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To think my Landlord is breaking the law? Our house is now a health hazard

(46 Posts)
Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:14:55

Posting here for traffic, but if it would be better somewhere else then I'm happy for it to be moved.

I moved into my house a yeR ago with DH and DCs, we loved the house and area so were willing to pay the extra rent to move here. Since we moved in though there has been problems with the drains, plumbing and kitchen, and we've had enough.

The outside drains first exploded in March. The LL was informed by the drainage firm he hired to come and clear it, that it is a very old system and he needs to replace it, or it will carry on happening. He didn't do this, and it happened again in June, again in Sept. Each time, he just arranged the drainage firm to clear the waste overflow, not fix the damn problem.
And now it has happened Again.
I should point out, by drains exploding and overflowing, I mean that every time someone uses the toilet, it isn't going where it should- the outside pipe isn't aligned with the bathroom, so the pressure drop means it isn't going where it should.
And eventually, the pressure means the back garden overflows. You can guess the rest.

I'm really embarrassed. We keep our house clean and tidy, and this is a massive upset. We contacted him again when this happened (last week), and now he is just not responding to our calls. We can't go out into the back garden, DCs can't play out there, and we can't even risk opening windows at the back of the house.

Aibu to NOT want my back garden to be a fucking toilet every few months?

Obviously not, but I am just wondering if he is actually breaking the law by not fixing a problem that is quite obviously a health hazard?

We're tempted not to pay rent this month- he would soon pick up the phone to us then angry

Thank you for any thoughts on this, I feel bloody ill sad

Tarzanlovesgaby Wed 28-Oct-15 10:18:56

have you contacted shelter for advice?
or the environmental team of your council?
sounds dire. hope it will be sorted properly soon,

Chattymummyhere Wed 28-Oct-15 10:19:04

Call the council it sounds like a cat1 hazard which they can force him to fix however expect to be evicted.

Tarzanlovesgaby Wed 28-Oct-15 10:21:36

however expect to be evicted.

1) would that really be a loss?
2) 'revenge' evictions are now illegal.

LIZS Wed 28-Oct-15 10:28:52

Contact private landlords officer of your council housing department and environmental health. Send a Recorded delivery letter stating the issues and asking for quick resolution. Shelter might be worth contacting to help you draft it. Whatever you do , do not stop paying rent as that will weaken your position legally and give grounds for eviction.

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:31:38

Re: being evicted if we contact council.

It would be a loss if it left us homeless and out of pocket. We moved in with a £1800 deposit, which is high in the town we live. We don't have any family support network, so if we were evicted for reporting a health problem in our rented home, we would be pretty screwed.

We just want him to fix it, since he owns the property and is responsible for and structural or building problems.

Chattymummyhere Wed 28-Oct-15 10:38:05

Tarzan

Wasn't it only tenancies starting after X date? a bit like when the deposit schemes came in it only effected those who became tenants after X date.

If the landlord is ignoring your calls its safe to say he won't be happy at all with the council becoming involved and if he cannot in fact evict you expect the rent to go up as soon as he can legally do it to buy time till he can evict.

If your in your fixed term which unless you renewed I'm guessing not he can give two months notice when ever he fancys.

Londonista123 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:39:28

Check your contract, too - for most ASTs things like plumbing and drainage are stated to be the LL's problem - just another thing to mention to him.

I'd suggest writing to him, noting (in factual language) previous occasions where this has happened, how his "response" hasn't solved the problem properly, and the fact that this is interfering with your ability to use and enjoy the house. Ask him to respond within a reasonable time (7/14 days).

I would start looking elsewhere though. He's not doing his job as a LL.

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:41:01

No, we are on a shorthold tenancy which is renewed every 6 months. The more i look at it, the more screwed I feel tbh.

CQ Wed 28-Oct-15 10:41:38

OP, have a look at the CAB website there's loads of info on LL's responsibilities and sample letters you can use.

It is illegal to evict tenants for complaining about repairs. Be careful he can't invent any other reason to evict you - so keep up with the rent payments for now. Also make sure he has put your deposit into a proper rent deposit protection scheme - this should have been done at the start of the tenancy and you should have a copy of the scheme.

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:47:22

CQ I have looked that up.

The £1800 is listed, but it is listed separately and not in our tench, as 'rent in advance' and not listed as a deposit, so is not protected under the Deposit scheme.

We're fucked aren't we? sad

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:47:54

Not in our tenancy I meant.

LIZS Wed 28-Oct-15 10:48:57

If that is the case re deposit you can report him and potentially get damages. Check the Shelter website.

Fairenuff Wed 28-Oct-15 10:49:36

He doesn't need a 'reason' to evict if it's an assured shorthold tenancy. He can just serve the section 21 notice and OP will have to leave.

Tarzanlovesgaby Wed 28-Oct-15 10:51:45

www.landlordzone.co.uk/press-releases/revenge-evictions-update-from-sheriffs-office
from landlordzone.
I can't see that this bit applies only to new tennancies?

