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flat too cold for baby, landlord won't help - what can i do?

(7 Posts)
Orluga Fri 03-Dec-10 16:08:49

my flat is freezing! my ds is 7mo we have heaters but even with them constantly on full they can't compete with the poor insulation in the flat and i struggle to get the rooms to above 15 degrees.

The windows are constantly dripping with condensation- this can't be healthy, and I have just noticed mould growing on the wall in the spare room. The bathroom is unberable and I have to dress ds in his outside coat to put him in his highchair. As a result with the kitchen being so cold weaning hasn't really taken off sad

I complained and the landlord said to keep the windows open to cut down on the condensation!!! angry Does anyone know anything about this? regulation wise, to convince him to pull his finger out.

Firawla Fri 03-Dec-10 17:06:48

i think if you contact shelter they can give you advice about your situation and tell what your rights are etc

LikesLabradors Fri 03-Dec-10 20:14:52

Sounds terrible. I had friends in a similar situation with a very damp flat.

A few questions just to clarify

1) Is this a general problem or only during the recent very cold weather?

2) Do you know what is causing the condensation - you mention poor insulation but could there be other causes such as damp from a leaking roof?

3) What is the length of your current tenancy - eg month to month, year to year or a fixed period of so many months or years?

Where this is coming from is that if you have a tenancy for less than 7 years (this includes tenancies from month to month and year to year) your landlord is legally obliged to repair the structure and exterior plus the plumbing and heating apparatus, irrespective of what it says in your tenancy.

Therefore if the problem is due to some sort of disrepair your landlord is legally obliged to fix it.

You should also read your tenancy agreement to see if you have any additional rights.

(If your tenancy is for more than 7 years then your rights will only be as set out in the tenancy agreement)

I'm not sure what the position is if there is no actual disrepair and the insulation and/or heating system is simply inadequate. There are rules re fitness for habitation but off the top of my head I don't know what these cover although the website (mentioned below) suggests the local authority may also have powers to intervene.

Your options for forcing the landlord to take action are (a) to take him to court to enforce your private law rights above or (b) alternatively/in addition you may be able to persuade your local council's environmental health department to take an interest under statutory powers which they have to deal with damp rented accommodation if it is posing a risk to health.

This from the citizens advice bureau gives a useful overview of the law nd_neighbourhood_index_ew/renting_a_home_index_ew/ getting_repairs_done_while_renting.htm#The_landlor ds_and_tenants_responsibiliti

Is there anyone who could opine on the cause of the condensation for you?

A threat of legal action may be enough to make your landlord see sense but will have most impact if framed in appropriate legal terminology. It may therefore be worth consulting your local citizens advice bureau or similar for help with this.

Make sure you keep evidence of all your interactions with the landlord - put all complaints in writing or follow up verbal complaints with an email, and likewise make sure you have a record of the landlord's response even if only an email from you to him recording what he just said to you.

Hope this helps.

kaiki Fri 03-Dec-10 20:49:31

there is no way your landlord can tell you to keep the windows open - i'm not sure where in the country you are but here it's minus six at night and with a young baby that's not only inconvenient but dangerous.
grrrrrrrr on your behalf - i had a landlady like this once (i assume you're renting privately ? if not don't hesitate to contact the agency) who made us do all our own decorating ("if you do it yourselves it'll make the place really feel like home"), repairs ("oh you can do that yourself for tuppence can't you?") and who overlooked many other things like central heating, damp and condensation.
have you considered posting this in the Am I Being Unreasonable thread? the only reason i ask is that i've seen similar posts on there and the responses in the main are often concise, well thought out and cover the legalities of predicaments like yours. have a look at the threads on there and consider it as i'm sure legally you have plenty of rights (as likeslabradors points out) and i think you will get some quite seasoned advice posting there as well!
good luck, and don't stand for it - you're paying money to rent accommodation which is suitable for habitation which, from your post, yours plainly isn't.

peapod2010 Fri 03-Dec-10 21:32:30

Sorry, no ideas about the legal side of tennanted properties, but your situation is similar to mine to some degree- 7 mo baby and living in a crumbling house due for massive renovation next year. It has no insulation, is freezing cold (monitor stops registering below 10 degrees and we've had that frequently!), windows all run (and freeze) with condensation and I spend a lot of time treating mould (Dettol anti-mould and fungus spray is v. good).

Whilst I do worry about the temperature for DD at times we have found a few things that help:
1. We bought a cheap fan heater (£15) that heats a small room really quickly so I use it for DD's daytime naps. The room can go from 11 to 18 degrees in about 15 mins.
2. We live in one room apart from to sleep.
3. I do open windows in any unused rooms whenever I can and, despite the cold, they do dry out quite quickly.
4. Long sleeved gro-bag used for DD in bed, on top of 2 or 3 other layers.

I totally understand that your point was how annoyed you are with your landlord, but I keep reminding myself that I grew up in a house with no central heating, condensation problems etc and millions of other children do so too. This way I try and reassure myself that whilst it's a total pain living like this it's unlikely DD will suffer.

panettoinydog Fri 03-Dec-10 21:42:59

Contact Shelter.

WidowWadman Sat 04-Dec-10 21:18:10

Had damp problems in previous house (rented, too) and what really helped a lot was a dehumidifier which we got for about 70 quid from Argos.

It's not a long term solution (finding a better place is), but should help a lot in the short term.

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