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Can I deny workmen access to rented property?

(14 Posts)
Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 11:41:02

Wasn't sure whether to put this here or legal - not sure anyone can even advise. Long winded sorry.

We moved into rented house around 14 months ago, we were given a discount on rent due to the state the property is in and ongoing work. Basically the insurance company is sorting thousands of pounds worth damage caused by subsidence. This involves replastering most of the walls, replacing part of roof, some ceilings, floor tiles etc. The work started last July then stopped as there was a damp problem which needed addressed, this got sorted and since then we've been left in limbo as they are still saying there's too much damp.

we don't know when work will recommence but I would imagine it won't be for another couple of months at least & it will take at least 2-3 months of constant workmen access (bathroom, kitchen, utility & small wc will all be affected) to get or completed. I'm due DC3 in July and dreading the timing of the work.

Would I be within my rights (in Scotland if that makes a difference) to refuse workmen access for say 6 weeks around DC birth? I'll be breastfeeding and really not wanting them around all day when my tits are hanging out and the older 2 will be on school holidays.

MissDuke Thu 02-Mar-17 12:55:32

Not sure of the legal side, but don't you want it done asap so the house is more habitable? Speak to your landlord now about it and then you can work out if it is worth staying. It must be a complete nightmare living there but sounds like you were willing to put up with it for reduced rent so I don't really see how you can deny them access for prolonged periods, I also don't see how it will really get much easier after the 6 weeks are up to be honest.

MissDuke Thu 02-Mar-17 12:56:25

Also a bit unsure about how sensible it is to live in a house with damp with kids.

ANiceSliceOfCake Thu 02-Mar-17 12:59:40

Landlords just can't win, they get slated for leaving properties in a state but also for getting much needed work sorted. In the nicest possible way you knew it needed work when you moved in. I'd suck it up or give notice and get somewhere else.

KanyeWesticle Thu 02-Mar-17 13:07:20

You are entitled to "quiet enjoyment" all the time.
I'd say you are completely entitled to require a specific block of time around your baby's arrival.

Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 13:07:53

There isn't actual damp to be seen, the damp is in the utility room (extension) in the walls which is showing up on their damp reading machines. Apparently water is coming in through the roof, behind the walls. DC don't go in there but there's no health hazard as the main house is damp free.

The reason I'm thinking 6 weeksish would (would be different if they would only be here a few days but it'll be all day every day) be that feeding will be established so I'll feel more comfortable, and the other DC will be back at school. Of course ideally all the work would be done before then but unlikely.

Just the thought of adjusting to a new baby while it's going on is completely stressing me out. I should have said the house is habitable at the moment, there are cracks on some walls and the floor tiles are removed in the utility but apart from that it's not an issue really.

Maybe 6 weeks is unreasonable. The thing is the contractors have admitted they can carry out the work in the non damp rooms just now but nothing's happened and landlord is complete rubbish at chasing them up. Not much can do about that though.

savagehk Thu 02-Mar-17 13:08:46

If the damp problem is sorted, how is there still too much damp? If they're waiting for things to dry out, can't they get a dehumidifier in?

Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 13:13:00

I'm not anti landlord hmm - of course we knew the work needed done. We were told this would be last April though (not LL fault it was delayed). I'm all for the disruption when it's happening, we were well aware of that. What I'm not wanting is for it to be going on the month after I give birth. Delaying it won't affect the landlord, I think it's reasonable (IMHO) given it was supposed to be done a year ago, for me to be ask it doesn't get done in a certain month due to the circumstances.

Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 13:16:10

They re-rendered the offending wall so thought it was fixed,, but damp readings are still high so they've realised it's coming in else where.

They have said bringing in dehumidifiers won't help as the water will keep getting in. Basically LL needs to replace the extension roof, but is unwilling to pay for this & its apparently not convered by insurance. So they are at a stand off. Other rooms can still be done though so really don't know why that's not happening.

savagehk Thu 02-Mar-17 13:21:16

Ah right. I think you're entitled to ask it not be done for a period, if it's taken so long already and you're happy to be in the house in current state. I can only imagine if the insurance does cover the bill they might tie some strings to the payment, which might include having it done when 'their' workmen are free, which makes it more complicated.

Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 13:29:28

Hmm good point, the rest of the work is under the insurance so they may not be able to be as flexible. I guess all I can do is ask. I have seen & spoke to the contractor over seeing the work and he seems lovely & reasonable so hopefully it'll be ok, he's aware of the July due date and I did mention to him previously that I was hoping it would be done before then. I obviously don't expect them to move mountains for me though if it's an issue.

ShortLass Thu 02-Mar-17 13:49:48

Purely from a human point of view, I think it is totally acceptable to ask for a six week assured break from work due to the arrival of a new baby.

I used to rent out my house and if a tenant came to me with such a request, I would be totally sympathetic.

Just say that you are happy for the work to be done to the house, but would appreciate some quiet time as the baby settles to his/her new life. If your LL has a heart, I'm sure they will understand. If they really want the work done at that time, then at least you can open communications and have an adult discussion about it.

I don't think you have anything to lose by making a polite request, regardless of any legal situation.

firawla Thu 02-Mar-17 13:54:57

If I was you I'd just let them in and get it finished asap especially with the baby? I'm sure they'll be quite considerate seeing a new baby and you don't have to sit in the same room as them. We've had loads of ongoing building works over the birth of dd and all of the builders I've had in have been absolute gents - they wouldn't even let me make cup of teas! So it's possible you could get gooduns that will be no trouble and you can just get it all over and done with. 6 weeks is quite a long time to delay? I'd maybe try to compromise with landlord on 2 weeks?

Sewingbeatshousework Thu 02-Mar-17 14:25:19

Would like done ASAP yes, but that means this month not in 4 months. Like I've said the house is fine so having the baby won't mean I need it done quicker. The work needing done doesn't affect us living here. I think I'll maybe ask for 4 weeks, given the huge delay already I can't see it making a difference. I'll message the ll's 'agent' (friend) and ask if work can be chased up and that I'm not wanting them in house for a month after baby here if possible. If no luck with her I do actually have the email of contractors so I can ask them the current situ and timescales

I really don't want to be a difficult tenant, I usually bend over backwards to please people, and if this hadn't been going on a year already I'd understand it needed done when it's done. But it's obviously not a pressing matter to them.

I'm probably making a bigger deal out of it than needed but I am worrying about the upheaval while getting used to no sleep and recovering from birth.

Thanks for the replies - I'll not go down the legal route, as it's not worth it but I will be chasing the work for getting done before July.

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