Landlord or Tenant at Fault for Cracked Shower Base

Had a tenant recently report a crack in a shower base 3 weeks after they noticed the crack. Upon sending us an images there were significant scratches on the base which were not there when they moved in and not on the condition report.

Question is who is responsible for the crack, the scratches and damage of water leakage for not reporting the crack promptly. The scratches are everywhere and we believe the tenant has dropped something heavy in there causing the crack then tried to drag it out.

Make matter worse they did not report the damage until the report was requested. I am in VIC

closed Comments

  • It'll probably end up with VCAT making a ruling if the tenant denies they are responsible.

    • yup agree, they cannot deny the scratches. That's plan as day

  • +4

    Take it to VCAT.

  • Do you have photo evidence ? if so then you should be fine.

    • +1

      Plently there is a crack now and scratches so I feel like they are blaming the crack to get away with the scratches

      • +3

        Do you have evidence of the previous condition?

  • Whats a standard insurance excess cost for a landlord? Would it be as much as the time taken to go through VCAT?

    • I have no idea what to claim it under as it says on the pds. We do not claim shower base

      • Fair enough, wasnt sure if there was one set excess that applied to all claims. (Renter personally so never been in that position, or held that type of cover so was just generally interested to know)

        Was going to suggest that if the time needed off for the VCAT pathway would cost you more in terms of lost income; then the excess option may just be best.

        Hopefully thats the only damage they have done, its disappointing people don't treat properties they rent as if they are their own in terms of general care.

        • suggestio was made to just fix it and pursue costs later

          • @becstark: Insurance will generally not cover waterproofing failures as they define it as either as a maintenance issue or building defect.

  • +7

    Share the photos OP

  • +1

    Any idea what they would have dropped to crack & scratch it? Maybe a big terracotta pot plant?

    • I believe so but how to get them to admit it, I have posted the photos above. The bathroom is only 2-3 years old and the state its in is a mess.

      • +5

        That bathroom is NOT 2-3 years old based on the photos!

        • Is bud, they have really (profanity) it. This is my point this isnt wear and tear, this is malicious

          • +5

            @becstark: I lied having a look on the building certificate it was July 2017. 4 years but they have made it look 20 years old

          • +1

            @becstark: Looking at the last photo you posted with the stains and mold…. I'm shocked…. That bathroom looks like 20 years old not 4!!

            But I agree, something has been dropped.

            Normally the way these things play out, they have to pay for the shower base they damaged, everything else like the water damage is on you to pay. It sucks :/

            • @JimmyF: Ye I doubt it just happened I reckon it happened some time ago but they only reported it as per the inspeciton report. What a coincidence, that it cracked on the day the report was due

        • They have been in the property for 2-3 years but the bathroom is 4 years old and spotless when they entered.

          • +2

            @becstark: Mostly likely never cleaned once. Some people are just grubs.

      • 1L shampoo bottle maybe? You'd think a shower base should be able to withstand a 1kg impact, considering how common 1L bottles of soap and stuff are.

      • +4

        where are the photos?

        • Sadly unpublished, hope OP comes back with them.

  • +3

    Shower base cracked, for weeks you say? - how bad is the water damage under the shower base now?

    • +1

      I just found out late last night and have not been able to get onto the property manager, as they are closed until Monday so at this stage no idea.

      • +4

        Why did they contact you and not the property manager anyway, just what are you paying your property manager for if you're needing to be the first point of call for little things like this.

        • OP, I had the same issue in my investment property and it cost me a great deal of money and had to basically do a new bathroom as the water damage was so bad.

          I would suggest to get a tradie to look in to it immediately.Water leakage can cause great damage as i have learnt multiple times.I have had bad luck with roofs leaking as well.

    • Whats to say the crack isn’t caused by water damage previously but you can’t see it until the base is pulled up like the girlfriends unit she owns.
      Hers has turned into a nightmare as over the years rather than fix it properly they added 2 inches of concrete base and then 2 inches of bedding sand on top off the original tiles. So the base was sitting 4 inches above floor level 😳😳
      The crack in the shower is basically in line of the top base where it has a fine crack, The original concrete slab 4 layers down was cracked in the same area but couldn’t initially be seen until the other bases were removed.

