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Requirement to provide hotel during renovation

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« on: October 10, 2020, 11:23:21 PM »

Hello,
Problem: older terrace property needs a roof replacement. Roof has had some recent movement. Tenants fear they cannot live there because the roof will crash in on them in their beds.
In the process of obtaining quotes, asked two of the contractors if they think it is necessary to evacuate the house. Their opinion is that yes urgent work is needed but in their opinion it is safe to live in.
This however is no guarantee, which the tenant wishes to have. I do not believe any contractor would issue such a written assurance considering it is agreed by all that work is needed.
The roof does not leak, there are no other issues to prevent somebody continuing to live there before or during the proposed works.
Between the bedrooms and the roof is a certified load bearing floor so not just a thin batten to hold plasterboard.

Do I need to provide them with a hotel to allay their fears ?
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 10:09:20 AM »

Unless you have insurance to cover that,I would say no.The work could be held up by bad weather,or if further lockdowns are announced they could be stuck in the hotel in quarantine etc.leaving you with a big bill.Have you given the written  assurances to the tenants? If this was their own house they would presumably not go into a hotel for the duration. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2020, 01:32:30 PM »

even if I do have insurance to cover it there does not appear to be valid reason to invoke such cover other than, in my opinion, an irrational fear of something which may happen.
If by assurances you mean that nothing will happen, of course I have not I am neither qualified to nor independent. One of the contractors approached to quote said as much that nobody would give you such an assurance.
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2020, 03:23:40 PM »

I assumed that the opinion expressed by the contractors,about the place being safe to live in,had been expressed in writing.That not being the case, I would say that it is up to the tenants to provide evidence to the contrary.It is not clear from your query if they have demanded hotel accomodation from you? Maybe it is the noise and disruption as much as safety that bothers them. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2020, 08:34:35 PM »

no the opinion is not in writing and who would do that anyway certainly nobody providing a quotation. These are the opinions of roofing contractors not surveyors.
I too think that it would be up to the tenants to provide a qualified opinion.
No they have not demanded hotel accommodation. The concern expressed is their fear that the roof will collapse on them and the obvious conclusion is that they must move out if their fears cannot be allayed.
My question is consequently who is liable for these costs. I am not claiming that their fears are unfounded , and am actively seeking quotes from reputable contractors, but that does not happen in five minutes.
The works should not take much more than a week, so any disruption is limited to having people on the roof. They can continue to live there during the works say the contractors.
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2020, 10:01:48 AM »

I don't think anything could be laid down in law to cover personal fears. It comes down to what you feel morally obliged to do I would say. If the work involved depriving them of heat,sanitation,electricity etc.then you obviously would be  expected  to provide and pay for alternative accomodation.
I did this once for a few nights,when my tenant was being terrorised by a psycho living in the place next door.It was not my legal responsibility,and he did not ask,but I chose to do it.When some complicated roof repair disrupted life for a family for 2/3 days,I sent flowers and a voucher for a family meal out. Maybe refund rent for a week ? If they choose to check into a hotel,they could try to claim the cost back from you,but I doubt if they would succeed.Personally,the  thought of being freezing cold would worry me more than the roof caving in.
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2020, 10:07:19 AM »

I'll quickly resolve this for you, as you're obviously a bit of a dilly-dallyer...

1) the roof work needs doing, that's agreed by all parties so non-contentious
2) the contractors you've 'interviewed' have assured you (yes, not in writing - not a guarantee, but who cares, you all know you'd never get that) that their opinion is it's safe to live there while work is ongoing
3) they, the contractors, are the ones who are the professionals, not you, certainly not the Tenant
4) if the Tenant wishes to move out, for their own perception of safety, then they can do so at their own cost
5) you do not need to provide them with hotel accommodation for the duration due to irrational fears

Job done. Move on, it's time to groove on...
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