I'm a 2nd year studying Mathematics. My partner and I live today with our 6 month old son. Since we moved into our flat we've encountered some serious issues with regards to the landlord, property management company and the flat itself. The caveat is that it is a listed building (Grade II).
1) Windows. The average temperature in our flat is around 10 degrees celsius. This is whilst keeping the 2kW convector heaters on. The windows are single glazing but have excessive flaws which allows plenty of drafts through. Furthermore, all the windows (bar two) have been manually screwed shut. Out of the two windows that do open, one of them is physically broken (the wooden frame has snapped and thus the handle does not close) and the landlord refuses to fix it. If there was a fire in our hallway our only exit would be a bathroom window which does not open well and the broken kitchen window which means a 20 foot drop with our young child.
2) Water. For 3 months we didn't have hot water...
3) Mould. There is mould growing on our belongings and walls. The mould has also induced illness in both my partner and I. I was informed by the wonderful gov.uk website and our local environmental officer that listed building require twice the amount of ventilation than a normal residence. However as stated above, our windows are locked. In addition to this, our landlord refuses to fix the bathroom ventilator (we're not sure how he checked as we never gave permission for him to view the property without either of us being present). We were accused of being the cause of the damp and therefore the mould. This is not true. My partner has had two chest infections in the last month. My son had an upper respiratory tract infection and I had severe sinusitis and a chest infection. Our doctors have confirmed that these are most likely due to the mould and damp.
Our rent is not cheap. For the first few weeks we were not able to live in the flat. My partner, my son and myself had to boil kettles just to bathe ourselves. There is damp on the walls whenever it rains. The noise is completely unbearable as a result of the single glazing (we live next to the road and Solent University halls). Lastly, we assumed that the lack of care given to us by our landlord was attributed to a lack of funds. However, we just found out that he is an international sportsman that is endorsed by a few multinational corporations. He is currently abroad taking part in a competition and was given a new car by his sponsor that must be worth £50000+. This is a landlord that sent a workman round to "fix" our broken window with "no more nails" glue.
The landlord refuses to help. The property management company refuses to take any accountability (we're sure that they're very close with the landlord). And we can't live like this anymore. Our contract ends when I graduate. Over a year left. We're thinking of suing but will require legal aid. Do we have a leg to stand on?
Thank you in advance for any guidance or assistance you can provide us with.
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- Thread Starter
Last edited by HamzaHawa; 15-03-2016 at 00:40.
- 15-03-2016 00:35
Offline19Very Important Poster
- Very Important Poster
- 15-03-2016 08:11
You have a tenancy agreement. Read it. that will detail the landlords obligations to you. I dont want to go into too much detail, but you need to see someone either at CAB (google your closest one) or Shelter the housing charity. The issues as presented are:
1. Repairs- this is a good start from Shelter about your options. That involves getting your LL to deal with the mould, anything broken and the potential to get compensation for where this has fallen below standard. Everything you need is on the link. If the LL refuses to do the repairs you cna get them done yourself and then deduct those costs from your rent. You need o follow procedure to do this.
2. You talk about your tenancy having a year to go. Obviously the property is unsuitable, so you should look into terminating the tenancy. This should be dealt with in the lease and anyone advising would want to look at the agreement. there should be a termination clause. Talk this through with the people at Shelter.
You have a good case for getting the repairs done and asking for some form of compensation, but you need someone to look at your case. there are further links on the link I provided about how to find a law centre or CAB. Start with Shelter the housing charity.
Having looked it up there doesnt appear to be a face to face branch of Shelter where you are so you will have to talk to them over the phone and use your local CAB. the 4 Cabs nearest to you are in the link.
You can call Shelter on their free helpline
Housing advice helpline Key advice
- Your call may take 10 to 20 minutes so set aside some time
- Try to organise a quiet place where you can talk
- Our helplines do get busy but keep trying if you can’t get through
0808 800 4444
Shelter's helpline is open 8am – 8pm on weekdays and 8am – 5pm on weekends, 365 days a year.
Our housing experts will advise you, no matter what your housing situation.
Can I just add you need to make a detailed timeline.
You also need to collect all evidence you have including e-mails and correspondence.
- Thread Starter
- 15-03-2016 12:30
A major issue is that the property has just been sold and the new landlord will take over tomorrow. We have been through our tenancy agreement and they've broken multiple terms so we can end the tenancy (under the "old" landlord). We still need ample time to find a new property to live in. However, as the new landlord comes in does he/she not have the possible "these issues were with your old landlord and thus I am not liable for them" cop out? Furthermore, as the building is listed there are more limitations as to what may be completed. Double glazing is rarely approved and many suggest that secondary glazing won't fully compensate with respect to noise and temperature. Assuming the new landlord is helpful enough to complete the required works including secondary glazing, unlocking and fixing the windows and fixing it the ventilation but the problems of noise and temperature still persist, will we still have the opportunity to leave? There's no way of putting it elegantly but if I was a landlord and my tenant asked me to fix some pertinent (and expensive issues) but still wasn't happy after the work was completed, I wouldn't be too happy to agree to them leaving until their tenancy term was fulfilled.
Essentially we feel cornered with two options.
1) End the tenancy before the new landlord takes the keys. However the estate agent probably won't want to do this and may lengthen the process so that we can't end it by the time the new landlord comes over.
2) Stick with the new landlord, pray they'll fix the issues optimally and furthermore hope that the completed works actually improve our quality of life. We have to give the new landlord reasonable time to complete these works and so it may be months according to the property management. I spoke to shelter, the environmental officer, my local CAB and the council but all have been unhelpful. I'm currently in talks with a solicitor who has assured us that there is scope for us to recoup our losses from the old landlord but I'm not sure if we're being played. Basically the new landlord coming over has played in the old landlord's favour as he is no longer liable and we're still stuck in limbo waiting for work to be done that may not be helpful.
If we choose option 2) will we be still be able to leave if the works carried out are not satisfactory?
Thank you for your help.
Offline19Very Important Poster
- Very Important Poster
- 21-03-2016 10:51
Its unclear whats happened and you need to take legal advice. the importnace is so someone can ask you questions to get the relevant information and they cna look at the tenancy agreement.
It is unclear what has happened about your existing tenancy and transfer to the new LL as it is quite unusual to biu a property with a sitting tenant. A lawyer needs to understand the situation properly before being able to give specific advice.
You cna get legal aid with housing issues.
You should identify a housing specialist when looking for a solicitor. there arent that many firms to choose from where you are. Look at their site to check they are a specialist i.e he does that or mostly that work. Also that they do legal aid.
It looks as though you have a claim for compensation against LL one based on the repairs and would have to sue him. You need to confirm that with your lawyer. You should really have addressed the situation at the time, so the repairs were made. Proving soemthing in court requires evidence, so any e-mails and photos you have will assist you.
The new LL it depends on your tenancy with him. If there is one then they become liable for the same things under the tenancy from when they took over. If the same tenancy applies, then it becomes their repsonsibility to undertake repairs.