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AIBU or is my landlaord?

(54 Posts)
paniconthestreetsofcarlisle Tue 14-Feb-17 12:30:47

DD and I moved into a 2 bed flat 5 years ago, we had to move fast as we were homeless and fleeing DV.

The flat we moved into was shabby and not necessarily in the beat state of repair but the walls were magnolia and most things we could live around.
In other circumstances we wouldn't have chosen it but we were desperate.

Since we have been there problems we have found include:

- the windows would now be considered illegal to put into a new property as the open right out about 2.5 feet off the ground in a 3rd floor flat, someone could easily fall right out.
- the consumer box is not a modern one so the fuses are old and don't always cut out when they should.
- sometimes when we turn a light on or plug a device into a socket we get a small electric shock.
- the instructions on the cooker dial have rubbed off, by trial and error I have worked it out but a new tenant will have to do the same to discover which is the grill, oven etc.
- the bathroom radiator is old and very rusty.
- despite bleeding the radiators some of them don't work very well.
- the flat is damp, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, despite using the extractor fans and buying and using a dehumidifier. We went on holiday this winter and even though we weren't in the flat and hadn't left anything wet around the damp had got worse. The damp in the kitchen and bathroom is not just because it's the kitchen and bathroom, the share an external wall and it is the wall that seems to be the problem.
- the kitchen cupboards are warped from the damp coming through from the wall behind.
- the boiler broke recently, it was bodged back together but really the place needs a new boiler.
- there was a gas leak because of the boiler and we had to get the emergency gas people out to sort it until the boiler man came round.

There are other things, this list is not exhaustive.

I have reported all of this to the landlord and he has bodged a few things and left the rest.

I have given notice now, we are leaving in just over a months time.
When I gently removed the pictures from DD's wall to move them a load of the top layer of plaster came off. I think this is probably because the wall underneath is so damp. It needs reskimming.

I have always paid my rent on time and reported any problems to the landlord.
I am a clean freak so until now the place has always been clean when it has been inspected.

Having given him more than 1 months notice he is now saying he has tenants lined up already and wants to get in to take them for a look around. When there have been problems with the flat in the past he has been slow to respond but he's sent me 3 texts in the space of 24 hours hassling me to get access to the flat.

The flat is currently a mess of half full boxes, empty boxes, moved furniture, piles of stuff to go to the charity shop/tip. It is dusty and messy.
I told the landlord this by text last night but he still says he wants to take people round asap I don't actually believe he had tenant lined up this quickly

AIBU to ignore him for a couple of weeks and not allow him access until the place is a bit more sorted?

I am worried that he will be angry about DD's bedroom wall and the skim that needs doing.

user892 Tue 14-Feb-17 12:38:55

YANBU. You're not obliged to allow access - unless your contract states otherwise? Be firm and assertive in your replies. Don't apologise or excuse. Send in writing:

Dear LL,

This is to advise you that I will not be permitting access for viewings until X date.

Yours sincerely...

user892 Tue 14-Feb-17 12:42:34

I'd fill and paint the holes in the bedroom wall yourself, or pay someone to do a bodge!

milliemolliemou Tue 14-Feb-17 13:08:44

Look at your contract. Presumably it says he can't demand access?
Have you got all the emails/letters/texts you've sent him and any replies?
Have you listed the continuing faults in the property? I'd go to a CAB if you can.

Did you go through an agent to get the flat in the first place? Or deal direct with the landlord? If agent, I would send a list of the faults to them. Does the contract state a complaints procedure?

He may have tenants lined up who are as desperate as you were 5 years ago and whose pleas for improvements he can ignore as he did yours. I would allow him access and be there. He may find them hard to persuade or so desperate they'll agree. CAB or no CAB I'd be tempted to report him - contact Shelter or google private landlord complaints

Good luck. Make sure your back's covered.

