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Old 20.01.2011, 15:55
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Damaged door due to poor design

In our rented property we have a damaged door due to poor design - a towel rail hits the door about 15cm from the hinge when the door is opened, so it has damaged the hinges and split the door.

The property is only 3 years old, but the builder's architect denies it is a design fault and the owner says it is our responsibility and we have to replace the door.

We didn't notice anything when we moved in a year ago, so it isn't on the checklist, but it seems to me that a blatant building fault shouldn't be our issue. Beside this, replacing the door won't help it will just happen again.

Ironically, once I saw the damage I put in a doorstop to prevent it becoming worse, which the architect now claims caused the damage - i.e. he's blatantly lying to avoid any costs to him. He also claimed the other apartments are the same, but we checked with our neighbours and they all have either shorter rails or stops in the floor fitted by the builders.

Any suggestions about how I can resolve this without having to buy a whole new door (probably ~750 CHF!)?
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Old 20.01.2011, 15:57
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

Get your insurance involved? They could put the housewarden/architect in their place...
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Old 20.01.2011, 16:02
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

a towel rail has split the door and damaged the hinges?

I'm thinking...
...
1) that is a really cheap door, and hinges
or
2) when you gotta go you really gotta go

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Old 20.01.2011, 16:07
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

Take a few photographs and report it to your insurance company. You might have to pay the first CHF 200 of your claim.

Buy a shorter towel rail or move the existing one, and put it down to experience.
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Old 20.01.2011, 16:09
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

No, it seems like a pretty good door, but the end of the rail hits right next to the hinge, so the force on the hinges will be huge due to the leverage involved.

I've got an engineering background, so I'm confident that one way or another this setup will damage the door/hinge through the frequent twisting applied.

What I'm surprised about is that the architect either can't see that or won't admit it :-( particularly since the rest of the build quality is superb.
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Old 20.01.2011, 16:12
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

Thanks Ittigen, unfortunately I'm not sure how we could replace the towel rail - the owner claims it's not a problem, surely we can't then modify the fittings that much, and anyway it would probably require replacing tiles and end up costing a fortune anyway.

I guess I was hoping there would be some sort of straightforward arbitration process, I thought that renters had strong protection against this sort of thing?
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Old 20.01.2011, 16:45
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

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Ironically, once I saw the damage I put in a doorstop to prevent it becoming worse, which the architect now claims caused the damage - i.e. he's blatantly lying to avoid any costs to him. He also claimed the other apartments are the same, but we checked with our neighbours and they all have either shorter rails or stops in the floor fitted by the builders.

Any suggestions about how I can resolve this without having to buy a whole new door (probably ~750 CHF!)?
It sounds like a pretty clear cut case.

I would get photographs of the other units to disprove the architect. Present your case to the landlord..... and leave it.

The person who selected and designed the towel rack is clearly at fault here.

Personally I would argue that damage is a result of poor design (in relation to the other apartments) should be considered 'inevitable' general wear and tear..... and you can not therefore be liable.
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Old 20.01.2011, 17:44
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

Thanks Bill, that's the approach I'm taking although it's not getting me very far...

If it was my door, I'd simply glue and clamp it to fix the damage and it would be OK apart from a hairline crack in the laminate surface.

Can I just do that and then leave it up to the owner to worry about? (or will it come back to haunt me when we eventually leave?)
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Old 20.01.2011, 18:03
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

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Thanks Bill, that's the approach I'm taking although it's not getting me very far...

If it was my door, I'd simply glue and clamp it to fix the damage and it would be OK apart from a hairline crack in the laminate surface.

Can I just do that and then leave it up to the owner to worry about? (or will it come back to haunt me when we eventually leave?)
........ In this country ????
I think you could bet your left testicle it will come back to haunt you.


Using force to get your point across, some people use the Mafia, like Russia, Italy, etc.
Some use Gangsters like in the USA.
In Switzerland, it appears that nothing has impact quite like well written, assertive REGISTERED LETTER !!!

I would first send a letter complete with photographs of the similar designed apartments demonstrating the points listed above and asking for an explanation.

I can't guarantee it will work, but expressing that you consider this unfair and you require a reason at least puts you in a stronger position to negotiate your way out. Put the onus squarely on the design of the architecht again, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Once the letter is sent and a reply is received, at least then you have some ammunition to take to whatever sort of rental regulatory body could help you...... they will most likely ask you if you have tried to resolve the matter yourself anyway, so try to beat them to it.
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Old 18.05.2011, 11:03
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

Just to close this off - after some more discussions with our landlady, she had a trusted handyman take a look and he advised her that he could fix it with just a hairline crack left. I of course agreed this was the best approach, and now the problem is resolved.

I guess the issue here was our landlady being stuck between a builder who was covering his ass and me who she didn't know well enough to trust fully.

In future I'll definitely try to find a trusted third party like the handyman...

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Old 12.06.2011, 00:25
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

even if it is a design flaw, i guess you'd could be liable, since there's nothing to make you bang the door against the rail...
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Old 12.06.2011, 10:28
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

After a month of intense fighting with an architect and some builders, I can tell you that they think they are always right. A case for insurance, I'm afraid.
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Old 12.06.2011, 10:48
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

The point is that you have to hand the apartment back in the same state as you have received it.
So if the door is now damaged and it wasn't before then you have to pay
to repair it.
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Old 12.06.2011, 10:53
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

For the benefit of the last couple of posters:

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Just to close this off - after some more discussions with our landlady, she had a trusted handyman take a look and he advised her that he could fix it with just a hairline crack left. I of course agreed this was the best approach, and now the problem is resolved.
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Old 12.06.2011, 12:40
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Re: Damaged door due to poor design

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What I'm surprised about is that the architect either can't see that or won't admit it :-( particularly since the rest of the build quality is superb.
Being a good Swiss architect he does not make mistakes. Didn't you know?
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