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Landlord repairs,Can't live like this

(30 Posts)
shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 12:25:36

Two weeks ago,water started seeping up through the floor in our hallway of our rented house. (Private rent been here two and a half years).
Phoned landlord who asked me to phone water board as the plumber he uses couldn't make it for a few days.
Water board came out the next day and did some tests and said the private supply pipe was leaking.The pipe runs from our garden,under kitchen floor,hallway and utility room.
Water board issued a legal notice on landlord to repair the leak within 30 days.
My landlord said a builder was coming that evening to look at it and then he'd start work the next day,to try and locate the pipe.
And the plumber would visit the day after.
Builder came that evening to have a look and said he'd be digging up our hallway floor the next morning.
I know him,this builder.He isn't a builder he's on the sick and does odd jobs for cash in hand.
He's also a real cowboy.
So I'm dreading it before it even starts.
Cowboy actually turned up at 7.30 pm that evening with a jack hammer.
He's in a panic,says he's on meds and fell asleep the night before and only just woke up.
My dh told him no way is he doing the work now as kids are going to bed in a bit.
Cowboy really panicking now saying what am I going to do,it's got to be done by the morning for the plumber.
Dh tells him that's not our problem.
So next morning plumber turns up,can't do much and says he'll come back when floor is up.
I know the plumber too and can say thank god he is a professional.
Cowboy eventually shows up at 11am.
I take my dog upstairs as hes terrified of noises and leave him to it.
Basically that day he jackhammered all the hallway up leaving a massive crater in what was slate floor.There's a pool of water in this crater but no pipe.
As the utility is next to the hallway he took up the tiles,jackhammered through the concrete and finds another pool of water,no pipe.
He also cut holes in the walls in utility room to see if the pipe was behind the wall but it wasn't.
Plumber returns,phones landlord to suggest the kitchen floor has to come up.
Landlord says no as it's too expensive to replace.
He say' s to find the pipe in the garden and the T off and cap that and put a new supply pipe in.Im not exactly certain of the plumbing terms but basically the leaking pipe will stay under the kitchen floor and the plumber will stop any water going through that pipe permanently.A new pipe will go in from the main and be 're routed upstairs.
Cowboy returns for four days never arriving until 11am,takes a two hour lunch at 12 and leaves by 4pm.
One day I ask him if he's drunk as he was swaying,He tells me it's his meds.
So over the time he works,He digs up a hole in the patio and finds the pipe,the first hole he digs,sheer luck.
Plumber calls in and tells him to dig up the area next to it to follow the pipe.
Plumber leaves,dh comes home from work and says the same as plumber.dh even points out what slab he thinks it's under.
Cowboy replies'I'm the builder's. (Not realising dh is foreman of a building firm).
Cowboy goes home and returns the next day.
I leave him to it,take my dog out for the day.
Come home about 3pm and most of my garden has gone.We live in a cottage with a tiny courtyard garden,it's just a small patio,room for my rotary line and a bench.
The garden is now one massive crater with rubble from one end to the other at least knee deep on me.
I could barely get in through the back door.As can't use from entrance due to the flooded crater.
He's actually dug up one half of the garden nowhere near the pipe!
He looked at me and said 'I still can't find the rest of the pipe
I asked him why he didn't follow it as told by dh and plumber.
His actual words were 'In my minds eye I could visualise the pipe and it was over there's.
I literally fan in the house and burst into tears.
I knew how much mess Id be coping with and I was still raging after taking 3 hours to clean all the dust the day he took hallway up.
He'd left before dh came home.
Dh comes home,can't believe it and is fuming.
Cowboy returns next day and says I think I'd better follow the pipe.Digs up the slab dh suggested and finds the pipe and the bit they needed to T off.
So he obliterated the garden for nothing.
Landlord not returning my calls.
Plumber then returns he's just as shocked by the mess.Tells me landlord spoke to him and that cowboy needs to now dig a trench in garden for the new pipe and put a hole through kitchen wall to connect the pipes.
Then landlord leaves me a message simply to say he's going through insurance and someone will be calling me to view the damage.
Landlord leaves a message on mobile that night,typically I'm in bath when he calls.Tells me insurance visiting next day but tells me what to say to them (He told me to lie to the insurance people).
I'm seething as I know if I don't lie,He'll probably evict us and we have bad credit and a dog and it took us 8 years to find a house that didn't do a credit check and would accept a dog.
On message he said he's told cowboy to come back the next afternoon and spend a few days refilling all the garden and tidying it up before digging the trench and putting the hole in the wall.
Plumber phones me to let me know when he can come to re route the plumbing but can we empty one bedroom as all floorboards need to come up.
Marvellous,the room has 3 of our children in so need to magic somewhere to put bunkbeds (which need to come apart to get them out) a single bed,wardrobe and 2 chests of draws as well as toys etc
We can only put this piled in our living room which will mean we won't have room to even use that.
Two days work the plumber says.
Dh actually books 2 days annual leave for the days plumber is here.
I forgot to mention the bathroom floor is coming up as well.
I am going to stay with my mother in law for the two days as I have Ibd and can't be without a bathroom. (We only have the one loo).
Plumber is coming Thursday and Friday to do the work.
So we plan on moving all the furniture tomorrow night.
The only thing is cowboy hasn't turned up for 10 days.
He can't put the trench in as the whole garden is a mountain of rubble which needs to be removed.
Dh filled all the holes in except where the pipes are as it was dangerous.
Now if we move the furniture tomorrow night and plumber arrives thursday,it will all be for nothing as plumber can't do the work if there's no trench or hole put through the wall.
Dh could do this but why should he pay for rubble bags,the cost of disposal and also time and work.
Landlord hasn't even said sorry for the mess or offered a rent discount.
We are paying £900 a month and now have no garden and flooded craters all downstairs.
If plumber can't do the job can we then refuse to be here for the next time it's planned.
Dh can't use any more annual leave to be here for plumber.I can't be here as I need access to a bathroom.I can't give the plumber a key as the two main doors (front and back) the landlord put a keycode lock on.And there's no way I'm giving our keycode to anyone as it's a basic lock and we can't see how to change the code.What I mean is there's no option to change the code.
Also can we refuse to move all the bedroom furniture again.
I don't see why we should have the hours of work,it's bad enough the mud that comes in from the crater that was our garden.
I need to tread carefully not to be evicted.
The inspectors from the water board are coming the week after next and if it's not fixed,they will dig up our kitchen floor to repair the pipe and Bill landlord and also a £5000 fine for him for failing to comply.