  • +4

    If planning to go the VCAT path, see if you can get specs for the shower base from a couple of suppliers. This will show that under normal use it would not crack, thus is due to misuse/abuse of the base by tenant.

  • +2

    Strange place for a crack to appear. On corners then potentially installation or building settlement issue. Very suspicious, I would challenge it. Not a trivial sum to fix especially with the water damage.

  • +2

    They don't look like they do a lot of cleaning. It does look a bit like someone has had a ladder or chair in there. Did they have an explanation for the scratches. I am guessing not.

    I had a crack like that appear in a shower tray in a rental property I owned. Long term tenant, so I decided to foot the repair cost myself and do the work myself. Underneath the shower tray there was a large excavation where the slab had been cut to reposition the waste with the tray straddling a trench. In my case the decision to pay was a good one.

    I would suggest getting the job done first and if you can't see a structural reason for the tray to fail expect the tenant to pay.

    • Ye was looking to sell i the next 3-6 months years, didn't need this so really dont care for the tenants feelings. This is one of many "it just happened stories".

  • +3

    Does the pm not do inspections? These folk look like grubs

  • +1

    it appears to be a very thin shower base. Have you still got the receipt for it? What's it made from? A fiberglass base would not crack as cleanly as that…. must be some kind of thin PVC?

    • -1

      4 year old fibreglass purchased from reece

      • +2

        What brand/model/item number is this? I will ask Reece for feedback as this does not look like a fibreglass base. I had a fibreglass bath tub that cracked and fibres were clearly exposed and visible….

  • +5

    The shower base looks like a crapped out piece of shit

    They will argue the crack happened as the age of the base is so old and its fair wear and tear. plastic is brittle etc. FYI: I am assuming its old by looking at the overall condition and design.

    How old is the shower base? can you prove its age.

    OR

    you could fight it through VCAT waste heaps of time and money and still end up it ruling against you saying "its an old clapped out piece of shit, fair wear and tear"

    • -3

      4 year old fibreglass purchased from reece. They have royally (profanity) it

  • +3

    Get the tenant on here so we can hear their side of the story. The shower base looks pretty thin and cheap, if you cheaped out on materials it'll ultimately come back to bite you on the arse sooner than using premium materials. Who knows, maybe Reece like most companies outsourced their manufacturing to China, if so the materials will be cheap crap and you won't always be able to rely on the brand name itself. I hope that there's no damage under the shower though, I'm getting a headache just thinking about this. From what it sounds like though it seems to be their issue.

    People are disgusting in general though so I'm not surprised if your bathroom is only 4 years old but looks like it's 20 years old. Not everyone bothers to clean their space even when they own their own home. I hope there's no mold infesting that bathroom. It's possible the water that will likely have seeped under the shower damaging the foundation, depending on how bad it is you're going to have to renovate the entire bathroom and if things are extremely bad you'll have to knock down and rebuild the entire property, HEADACHE! Let's hope everything is fine underneath the shower.

    Please don't sell it until everything is fixed properly though.

    • Not always - the quality of the non-stick surfaces on air-fryer baseplates suggest a nation that could possibly orbit a Martian moon or soft-land on our moon's far side. OTOH, if you're wanting something built down to a price…

  • silicone it or tape it up to prevent further water leak damage underneath?

  • I get it that sht happens I just want honestly. If someone is honest with me then I am willing to work with them towards a mutual outcome.

  • Takes a lot to crack a shower base if installed correctly. Maybe they did drop a heavy object? To distract from scratches? I would get it inspected by a building inspector they should be able to tell you if its structural or malicious

  • shower bases don’t magically crack. chances are they have dropped something heavy on it. talk to your agent and take it to vcat.

  • Prob trying to keep their dog from escaping while giving it a bath

  • They are!
    You have the report describing the condition prior to they taking tenancy. Obviously the damage has occurred after they have entered the property, and they have failed to report in a reasonable time.

    A bit of detective work may expose they have placed something in the shower recess, such as potted plants to be soaked, or even some sort of chair, in which they can relax upon.

    Something have been placed in the shower, and this something has caused the damage.

    Take close up photos of the damage. You say scratches, so I am thinking something heavy has been placed in the recess. Look for paint/material transfer.