ChopOrNot Wed 28-Oct-15 10:52:13

Are you putting wipes/"moist" toilet tissue/kitchen roll/sanitary stuff/bathroom cleany wipes down the loo? We have an old system (1930s) and kept having blockages. We now put nothing bar loo roll down there and <touches wood nervously> have not had a problem for over a year.

We had Dynorod out a year ago - they did a a clear and video of the drain - cleared out some v old wipes (they do not disintegrate even if they say flushable on them) and stones. Advised up that although a few roots etc had made the drains less smooth if we only put loo roll down there it should run OK.

Yes your LL should fix it - but if you do all you can to stop it blocking up again it will help.

ChunkyPickle Wed 28-Oct-15 10:52:46

www.rla.org.uk/landlord/tenancy_deposits/tds-Alternatives.shtml

Rent in advance is a dangerous strategy for him - it puts him on dodgy ground if you don't pay your last month's rent for example, as you're already got a month in hand, because he himself has said it's not a deposit.

Londonista123 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:53:47

OP, you need to get legal advice from the CAB or similar. If the £1800 is genuinely rent in advance, then you are one month up on rent and when you give notice may (may, not will) be able to use that advance rent towards your final rent payment/s.

If the £1800 is actually a deposit then it should have been protected by the LL at the start of tenancy (he'd have needed to send you confirmation of this), there are limited circs when LL can withhold it at end of tenancy, and if it isn't protected you can go to court to claim up to 3x deposit.

You need to sit down with someone to get to the bottom of what the £1800 actually is.

I am a solicitor and v reluctant to tell people to "withhold money" or similar as doesn't so can land you in hot water, but you need to get to the bottom of what this £1800 is if you are planning to leave.

Londonista123 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:55:09

*as DOING so

ApricotSorbet99 Wed 28-Oct-15 10:56:06

No, you are not fucked. If he has not protected your deposit, he has handed you a secure tenancy on a plate (almost).

He is required by law to protect the deposit. Lying that it was "rent in advance" will get him nowhere with a district judge who is well used to such deceits.

Until he's protected the deposit he cannot evict you using a S21 even if he's pissed off at you demanding repairs.

I think you need an appointment with a qualified housing lawyer. Shelter can organise that (they have drop in centres) or the CAB.

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 10:56:19

fairenuff this is a concern. In the year we have lived here, we are still receiving mail for 4 other families. Nobody has stayed in this house long it seems. We still got school letters for 2 sets of children from 2 different schools until recently!
I'm beginning to think that LL gets tired of families complaining about the drainage and asking him to fix it, and either they got tired of the problem being unsolved and moved out, or he got tired of their complaining and evicted them.
Of course that's just speculation but right now my head is working overtime.

Chattymummyhere Wed 28-Oct-15 11:01:42

You really do need to get the whole deposit/rent upfront issue looked at.

If it can be deemed a deposit the landlord is in trouble.

A landlord doesn't even need a reason to evict a sc21 is a no fault notice and some landlords/agencies serve one as standard when you first start your tenancy.

He can partly get around the non protection issue to be able to evict, he would just have to give you all the money back or protect the deposit. Both would still leave him open to you taking him to court for up to x3 the amount.

NotDavidTennant Wed 28-Oct-15 11:05:31

"The £1800 is listed, but it is listed separately and not in our tench, as 'rent in advance' and not listed as a deposit, so is not protected under the Deposit scheme."

This sounds mega-dodgy to me. You need to seek advice from Shelter or CAB before you do anything else.

It's pretty obvious from what you're telling us that your landlord is not at all professional. I think you need to start preparing yourself for the fact that this situation is never going to get better, and that it's likely that sooner or later you will be leaving this house. Just make sure you have a good advice before you act, as it may be that his "business model" is to rent out this unsanitary home to unsuspecting families, then when they get fed up and leave screw them over by not paying back the deposit rent in advance, then get the next lot in and repeat.

Chattymummyhere Wed 28-Oct-15 11:09:35

Thank you Tarzan.

Although it seems it would only protect tenancies starting after the 1st October or rolling on to periodic after the 1st of October. So if he served her notice to leave now at the end of her fixed term he would be good to go.

www.landlordzone.co.uk/landlordzone-update/the-deregulation-act-2015-landlords-beware

Whereyourtreasureis Wed 28-Oct-15 11:09:37

Thank you everyone for your advice. I will contact Shelter for advice, and Londonista that is reassuring to know. I will definitely make an appointment with a qualified housing lawyer.

Personally I would like to move, this drainage problem has made me feel ill. In the first month we moved in, the toilet actually broke, and it took the LL over a week to fix it. When we contacted him, he said "it'll take a while, in the meantime I'm sure your neighbors won't mind- I've met them before and they're lovely"

WTF? We had just moved in. As if we would have knocked and said "hi, we are your new neighbors. Can I come in for a shit please?"

We ended up having to go to the Asda we live v.close to. Fucking degrading.

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