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Problems with landlord

(34 Posts)
saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:10:42

DD is moving to Cambridge to do a one year Masters, and is hoping to carry on to do a doctorate, which will take a further 3 years.

She has rented an apartment close to where she will be studying and I have paid one year's rent in advance (to avoid having to pay the agents a further significant sum of money to carry out checks on me as the guarantor).

We only had a quick viewing of the property before we took on the tenancy, as the agent was late and was rushing to another viewing. The property was also occupied and therefore we couldn't see everything as clearly as if it were unoccupied. However, the property is lovely, great location etc, and DD may well want to stay on for another 3 years if things work out.

But...the furniture and furnishings are rubbish. The sofas are worn and dirty, with various stains, the armchair is broken, the coffee tables are of chipped MDF, there are several slats missing from each of the beds, and the mattresses are old and worn. The chests of drawers have stains inside them, and one of the doors is missing from one of the built in wardrobes. The kitchen chairs are wooden garden chairs. The whole lot is rank and I am quite sure no charity would accept them. There is also mould around the bath.

DD and I collected the keys a few weeks ago when she moved her stuff in, with a view to moving in this week after our return from holiday. When we collected the keys and had a chance to inspect the furniture properly, we were horrified at the state of the furniture etc but thought that it wouldn't be a problem, as we would ask the landlord if she could rent unfurnished, at the same rent, and move furniture in from home. The agent we spoke to initially didn't think it would be a problem, but said to put the request in writing.

DD and I have since had various exchanges of e-mails with the property 'manager' from the agents, who is less than useless. She says that the landlord doesn't want to let unfurnished, that we didn't mention it at the time, that the mould is not mould but mildew. She has failed to reply to concerns which we have raised as to whether or not the furnishings meet the fire safety regulations.

The inventory, which we did not receive until after paying the rent and signing the agreement, actually refers to a number of items as being stained, old, worn etc and, in the case of the armchair, as not having a fire safety label. This is obviously a worry if there were to be a fire, as the property is on the top (3rd) floor. The agents now say they are sorry we are disappointed but that's it - they don't seem to be bothered that, even on the face of the inventory, their client is breaking the law.

I don't know what to do. My DD thinks we should take a hard line, but we are both mindful of not wanting to upset the landlord, in case she wants to stay on. I suppose we could just bundle up the furniture into the second bedroom, but then she is losing the use of a room, and just doesn't want all this old tat littering up the place. I will buy her a new bed though, as I honestly wouldn't want to let my dogs sleep on those mattresses.

So AIBU or is the landlord/agent? Any suggestions as to how to resolve this? DD starts her course next week and is already stressed, so could do without these problems on top.

ByAllMeansMoveAtAGlacialPace Tue 27-Sep-16 07:19:50

Could you offfer to replace the crappy stuff with better stuff and the landlord could keep it after your daughter leaves? Maybe in exchange for a reduced rent or extended tenancy agreement ?

drinkingchanelno5 Tue 27-Sep-16 07:26:28

YABU I'm afraid. It's up to your daughter to have taken the time to check everything before you signed the lease/paid. You could offer to replace things as above poster suggests but other than that the landlord hs no incentive to change anything, particularly as its been paid in advance. let it be an (expensive) lesson to your daughter to check everything thoroughly in future when renting!

Musicaltheatremum Tue 27-Sep-16 07:30:08

Is it an HMO? Could you get the council involved?

NewIdeasToday Tue 27-Sep-16 07:37:39

If things are as bad as you describe how on earth did she not notice when viewing the flat?

19lottie82 Tue 27-Sep-16 07:40:10

I'm afraid you should have checked all of this before you signed on the dotted line...... and you don't really hold any cards as you paid a years rent up front.

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:41:18

The mattresses were covered by bedding and it would not be possible to see the broken slats without lifting the mattresses.

She doesn't regret taking the flat, it's lovely, but we were hoping that the landlord would be more reasonable.

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:42:36

They did agree to fix the broken door before the agreement was signed.

19lottie82 Tue 27-Sep-16 07:43:43

I think you will just have to do what you can here.

Get some throws for the sofa. And a table cloth.

Ask the LL if you can replace some of the items with the view of leaving them when you leave, then hit gumtree / freecycle.

The LL is under no obligation to replace anything in afraid, especially as you've paid a years rent up front.

Take this as a lesson learned.

MrsSparkles Tue 27-Sep-16 07:48:09

I would think either offer to replace and leave there. If your daughter will be there 3 years it might be worth it. Or you could move all the LLs furniture into storage and use your own, and replace when she moves out.

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:49:42

The tenancy agreement provides for the furnishings to meet fire safety regulations, so surely we can ask for the chair to be replaced? I thought it was an offence not to comply with the regulations.

smilingeyes11 Tue 27-Sep-16 07:50:09

I would call Shelter and ask for their advice. I don't think it is a question of you have paid this is tough luck! None fire retardant furniture and mould are not acceptable and I agree that you need to take some action about this.

