do plenty about a law violation without going to court. Most of the time, simply calling the agent's bluff by knowing your legal rights will be enough. If not, there are other avenues like tenants' rights advocates before it gets anywhere near a court.

This is why I'm very strongly recommending that the OP makes sure s/he knows exactly what a tenant's rights are in his/her area. The agent knows, I can guarantee it, and s/he is probably counting on the OP not knowing.

If this situation were to happen to me, as a tenant in Australia, I would not consider it 'a good deal' if I ended up paying a cent (and I live in a sub-market rent property in a desirable area with a very low vacancy rate.)
posted by Salamander at 7:26 AM on July 3, 2014

Suggest you consult the local CAB, bring your tenancy agreement with you.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:28 AM on July 3, 2014

This happened to me and the letting agents fixed it with no mention of me having to pay for it, and we got full deposit back. I wouldn't even consider that I, as a tenant, should have to pay for something that broke and wasn't my fault. It's exactly as Etrigan said - when you rent you're not meant to have to worry about things breaking.
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 9:38 AM on July 3, 2014

They are very likely to be responsible for it. If they are (check), then your starting negociation position is that you pay nothing and they fix it.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:06 PM on July 3, 2014

Some stuff about repairs in UK rentals here: (Actually that whole renting section is good information to have).

Seconding Shelter & the CAB.

Anecdotally, this happened to me in London a year or so back and the landlord just got a new oven fitted at his expense.
posted by symphonicknot at 8:11 AM on July 4, 2014

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