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Asbestos is rental property - AIBU to stop paying rent?

(41 Posts)
user1495362060 Mon 12-Mar-18 23:09:43

This is really more of what should I do thread. I would welcome some advice.

I am renting this house for two and a half years, since moving into this country. A year ago the landlord just stoped fixing things. There is a water damage to one of the outside walls and the bathroom ceiling and the glass door in the downstairs shower shattered one day. We let the agency know in writing. They arranged a quote. But nothing happened after that.

We continued living here because we just had a baby and didn’t want the hassle of moving house. But recently it was suggested to us that the type of paint used on our (peeling and damaged) bathroom ceiling can contain asbestos. We contacted the agency, they sent someone to take samples and they returned as affirmative. There is asbestos in this ceiling. This was two weeks ago.

We haven’t heard anything since despite writing letters and calling every day.

The problem is I don’t understand what are my rights under the law in this country. I really want to just stop paying rent and move out once I find a different accommodation. Or is it a bad idea and I should pay until I move out and just sue him afterwards? How do I know what sum to sue him for? Do I need a lawyer?

I am just feeling used very badly used by this guy. I also get the feeling that the laws in the uk offer very little protection to the tenant. Our lease currently has an option of two months notice and I am wondering if I can leave before this if I find a suitable house. In the other hand I am wondering if he can just give me notice himself without fixing anything, have me live with asbestos for these two months and get nothing for it.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Mon 12-Mar-18 23:18:54

I would contact your local council, try environmental health as damaged asbestos might mean the property is not fit for human habitation.
Don’t just stop paying your rent but if you can afford to do so I would focus on moving.

Hellywelly10 Mon 12-Mar-18 23:22:11

It sounds very serious. You could contact the charity shelter for advice or the environmental health department of your local authority al for advice. Good luck op.

MrsFantastic Mon 12-Mar-18 23:29:51

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/repairs-in-rented-housing/disrepair-what-are-your-options-if-you-are-a-social-housing-tenant/withholding-rent-because-of-disrepair/

steff13 Mon 12-Mar-18 23:37:08

I wouldn't withhold rent, but I would expect the landlord to fix it as soon as possible, and pay for alternate accommodation while it's being repaired.

FifiVoldemortsChavvyCousin Tue 13-Mar-18 06:19:28

There are many types of asbestos. People get terrified at the word.

MerryShitmas Tue 13-Mar-18 06:41:39

Where do you live OP?
Depending on where you live this may or may not be the best course of action.

insancerre Tue 13-Mar-18 06:45:09

You can't just stop paying rent
Just find somewhere else and give notice, ax per your contract
Asbestos is normally OK unless disturbed

treeofhearts Tue 13-Mar-18 07:41:06

I agree with the poster above. I wouldn't panic just yet. Asbestos isn't dangerous unless damaged or disturbed. All our ceilings have asbestos in them. We're a council property. They just can't do anything to the ceilings without special protections and if part of it needed patching then the whole lot would have to come down with the room sealed.

user1495362060 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:19:35

Thanks for all the advice above. Especially regarding the rent.

Re: being terrified of asbestos. I am not terrified. Unfortunately in our situation it is disturbed - the ceiling is peeling sad. And this happened because it wasn’t fixed when we asked to.

By the way, this is not social housing. It is a fairly expensive house in one of the most expensive uk cities.

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar Tue 13-Mar-18 08:22:01

You would not be unreasonable at all to refuse to live there and move out (I would). You would be completely unreasonable to decide to carry on living there rent free.

BMW6 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:26:07

Move as soon as possible but do not stop paying your rent.
If you ordered a meal in a restaurant and didn't like it would you continue eating it then tell the waiter you will not pay for it?

londonrach Tue 13-Mar-18 08:26:29

Never withhold rent. It depends which type of asbestos as its ok if not distrubed but in your case if peeling talk to enviromental health. Most buildering have asbestos if built in the right time when they were using it. It get some advice on this and good luck x

PilatesSuck Tue 13-Mar-18 08:29:31

Take plenty of photos and have a email trail with the landlord. Contact environmental health but keep paying rent.

Zampa Tue 13-Mar-18 08:30:32

Serve notice immediately but continue to pay rent.

Call Environmental Health who will be able to advise if there is any risk from the asbestos.

Speak to Shelter about further options once EH have advised.

user1495362060 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:31:06

So how soon would you move out? There is a suitable house on the market for the beginning of April, but it’s not enough time to give two months notice. I asked for early release but of course received no answer to that either.

Is it really reasonable to live for two months under a peeling artex ceiling while the other side is neglecting its obligations completely?

Penfold007 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:31:45

Speak to environmental health at your local council. Give the landlord the correct notice and find somewhere else to live. It's a pain but you need to protect your family's health.

BarbarianMum Tue 13-Mar-18 08:32:32

Speak to environmental health. Also to Shelter. Write /email the agent asking for the situation to be remedied and ask for a response within a set time period (24 hours).

Pay your rent (for now) but start looking for a new place. Shelter can give advise about whether you can cut short your notice period.

flowers it is outrageous that this is happening to you.

NailsNeedDoing Tue 13-Mar-18 08:35:42

Give notice to leave and take the other property. But you will still have to pay your rent until the term of notice is up, otherwise it could be you being sued. It may mean you have to pay rent on two places for a month, but as you're worried about the paint, it's probably your best option.

applesandpears56 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:38:01

Move out now.
Asbestos is incredibly harmful.
You can’t let your baby breath it

applesandpears56 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:39:03

I would pay rent on the asbestos property btw - not sure why people are saying you should. The landlord has breached the rental contract already before you do

applesandpears56 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:39:17

Wouldn’t pay rent - sorry

applesandpears56 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:41:14

Seriously - the advice on this thread is awful. Asbestos is serious harm to life - the properly is uninhabitable - move out.
Speak to citizens advice bureau - they could advise you of options and rights against your landlord
Of course you don’t have to pay rent if he’s already broken the rental contract

PoliticalBiscuit Tue 13-Mar-18 08:41:44

I'd contact Shelter today for advice.

HungerOfThePine Tue 13-Mar-18 08:42:21

Yes to involving environmental health, you can inform them that you will be doing so in x amount of time if all the issues aren't fixed in X amount of short time.
If they don't pull their finger out get environmental health involved.

Presenting yourself at the office with relevant info in hand is a good way to go.

They were a great help when my place seemingly had damp and mushrooms growing in bathroom and kitchen and not the ones you would like to eatenvy.

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