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Structural repair to rented house - our rights?

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Hello all,


3 months ago there was a fire in our next door neighbours house and it more or less gutted the place. Our house next door - rented through a letting agency was engulfed in smoke but thankfully they managed to stop the actual fire spreading into ours. We had to move out of the house for almost 7 weeks while everything was restored and our contents treated and cleaned, etc.


We've been living back there for about 5/6 weeks now. There is a huge scaffolding spread over our neighbours house and it goes halfway onto our 'site' as well - we walk under it to get into our door. We don't really have a major problem with this althought it is a bit of a nuisance.


However, yesterday the surveyor, builder and others from next door met up to examine the structure of the place and in particular the 'party wall' - the wall which both our house and the burnt house share. It turns out that the wall is pretty much destroyed right up to our plaster - they said they were amazed it hadn't come through. They have now said that they will need to knock down parts of this wall and rebuild - essentially leaving a massive hole between the two properties. They have said it will take 'at least two weeks' and that we couldn't live there while they do it.



We have had a pretty rough ride in the past few months with all this upheaval and to make matters worse I am just starting writing my dissertation for my Masters degree that I need to complete by the end of February. If we move into temporary accomodation again, we'll have no internet access which is a massive obstacle when doing my work.


We are currenly looking for a house to buy and would prefer not to move out altoghether as we would then be tied down to a new rental agreement for at least 6 months. We are now on a rolling contract.


Does anyone have any advice on where we stand legally with all this - if we do decide to move out and cut our losses, do we still have to give notice int he same manner as stipulated in the tenancy agreement or can we terminate the contract on the basis of (albeit temporary) eviction?


As we would ideally prefer to avoid the above - do we have grounds for getting some from of compensation for all this - any advice on how to approach this e.g. reducaed rent for a period, cover for our bills while we are not there etc. We didn't get any compensation for the previous 6/7 weeks we were out but I think we have been reasonable and understanding up to now.


Thanks for any advice folks, it would be much appreciated.

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Guest Old_andrew2018

Bumping your thread

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It sounds as if you have been more than reasonable. You should certainly not have to have paid rent whilst not in residence and should reasonably expect some compensation towards bills such as council tax etc. I would have thought that any costs to the landlord could be claimed against the insurance of the house next door.


I think that if you wish to leave, your best move would be to contact the Environmental Health department at your local council who, I suspect, would consider a large hole in the wall would make the property uninhabitable!! Once they have declared it uninhabitable you can leave. You cannot just walk out on your contract though. Since your tenancy is now periodic, you only have to give one month's notice anyway.


However, if this is not what you want to do, you will need to put together some sort of package of compensation which you feel will satisfy you, and will then have to negotiate this with your landlord.


Personally, I would be inclined to look for somewhere else - and you should be able to move your phone and broadband with you.


Sounds as if you have had a difficult time. | hope you are able to sort it out to your satisfaction.

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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