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I viewed a 4 bedroom house on a warm day, all of the doors and windows were open when I arrived. I told the agent I wanted to go ahead with the tenancy, and all was agreed.

 

3 weeks later I collected the keys to the house. Upon entering the house, there was a musky smell, that I assumed was damp (the house had not been lived in for a while). However, in one of the upstairs bedrooms the stink was really bad - so bad that you couldn't stay in their! I called Service Master out to clean the carpet, and also the landing and stairs, the previous occupiers must have had a dog as the hall carpet stunk of 'dog'. On the landing there are 2 yellow stains that the cleaner could not remove.

 

In spite of this cleaning, after 3 weeks the smell in that bedroom is still just as bad. The hall is okay, unless you put your nose to the carpet, when you will be able to smell the dog.

 

The agent has sent 2 people from the estate agents out, they have both said that the room has a very strong smell. I have to keep the door shut and it's very embarrasing if I show anyone around.

 

The agents line is now becoming clear - they say that the landlord is probably unwilling to rectify this, saying that the "landlord had the whole house professionally cleaned prior to my moving in" (if he did he was totally ripped off) and he is accepting a lesser rent that he wanted (I did not negotiate this, I accepted the rent as it was offered).

 

I'm only 1 month into my 12 month tenency, any advice on how to respond?

 

Thank you

Lapchien

Edited by Lapchien66

Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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I would personally look at getting Environmental Health out (contact your council) who will be able to look into the smell for you.


Ex-Retail Manager who is happy to offer helpful advise in many consumer problems based on my retail experience. Any advise I do offer is my opinion and how I understand the law.

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blitz is right here

 

Plus, I'd let the Agent / Landlord know what you are intending to do and would be inviting both the Agent and Landlord to attend at the same time and see then if they can then deny the smell in front of others.

 

We have a dog, clean his bedding regularly, our house doesn't smell. Honest. For the room to have got that bad beggars belief.

 

Also, you've rented a 4 bedroom house and have ended up with a 3 bedroom house. Mention this too.

 

In addition, at the very least, seek the Agent's / Landlord's approval (in writing and in advance) to take up the carpets and underlay and have it all disposed of properly at the local tip. Document all of this in writing, including taking photo's where appropriate.

 

A new carpet and underlay can be bought relatively cheaply and, after all, you just want a carpeted room that doesn't stink. Not unreasonable.

 

Be prepared, however, to have notice served on you at the end of the term. :( Sorry, but reading other posts here, you'll see that some landlords will, later, respond in this way too.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I invited the agent and landlord to a meeting to discuss (and smell!) this issue, the landlord declined and said that he feels he has behaved reasonably by having the carpet cleaned prior to the tenancy.

 

I did read on one of the forums that bicarbonate of soda can remove doggie smells, I tried it and it worked - until the following day, when I went back in to the room and the stink has returned. Added to this the smell has gone into some of my clothes and bedding I have stored in a wardrobe in that room.

 

Not sure where to go next - I'm thinking of court action to:

 

  • lower the monthly rent to reflect a 3 bed house rather than the 4 bed I am paying for
  • cost of laundering the clothes and bedding

Any thoughts on this?

 

Thanks

Lapchien


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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You really do not want to commence legal proceedings against a landlord when you have a tenancy for another year. These things have a habit of getting all personal and bitter.

 

Try speaking to the landlord direct and say that you do not want to, but are considering leaving if nothing is done in the next few weeks. Depending on how he feels about losing you as a tenant and the difficulty in pursing you for the balance will dictate how helpful he is.


If I have been helpful please click on my star and add a comment.

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I read somewhere that I have a legal right to know the address of the landlord, the house is rented through a letting agency. Is that right? I've no problem with moving out sooner, I just need it sorted... The landlord has already told the agent that he wants 'them to deal with the matter as his agent'.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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the landlord declined and said that he feels he has behaved reasonably by having the carpet cleaned prior to the tenancy.

 

GuidoT is right, try to avoid Court action, especially so soon in to the new tenancy and over a matter such as this.

 

Problem that arises though is that this has happened so soon for you in to the tenancy.

 

If the landlord was really being reasonable and is relatively local to the property he should inspect either to a) disprove what you say or b) be able to decide what he needs to do next. He seems to have missed out on this, or is hoping the problem will go away. From what you say clearly the problem won't go away.

