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Elderly grandparents and uncooperative landlord/agency...

(7 Posts)
NoWayNoHow Mon 09-Feb-15 12:16:10

I really hope someone can help - I'm so worried... sad
On Friday, the hot water tank in my grandparents house split for the 5th and final time and water leaked through the floor between the upstairs and downstairs, saturating the walls, celing and carpets, and causing the electrics to trip upstairs and the heating to go off. They also have no hot water.

They are 92, are private tenants but receive housing benefit to help with the rent. My grandfather is also virtually immobile.

They called the agents who manage the property on behalf of the landlord, and the agents said there was nothing they could do to replace the tank as they "needed parts". myself and my mother happened to be visiting on Saturday and by the time we got there, they had been to drain the tank but the electricity and heating was still not working and it is COLD.

After some pressure from us, they sent an electrician who was there for 10 mins and who emptied an electrical socket of water (shock shock ) and got the power back on and heating working.

Throughout this process, the agents were vile. Rude, unwilling to help, refusing to answer phones, refusing to action anything faster. I spoke with social services who said that they couldn't do anything themselves, but that the onus was on the agents to spend whatever was required to fix the hot water tank immediately due to my grandparents age. When this was put to them, they said that if y grandparents wanted anything done over the weekend then it would be at their expense, and that "there are no legal ramifications for us" if something happened to my grandparents. angry angry angry

I have spoke with my grandparents this morning and the agents still havet been to replace the hot water tank. They left a message this morning and no-one has called them back. They've been without hot water for 4 days now, but they are refusing to allow me to call and put pressure on the agents as they're petrified of being evicted (which I think is a high likelihood anyway based on how much the landlord will have to spend on repairs)

Does anyone know if we have any legal recourse?

expatinscotland Mon 09-Feb-15 12:24:29

Call the council's environmental health department AND their landlord registry area. Video ALL of this. Over and over and over. Every single bit of damage. Keep a video log of it all. Make a list, too, of all your contact with the agency and their responses - names of whom you spoke with, times, etc.

Contact AgeConcern and Shelter and the CAB. Log all this, too.

NoWayNoHow Mon 09-Feb-15 12:51:17

Thanks so much expat - unfortunately, I don't live near them (we were just down for lunch on the Saturday) so can't video anything, but I can make a note of everything I saw and my conversations with the agent, electrician, and social services.

If we hadn't have gone down, they would have sat there the whole day and night with no heating as my grandmother didn't realise it wasn't working...

specialsubject Mon 09-Feb-15 13:42:36

property owners know that it is very hard to get people out to fix things instantly,especially when things go wrong over a weekend.

no, there are no legal ramifications on the agent if the elderly get too cold. Same as there aren't on the mortgage company if they had a mortgage on the house. Or on anyone if the mortgage was paid off. (My not-quite-as-elderly parents had no heating for 48 hours the other weekend until the boiler people could get to them. No-one is going to get sued, this is how it is)

that said - sounds like they need to get out of this dump: five split tanks???

contact the landlord directly to make sure the agency are keeping him/her posted.

and it is seriously time that they got real and looked to live elsewhere. How on earth are they coping? That is when social services can help.

NoWayNoHow Mon 09-Feb-15 14:15:25

specialsubject you've hit the nail on the head with everything I think!

We have been trying for YEARS to get my grandparents to move, but he is suffering from very early stages dementia and can be quite aggressive. She is his primary carer and won't do or say anything he doesn't agree with (it's quite a horrible controlling dynamic, sadly). He refuses to move, therefore they don't move.

We have spoken with Social Services on countless occasions about removing them to somewhere different and safer, but because Gran still has all her faculties, they cannot force her against her will to make the move as she's still "compis mentis". It's an ongoing nightmare, to be honest, and we live in constant fear that something is going to happen to them in the hellhole.

NoWayNoHow Mon 09-Feb-15 14:16:18

Update - apparently some guy has just been and taken down some details and left again, and is apparently coming back this afternoon. We'll see.

specialsubject Mon 09-Feb-15 14:29:17

I am saddened but not surprised by your additional information - what a nightmare. I cannot imagine the stress on you.

is there any way you can get her on her own and see if she can be helped to see that they need to move? Also if she didn't realise the heating wasn't working, is she really still competent? (Sorry that this comes across as so brutal)

hate to say it: but there are two recent cases known to me of 'his' dementia getting bad enough to put 'her' in physical danger. OK, it is not his fault, it is the disease, but both were terrible situations. Of course it is just horrific when one partner is a threat to the other, especially after a long marriage.

doesn't excuse the state of the place or the attitude of the agents. However if the landlord doesn't have the money to keep it decent, he/she needs to stop renting it out/

I really hope a solution can be found. There is an escape for your grandma and safe places for both her and your grandfather.

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