RedBugMug Tue 14-Feb-17 13:15:42

it doesn't matter what the contract says. you do not have to let anyone into your home if you don't want to.
other people can only enter if they have a warrant or if there is an emergency (as in blue lights)

Rixera Tue 14-Feb-17 13:22:29

Our contract specifies they carry out inspections and will give minimum 24h notice. But he can't really do anything about it being dusty and messy during your lease, you get to keep it as you want while you're there anyway.

Noodoodle Tue 14-Feb-17 13:37:54

Both BU.

Most contracts, look at yours, say LL needs to give resonable notice to enter (regardless of inspection or showing other tenants around) usually 24hrs. You would be unfair not to if you contract says this. You may not THINK he won't have someone lined up so quickly but no doubt he doesn't want to lose money and may very well have someone, it's not for you to decide if he really does or not. Also, regardless of how gently you removed pictures, you admit that in doing so you damaged the wall. You should fix this.

LL is BU because he should have properly fixed most of the issues you listed in good time once reported. If not, you should have reported the him/gone to CAB.

Unfortunately if you do not fix things you have reasonably damaged (that is not wear and tear) is your deposit at stake? It's shitty that you seem to have had a crap LL but refusing entry on that basis, or that you have moving boxes and clutter, if contract says you should, is not the way to go about it.

RedBugMug Tue 14-Feb-17 13:44:28

it doesn't matter what the contract says. you do not have to let anyone into your home if you don't want to.

it wouldn't be wise to refuse entry for repairs, gas check or yearly inspections, but it's the tennant home until the last day of the lease.

counterpoint Tue 14-Feb-17 13:47:30

Why are you worried about making the place perfect for his new potential tenants?
Despite what other people have said, if he has given you reasonable notice, he is entitled to show around prospective tenants.

Chloe84 Tue 14-Feb-17 13:50:27

Do you have a contract? What does it say about landlird's access? Is your deposit in a safe scheme?

You can buy some powder or ready made Polyfilla plaster. Get some cheap magnolia paint. If it's a small area, you could get a sample paint pot.

Tantrictantrum Tue 14-Feb-17 13:52:35

Just remember the law is one thing - redbug is correct but you may need a reference.

RedBugMug Tue 14-Feb-17 13:53:40

Despite what other people have said, if he has given you reasonable notice, he is entitled to show around prospective tenants.

no he isn't. it's the current tennant's home and if they don't want to let strangers in then they can't come in unless they have a warrant or it's an emergency.

paniconthestreetsofcarlisle Tue 14-Feb-17 14:09:21

Originally I went through an agent, this transferred directly to the LL about 6 months ago, my original contract has remained unchanged. It is a standard, fairly watertight contract.

The deposit is with a scheme but I'm long since resigned to the fact that I will lose my deposit one way or another. Not because I've done anything wrong, DD's bedroom notwithstanding the flat is in a better condition than better condition than before I took it on, but because that's the way he is.

To answer a PP I have always reported faults promptly and allowed access to address any faults. The LL has known about these things and sometimes he has responded, sometimes he hasn't. He's known about the electrical faults via the agent in the first instance for 4 years and despite reminders he's done nothing.

Rixera Tue 14-Feb-17 14:18:28

It's in a scheme, you can't lose it if the flat is in a better state than it was when you moved in.
He should be getting an inventory done- document the state of the flat. For him to keep it if you've not damaged anything is stealing. That's why it's in the scheme, to protect your money. Raise hell if he tries it, you sound like dream tenants.

MsSampson Tue 14-Feb-17 14:21:17

Legally you do not have to allow access, regardless of your contract. Check out the Shelter website for confirmation of this.
However, if your deposit is in a scheme please do not resign yourself to losing it. Was there an inventory done when you moved in? If not he has not a leg to stand in. You can go via the scheme to debate any deductions. Basically, it's not up to him, the scheme arbitrates what is reasonable, and the onus is on him. Do you have a recent gas safety certificate? If not, he could be fined.
Basically, get on the Shelter website, and understand your rights as a tenant.
If you want to allow him to come around that's fine. It's none of his business if the flat is untidy, and he has no right whatsoever to make you tidy it. Regarding the plaster - also none of his business. You could either make it good yourself before you leave, and he can't charge you, or he can make a fair charge taking into account five years wear and tear, which is likely to be nominal.
Please please please arm yourself with the legal facts, and don't resign yourself to losing money.