HipsterHunter Tue 11-Jul-17 12:57:11

WOW that sounds super shit.

Dog, three children, bad credit history - like you say it's hard to find reputable landlords who'll take that on.

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:18:37

It's only one thing on our credit history that's bad.
I used my Argos scorecard to purchase a new American fridge.
About six weeks after having it,it became faulty.
Argos messed us around terrible and eventually sent someone around to repair a part.
A few weeks after that the fault developed again.
Got no satisfaction from Argos under their guarantee so I refused to pay for the fridge after that.
It went to the dump after 5 months.
But that debt shows up on my record.
The landlord we rent from is a multi millionaire property developer.
All his properties are letted through a local estate agent.
We were lucky we didn't need the checks as his wife is friendly with my Aunt.The landlord came to visit us at our other property to meet our dog and I suppose to see he was clean.As I keep an immaculate house I think he was shocked.Last time he visited us at this property he said the house had never looked so good.Talking to people ,friends who rent they all say the same.Landlords are only happy to take rent,they just never want to spend money on those properties.

specialsubject Tue 11-Jul-17 13:29:21

You've got one of the crap TV- type landlords that have so many properties that they don't care. He should have insurance providing alternative accommodation, as leaving anyone with no toilet makes the property uninhabitable.

The only real solution is to move. Kids not an issue. Dog may be, but the main thing is bad credit so see what you can do to get that off your file. Martin lewis may have advice.

