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Complaining to landlord

(7 Posts)
PuddleglumtheMarshWiggle Wed 22-Oct-14 10:35:43

My duaghter has just phoned me in tears. Her flat is very damp and after a month it's really getting to her. There are slugs in the kitchen and now her clothes and shoes are beginning to get mouldy. Also, she says her sheets are damp and I'm beginning to worry about her health. She can only contact the landlord throught the estate agent and gets promises that things will be done, but nothing ever does!
I've asked her to take some photos, make a list of ruined items and send them to me. I'm going to compose a stiff letter ot the estate agent demanding that something should be done, and compensation for ruined items made.
I was just wondering, if nothing is done, is there some authority I could complain to? Or at least threaten the landlord with complaints to?
Thanks for your help.

Needmoresleep Wed 22-Oct-14 10:46:52

Speak to the University accommodation office or to Shelter.

I suspect the landlord wont do anything - it is very hard to sort out damp. However if she complains affectively he may release her from her contract and return her deposit. She will, however, need somewhere else to live. If it is as bad as you say it is, it sounds as if the flat is not fit for human habitation. Most councils will have someone within their housing department responsible for private landlords, especially if the property qualifies as an HMO. (Lots of definitions if you Google.) However this is a nuclear option as if the flat is condemned she is out on the street with nowhere to live and perhaps a fight to get any rent paid in advance or deposit back.

In particular look out for mould in the bedroom. This is dangerous. Also if you need evidence see if you can find someone friendly (builder/painter/handyman) with a damp meter.

Needmoresleep Wed 22-Oct-14 10:48:08

effectively, not affectively.

MillyMollyMama Wed 22-Oct-14 23:50:05

This is such a problem with student fiats. Was the damp patched up when she visited the flat? I gave my DD very strict instructions when viewing flats about what to look for! She looked in January so no chance of summer heat covering up problems.

Normally landlords go through the agents. This is what they pay them for. They will not listen to you as you have no contract with them. Many agents state they will not speak to parents so this is her battle to fight. However, she is, presumably, not alone. All the students in the flat must go and see the agent and keep on, every day, until something is done. However, I would not hold your breath as damp is a major fault and unlikely to be a quick fix. If the agent is on the University Accommodation list, see the Accommodstion Department and get them involved. Get the Council involved. What does the letting contract say about the condition of the flat? The landlord/agent have responsibilities. Failing that, get another flat. It is possible.

I am not being rude, but are you trying to get a flat on rock bottom rent? Most of the decent flats will be higher priced and the crap ones are cheaper. She could be better off heating her room well and ventilating it well too.

JeanneDeMontbaston Thu 23-Oct-14 06:51:49

I believe she is legally entitled to her LL's address? I might be wrong, so check, but I think so.

Has she got a dehumidifier? I know it feels daft if the problem is very bad (I've lived in some very damp places), but the first thing the agent will claim is that these are students who don't have enough windows open or enough heating on.

But meantime speak to Shelter, that sounds horrible. Poor her.

RandomFriend Thu 30-Oct-14 11:08:34

1. Call the agent yourself. The agent has to take action.

2. Look for another place to live. If you have asked for things to be done and they are not done, this can be a reason to break a tenancy agreement in advance of the agreed date.

Audeca Sat 01-Nov-14 14:47:46

I believe she is legally entitled to her LL's address? I might be wrong, so check, but I think so.

JeanneDeMontbaston is completely right (assuming in E&W, not sure about Scotland or NI). Tenants must have a contact address for the landlord so they can serve legal documents on them etc. It doesn't have to be the landlords home address (it can be their business premises etc.) but it must be located in the UK and it cannot be a PO Box. Unless the landlord and the agency are the same person then this won't be the agency address. If no address is provided upon request then there are some pretty serious implications (from the Shelter website):

If the agent does not provide the information within 21 days you can report this to your local council's tenancy relations office. They can prosecute the agent, and the courts can fine them up to £25,000.

The tenant can also withhold rent until a name and address is provided. Although if you took this course of action your daughter would probably find herself on the end on a retaliatory eviction or implementation of a break clause (if under a fixed term AST atm and one is written into the contract).

As someone suggested tell her to get to her student union. They will have a lot of experience in dealing with cruddy properties and landlords and should be able to advise on the best way to proceed.

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