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Some advise please on repairs!

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Hi there


Im just looking for a little bit of advice. I have to say that I love where I live and generally the landlord is very good and doesnt hassle me at all. I want to stay here for a while so dont want to get anybody's hackles up as I dont think that achieves anything.


In October last year I noticed that my oil fired central heating wasnt working properly. I told the landlord and they sent somebody round to look at it. The kitchen roof, which is a flat roof, was also leaking and the guy said he would come round and fix it.


Just before Christmas the central heating still hadnt been fixed so I had to move out of the big room and move into the little sitting room. The landlord sent round some space heaters for me - 2 oil heaters and a convection heater. The roof still wasnt fixed but the weather wasnt that great so I cant blame them. I had a coal fire for the small living room which I was using to keep the place heated.


In January I went to make some cushion covers and got the cushion pads from my fitted wardrobes. The cushion pad was scorched. The fitted wardrobes back onto the coal fire. I called the landlord immediately and they sent somebody round. It appears that all the pointing has come away from the fire and the heat etc., is seeping through into the wardrobe causing the scorching. I stopped using the fire immediately. Hence, I have a central heating system that isnt working properly, no coal fire, damp in now getting into the kitchen wall, the harling is falling off the back of the house and the roof is still leaking.


This aint life threatening but I would like to be able to use my fire etc., I have called them again and they told me that they had somebody onto it. That was 2 weeks ago and still nobody has appeared.


Any advice would be great. As I said above, I dont want to get anybody's back up because I want to keep the house as I love it. I am paying £800 per month and have always paid before rent is due. Also, I have had carpets fitted and decorated the house so it is looking really great. I just wish I could get them to move on this. I dont think its being done out of malice or anything, I just thnk the secretary is so busy she forgets. The thing is I dont want to become a pest and they see me as a problem. I have a great relationship with them and the landlord is delighted with the way I keep the house and what I've dont with it. Also, my dogs love it here - which is the most important thing in my books. We are out in the country.


Thanks a lot


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We take on board that firstly you want to stay in the house, but just want the repairs executed asap. Reading the whole of your post, no wonder the landlord is happy he has in effect a 'perfect' tenant, pays rental on time, carpets and decorates the property and keeps it to a good condition.


Nevertheless, the landlord seems to be quite relaxed in resolving any of your issues immediately. He should not be waiting 2 weeks to fix the problem. Most tenants would have probably stopped paying the rental, as leverage for the work to be done ASAP. The landlord does have obligations to attend to these, under the housing act.


The underlying issue here is that you want to stay on and get the repairs done. Don’t leave any more messages for his secretary; put your repairs in writing requesting if repairs can be done. This may be prove prudent for you, just in encase (and we are not implying your landlord will) hold you responsible for these, as these were not reported to them. Keep chasing this up, your landlord does have obligations to repair the house he owns. Presently, for your op, it appears you have no heating, you should not think that you are 'pestering' them, to carry out repairs that they are legally obliged to do so.





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Thank you so much for your reply.


I have always owned my house but decided to rent until I found a suitable new house. I love this house so much that I want to stay here. I know that Im probably losing money because the rent is quite high and I could be paying that to a mortgage, but I could never afford to live in the house that I am living in at the moment if I bought it.


I will write a letter at the weekend and drop it off to them. I think your advice is spot-on. I hate confrontation and dont want to upset anybody in case it means that they ask me to leave at the end of my lease.


I think Im a perfect tenant too. I've planted up the front garden, cut back all the overgrown plants, put up a fence for security and generally the house is immaculate. In fact, the landlord told me that he hadnt seen the house looking so good. When I first moved in the girl before me had a cat and it had pee'd in the corner so they were having to renew the carpets. I persuaded them to have the floors sanded and varnished because it will be harder wearing. I then had a new carpet fitted in the small lounge which adjoins the larger one. I used the offcuts to carpet 2 small halls and put new flooring in the bathroom. The landlord is delighted because if I leave obviously this makes the house more attractive.


I'll get on to this at the weekend.