Meantime -
Contact the council environmental health
Providing access is for the landlord, all you have to do is allow it. So the
Landlord or his no doubt army of minions need to be there to let people in.

Don't lie to the insurers, not your problem.

hiddenmnetter Tue 11-Jul-17 13:42:57

It would be a v. bad idea to lie to insurers. They're like dogs with a bone. And if they detect even 1 untruth, they can (and will!) void the whole policy. And then your landlord will be blaming you. Because he sure as shit didn't tell you that in writing (not that this would even protect you...)

Tell him that the accommodation is unusable in this state, and that you and your children have temporarily vacated while the fix is done and that he will have to meet his own insurance company. Doesn't have to be rude but just takes you out of the situation

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 14:02:41

I know if I involve environmental health,He will probably evict us.We've been perfect tenants,never been late with our rent.We've decorated the house to a high standard and do smaller repairs ourself.
I am terrified to be made homeless.
Firstly our children are so happy in their schools here and with their friends.
We've had a look at what's available to rent and the only properties in this area at the moment are luxury 1 or 2 bed apartments.
It's a rural area so there is never a lot in this small town to rent anyway.
Most of 'LL properties are flats,he buys old buildings and develops them.This is the only house he rents out.
He lives two hundred miles away so runs his business from where he lives,employing minions in our area.
Secondly I know if we are evicted the council won't help us much.I know they have to but as we are a rural area there is a shortage of any housing association or council houses.
A lady who has recently been housed,she's recently been given a house here.She was kept in a b and b with her children for 2 years until the council could house them.Even worse she had to be out of the b and b by 10am every day and walk the streets with her baby until they were allowed back at 6 pm.
The Council has now set up a massive caravan park about 8 miles away to temporarily house homeless families/people.
I could never go there,ever.Its like something out of a horror film as the crime there is shocking and the squalor.
I think I've got to suck this up to keep this house.One of my daughter's suffers ptsd after an horrific event.She is only now coming back to her old self and her school has done so much for her as well as her friends and their families.
I hate to think what the upheaval of a new school and area would do to her well being.
Going back to this situation,I've allowed them access every time.But now dh has taken these 2 days off this week and we will have to spend an evening taking furniture apart and clearing the bedroom.
If the plumber/cowboy don't come to do the work these days,then I will refuse to move the furniture again.
We can't keep the furniture in the living room for days as 5 of us will be living in one bedroom as no room in living to sleep either.
And I will tell landlord he will have to come down to give them access.
It's a good job I'm self employed and can jiggle my hours,otherwise I would have had to take a week off work when the cowboy was here.
Also our dog bless him,I can't regime him,he's an old dog himself and couldn't have wished for a more loving,gentle dog.So I have to think of him as well.
The debt I will take advice but agents are so strict here.My friend paid the £300 fee for the checks and agent refused them a house for being a week late paying electric bill.
We don't claim anything but paying £900 a month rent and £200 council tax a month after bills and food etc we don't have much left to save.
Thank you for your advice

specialsubject Tue 11-Jul-17 14:08:12

Revenge evictions are illegal but I realise that doesn't help. unfortunately with nearly 70 million people and council houses sold off far faster than they are replaced, the government relies on private landlords. When an area is sewn up by one like this , not good.

I really hope things do get fixed. If you were my tenant you'd be in a hotel , paid for by my insurance, with a food allowance ( ditto) while I lit a bonfire under various real contractors to fix the leak.