 

The smell is in the carpet, so at the very least you need to get approval to lift it, before the whole room reeks. From what you say it seems pretty well advanced already.

 

If you go the Agent is going to have to re-let and the next people living there are very likely to raise the same complaint, which is more aggravation for all.

 

Before you do anything more though and before can comment further what did the Agent say?

 

Did the Agent even attend?

 

 

 

PS Should have known it would happen. Our dog was, er, "ill" in the utility room the night before last. So far I have gone through a pack of flash wipes, febreze, a bottle of shake n'vac, and am currently using 1001 no vac carpet freshener.

 

The room is still not quite "right", even if the poor ol'mutt fortunately is now :rolleyes:


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I read somewhere that I have a legal right to know the address of the landlord, the house is rented through a letting agency. Is that right? I've no problem with moving out sooner, I just need it sorted... The landlord has already told the agent that he wants 'them to deal with the matter as his agent'.

 

You do, but most Agent's will, in the first instance, try to circumvent this by saying notices can be served on the NAME OF LANDLORD c/o the AGENT at the AGENT ADDRESS.

 

As I recall it you can write formally to Agent requesting the name and address and they are obliged to write to you within x number of days with the information. No-one ever did that to me, but I'll see if I can remember (ie google) which part of the Housing Act it is. It's an early clause, as I remember it.

 

As "The landlord has already told the agent that he wants 'them to deal with the matter as his agent'." then what did the Agent say when/if they inspected?


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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The main responses, by email from the agents over this, are:

 

We still haven’t heard back from the landlord regarding this issue. did report her findings to him. I emailed him yesterday and have tried calling today and yesterday but his phone is off. He may be away. I will let you know his response when I hear back but from previous conversations I can’t see that he will be willing to do anything further with this as he feels he had the whole house professionally cleaned out of good will before the tenancy was taken on.

 

And an email from the agents just yesterday:

 

I have managed to speak with the landlord today. Unfortunately he has declined the offer of a meeting as he would rather we as his managing agents deal with the issues on his behalf.

 

As discussed the landlord is not prepared to do anything further with the carpets as they were professionally cleaned prior to the commencement of the tenancy.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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As "The landlord has already told the agent that he wants 'them to deal with the matter as his agent'." then what did the Agent say when/if they inspected?

 

The rep from the agency told me that there was an overpowering smell in the whole property when she did the inventory. By the time she came to inspect I had already had the carpets cleaned, and just the 1 bedroom was left stinking. She agreed that there was a strong smell, making the room unusable, and that they would leave it for a week to see if it went away.

 

This inspection was carried out on 20th November, and I only have my written notes from the meeting - nothing signed or formally stated at that meeting.


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Will come back to you as soon as can on the Agent's reply.

 

I think, however, that it's going to initially be a case of getting them (on their Client's behalf) to at least agree that there is a problem and get the carpet up.

 

Do you have timber floors beneath? Or something else?

 

In the meantime it's Section 1 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985; tenants of dwellings in England & Wales, who make a written request to an Agent, have a right to the landlord's name and address.

 

The information must be supplied within 21 days. The legislation refers only to the landlord's name and address.

 

I would work on the Agent though; if they agree it stinks then it's irrelevant, to a degree, if it was professionally cleaned beforehand. Whatever was done didn't work.

 

Equally, if the Agent dealt with the previous tenancy (did they?) they may feel "uncomfortable" pursuing this as the landlord (reasonably!) may well ask them why they didn't tackle the previous tenant / previous tenant's deposit about this!


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Do you have timber floors beneath? Or something else?

 

 

There's floorboards, probably in quite a state - the room is the main bedroom, and it's on the first floor. The carpet is of quite good quality, with 'proper' underlay. If they were to replace it I would want them to do so with another of equal standard.

 

Equally, if the Agent dealt with the previous tenancy (did they?) they may feel "uncomfortable" pursuing this as the landlord (reasonably!) may well ask them why they didn't tackle the previous tenant / previous tenant's deposit about this!

 

The house was for sale for quite some time before I rented it - the landlord is a first time landlord and is only renting it because he could not sell it.

Edited by Lapchien66

Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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Let me give it some thought, if that's OK.

 

For now, hope it's OK to suggest the following:

 

- I have had cause to contact Environmental Health over the years to help deal with pet smells in managed buildings. They can be helpful in confirming that there is (of course!) a problem.

