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To insist landlord removes the pond?

(42 Posts)
BumpPower Mon 11-Jul-16 15:20:13

We have rented for 4years, landlords are not career landlords and just want to spend as little as possible. Property is managed by local estate agent. It has tiny garden with concrete pond 6ft by 2ft which takes up about 40% of it. The day we moved in all the electrics were ripped out from the pond (no doubt because they were unsafe). The fish struggled on for a year but soon all died and are left with a large smelly empty pond. I emptied it and filled it with pots but as it is concrete base it soon filled up with water again. I complained a lot to the letting agent but they are rubbish and all we managed was to get the fish taken off the inventory. I gave up as all we used the garden for was hanging washing. Now however I have DS2yr (and DD4month) and we want to use the garden safely. The pond is super dangerous as it is really deep over 4ft in places and irresistable to a toddler. On our last annual inspection I pointed it out and asked if I could crack the bottom and so drain it and then fill it in. Agent agreed it was very dangerous and said they would get the landlord to sort it, advising me against doing it myself as anything I did would have to be made good when we leave. That was in Feburary. After many emails and visits into the letting agents I'm told someone came for a quote beginning of June. Its now July and the letting agent are once again not answering my emails. Am I unreasonable to insist the landlord makes it safe? We did rent it knowing about the pond (although we thought it would have a working pump) but have subsequently had kids and want to use the garden.

KittyOShea Mon 11-Jul-16 15:26:41

I don't know if you can insist here. You rented the property as it is and it is not the landlord's concern that your family circumstances has changed.

If I was your landlord I would remove it for the goodwill of keeping long term responsible tenants but i don't think he is duty bound to do it.

However, it is not a terribly long time since the quote- especially at this time of year when landlord may be on holiday so in your shoes I would remain hopeful.

NeedACleverNN Mon 11-Jul-16 15:31:44

Can you not erect a fence to stop your toddler from falling in?

Or offer to do the work for the LL and pull it out yourself?

NecklessMumster Mon 11-Jul-16 15:33:13

Speaking as someone who fished their 2 year old out of our pond and still have the horrors thinking about it 12 years later...keep on at them. We had dithered about what to do. .cover or fence etc but after I was a minute too slow behind him on that occasion, we ordered 2 tons of sand and filled it in. In theory you could dig it out if you leave

RosieSW Mon 11-Jul-16 15:39:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 11-Jul-16 15:41:47

How you go about this will completely depend on LL/ tenant law in your jurisdiction.

In theory, however, YANBU at all. It's not safe to have an unfenced pond where young children live, and your landlord needs to get his arse into gear.

IrritableBitchSyndrome Mon 11-Jul-16 15:44:53

Could you get some heavy duty mesh to cover it in the meantime?

IrritableBitchSyndrome Mon 11-Jul-16 15:45:59

Something like:

Laiste Mon 11-Jul-16 15:53:37

It's a tricky one. What is it classed as in the inventory/house description? If it's ornamental pond (or anything other than 'big concrete hole in the garden' basically) then you could argue that it is not being maintained and/or is not maintainable because of lack of provision.

ie: there's a big hole in the garden and they haven't left any filtration or airation (sp?) equipment for you to use in order to keep the collecting water clean, nor made any provision for you to make it safe.

I would aim your arguments more this ^ ^ way to get what you want, rather than going with 'we've got a baby now and you need to make changes'. IYKNIM?

Birdsgottafly Mon 11-Jul-16 15:55:01

I'd ask awkward questions about the LL insurance extending to the cover of the pond.

""Agent agreed it was very dangerous""

This is taken from a Legal advice for LL's Website:
""Whilst many of these issues are not explicit legal requirements, they are considered good practice. It is important to note that the Consumer Protection Act 1987 clearly states that any rented property must be safe for the purpose. Unless a landlord can prove they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the property is safe then they may be found criminally negligent if anything happens to their tenant. In these cases the test would be whether the landlord followed best practice. ""

The piece goes on to mention that, unless an important part of an Eco system (concerning frogs and toads etc), then ideally a pond should be filled in, or covered, so a child's weight can be held.

I'd start an email trail and wouldn't let it go, especially after the case of the twins drowning.

Laiste Mon 11-Jul-16 15:55:23

It's 'not fit for purpose' sort of thing.

