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Tenant charges for setting off fire alarm

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243 views 2 replies latest reply: 20 March 2017
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Tenant

My landlord is currently attempting to charge me £160 for setting off the fire alarm in my property. I am a Student and do not have this money.

After smoking my electronic cigarette in my room, it set off the fire alarm. Following that, I have received an invoice from my landlord requiring that I pay £160 for the call out that was required to reset the alarm system. 

I understand that it was my fault. However, this seems like an extreme charge. 

I am in a HMO on an assured shorthold tenancy contract and having read through my contract I do not see any forewarning of such a large charge.

However my letting agent sent me this quote to justify the charge.

2.5.9 To keep all fire exits and escape routes clear of obstruction. Not to wedge open fire doors or interfere

with smoke and heat detectors. Not to smoke or burn candles, or to store or use any inflammable
substance or device, in the Premise”

 

 

Is there anything I can do to prevent paying this large charge?

 

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Tenant

You probably can’t dodge this one because it is explicitly written that you cannot smoke in the property. You’ve broken the terms and now you’re liable to pay. 

However, the charge seems a bit extreme. Make sure the landlord is not adding anything to the call-out fee for the alarm guy to come and reset the system. The landlord is not entitled to profit from this charge – they may simply invoice you for the costs. 

If the call out fee was 160, then there is nothing you can do. You can tell the landlord to discount it from your deposit, as you don’t have the means to pay right now. 

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Tenant

Using an e cigarette is not classified as ‘Smoking’ (within the legislation smoking is defined as: –

  1. smoking” refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and
  2. Smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked)

and as there is no tobacco, and nothing is burnt, you are not considered to be “Smoking”

I doubt that the Landlord or Agent could charge you as nothing is in the Tenancy agrrement but I would pop into your local CAB office and have a chat with them.

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