 

- Arguably, though, you need to keep the Agent on side, for now. If you go down the EH route, and I would be, I'd also be letting the Agent know, in advance, so that there are no surprises ie minimise grief for all.

 

- I'd only do so, however, after having "set it up" (and them and their Client) in writing first. And I mean "set up" in both senses :) A simple exchange of emails should be sufficient, of course.

 

- It occurs to me that you've already spent money on having Service Master clean the carpets too, which has only been partially successful. I think, if handled carefully, you may be able to recover some or all of that cost. No guarantees, of course, as I take it you did so without prior consent. I mean more to seek to recover costs, more as a lever to get what you need here. How much did you spend on Stair Master?

 

Have packed lunches to make now, so will check back in later.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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- It occurs to me that you've already spent money on having Service Master clean the carpets too, which has only been partially successful. I think, if handled carefully, you may be able to recover some or all of that cost. No guarantees, of course, as I take it you did so without prior consent. I mean more to seek to recover costs, more as a lever to get what you need here. How much did you spend on Service Master?

 

 

It was £125. The guy did say that he found it impossible to remove the smell from the room. Likewise he was unable to remove the 2 yellow stains from the landing (these were not noted on the inventory, only 'normal traffic').

 

I sleep in the loft conversion above the room. I've had to swat or spray a few dozen flies over the last 2 weeks, perhaps these are coming from that room below me? It's seems odd to have so many flies in December.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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Did you let the Agent know in advance that you were going to clean the carpets? If so, what was their response, if any?

 

Can you ventilate the smelly room at all? I know it's cold(ish) at the moment, but I tend to leave the windows open for a short while each day just to give the house a "blast through". Could you do the same, just as a temporary measure? It's not going to remove the problem though, of course.

 

Flies? Oh dear. I'm not a lawyer, I'm certainly not a bluebottle expert. Are the flies in any particular room?

 

There's nothing dead in one of the corners of the house is there? I'm only half joking. You say the house was empty for awhile, there could be a dead something somewhere. Sorry for sharing that with you at this hour, but worth a nosy about, perhaps, just to be sure.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Did you let the Agent know in advance that you were going to clean the carpets? If so, what was their response, if any?

I picked up the keys on a Friday afternoon, I couldn't even stay in the house until a few days later because of the smell. I had no time to let the agents know; I had the cleaners out on Saturday morning.

There's nothing dead in one of the corners of the house is there? I'm only half joking. You say the house was empty for awhile, there could be a dead something somewhere. Sorry for sharing that with you at this hour, but worth a nosy about, perhaps, just to be sure.

I've already thought about this, and also told the agents about it - no response from them.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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Three things, perhaps, that now need to happen

 

- email to Agent setting this all out, including

- a line to the effect that, in despair of your situation, you will be contacting EH and would they like to attend when EH inspect?

- and, before all of that, some extra info from you for the time being, if that's OK

 

First, then, does your AST have a break clause in your favour?

 

Also, what's your monthly rent, what deposit did you pay, and is the deposit protected? The AST should make reference to the same.

 

Do not let on to the Agent about this latter point, not for the moment.

 

(EDIT: What was the date your tenancy commenced? Can you post an edited copy here too, which removes all reference to names/addresses etc?)

Edited by NewSAHD
Extra line at end marked EDIT etc

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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First, though, does your AST have a break clause in your favour?

 

Also, what's your monthly rent, what deposit did you pay, and is the deposit protected? The AST should make reference to the same.

 

 

Not sure on the BC, will check it and let you know. I don't recall reading it though.

 

Monthly 795, deposit held with third party company, 895.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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ps - if you want to post your draft email for the Agent here first then more than happy to have a look through if you want, as will others, I'm sure.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I contacted the EH at the local council this afternoon, the 'as useless as a chocolate teapot' lady said that they could not do anything and it was down to the LL.

 

The house I've rented was u/f, moved here from the city centre where I had a f/f self contained apartment, and very nice it was. I've spent £5k furnishing the house.

 

All in all I'm not pleased. The LL seems v. unwilling to want to do anything, every time I contact the agents they say 'they have emailed the LL...' and I have to constantly (twice a day) ping the agents for a response.


Eyes opened and back in control of my life thanks to this site x

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