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Hi all,

 

I've read quite a few posts on this site and I'm fairly sure I should be entitled to some compensation. Though I'm not sure how much and I'm not sure how to proceed.

 

I moved into a new 'Luxury apartment' four months ago and there have been quite a few problems that have caused inconvenience to me and fall below the standards I would expect for my £380 a week. I generally phoned in the first instance and followed up with an email - I have a record of about 30 emails over the four month period.

 

The problems were;

 

1. Heating - The heating only worked for one day in the first three weeks. Engineers did come round several times in this period but were unable to resolve the problem. When I moved in there were parts to the boiler and circuit board (under-floor heating controlled in each room) on the floor, so the problem was known. I was supplied with electric heaters but not until the final week – and one of them sparked when I unplugged it and I found it had an out of date electrical safety certificate.

2. Disturbance - There is a frequent problem with door locks banging throughout the night. In these instances I have to phone the concierge to get them to come and close the door properly but they can take a while to get there and it can restart as soon as someone else leaves the building. This is really annoying if it’s 3 in the morning… This has probably occurred on at least twenty occasions since I’ve lived in the apartment. The management office say that the buildings people (can’t remember the phrase) are responsible and they haven’t yet found a solution.

3. Unauthorised entry – I came home one day to find the alarm going off and a letter on my table saying that an inspection had been carried out. I was given no notice of this entry to the property.

4. Security – the door locks that cause the disturbance are external doors so there is often no security to the block.

5. Poor service – The management office frequently simply ignored my emails and didn’t respond to my concerns. Particularly with regard to the door locks but also for some lesser details.

 

Ultimately I believe I can only really take this issue up with the landlord though it is arguably the management office that has failed in their duties. Is that correct?

 

I know that legally some of these points might be worth little – for example the poor service received but if I’m paying for luxury apartments surely they have to deliver?

 

After two months of making no progress with the management office I wrote directly to the landlord detailing all of these issues and stating that I felt I was entitled to compensation. I recently had a response saying they will not be paying any compensation. I would appreciate any advice on what my next step could be and what you think my chances are.

 

Thanks for any advice / thoughts.

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I suspect you are not entitled to any compensation for these issues, frustrating as they are to you.

 

Write a letter to your LL asking him to contact building management to address the various issues. If nothing in subsequently done, your only option is to leave at the end of your tenancy.

 

Write to the letting agents making it clear than in no future instances will access be allowed to the apartment without your written agreement to at least 24 hours prior notice. Im not sure how easy it will be for you to change locks in an apartment (if they are the fob entry type like mine) to enforce this.

 

If its a very new block then there will be teething troubles which should ultimatley be sorted. Are you aware of any other tenants complaining/worried about the situation?

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Thanks for the reply Planner. I thought that the heating not working would be reason for compensation on its own. Surely I have a right to expect heating in a rental property.

 

I don't believe that I should have to accept excuses for teething troubles that might be unacceptable in an older property - if the apartment isn't fit for living in it shouldn't be rented out until it is. It was quite cold over this period, reaching

 

I was told by the concierge that many residents had had problems with their heating when they moved in and I know that many people have been in contact about the banging doors.

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Compensation can be claimed for actual losses - In this case what is your actual loss? With something like two weeks without heating, its going to be quite a minimal amout - how much do you think?

 

Now that you have been asked for compensation and been told no, your only option is to press further or resort to small claims court for what you think your loss is.

 

In terms of the other issues, I again cant see how they are compensatable is your LL is not willing to do so.

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I admit that I have little grasp of what is legally enforceable, but it really gets to me that something can be far below the standards advertised and cause a great deal of discomfort and there is little I can do to force the landlord to face up to their responsibilities.

 

I have seen quite a lot of postings here and elsewhere that suggest a proportion of the rent is often refunded over the period that the heating does not work. If it went to small claims could I not try to claim reasonable compensation?

 

The disturbance from the doors is also something that should have been permanently fixed long before now. It only continues to be a problem becuase there is not enough pressure on the management office to sort it out. A disturbance like this does prevent a tennant from enjoying the property in peace and as such is a breach of contract isn't it?

 

If you feel forced to move out by the property not living up to the standards it is supposed to, would it not be reasonable to additionally claim one set of reference/agency fees? - these are costs incurred purely becuase the property is not up to the specifications it was leased under.

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The wheels of justice turn slow. As planner suggests, the compensation for the loss of heating is likely small to nothing if it happened in spring/summer particularly if the landlord can show he was doing something about it (even if inadequate).

 

I would imagine that the banging doors are not directly the LL responsibility. Your best bet might be to prompt some joint action between flat owners and tenants to put pressure on the management company.

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