I feel like i'm not making sense grin

Laiste Mon 11-Jul-16 15:56:37

birds has said it better smile

wheresthel1ght Mon 11-Jul-16 15:56:46

Sorry yabu - you rented the house knowing their was a pond. If you no longer want to live with a pond in the garden then you need to move

MackerelOfFact Mon 11-Jul-16 15:57:11

While they could in theory object to you filling it in, I don't know why they'd bother pursuing you for it given that I doubt the lack of an empty pond is going to affect the usability or value of the property.

I'd just crack the base and drain it. If anyone questions it, just say that since the pump was removed, the crack must have been caused by the stagnant water freezing during the winter. Their fault for not doing anything about it. It will probably be quite expensive to fill in though.

APlaceOnTheCouch Mon 11-Jul-16 15:58:40

You can't insist. As a PP said, the pond was there when you agreed to rent the property. Your circumstances have changed, not the property's.
I understand your concern. I wouldn't have a pond with DCs. Would you move if they don't fill it in? If so, then make that clear to the agent eg if no steps have been taken to make it safe by xx date, then we will have no choice but to find alternative accommodation.
Or offer to fence it, mesh it or fill it at your expense but in those cases you would need to have clear written agreement including what happens after you leave ie do you have to return it to its original condition or not.

Beeziekn33ze Mon 11-Jul-16 16:02:27

Hope it so gets sorted so DC can enjoy the garden.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 11-Jul-16 16:05:52

Would filling it with soil and making a big garden work or do they need some drainage? Or at 6ftx2ft maybe could put planks over it, use as a base for a seat or suchlike?

ShtoppenDerFloppen Mon 11-Jul-16 16:06:14

I was in a similar situation. I borrowed a wet/dry vacuum and pumped the pond out, then covered it with a tarpaulin and weighed that down with a complete border of heavy rocks. Beyond that, we erected a small fence to keep our son out of that corner of the garden.

If the LL is not being forthcoming, the inus is on you to make sure the garden is safe for your children.

VioletBam Mon 11-Jul-16 16:07:35

I'm a tenant OP and I find it's best to live and let live a bit. If you can, build a's not hard to do. We do similar around the house and our LLs are very grateful..they're also not career LLs and don't have loads of cash spare.

We redecorated the whole house and they gave us money towards the paint...but it was our choice to decorate...the paint we had was "fine"...ugly but it wasn't their responsibility.

In your case, perhaps they just can't afford to fill it in?

Rafflesway Mon 11-Jul-16 16:07:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Witchend Mon 11-Jul-16 16:08:51

I would say that as the pond was there when you rented, no you can't insist.

However you can put it to them that they will be limiting their renters to those who don't have children potentially and it may be bringing down the value of their property.

I would also note that the agent said you would have to "make good" when leaving. Check that doesn't mean you will be paying for a new pond upon leaving, wh9ich could be quite expensive.

rosiecam Mon 11-Jul-16 16:09:41

I'd have thought if you say (in writing) that the former pond is currently unsafe, and suggest filling in the pond yourselves, bearing the cost, if they will agree to let you leave it that way when you move out, they would most likely go for that, since it sounds like it would be an improvement to the property which otherwise they would have to pay for before anyone else moves in. Would you be willing to do that?

Alternatively you could get the CAB involved and check your rights to see if you can keep insisting that they have the work done and pay for it.

Rainbunny Mon 11-Jul-16 16:09:42

I don't think you can insist really. You rented the property in full knowledge that the pond was an existing feature of the property, albeit crappy sounding and in poor repair. I think you'd have better luck pushing for the landlord to repair the pond to a decent working condition than get rid of it IYKWIM. If you rented a house with a swimming pool would you feel justified in demanding the landlord drain and fill the pool because you had children? It may seem very different but the essential principle is the same.

I think offering to help do whatever is needed to be done on behalf of the landlord would be the easiest option -with the landlord's full permission of course as you'd be liable for property damage without (preferably) written permission.

trafalgargal Mon 11-Jul-16 16:10:17

Your needs have changed. You rented a home with a pond if you no longer want to live in a home with a pond and the landlord wants to keep it then your best option is to move.

2nds Mon 11-Jul-16 16:19:29

I'd ask the agency if I could go ahead and drain the fucker and fill it up with something and agree to make it back into a pond again when I am leaving.

Could you put a bit of decking around the top of it and put seats in it so you'd have a nice area to sit, with a little table and maybe an outdoor fire or some plants?

There are endless possibilities

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