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Hell with a landlord(9 Posts)
Just after some advice.
We private rent a property through an estate agent and we took a 12 month tenancy agreement starting May 3rd 2012. The property needs work doing to it. When we moved in, the heating boiler kept turning itself off with error codes. We are still having the odd issue with it , despite sending her family friend who is a gas fitter, round 6 times. His course of action on the first time was to turn the radiators off (seriously). After kicking up a fuss , they moved a valve and seemed to fix it , but within a few weeks , back to normal. We had a bathroom window that wouldnt open and advised the estate agents on Aug 24th 2012 and it was only fixed beginning of this year after pestering and pestering. (the owner pays them to find tenants but she sorts her own trades people out to do repairs etc) The bath is cracked and is leaking. The leak is affecting the downstairs ceiling which now has a big stain. We advised the landlord early Sept 2012 and she has fobbed us off constantly. After hounding her , she sent somebody out , ripped the bath panel off and left it off. We now have the bath panel in pieces just left standing up outside the bathroom door as she has said she is short of money and cant afford to do the bathroom. We have 3 kids and all three have caught themselves on it and got splinters etc. We have had to drive 8 miles round trip most nights to shower the kids at my parents as if we run the bath we are sure it will come through the ceiling as its so soft and wet. We contacted the estate agent last week and advised we will no longer be paying any more rent until its fixed (something they agreed is the best action). She still hasnt responded to their messages to call them.
My question is, what rights do we have as she has ignored our requests to sort it for months and months now and we are paying market value rent for something that isnt worth it. Are we entitled to organise our own repair/replacement bath and deduct it from any further rent? Are we entitled to compensation as in real money, it has cost us approx 40 miles worth of petrol per week for the last 5 and half months which is alot of money.
If you're in England, this page ( http://m.england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/disrepair_in_rented_accommodation/repairs_in_private_lets) has sime useful advice (sorry if that's the mobile site: I"m using a smartphone while feeding sleepy baby).
Don't stop paying rent, though, as it could put you in the wrong, which would be gutting, given what a waster yoyr LL is.
Are there lots of other rentals avaikable locally? If so, a good solution could be to push to end the tenancy early, and just move. If your council's private housing officer (search your council's site: www.name.gov.uk) helped get it declared uninhabitable (would the downstairs neighbours back you, over the ceiling issue?), you could get out earlier (or LL would be forced to repair it all, go bankrupt and give way to a better landlord, like the bank! ).
Sorry you are going through this. It sounds like a particularly crap LL.
Thanks for the reply. So basically we cant do anything without alot of hassle. She gets her rent money and we have to live in a house that is dangerous. Thats rubbish
You've taken a lot if steps already, though, e.g. notice that this is unacceptable, you have a witness (downstairs), receipts for expenses. So you're very far along the negotiation track, and it may be that you're already able to withold rent (I rent, too, but have never got to that stage).
However, don't give up! Call your council's housing officer tomorrow and follow eith an email, or emsil tonight and follow with s call tomorrow, to stress that you've given plenty of chances and thr LL is refusing to fix a hazard, you hsve a witness whose property is aldo being damaged, and you have children. Ask what powers they have to force LL to fix (and pay to house you while fixing) or end tenancy (on grounds that it's uninhabitable - no safe washing facilities). Also ask: can you make small claims court claim for expenses incurred, or can compensation be claimed through rent reduction.
So sorry re typos. Battery liw and don't want toconkout befire replying!
If it won't cost much you could yourselves look under the bath and fix the leak or it might be fairly cheap to get someone in to fix it. Do you have a family friend who knows about plumbing who could have a look at it?
I second contacting shelter.
If you even have the most basic tenancy agreement it should set out clearly the landlords and the tenants obligations. Your landlord is, without any doubt responsible for repairs to the property. If a landlord refuses to repair defects a tenant must advise the landlord in advance that they will carry out the repairs and will deduct the cost from the rent. However you must advise the landlord what repairs are required and provide them with a copy of the invoice for the work undertaken.
It does state clearly that she is responsible. It also says that in case of an emergency , im entitled to call an emergency repairer out as long as the cost isnt over market value. Fed up with the whole lot of it, had to go my mother in laws again today to shower the kids. Its just not acceptable. And some landlords wonder why people trash houses or leave without honouring the contract!!
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