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help staircase collapsed! landlord issue

(9 Posts)
crazybutterfly Tue 22-Jan-13 08:24:22

One of the steps of our staircase collapsed late sunday evening and it appears to be riddled with woodworm. We rent privateky and inform the agents firtd thing mon morn - they have no out of hours number.

The agent seemed rather unplussed despite me showing them photos and explaining that both our house giests had fallen due to this issue one of whom is 91 - thankfully no serious injuries just bruised and a little shaken. Furthermore, when i stayed that the whole staircase would need to be checked out i got the response of "oh realky?" The sgent then informed me that they would yry to get someone out asap but could not garantee that it would be that day.

I heard nothing from the agent, so called about 4pm to see what was going on. I was informed that they had nit been able to get a joiner out that day but MAY be abled to get one out today (tues). I asked what they were going to do as an interim measure as the staircase is clearly unsafe and house is unsuitable for downstairs living. I was not given a response so suggrsted that they should accomodate us eldewhere until the issue is resolved. I was then told that they have no tesponsibility to find abd/or pay for alyernative accomodation and that they would actually recommend staying in the house as i would be choosing to leave and it is not yet known if the stairs are unsafe! I asked who would be liable for any injiries caused and pointed iut that we ate paying rent but at present the house is clearly not inhabitable. The ahent stated that they did not want anyone to be injured but that if the joiner declares the stairs unsafe they would deducte the nights we would be out of the property from our rent. When i pointed out that a) one step has already collapsed b) two people have already fallen and c) the refund of rent would not cover the cost of alternative accomodation i was told that it was all they could do!

Btw landlord is large organisation and agent has full respondibility for management if its housing stock therefore no issue with negotiating or contacting landlord.

I have contacted environmenyal health but.does anyone have any advice on what else i can do/ what my rights are?

We are currently dtaying at a friends

If you have got this far thank you for rading and sorry about the typos - i'm on my phone

Sunnywithshowers Tue 22-Jan-13 08:39:23

Have a look at Shelter's website

They have a helpline and can advise you of your rights and what action to take.

lalalonglegs Tue 22-Jan-13 10:11:34

Contact the landlord direct. Tell them that you have not had any satisfaction from the agency and that you want to leave the property as you cannot live in it in its current state. Ask if they have anything similar in the area where they can house you, temporarily or otherwise. They might fob you off but they are in more of a position to do something that some undertrained twit at a desk in an estate agency.

PigletJohn Tue 22-Jan-13 11:23:10

Also notify them in writing.

They may like to fob you off on the phone, but if somebody is injured due an unsafe home, after they have been notified and done nothing, they will be in a very awkward position.

Agents hate being in an awkward position.

Make the letter very short, preferably take it by hand, and as you hand it over, write ostentatioiusly on your copy, muttering "delivered by hand at 11 am on 22nd January 2013"

crazybutterfly Tue 22-Jan-13 12:21:17

Thanks for the advice. Not heard anything yet from them today

Cosmosim Tue 22-Jan-13 12:25:34

I would take the full name of person receiving it and get them to sign too. I hate when I'm later asked "who did you give it to" when it didn't even occur to me it was my responsibility to know that. (Though I usually suggest back staff wear name tags or introduce themselves if customers are expected to note their names for reference.)

kitsilano Tue 22-Jan-13 12:27:33

I'm a landlord and I was just about to post and say I'm sure my contract says I would have to pay for alternative accommodation in this circumstance. But I checked it and it says I am obliged to return the rent if the property is uninhabitable (OR rehouse tenants).

This seems very harsh to me. I would definitely pursue the safety issue in writing and contact the landlord directly.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Thu 24-Jan-13 17:37:47

The landlord/agent should get a woodworm specialist in to see if the worm is old or active. Other timbers in the house should be checked. No point getting a joiner in to do repairs if the worm is active. If it is active you should move out during and for a time after they use the insecticide.

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 25-Jan-13 00:29:58

Have you heard back yet crazy?

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