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:50:21

Would I be entitled to put the stuff into storage?

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 07:53:23

Thanks Smiling. As I have said, the flat is lovely so no regrets at signing up for it, especially as property is snapped up in Cambridge. I just want to help DD make the best of it and wasn't expecting the landlord to be so unreasonable. Also, until we received the inventory, we didn't know what stuff was included and what belonged to the previous tenants.

Swanlaked Tue 27-Sep-16 07:57:47

Welcome to the world of renting where LLs are king.

I'd chuck the armchair, buy a new one and dare them to take it out of the deposit. The deposit protection people would laugh them right off.

londonrach Tue 27-Sep-16 08:00:32

Yabu re the furniture. Ll will have to pay storage for the items even if they sound like they need throwing. Letting funished or unfurished needing sorting before you signed. The airchair thats doesnt meet fire regulations talk to cab about that as that is something that might be sorted. Any agreements prior to signing like the broken door should be done. Either buy some throws etc for the sofas or move ll furniture into storage, use your own (ikea, gumtree) then move his or her furniture back when u move out. There are storage units that doesnt cost too much near all big towns. I know its another cost. Best thing is to ask the ll again but hes within his rights to say no. Im a long term renter but we always rented unfunished for this reason and the fact you are responsible for that furniture whilst you rent.

Ifailed Tue 27-Sep-16 08:06:06

There are storage units that doesnt cost too much near all big towns

Depends on what you mean by much. Be aware that many offer 'reduced' rates for the first couple of months, then they go up. To store chair, beds, mattresses etc, you' probably need at least a 50 sq ft space, possibly 75. That's going to cost several £100s.

MrsSparkles Tue 27-Sep-16 08:08:43

I can't see why you couldn't, my tenants have before. As long as it (or an equivalent standard) is back when they leave I don't mind, but judging by what I read on here I seem to be a reasonable landlord.

londonrach Tue 27-Sep-16 08:13:08

Ifailed...ive put things in storage from 1 wk to a year! There are short term offers but also long term offers and it doesnt cost alot. You be surprised how reasonable it is ifyou talk to the person behind the desk. Op...if you put things in storage you need to put into writing to the agent you doing that.

LadyConstanceDeCoverlet Tue 27-Sep-16 08:15:00

If the agent is useless, can you contact the landlord direct?

YelloDraw Tue 27-Sep-16 08:39:59

Couple of options.

My preferred option:
Pus his shirt stuff into storage or pikes in your garage or something - buy news stuff that she takes with her.

Replace the worst stuff and leave it when she moved out. Cover stained sofa with throw. Cover stained mattress with mattress protector and forget about it.

Get LL to replace some things eg the sofa with no fire labels. Sounds like he will just get in the cheapest shittest thing he can tho.

Engage in lengthy battle which probably won't result in anything positive since he has already shown himself to be a by of a cock.

19lottie82 Tue 27-Sep-16 08:56:40

Another way of looking at it is...... if the inventory says items are old / shabby / stained / worn, then if you decide to dispose of them, legally he will only be able to take buttons from your deposit. (I take it it's been protected?)

He can't claim for a new sofa for example, just the value of the remaining lifespan of that item.

I.E. Say a sofas lifespan is 15 years and a new one costs £500, if it was 14 years old you would only have to contribute £34

saintagur Tue 27-Sep-16 09:26:06

Yes, lottie, I had wondered if that might not be a good idea - maybe even get valuations carried out. It might be cheaper than storage. I don't actually mind throwing some money at the problem, just to get rid of all the shit!

19lottie82 Tue 27-Sep-16 09:28:33

I'd throw out and replace the worst of it (take photos if there aren't any in the inventory), and tart up the other bits.

It's amazing how much nicer somewhere will seem with a few throws, a vase of flowers and a few plug ins!

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 27-Sep-16 09:31:30

This doesn't surprise me (I rent in Cambridge, and I have a good LL but have seen some awful places).

Be wary - some LL include a clause in the contract requiring you not to remove furniture from the house and store it elsewhere.

They might be ok with her replacing it, but I think you'd be lucky to get money off the rent. It's worth suggesting it, but obviously that is what they are hoping she will do. That's why they leave crappy furniture there in the first place - cheaper for them, and if a tenant replaces it with something better, all to the good.

Checking mattresses by looking under the bed would have been a good idea, btw - check everything you can. Cambridge is really not a nice place to rent and I would never trust a lettings agency to be reasonable or decent.

Also ... I have to say, you think chipped MDF is obviously substandard, but plenty of people won't, especially students. I have been in some really grotty student houses and you can understand why a LL might feel that a stained sofa is really not a big problem given the likelihood of it ending up stained anyway. That may not be your DD's situation, but knowing rental prices in Cambridge as I do, I am guessing she is paying for the location and not for the elegance of the furnishings.

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