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Whose responsibility is this - property issue

(31 Posts)
BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 11:59:12

We are custodians of a house that belongs to a family member. We live here rent free simply so the house doesn't stand empty and are in charge of daily running of things and basic decorative repair. Insurances are held by the home owner.

We have no contract. I feel this is crucial to say!

The bathroom has been needing to be done for several years and we have been saving hard to afford this on the assumption it's our responsibility. However today it sprung a leak through to the kitchen and we at the very least need to rip up the now sodden floorboards and replace the bath. We can't afford this. I feel as it's a wear and tear issue insurance won't cover it.

Would this fall on us or the home owners to repair?

To not leave anything unsaid the homeowners are really evasive when we've tried to ask for help in the past on another issue that required an insurance claim and they refused for ages to contact the insurer's.

Repairs we've already carried out are: replacing the boiler and central heating, replacing the drive, relandscaping the very overgrown garden, general redecorating throughout.

Ifailed Sun 04-Feb-18 12:07:52

The property owner is responsible for the fabric, however they don't have to do repairs if they don't want to, unless there's a possibility of damage to a 3rd party. You could try arguing that the damage has rendered it unsafe, and they have a duty of care to you as they allow you to live there? On the other hand, presumably it's your use of the bathroom that has led to something wearing out, so you hold some blame for the damage.

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:12:39

Thank you. The bathroom is 15-20 years old and we have been here 6 years.

Ifailed Sun 04-Feb-18 12:16:10

Then I think it would be reasonable to expect you to contribute towards the repairs. I'm not a lawyer though!

Given the average rent in England is around £900 per month, you have saved at least £60k, so even though you've paid for the boiler, central heating etc. you have still had a very good deal.

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:18:20

I agree and feel it is something I am happy to do putting some of the costs up. As in. All we have saved. But this needs doing asap before it becomes a huge unaffordable job and we need a new kitchen and bathroom and floor and ceiling!

flumpybear Sun 04-Feb-18 12:23:41

You've lived rent free for 6 years!!! Bloody hell!
If you were living in my house I'd expect you to sort this out, the owner could easily rent it each month and have made a small fortune by now but you're in it for free

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:26:11

The other issue I have is I don't want to set a precedent. The kitchen will be the next thing to do (same age as the bathroom), most rooms need replastering and tbh I think the house (40 years old) is still running on the original wiring. We are putting money away every month (a typical rent for the area) to put towards these jobs but it's never going to be enough.

I think I'm going to push for a contract as I think it's the ambiguity that's making me hesitant

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:27:12

Tbh I would rather pay rent and the owner take responsibility for the property!! We seem to have all the responsibility of ownership but none of the perks...

Ifailed Sun 04-Feb-18 12:27:47

I think you need to go ahead and get the bathroom sorted, using the money you have saved and also make an appointment with a lawyer to get things on a proper footing, protecting both you and the owners interests.

Greenkit Sun 04-Feb-18 12:30:13

I believe it would come under the house insurance

Is it owned by family

Minglemangle2 Sun 04-Feb-18 12:32:39

Is it Grace and Favour?

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:32:46

Yes it's owned by family (As I said in my op)

I think I'm going to push to get both parties protected and if this means paying rent so be it.

Someone jokingly mentioned recently we've nearly been here long enough to claim squatters rights grin I may use that as an incentive to get a contract in place!!

BrokenBathCeilingFloor Sun 04-Feb-18 12:33:00

Grace and favour?

FairfaxAikman Sun 04-Feb-18 12:40:13

You say you are saving an amount equivalent to rent.
Assuming it's at the lower end of average that should be around £40k after six years - more than enough to to a bathroom and kitchen with cash to spare unless you are going for solid gold worktops.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 04-Feb-18 12:40:55

Unless you were going to inherit this house I’d put your savings to use on buying elsewhere.

The owners really should have insurance- if not and the house burns down they are screwed!

I also think you should have contents insurance because it sounds like they don’t really care about what happens!

Also if they insure the house they must declare that they don’t live in it. Perhaps this is why they are hesitant?

DuckBilledAardvark Sun 04-Feb-18 12:41:56

It depends on the Ts and Cs but as you have replaced the boiler already and don't pay rent I would say self repairing would be realistic.

Ilovecamping Sun 04-Feb-18 12:47:59

Speak to Shelter for advice before doing anything, you might find even if not paying rent the owner has responsibilities

YesItsMeIDontCare Sun 04-Feb-18 13:07:45

I'm in a similar situation OP. We do actually have a contract in place, but basically we have taken on all responsibilities as if we owned the place except for building insurance. So in a situation like yours it would be up to us to pay and I think that's fair.

Changednamejustincase Sun 04-Feb-18 13:12:28

I wouldn't push them to do anything if they have let you live there rent free for 6 years. They may ask you to leave if you hassle them. If the arrangement isn't working for you I would look for somewhere else to live. You should deal with the leak in the meantime as you don't want to live in somebody's house for years and then leave it wrecked. If you are leaving you don't want to put in a new bathroom though unless you feel it would be a nice gesture for people who have put you up for years.

JediStoleMyBike Sun 04-Feb-18 13:16:32

For the sheer gratefulness I'd have in living rent free for years I'd fix it. You've still saved a bloody fortune. You may not want to set a prescedent but wear and tear is caused by you, so realistically you should put something back in for the family member who is doing you a favour. You aren't doing them one as far as I can see.

CakeOfThePan Sun 04-Feb-18 13:23:28

I’d fix it. Your in such a privileged position don’t rock the boat.
In my old rental (we paid £1300 a month for, with a proper agreement through an agency) we replastered, re fenced, repainted, new taps, new shower, fixed the boiler, re tiled when the bathroom literally fell apart, as and when they went wrong. Just to keep on the landlords good side so he wouldn’t evict us by us bothering them with bills.
Honestly, fix it and take it as part and parcel of your living situation.

SundaysFunday Sun 04-Feb-18 13:30:25

I really don't think after 6 years of living rent free you can expect them to replace the bathroom.

RedHelenB Mon 05-Feb-18 05:05:00

I would have saved half the rent you woukd would have paid for yourselves and half for maintaining the house Homeowners have to pay the mortgage and pay out for repairs. You're in a good position I would repair the leak etc rather than paying rent because it will still cost you less.

RebootYourEngine Mon 05-Feb-18 07:09:59

The repairs that have already been done. Who has paid for them?

From your post it sounds like you have. If this is the case then you have been financially contributing towards the house. I am assuming that the work that has been done has also added value to the house. I would be seeing a solicitor about this because you could be evicted at any point and lose any money that you have put into the house.

WitchesHatRim Mon 05-Feb-18 07:13:04

I would be seeing a solicitor about this because you could be evicted at any point and lose any money that you have put into the house.

However they have paid zero rent in 6 years!

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