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 14:24:45

I wish you were my landlord,bless you.
I don't expect a hotel,it's just this cowboy and destroying the place as he's high as a kite on his meds as well as not being a trades person.Insurance came but just took photos and didn't really ask me anything.LL doesn't want insurance to know cowboy is doing the work.
We think it's because he has his own ltd building firm he's going to say that his team done the work and claim off insurance say for example £5000,say his builders did the work so he gets a lump sum off insurance.The reality is it's the cowboy working for £30 a day cash in hand.
He easily could have had a few of his real builders do the work but he didn't want to pay them the going rate,which he would have to have done.
At the moment I have no garden,no utility,no hallway,no room in kitchen as washer and dryer are now in middle of kitchen as no floor to put them in utility.The living room is cluttered with all the coats and shoes,bit and pieces that should be in hallway.In two days time we'll have no bathroom floor,kids bedroom floor.And no living room as it will be full of furniture,3 beds,mattresses,wardrobes,toys etc...
If 'LL had offered us a months free rent my husband would have done all the work free.
And it would have been done properly not this botch job.Only thing dh couldn't do was 're route the water supply.
Dh won't do it now as cowboy botched it so much it's going to be weeks of work as dh can only do it evenings and weekends.

HipsterHunter Tue 11-Jul-17 15:05:06

Can you speak to shelter or CAB for advice? I really hope you get it sorted.

does the LL know what a terrible job the cowboy has done? And does he know about him acting spaced out / drugged up?

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:11:33

Hi yes the 'LL knows what the cowboy has done.Cowboy was taking photos on his mobile phone of it all and sending them to 'LL.I don't know if 'LL has any idea of cowboys meds and behaviour on them.But he uses this cowboy to do minor repairs on all his flats and sees him frequently on ll business trips here.You only have to look at him to see what state he's in.Long scraggly hair,age range 45-55,rotten teeth,clothes full of holes,smells bad.He turns my stomach to look at him.He lives in the same small town as me and everyone knows him as a weirdo.At least because of his appearance.He has manic looking eyes too.

Mrsladybirdface Tue 11-Jul-17 15:35:39

Have you got content insurance? It might cover the cost of temporary accommodation?

Mrsladybirdface Tue 11-Jul-17 15:39:02

Or your landlords insurance might cover you

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 16:40:50

We are not covered for this by our contents insurance.
Dh has come home from work and been offered the use of a caravan on a holiday park for free whilst we are living like this.Somebody he's doing a job for owns it.
And an elderly lady just came to our house.
I only know her as somebody to say hello to really.She said everyone has been talking about the state of the place (small town gossip lol) plus due to low garden walls anyone can see in the garden.
This elderly lady is what I refer to as a church lady,the group of volunteers who clean the church and have coffee mornings.
She asked how we are managing and Said she's all alone in her 4 bedroom house and we are welcome to stay a while.
And said if there's anything she or her friends can do to please ask.
We wouldn't dream of taking her up on her kind offer but isn't it so kind,as well as the man who offered dh his private holiday caravan.Puts your faith back in people.

specialsubject Tue 11-Jul-17 17:22:08

It does indeed. Take up the offers!

No reason you should insure against this, that is for the landlord. I'm gnashing my teeth about this, awful.

The landlord ( and agent ) need to be informed firmly that they are employing someone completely incapable. Perhaps your mp or councillor would also be interested?

HipsterHunter Tue 11-Jul-17 18:33:43

Oh do take up the offer of the caravan. I know you shouldn';t have to and the LL should have insurance but this all sounds like such a mess :-(

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 18:51:05

We can't take the caravan as it's 30 miles away.
I'd have to take the children out of school and would be fined.
I'd never get the children to their schools as all three children are in different schools.And one school is 10 miles away in a completely different direction.
If it wasn't for school and work we could have stayed with my parents but they live a 4 hour drive away.
In laws are good as gold but in a tiny one bed annex.
It's all just a shambles.
The only good thing is at least in a fortnight the water board will be here to slap him with a fine of £5000 and repair the leak and charge 'LL for their work.
The bastard will probably put our rent up then.

Mrsladybirdface Tue 11-Jul-17 20:09:26

You should insure yourself in case of thing like this in case you have a rogue landlords! Any who, if he's already claiming on his landlords insurance alternative accommodation will be part of the claims costs. Even the most basic landlords policies will have this element of cover

specialsubject Tue 11-Jul-17 21:09:45

I don't see how a tenant can insure for alternative accommodation - that is absolutely what a landlord should do. Good point that there is nothing to lose by asking. Or while the property is uninhabitable at least the rent should stop.