Thank you

Kind regards


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi again


Well, I am still waiting for the repairs to be carried out. I now have no coal fire and the heating is only lukewarm. The water never gets hotter than hand-hot and its absolutely freezing.


To top it all I now have a leak in the kitchen and there is damp on the back wall. Because of the space heaters they gave me to "top up" my heating I now have a bill of £181 for electricity. The heating is faulty and hence uses up more oil than normal. Therefore my bill for heating for the last month is £391!!!!


I am paying £800 a month for a premium property and I dont have that. I have a property that has a leaky roof, damp, no heating and mice!!! I dont mind about the mice as they are field mice but it pains me to have to set traps. I hate it when I find one in them.


During the summer I had black slugs in my kitchen - huge big ones. I told them about that but they werent interested.


Arent properties supposed to be wind and watertight and all the appliances in working order. I have called them today and told them that I intend to withhold £200 from the rent to cover my expenses. Can I do this? Also, there is a house about to become vacant which is much cheaper - and much nicer - than this one. Do you think it would be within my rights to move out now. I just cant take any more. I spend all my time freezing.


Any help would be appreciated.


Thank you


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I notice that you are based in Scotland. Sorry I know nothing about the law where you are, save that it is often similar but different to that in England and Wales.


On the repair side, may I suggest you call your local council and get advice from them. I presume they will have the equivalent to Environmental Health.


One piece of information that will help is to say if you are in a fixed term contract (if so, when it expires) or is it running month to month.

On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Read anything I write with the above in mind.

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Hi there


The lease is a short assured tenancy for 1 year. It runs out at the end of May. Because I have been without heating now for 3 months and all the other repairs I just wondered if I could legally move out or do I have to wait until the end of the Lease. This seems unfair as the Landlord is getting the money without keeping hte property maintained.


They also have a deposit of £920 which I will need for any future property as a deposit.


Will I be able to offset the money that I have incurred due to additional heating costs because of their failure to repair the central heating. They supplied me with electric convector heaters but the house has very big rooms and this doesnt help at all. At one point I was living in my bedroom because I could keep warm there. I did have to block off the bigger room because of the draughts from the windows.


Thanks again


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Sorry to hear that things have still not be resolved for you. Did you write to them about the repairs and condition of property, and what was their response??


In respect to holding back rental, due to your expenses. We are sure that your contract would not permit you to do so. It would be prudent to seek compensation from your lanldord. You may want to draft a letter to them, outlining problems again and requesting if they an you X to cover the addiitonal costing involved in running 'space heaters'.


Suffice to say, check your contract immediately, in respect to break clauses, you may have to give two months notice, with it now being March, you dont want to miss 'window of opportunity ' to leave earlier.


The problem with the return of deposit, is if they try to hold you repsonsible for the condition of property. If the contract was drawn/renewed in May, the Lanldord would of be obliged to put this into one of the accredation schemes. They do have an atribution service in cases of dispute. But you would need to proove the property was in this conditions, ie; invenotry, letters passed between you.


By the sounds of it, the landlord doesnt seem interested in resolving these issues. It would be better to move into another property.





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  • 2 months later...

I am about to get into a huge row with my landlords - soon to be ex-landlords are I move out on 23rd!!!! To let you into the background. When I moved in the carpet in the big room and little lounge was filthy and the girl who had the place before had left her cat there on its own for so long it has started peeing in the corner because she never emptied the litter tray or let the poor thing out. They should have had this fixed before I moved in but nothing was done. I then waited 6 weeks (without being able to sort out my furniture!) for them to start the work. I asked them to have the floor sanded etc., because it would be harder wearing and they agreed to do this on the proviso that I renewed the carpet in the small lounge. At that point I thought I was going to be staying there for a while so agreed to do this. The work took 3 days and it cost me £300 for the carpet and the cushion floor in the bathroom because the carpet they had in there stank of urine. The floor sanding cost no more than laying a carpet would have cost them and they would have taken the cost out of the previous tenant's deposit anyway.


