Conservatory roof leaks and mould, getting nowhere with rental agency

(17 Posts)
AfroPunk Tue 23-Aug-16 12:59:13

We recently (June 2016) moved into a new rental property. The house is managed for the LL via a large estate agents.

Days before we moved in, we noticed that there was cotton wool and tissue stuffed into the beams of the conservatory roof; the agency hadn't previously been informed, and didn't notice it on the inventory. We were obviously worried about the likelihood of leaks. There is also a load of mould on the inside of the roof, which is hidden by roof blinds.

I asked for the mould to be cleaned before we moved in, or just shortly after, and it hasn't been yet.

With various rainfall since we moved in, it is evident that the roof does indeed leak and there are arrangements for it to be resealed and cleaned ... this was supposed to be done August/early September but we weren't given a precise date.

I'm due to give birth mid-September and wanted it all done before the baby is born, but now I've been told the company is very busy and it won't be until late September/October now.

I'm pissed off about this. I'm 36 weeks pregnant and tired of nagging and getting nowhere. I'm worried we'll go into winter and it still wont be done. I do not want to expose my newborn to the mould/possible winter draughts and damp with the leaks (or my other dcs, who are 7yo and 4yo); I can't get the conservatory roof cleaned myself until it's been resealed, so I'm stuck.

How can I be assertive in this situation without sounding like a petulant nag? Does anyone know what my rights are?

specialsubject Tue 23-Aug-16 13:18:23

Your rights, in the how to rent booklet which you should have been given, include the contact details of the landlord, who may have no knowledge of all this but who is responsible.

Also a leaking roof is of interest to environmental health who can enforce action. While you have the rest of the property and there s no real risk, you've paid to use it all and so it should be fixed in a reasonable time. Which this is not.

AfroPunk Tue 23-Aug-16 15:38:21

Thanks for that special. I feel so frustrated at the moment; it's reassuring to read that I'm not being unreasonable.

I will look at our info pack to see if we have the LLs email address or phone number. I have been given the number of the company who have been tasked with the job. Could I call them directly to get them to come before mid-September? I'm not happy at all that this has been moved back by a month. Could I say to the agency that I would be forced to contact Environmental Health?

I want to have a positive relationship with the agency, so I'm reluctant to stamp my feet too hard, but at the same time I feel that I'm getting nowhere with them about this and am really unhappy with this leak/mould issue.

AfroPunk Tue 23-Aug-16 15:40:31

Incidentally, the conservatory is open-plan with the kitchen - there is no wall to separate them. Therefore, I can't close the door on the conservatory whilst waiting for action re. fixing the roof.

specialsubject Tue 23-Aug-16 15:48:47

Aha - worse and worse! So effectively you have a leaking mouldy kitchen, outrageous.

Your contract is with the ll, not the agency. The ll may be unaware of all this - or not. Anyway, you arent getting what you pay for and the ll needs to sort that. If you dont have his details, demand them. I would also suggest escalating with the agency if you havent already. Tell them you can make arrangements directly with the fixers if need be, but naturally you are not paying! Might also be worth a word about not wanting to get formal with environmental health, but if theres no action you may have to .

This is all in the ll's interest to sort, his building is getting damaged. You are being helpful tenants by reporting it, how would he know otherwise?

AfroPunk Tue 23-Aug-16 16:36:12

Thanks again special, you've given me lots to think about. I'll talk it over with dh when he comes home and then we can decide how to handle it.

Muddle2000 Tue 23-Aug-16 17:21:32

Yes def force the issue to contact LL and make a written complaint to the
EA . You need to follow all companys internal complaints procedure before
you can go higher eg their professional association.
I thought there was a new law forcing LLs to do repairs now and the EA
will know all about these new laws- much more so than the LL on the whole.

specialsubject Tue 23-Aug-16 17:37:51

There have always been legal routes to enforce repairs - what you may be thinking of is the outlawing of revenge evictions. A landlord cannot evict a tenant if there is a repair reported to environmental health that hasnt been done.

Hope the situation with the op is just the usual letting agent policy of minimising work. But if needed, the enforcement measures are there.

ShortLass Tue 23-Aug-16 17:49:30

I would first get in touch with the agent and be extremely nice, but firm. Explain that you understand the contractors are busy, but this is a necessary emergency repair and, if their preferred contractors can't do it, then can't they get someone else in? Explain to them your health concerns. If there is a manager in the office, ask to speak to them about it. Say that you need someone round by the end of the week.

I am a LL and rent through an agency. The person who deals with the day-to-day stuff in the agency is ... a bit dim, whereas the guy in charge is excellent.

If no joy, then go to LL directly. Last resort is environmental health.

AfroPunk Tue 23-Aug-16 20:06:38

Thanks everyone - you've given me a feeling of empowerment today when it was all getting on top of me!

DH and I talked this evening and funnily enough, we've done pretty much as ShortLass suggested: a very polite, yet firm email, which has stated our health and safety worries and asked if the agents can escalate with the current company, or, employ another.

I hope that the agency contact I have sorts things out as I'm finding this situation quite stressful.

Thank-you all so much again for your help x

specialsubject Tue 23-Aug-16 21:59:24

Hope all gets sorted asap - take no prisoners, the law and your rights are on your side.

Having had tenants like your predecesors who didnt report problems, would much rather know -cant fix otherwise. And also pretty shocking that the agency didnt spot it.

AfroPunk Wed 24-Aug-16 11:07:23

Right, I've had a reply from the agency: the LL is only prepared to use this particular company as they are the ones who installed the conservatory. I can understand that as they probably have to fulfil a guarantee or something. However, they are a small family-run company.

The agent said she understands our frustrations and will forward my email to the LL and conservatory company.

I can see that the conservatory company are the obstacle ... how should I reply? I can only hope they'll fit us in before autumn/winter. DH thinks I should just reply with a 'thanks, keep us posted', but I'm not sure.

wowfudge Wed 24-Aug-16 11:31:19

I would ask for an actual date when the work will be carried out to be put in the diary now. If they need to come and have a look beforehand ask that this is done within the next fourteen days.

Take photos or video the conservatory leaking if necessary to show them as well as noting where the leaks are.

specialsubject Wed 24-Aug-16 15:50:01

what wowfudge says. :-)

and you are now certain that the LL is aware of what is going on.

AfroPunk Thu 25-Aug-16 07:50:18

Thanks.

I wrote another polite email last night and asked the agents to press the company for an actual date, as it is a necessary and increasingly urgent repair.

I'll document any leaks from now on with film/photos.

I'm hoping that I receive a positive response now. If not, I guess my next step would be to follow ShortLass's advice and escalate it to the maintenence manager or office manager. I might be able to move furniture, but can't move plug sockets and lights. If water hits these (and it has come close), it's a fire risk.

We previously had a very good, attentive private LL, so this kind of property management isn't what we're used to at all. I haven't had to argue for essential repairs to be done in a timely fashion before.

AfroPunk Sat 27-Aug-16 15:38:43

Just to update: haven't heard from the EA since I sent the last email. It's raining here today and water is coming in, so I've photographed where we've seen it.

DH is going to phone the EA after the Bank Holiday weekend and demand that something is done. We are not prepared to live with these leaks until potentially October.

wowfudge Sat 27-Aug-16 17:24:25

Sadly it sounds as though you need to almost make a nuisance of yourselves to get action. Definitely make the point about the electrics if you haven't so far.

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