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need help please (tenancy law)

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi,
Sorry to ask for help on my first post.

Basically I have moved in to a property that is a house conversion and I have the ground floor. I rented through an estate agent and the property is owned by a group(4) separate landlords. I have been moved in for 2 months almost now after paying administration fees and the 1st months rent. My 2nd(3rd) months rent is almost due but I have discovered that upstairs has a major leek that is dripping in to my property. The estate agent have been notified and sent out a maintenance engineer, I fear to no avail. He went to the upper flat and said he had tightened their washing machine connection but their overflow was blocked causing pressure to build.

In reflection I believe this to be a pre-existing leak that had been patched up, so to speak, rendering the property practically inhabitable and that they have rented anyway with full knowledge of this. Part of this theory is formulated by the way she kept prompting me to take home insurance, along with other things.

I really feel I have let my guard down here as I was in urgent need of a property or perhaps I underestimate estate agents need to make a buck. Either way I feel in a tight spot. Do I have any rights? Please help

Thank you so much to anyone who can.
Aden.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not a tenancy law expert but spent some time in a student advocacy position so I have a little knowledge. That's the caveat.

    It sounds likely that there is a pre-existing leak but the landlord may have genuinely believed it to be fixed. However, damp is a health issue and you are entitled to insist that the damp caused by the leak (if any) be fixed as soon as is practical (which may be a few weeks).

    If in doubt, call the Council's environmental health.

    You are not legally entitled to withhold rent, if you want to try and claim any sort of money back you have to put your claim to the landlord or his/her agent in writing and deal with it that way. If you withhold rent, you're in breach of contract and can be evicted.

    The lettings agent sounds to have been responsible in reminding you to take home insurance, that's not proof there was anything wrong.

    I'm not sure I understand why you feel so let down (maybe I've just spent too many years in shit properties) - is there an ongoing situation you haven't mentioned, or is it fixed?

    From what you've said I can't see that the landlord or their agent has done anything wrong. You'd be hard-pressed to prove that this was a pre-existing problem and even if it were the upstairs landlord might have known about it without your landlord being aware.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    thank you for your reply.

    I believe the same landlord owns both properties, at least the same agent lets it.

    I once read that it is a landlords/agents responsibility to sell you a lease of a property and ensure it maintains the standard it was leased to you in. At least with regards to things like this. Does that still stand? Has my landlord any obligation?... And when/how does he break it?

    Thanks.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes, that is true. But if the leak was fixed it doesn't sound like he's broken that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there and thanks for posting your query,

    It seems like a frustrating time for you at your current accommodation.

    Piccolo highlights the most important points, so I won't repeat them.

    You are correct in saying that landlords/agents have duty to maintain properties that they let and tenants are protected against disrepair by various piece of legislation. In terms of looking forward to ensure that the repairs are carried out, I would suggest the following;

    1. Make note of all damage to your property and take pictures
    2. Write to your landlord asking them to carry out the repairs in a reasonable time and send them pictures
    3. If they do not respond or do not carry out the repairs in a reasonable time then write to them again stating that you will find 3 quotes to get the work carried out by yourself, and that you will deduct this amount from the rent.
    4. Get the three quotes and send them to the landlord stating that you will go ahead with the cheapest one if they do not carry out the works in a reasonable time.
    5. If they still do not carry out the rent then get the work done yourself and send all receipts to the landlord.

    Ensure that all these steps are done in writing and you have documentation for each.

    Further, you can write your landlord if you are concerned that the upstairs property is leaking but it has not yet reached your property, then it would be a good idea to write to your landlord about this too.

    Please see this link for more information from the Shelter website.

    Hope this helps.

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you both for your replies and humanity.

    I have just taken photo's and started to document the damage.

    May I ask littleone, how do I stand if the work that needs doing is in fact the upstairs neighbours property that has the leak, am I still obliged to carry out the work and follow the same procedures?

    I think they have cached me, if that makes sense.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    sorry for the double post;

    also;I believe both properties, upstairs and downstairs need their full plumbing pulling out and redoing as its all shot. Also the bathroom has accumulated damp and the maintenance guy told me its because you need to open windows and turn on the extractor fan when you shower. After telling him I used to be a painter and decorator he quickly corrected himself with 'to tell you the truth thats bollo**** it has no damp course and is always gonna get damp, I refused to put the floor down and made the asians do it' His words, no hate meant.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You need to write down what he says and document all correspondence in detail in case you decide to go forward asking for any kind of compensation. Timelines and written records become invaluable in that case.

    Out of interest, did he properly secure your deposit (if he did you will have received a receipt from a tenancy deposit scheme by now)?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you for your continued help. I feel much more confident and organized about where I stand and what to do now. Thank you.

    I haven't received the receipt. Would this happen in normal circumstances?

    To be honest I think the landlord has just neglected the property and effectively handed it over to the estate agency(I am a theorist, sorry).

    When I requested a water meter no one at the estate agents could get to speak to him then I think they just made the decision it was ok their selves. After the water company said they needed a working stop cock located and verified as working before they would book the engineer to come fit the meter and I located it but it's seized they said the landlord probably wouldn't pay for it and remarked "have you spoken to him about it??" almost as in shock. And also the fact there is 4 of them based 200 miles away is a clue too. :impissed:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your posts sound like you no longer want to be in the property and you're desperately trying to find a way of getting out of it. The things you're saying are exactly what my clients say when they want that outcome. You won't get out of the property on this. The landlord has an obligation to keep the property habitable and a bit of damp in the bathroom doesn't affect that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Adenc wrote: »
    I haven't received the receipt. Would this happen in normal circumstances?

    If you're in the UK it's a requirement, you should ask whoever you paid the deposit to how it was secured.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    If you're in the UK it's a requirement, you should ask whoever you paid the deposit to how it was secured.

    It was the estate agents. Ok, I'll ask them when I pay my rent in the next few days.

    Oh P.S. the upstairs appears to have stopped leaking for now(touch wood).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your posts sound like you no longer want to be in the property and you're desperately trying to find a way of getting out of it. The things you're saying are exactly what my clients say when they want that outcome. You won't get out of the property on this. The landlord has an obligation to keep the property habitable and a bit of damp in the bathroom doesn't affect that.

    Out of interest, how bad does damp in a bathroom have to be before it counts as inhabitable? Is damp in the bathroom not preventable, as long as you have a window/extractor fan? :confused: Sorry if that sounds a naive question
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not very preventable, and you'll probably find that the contract with your landlord puts the responsibility in your hands for controlling it (they're nice like that).

    If it was particularly bad when you moved in you could demand they deal with it, likewise if it's affecting other rooms. If you're really unsure, try calling in occupational health.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there Adenc,

    Sorry for the late reply; I was away from the boards for a while.

    I wouldn't suggest carrying out repairs for a property that you don't inhabit; as this could just get complicated for you.

    As for the other issues you mention, it seems as if the other users have answered your questions. Is there anything else you need clarifying?

    :)
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