At the start of October I noticed that the heating wasnt working very well

so turned up the thermostat on the boiler. By November when the weather was getting really cold I advised them that the heating wasnt working properly and needed to be fixed. In addition, the coal fire was dangerous. I noticed that a cushion that I had in my fitted wardrobe was charred and it was coming through the wall from the coal fire. I informed them of this. It took 6 weeks for them to do anything. Effectively, during that time I had no proper heating at all apart from 2 electric oil fired panel

radiators and a convector heater. I dread to think what would have happened if I hadnt noticed that cushion. I could have been killed! At the end of January I received a £264 electricity bill and the oil tank had run out of oil because I was having to have the heating on for long periods due to the system being faulty. I wrote to them and told them that I was withholding £175 to help payfor the electricity bill but incurred a further £220 for 500 litres of oil. This only lasted a month!!!!! At the end of March the works were still not carried out and I advised them that I would not be renewing the lease and withheld another £175. Total £350 for 6 months without heat, a dangerous coal fire and leaking roof and dampness AND my inability to use 2 rooms of the house!!! They're quids in!!


Anyway, they sent somebody around to fix the heating and it was discovered that the heating system in the large extension room was different to that in the rest of the house. This had always been the case and they had had complaints from previous tenants about the lack of heating in the house. The guy ran another pipe to the heating and said it would be the best its ever going to be!!! So the Landlords took that as being fixed. I have since discovered that one of the radiators in the large

room is not heating up and the others are not too hot. That effectively means that the room will be cold, although not as cold as it was previously.


They have added a bit guttering to the roof at the back door but I noticed

there is now a big hole in the drainpipe so the water will start to run

down the walls when it is raining. They havent sorted out the cracks on the back wall, nor have they fixed the decoration and there is no sign that they are going to do this.


I have refused to pay the last month's rent and they have sent me a letter outlining the section of the lease that I am dishonouring. I am about to send them a letter back advising them that due to the fact that they have not kept the house wind and watertight, the coal fire risked my life and the heating didnt work throughout the winter, they are lucky I am only withholding the last month's rent and not suing them for compensation and the extra cost involved in trying in vain to heat the house during the winter months. Believe me, there were times when I was completely miserable and in tears due to being so cold!!!


Because I am in Scotland, I will be making a formal complaint to the Private Rented Housing Panel to force them to put a suitable heating system in the house and to carry out the repairs and making good the back wall and leak. I will also considering taking them to court for monies that I paid them to occupy a whole house when in fact I was unable to use 2 rooms due to them being uninhabitable because of no heating, leaking roofs and dampness.


I feel really upset that they have treated me like this and yet they feel they are entitled to rent money. They actually flouted 2 or 3 terms of the lease agreement and yet I still kept paying them. It was only when I was at the end of my tether and couldnt afford to pay for the rent, council tax, and the additional heating costs, that I started to withhold money and that wasnt even the total cost of what it was costing me.


Do you think what I am doing is right?


Thanks for any advice given.




I am in Scotland so obviously Scots Law applies

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I think what you are doing is totally right Gem. There are a large amount of rogue landlords out there. At least it is warming up now.


Also, check if you can get them under TDS and you could be quids in!

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Hi Waterbottle


Im in Scotland so the TDS does not apply. The Landlord will have to take me to court for the last months rent and I am happy to do this because of the conditions I have had to endure during the winter.


I want to put this behind me and move to my new house but I feel I have to do something to get the point across that you just can't treat people this way!!



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hi gemspan,


you sound like you have had a terrible time and would be right to sue your landlord for breach of contract and also complain that he has failed his legal health and safety obligations.


Now, if its the same in scotland as in england its actually illegal to withhold payment of your rent, no matter what the circumstances. I know this seems unfair, and it is, but if you have a case for court, the damages that you could be awarded might make up for any financial hardship you had to endure.


Might be of interest:

Landlords: Landlords have a legal duty to ensure the safety of tenants. This is regulated by several Acts of Parliament that impose a statutory duty on landlords with respect to electrical safety as follows:


gas isntallations should be inspected every 12 months and the tenant should be given a copy of the certificate (i think within 28 days). youshould check the safety inspections have been valid throughout your term of tenancy


also see this source: Housing in poor condition (Private Landlord)


best of luck to you, I hope things improve :)

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