To ask to deal directly with the landlord?

(17 Posts)
easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 11:49:18

I'm renting a flat privately and dealing direct with the landlord. After I'd signed the contract he told me I'd be dealing mostly with his sister, since he's "often away".

The sister is doing a really crappy job, often taking days to respond to emails (I don't have a phone number for her) and dithering about very basic things. A month ago I reported that the washing machine had died and gave them the error message so they knew exactly what the problem was. The landlord told me the manufacturers could repair it but they'd need to order a replacement part and it would be 2-3 weeks. Then two weeks ago the sister brought over an engineer, who said it would be cheaper to replace the whole thing. I haven't heard anything since then so I emailed them both and asked for an update, and the sister said she wanted a "second opinion" and when asked me to let her know when I would be available to let in a second engineer (this was only in response to a chasing email from me, I hadn't heard anything in the meantime).

I told her I thought the delay and mixed messages was "unprofessional" and she's taken exception to the term, since she's "not running an office and this is not an office issue". Admittedly if she's just doing her a brother a favour she's not obliged to treat it as a professional concern, but somebody must owe me an adequate response, surely? Would I be within my rights to insist on dealing only with the landlord himself from now on? Do I, in fact, have any rights, or have they got me over a barrel?

Manumission Mon 21-Nov-16 11:51:50

TBH, it sounds like a cash-strapped LL who is stalling because they're struggling to pay for the repair/replacement.

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 11:58:27

No way of knowing, I guess. Maybe I should suggest replacing it myself and taking the amount off that month's rent smile

But the more general problem is that they don't seem willing to act as though they have any obligations towards me as a tenant so I'm just trying to work out whether they do, or whether as a private tenant I'm 100% unprotected and they can do whatever they like sad

Manumission Mon 21-Nov-16 12:02:01

It sounds stressful.

baconandeggies Mon 21-Nov-16 12:05:48

No, you're protected if there's a working washing machine listed on your inventory. Tell the landlord what you expect of him and say if he can't meet this then you'll be handing in your notice.

baconandeggies Mon 21-Nov-16 12:07:28

If his sister is an unsuitable agent and has got the hump he'll have to sort something else out

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:08:12

I'm worried he'll call my bluff bacon! I really want to stay in the flat. (Only moved in three months ago.)

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 12:09:10

No, if your flat is furnished they are obliged to replace the washing machine within a reasonable timeframe. If they don't, you may be within your rights to withhold rent and buy it yourself, but I think you have to give them the opportunity to do so first and warn them. Look up on Google or get some advice from someone more knowledgeable before doing this, though. And I think the general issue needs to be addressed that, if the sister represents the landlord, it is fair enough for you to expect her to respond within a reasonable time, just as you would expect from your LL. I would be bringing it up with him that his representative is doing an inadequate job!

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:11:15

Yes I'm going to try that I think Trifle. Only thing is I don't have his phone number (lost phone last month and replaced it, but his number wasn't backed up) so I've had to ask his sister for it!

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 12:12:24

I suspect she is as sick of this as you are - bet he doesn't pay her. Good luck!

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:12:35

Oh, although the flat isn't furnished - it just came with bathroom and kitchen fittings. I'll check the inventory when I get home, hopefully it's listed there.

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:13:17

Yeah I'm sure he doesn't pay her, from what she's saying - but I need that to be their problem, not mine grin

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 12:13:43

Yes, as long as it is on the inventory and the flat includes white goods, he has to replace it.

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:16:08

That's good to know, thanks.

baconandeggies Mon 21-Nov-16 12:18:27

He's unlikely to all your bluff over a washing machine, but if you don't want to threaten yet, I'd write an assertive email directly to the LL as follows:

"I have been unable to use the washing machine for 30 days and I do not know when repair or replacement is likely to take place. Please provide me with an update within 7 days as this delay is unacceptable.

I have been trying to liaise with (sister's name) over this matter but she has not been helpful and has said that she doesn't seem to consider her role a 'professional' one.

I'm concerned about not having repairs dealt with in a reasonable amount of time, both in this instance and going forward.

I look forward to your comments"

Potatoooooo Mon 21-Nov-16 12:18:46

Sometimes its not because they're cash strapped but because they're greedy and have many properties.
My previous landlord decided her son could 'manage' the property.
His attempts at managing were extremely poor, they also lived far away.
They don't have to put up with a broken washer or a caved in ceiling so why should they rush to fix it, it's very unfair.

I'm lucky to have escaped my previous property and now live a few roads away from my landlord who is on the ball and has so far fixed everything.

easterholidays Mon 21-Nov-16 12:26:17

Thanks bacon that's a good letter and I will use it if I don't hear back from him.

Potatoooooo that sounds like a nightmare, glad you've found somewhere better! Hopefully these are just teething problems...

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