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AIBU to expect access to a working water supply in rented property?

(12 Posts)
TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 06:26:59

Apologies for the length of the post, I need to vent.

We live in a privately rented property via a high street letting agency and we've lived here for 4 years now. Our water pressure has always been poor, but we're on a shared main, Victorian terrace houses so this is to be somewhat expected. The property is dated but otherwise liveable.

In the last 4 months our water pressure has dropped even further and now is at the point where sometimes I turn on the tap and nothing comes out at all. Showers are practically impossible as we have a combo boiler (apparently not good for low pressure) and the water is either scalding hot or freezing cold so you end up standing for ages getting cold away from the spray (trickle) or dancing away from the boiling water. It takes an hour to fill the bath up to a hand's depth, and it takes me on average 15 minutes to fill the sink with hot water for washing up. Not great when I have two small children (aged 4 and 5 months).

Also, it sounds like there may be a leak or something in the bathroom. No obvious signs like damp or condensation on the pipes (I've checked everywhere) but it sounds constantly like we've flushed the toilet - that kind of hissing/filling noise.

I reported this to the letting agent back in November, and since then have had to chase constantly for any contractors. The water board have been round (I contacted them) and have checked the property and said no issues from their side, and that this is a health and safety issue due to the children if nothing else. 

The last contact from the letting agent was over a week ago when he sent a plumber round - cue much head scratching and mumblings of replacing all the pipes, and a promise to call me last week - nothing despite two chasers. I sent another email on Saturday, so just waiting on a reply to that today or I'll go and stand in their office again to try to progress things.

I wonder if anyone can advise what I can do next (other than move which wouldn't really be financially ideal as I'm on maternity leave so funds are somewhat reduced). I'm literally at my wits end, and it's really starting to get me down. Surely running water is a basic need and not something to be taken for granted in this day and age in this country?

To clarify, we are excellent tenants and never bother the letting agent with something we can do ourselves, always paid rent on time etc. I can contact the landlord, I have his number but he lives abroad and is unlikely to be able to do anything.

Help!!

PigletJohn Mon 20-Feb-17 06:55:37

" it sounds constantly like we've flushed the toilet - that kind of hissing/filling noise"

probably a leak, it may be under the ground or the floor. Have you got a water meter or an outdoor stopcock? Are you floors wooden or concrete?

Fadingmemory Mon 20-Feb-17 07:14:46

The Shelter website for England has a section on letting agent redress schemes. Agents must belong to one of these.

TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 07:33:19

PigletJohn - that's what I thought. No water meter and stopcock serves at least 3 properties. The floors are concrete, and no other signs of a leak aside from pressure and sound. The plumber basically said he had no idea apart from to dig up and replace all pipes.

TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 07:34:37

Fadingmemory - I shall have a look, thanks!

Just fed up after yet another scalding shower angry

PigletJohn Mon 20-Feb-17 09:21:47

I believe you can ask the council environmental health officer to demand action, if the landlord or agent have failed to resolve it, but I have no experience of that.

Send a written notification, preferably by recorded delivery so they can't pretend they didn't know.

specialsubject Mon 20-Feb-17 09:24:38

Contact the landlord with whom you have the actual contract. Tell him that he is paying a bunch of useless hair flickers and that you want action. Also report to environmental health.

Disclaimer - I am an evil bastard landlord who should be banned from mumsnet for making money from a human need.

TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 21:50:27

Thanks PigletJohn - I'll try that.

TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 21:52:46

Special - not a bad idea telling the landlord what issues I'm having. Will start formulating an email now. He's a nice bloke, I've spoken to him before, but as he's out of the country it's hard for him to get too involved. He did want to get rid of the agent and manage himself but I kind of talked him out of it because I thought we'd have issues if there were an emergency. Might reconsider that!

And I'm sure you're a great landlord - someone has to be! smile

MrsMoastyToasty Mon 20-Feb-17 22:02:14

It's quite common with victorian properties to have a shared supply. In those days it was more than adequate but with modern showers, washing machines and dishwashers the original supply isn't man enough. The only long term solution is for your landlord to get the supply separated, which would give you your own external stop tap. The running water sound could be a water leak or your neighbours running their taps off the shared supply.
(Am ex water company employee )

TaffetaMuttonfudge Mon 20-Feb-17 22:17:53

Mrs - thanks for your reply. Would a separate supply improve the pressure do you think? Appreciate we'd be metered but I'd jump on that if it were to improve. Not sure re the noise, seems to be a recent thing and neither of my neighbours are on our shared supply - both have their own meters. Would that make a difference?

MrsMoastyToasty Mon 20-Feb-17 23:28:37

Separating the supply would probably benefit all the sharers in terms of water pressure and flow rates. You'd also find your combi boiler would work better (they only work within a range of water pressures specified by the manufacturer so if you ain't got the pressure it ain't gonna work). It wouldn't be affected by neighbours turning on their taps.
Water leaks can be notoriously difficult to locate (we had one the sizeof a pin prick on the rising main just below the internal stop tap under the floor boards). Are there any parts of your garden which are constantly waterlogged even in dry weather? Or plants that are exceptionally lush? Damp patches on external walls? Subsidence from soil being eroded away? Water running in the sewerstwhile when nobody has let any water down the loo etc? Can your neighbours hear it too in their houses? (Would suggest it's on the public main and not the service pipe leading up to the house )

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