    Anyway… you send them the bill. If they fail to pay, you take them to tribunal and have the Tribunal sort it out.

  • +5

    It is up to the landlord sorry to replace it, I would say it was not installed correctly with support underneath it, it is not a common problem.

    Even if you had a picture of it prior to moving in with no problem and then it cracks it would still be the landlord's problem.

    There is a problem causing it to crack, they should be able to withstand well over 100KG at least. 2 people may even weigh more.

    They would not have anything this weight and they would not be able to drop this in the shower.

    My recommendation is to move on and get it fixed promptly and don't bother pursuing it as it will only cause you grief. You could always try and recover 50% of the cost from them which may be fair if they know they did it.

    • Not according to the installation report and manufacturer statement. If they are honest im happy to work with. If not vcat can judge

      • +4

        The advice in this comment is completely sound. If you are not the pragmatic sort, you may not be well-suited to the business of being a landlord.

  • -2

    It's clearly your problem, if you need to bring your tenants private issues to a public forum about getting 'bargains'.

  • So curious to see the photo I see you unpublished it. Can you send it to me?

  • -1

    It is a landlord problem 100%. Just pay for repair. If you rent it out, you will get the repair bill.

    • -2

      It will offset your negative gearing anyways.

    • true and you never know what the tenants will do before they leave….

  • +2

    The photo may not validate the supposed age of the shower and hence unpublished ?

  • +7

    Hiding the photos is a sign of guilt imo

  • +1

    Why remove photos? Add it to the post.

      • +3

        Lawyer recommended to post on OzBargain. Can confirm, am lawyer and have no idea what I'm doing.

        • Username check ✅

  • yeah, you can get house insurance to pay for the replacement, I did that with my house but it's a half arse job that's causing me grief now that I'm still thinking of way to deal with it. Basically to do it properly you gotta rip the whole tile area of the shower (or at least up to the shower head height or so) and redo the waterproof membrane. If you have enough of old tile that match for that area then it's not too expensive, other than that expect your bathroom to look funny or get the whole tile done.
    My shower base was cracked for a few years at least and when I decided to get insurance in, they knew that it was there a long time so they gave me a bit of lecture about reporting the damage but still paid for it.

  • +2

    Do said tenants weigh excessively obese

  • I can't see the pictures, but what could they be putting into the shower that would break it? Why would they do it to be annoying? I think you're going to have to pay.

  • +1

    Had a similar situation as a tenant a few years ago.
    Was slightly different situation, with a fibreglass kitchen sink in a very old unit. It was a well aged fibreglass sink with many visible micro cracks, then one day I noticed one of the cracks had grown and started leaking.
    Landlord accused us of dropping something heavy on it, we had just been using it for normal kitchen sink duties (washing dishes etc), so nothing heavier than normal pots and pans.
    We offered to pay half which I felt was more than generous, landlord did not agree so we opted to move out (lease had already expired and gone month to month).

    Landlord advised they would withhold the cost from bond, we wanted to fight it but it turns out the landlord had never lodged the bond. We reminded landlord that fines of up to $20k were due if they didn't lodge the bond and they very rapidly agreed to go halves in the cost.

    Some tenants can be shitty, but some landlords can be equally shitty.

    • +3

      You were generous on offering to go halves. At that point I would’ve said “game over” and give me back my bond before I report you.

  • Did you interview the tenant yourself? What was the person like?

  • Could be the tenant if they were making salads in there

  • You'll be waiting a year to get a VCAT hearing because of all the backlog Covid has caused!

  • Just get it fixed and move on. Not worth the amount of time you're going to invest in it.

  • Thanks for all your comments. Only made the post to see if there was a clear cut answer either way. Seems as though there isn't, only way to really find out is from the tenants, hopefully they are honest enough and we can both move on. If not then it will have to go to vcat and I will provide you with the outcome details whether it take 1,2, 10 years. Cheers everyone

  • It's pretty hard to crack a shower base and it generally just goes through wear and tear. Mine went a year or so ago. Will cost you about $800 to get it done and it's not covered by insurance as it is classed as maintenance.

  • As OP has the answers required, this thread is now closed.

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