ChocChocPorridge Tue 14-Feb-17 14:32:19

Absolutely go to the scheme if he tries to make deductions - do you have a copy of the checkin report with the condition of items listed, and a trail of emails reporting the issues? I've been to them both as a tenant, and as a landlord, and they've been very fair both times.

My advice would be not to make any offers of compromise on money though - I did regarding cleaning (I'd done a fantastic job, all the carpets etc, but there were some cobwebs on the light fitting that they said necessitated £200 of cleaning, and I offered £100 - and ended up paying that because the deposit scheme just went with what I'd offered previously)

paniconthestreetsofcarlisle Tue 14-Feb-17 15:15:16

I'm paying for a deep clean when we leave, I've already told LL.

I don't need a reference from him because I've bought a house, I have possession of it already and we're living there with some of our stuff most of the time. That's partly how I know that we aren't causing the damp, we aren't there cooking, showering or doing washing. I'd cleaned the damp, we took possession of the new house and went back the other day and the damp was back.

To the PP who suggested that he may have a prospective new tenant in the same position as I was; well he might but he's no women's aid hero. He owns dozens of properties and doesn't care who his tenants are and even if he does have someone in the same position as me they've still got to wait until mid March to gain possession as that's when my tenancy ends.

Cherrysoup Tue 14-Feb-17 15:33:01

I would allow prospective tenants to look round, why do you care about the boxes etc?

ThePants999 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:40:55

RedBugMug - of course it matters what the contract says. If the contract says that the tenant is obliged to provide reasonable access for viewings, and the tenant signs it, they've agreed to do exactly that and will be in breach of contract if they don't. It's fairly common for a tenancy agreement to contain a clause along those lines.

That said, a LL's recourse for that sort of breach of contract tends to be pretty limited.

ThymeLord Tue 14-Feb-17 15:42:47

I do wish people would educate themselves before stating untruths as fact.

It doesn't matter at all what the contract says because the contract doesn't override the law.

ThePants999 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:44:01

MsSampson - it's not quite that simple. It's absolutely true that even if the tenancy agreement says that you need to provide access, the landlord isn't allowed to just enter, and you're not committing any sort of crime if you don't let them in. But you could be breaching a contract, which could allow the landlord to sue you for their losses later if they can prove that they suffered some as a direct result of your breach.

Mia1415 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:47:39

When I rented my contract said that I had to allow access for prospective tenants to look around once I had given notice. It was a nightmare as I had stuff everywhere and had to keep taking time off work to be there as I didn't want estate agents or the landlord showing people around when I wasn't there.

ThymeLord Tue 14-Feb-17 15:50:34

It doesn't matter what is written into the contract. The contract doesn't override the law. You do not have to allow access into your home for any reason, other than an emergency such as gas leak. You also cannot be sued by the LL for breaching the contract if you don't allow viewings of your home whilst you live there. There is so much utter nonsense posted as fact on LL/tenant threads.

ThePants999 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:52:06

@ThymeLord - there are different types of law. It's very true to say that a contract can't override legal protections - so just because the contract says you'll provide access doesn't mean the landlord can enter without your permission. So if you change the lock, and the landlord breaks in, call the police! But of course it matters what the contract says - if you've agreed to provide access, and you don't, then while there's nothing the landlord can do about it there and then, you HAVE broken your contract, and there may be consequences.

Per my first post, there usually aren't consequences, though, beyond a poor reference. It's pretty hard to prove financial loss as a result of not being able to show prospective tenants round at a particular time.

JustAnotherPoster00 Tue 14-Feb-17 15:56:10

RedBugMug - of course it matters what the contract says. If the contract says that the tenant is obliged to provide reasonable access for viewings, and the tenant signs it, they've agreed to do exactly that and will be in breach of contract if they don't. It's fairly common for a tenancy agreement to contain a clause along those lines.

Still no, law is the law the tenant can refuse access

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