DancingLedge Tue 11-Jul-17 21:20:29

No useful advice, but sending you every possible good wishes and good vibes.

I know what you mean about the Gulags that councils put homeless families in, in our area known as ' the block'. Probably not quite as bad as the worst stories, but it was what I dreaded.

If you can't move, I guess you have to endure. I really hope this horrible mess will be over for you soon.
Best wishes to you and your family.

WhereAmIGoingWhatAmIDoing Tue 11-Jul-17 22:30:53

Hi, Are you sure your credit is so bad you can't rent? I am pretty sure a credit check for renting does not contain anywhere near the level of info a creditor would see, I think it's mainly to make sure you don't have loads of CCJs and are who you say you are, so maybe look into it if you do need to move. I know I have rented with bad credit in the past. Dogs can be fine for many landlords, you might just have to pay higher deposit. Unfortunately going with landlords that don't require credit checks etc can throw up some dodgey ones (speaking from experience). Sorry to hear about all this, your predicament sounds extremely stressful!

WhereAmIGoingWhatAmIDoing Tue 11-Jul-17 22:44:28

Here's what it says on Experian regarding credit checks and renting:
"The information landlords and agents can see from your credit report is limited to publicly available records, including court judgments and insolvency records. They cannot see information about your credit commitments, such as credit cards, loans and mobile phone contracts."

www.experian.co.uk/consumer/questions/askjames370.html

I think there is a lot of misinformation regarding credit checks and renting?? You can also use a guarantor.

shinook123 Tue 11-Jul-17 23:10:51

Thank you all for your kind replies.
Our landlord actually does require credit checks for all his properties.It was only because my Aunt is a friend of his wife that he skipped the check with us.His wife is actually lovely but has nothing to do with his business.It was her who told him to give us the tenancy as my Aunt had told her how desperate we were to move.We had nightmare neighbours in our old place.
The trouble is agents here charge £300 fees for a joint credit check and I'm too afraid to just throw £300 away if I'm refused.And I know loads who have been for trivial debts.I had my experian report and that's all that shows up on mine,that Argos card debt.Thank you all,It's just really shite at the moment and when you've always paid your rent and kept the house nice it's like a smack in the face.
I know he's a multi millionaire,so this job is pennies for him.Even if the job was thirty grand it would be loose change to him.
Other smaller jobs he's been fine,the shower broke he had it fixed within a couple of days,the boiler broke down and a gas man fixed it that night.I really don't know why he's letting this go on so long especially when he knows he'll be getting a big bill and fine from the water board in two weeks.Funnily enough looking online tonight,a 3 bedroom housing association is up for rent literally just two streets away.But it's for people on housing register (Which we are) but it's only for people aged over 55.
I mean how many people aged over 55 need a 3 bedroom house?
I'll keep you posted as plumber is coming about 9am Thursday.
I'd imagine he'll be pissed off if he's lost other work to do this and then he can't do it,because cowboy never came back to clear garden and dig the trench.

GardenGeek Tue 11-Jul-17 23:22:57

You need to use your connections like you did to get the house.

Get your aunt round or send her some photos, and she will probably tell/show wife who will be shocked, and tell landlord husband. LL and wife probably has no idea how bad cowboy has made it.

I think this will get you most far, and is softly softly through your aunt and wife etc.

GardenGeek Tue 11-Jul-17 23:26:08

Oh and don't get me started on those houses. I have been seeing recently more and more beautiful 3/4 bed detatched houses for sale at half price for pensioners, which are perfect for family and in no way suitable for elderly.

Deadly cottage staircases and all. Steps to front doors with no railings, Its unbelievable.

MoreProseccoNow Wed 12-Jul-17 07:58:02

Has the legislation preventing agents charging fees to tenants been introduced in England yet? If so, you'll not incur fees.

And maybe ask about this place round the corner? Can't do any harm.

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