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Burglar alarm going off - emergency repair

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1019 views 1 replies latest reply: 29 December 2014


Our alarm began sounding this afternoon at around 4.30pm. We don’t use the alarm when we leave the house. Tried the code and it didn’t work. We took the control panel box off the wall and it was hardwired into the house so we didn’t want to touch the wiring.

Called the LL and no answer. Called again, no answer so left a message asking if he could authorise someone to come out and sort it. He didn’t come back to us and the alarm had been going off for a good hour by this point.

We decided we best ring a company to come out and disconnect the alarm. We were told that if the alarm stopped going off in the meantime and they arrived we would be charged which I agreed to.

After we put the phone down, the LL called and said we should have tried to do X, Y & Z to sort it out (ie play round with the wiring). I said that I am not an electrician and I wasn’t comfortable doing this.

Alarm company then arrived and disconnected the alarm. The guy said the wiring in the box was the cause and it was all held together with old electrical tape. I was charged £100 plus VAT to fix the issue.

My question is, who pays the bill?

My argument would be that the alarm had been going off for hours, it was causing a disturbance, the LL was uncontactable and we had no other choice but to call someone out. The guy we called out said we wouldn’t have stopped it unless we got a ladder to go up to look at the box on the outside of the house, and the alarm was hardwired into the house so it would have been dangerous for me to start playing round with wiring.

Can anyone help please?

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Hi James

Take a look at your tenancy agreement and see what it says. Generally,it’s the landlord’s responsibility to repair and maintain any appliances that are in the property when you move in – presumably that would include the burglar alarm (there’s a lot online that would indicate this is the case, including this doc from Crisis). You could perhaps argue that if the wiring was faulty/held together by tape the landlord was failing in this requirement and that would make the cost theirs.  It’s also arguable that what you would have had to do in order to stop the burglar alarm constitutes a repair (not 100% on that but seems plausible).

If the alarm engineer said the alarm could only be stopped by a professional engineer then that would also support this not being a job that should fall to a tenant – also, if you have a manual for the alarm, have a look at that and see what it says about when to call an engineer, as that could also support your actions as being necessary (you might be able to find a copy of the manual online if you don’t have one).

You could ask the landlord when they last had the alarm checked by an engineer to highlight that it wasn’t in great shape and that’s probably their responsibility.  And also perhaps point out that they should have left you written instructions on what they wanted you to do in the event of the alarm going off uncontrollably if it was something more than putting in the code. 

Although not 100% it does sound like the landlord should be picking up these costs – hopefully these suggestions will help you convince them of that! If they really won’t budge/you want to keep relations happy you could perhaps suggest sharing the cost but making it clear that the landlord needs to take steps to stop it happening again.

Hope that helps


(We’re not lawyers so please don’t rely on this as legal advice)

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