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faye93x

Landlord wanting me to give up my tenancy for extensive repairs. Help needed.

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Hi. I apologise in advance for the long post but I dont know what else to do.

 

Myself and my husband moved into our current rented property in July 2011. The flat is a converted house (3 flats and 1 retail shop) and our flat was a main room and a conservatory (this was used as a bedroom)

 

Everything was going well apart from our landlady always coming round and snooping round the outside of the building (looking through windows etc) which was a tad annoying.

 

We were told that we could not adjust the heating temparature (had to leave it on 18 all of the time) We noticed more when the winter was approaching that the flat was getting very very cold. As the heating was only on for 1 hour am and 1 hour pm, we had to invest in some oil electric heaters. They took the edge off especially since I have to get up for work at 6am and the heating did not come on until 8am!

 

We got a telephone call rom our landlady around Feb 2012 asking if we had changed our electric habits as she had a large bill in (rent includes electric) We stated to her that due to the winter we had to have these heaters. She was not happy about this but what could we do? Freeze in our own home? Even as I write this, I have a couple of layers on.

 

We noticed that the conservatory window was coming away from the walls and noticed a few other defects (alot of damp and black mould creeping up the walls) this mould has also ruined alot of our belongings over the time no matter where we put things. The windows in the conservatory were also warped letting through drafts.

 

When it came to renewing our tenancy this year, we pointed out all of the defects in the flat and asked for these to be repaired. 3 months on, we had no contact from the landlady at all.

 

My husband has major back surgery in August 2012 and has been off work for the last 12 months. Regardless the rent and bills have been paid by me.

 

One day it got to the point that my husband was in so much pain due to the cold that he investigated where the drafts were coming from in the bedroom. He pulled back some of the corner wallpaper and was horrified to see daylight! The conservatory wall was not actually fixed to the rest of the building. It was at this point we took lots of pictures and I called the landlady.

 

I advised her that the problem was getting worse and she needed to get someone out ASAP. She was very uninterested about doing this and asked me to arrange someone to have a look. So I did! A few days later, a conservatory repair specialist came out to have a look at the property and was horrified at the condition. The conservatory was not safe and he recommended that it was replaced as it was beyond repair.

 

I telephoned the landlady (from work where calls were recorded) and advised her of this. She was less than happy with what I was saying to her and almost disbeliving. As she was so non committal on the phone, I felt that I had no other choice but to call my local environmental health department. They were lovely and reassured me that I had done the right thing.

 

Later the same day, the landlady left a message on my home number (where she knew I was not at home) stating that she was coming round with her builder to "see what he says" the tone of the message was not only accusing but very patronising. I arranged to have the time off work to be at the property with my husband and I called the landlady back.

 

When I spoke to her to state that I had arranged the time off, she stated that I did not need to do that and as the property was hers and she would be paying any bill that I should not be concerned. I said that as I rent the property, I would like to be there (and also that I dont trust her as far as I could throw her) she responded with "well thats your choice" I was disgusted with her attiude then reminded her that as the landlady of the property it is her responsibility to maintain the property which she has not done. She then accused me of intimidating her as I was asking for the work to be done. I was not forceful, agressive or rude on the phone to her. (this is why I call her from work as all of the calls are recorded) She said that she was not continung to discuss with me and she put the phone down.

 

It was at this point that we moved our bed (or at least our mattress) into the living room so we now only have 1 room that we can use (even that is freezing)

 

When she arrived with her builder a couple of days later, she did not utter a word to me at all and only spoke to my husband. Her builder agreed that the conservatory needed replacing and had been built incorrectly with incorrect materials also. She did ask him if there was anyway to "just fix it" and he said no there wasnt (smart builder).

 

Environmental health arrived a couple of days after this and looked over the whole property. He was not impressed at the condition and went away to write his report. This came back just before my husband and I went on our belated honeymoon. This report was also forwarded to our landlady.

 

The environmental health report stated that the proerty sufferes from extreme cold, has been split without planning permission, she does not hold correct licences for a house of multiple occupancy (as it is now classed) The fire safety is not in place for other flats and no smoke alarms, the damp & dry rot is all over, the conservatory is unsafe, the heating should be controled by each flat and not set temp or times with other issues too. The landlady has also not held our deposit in a deposit guarantee scheme.

 

When we arrived home yesterday, we were greeted by a nice solicitors letter on behalf of the landlady. She has instructed them to contact us regarding the environmental health report and the repairs. The landlady would like us to terminating the existing lease voulentarrily with some form of compensation.

 

The finanical situation of myself and my husband is that I am the only wage earner, my husband is in receipt of ESA and is not going to be fit to go back to work for at least a further 3-6 months. The coldness is not helping his recovery at all. We cannot afford to move, we cannot afford another deposit, we cannot afford the removals costs either.

 

We have had to send my husbands son back to stay with his mother as it is too cold here for him also and we are on the council waiting list (very low down tho) Sending his son back was heartbreaking for both my husband and I.

 

Although we desperately need to get out of here, we just dont know what to do. If I were to give her the property back, what sort of compensation should I ask for? I have 8 months left on the tenancy @ £545.00 per month. All the other properties in the area are a min rental of £650 per month plus bills. All I can afford each month is £800 inc all bills. I am working all hours just to keep our heads above water (50 hours per week).

 

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated.

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hello. i am not sure what help or advice you need?

 

you either stay where you are (and suffer probably uninhabitable conditions) or move to a different property and spend more.

 

 

and another idea for you would be no win no fee personal injury claims as i am sure your husband has suffered additional injury due to the landlords negligence.

 

hopefully others will be able to give you some better advice! in the meantime, just keep your heaters on full blast!!!

Edited by ims21
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I'd just like to add... You say that you're on the council waiting list, but not progressing up it very much..

 

Slightly different circumstances... We were on the council waiting list. Lived in private rented accommodation, complained that back door was rotting and needed replacing as were window frames. We got a notice shortly after that they weren't renewing our lease. We advised the council that we were being kicked out and we progressed up that waiting list very quickly. By the time we were ready to leave our private rented accommodation we were offered a 3 bed semi with local authority housing - still happy here 12 years later.

 

I wish you the best of luck. I'd definitely consider visiting your council housing offices an explain the situation.

 

Regards

 

BM


It never rains but it pours...

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Definitely get yourself down to your local housing office! you have an environmental health officers report essentially saying that your home is unsafe - you should be moved up at least one band, if not more. if nothing else, most councils these days have a rent deposit bond scheme, where they pay your next deposit. there's a few other things that could be pertinent to your situation too, but I'm on my phone at the minute - i'll pop back later and update if nobody beats me to it!


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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As well as the council route, your are definetly due compensation and suggest you contact a solicitor to start this off and work out what you can claim.

As a first through of the dice ask them what they are prepared to offer you.

Also it may be worth contacting Shelter to see what advise they can can offer as they deal with this sort of thing frequently ( inadequate and defective property ).

Also if your deposit is not protected she broke the law and her solicitor may want to know that and it puts you in a very strong bargaining position.

You are entitled to your deposit back immediately. try that for starters or you can take her to court.

As It was not protected you can also sue for non- protection/non-notification under the new localism act ( difficult and expensive to claim ) but again you can use that, and the possibility of the court granting you up to 3x the deposit as compensation.

Good luck, looks like you should be ok in the end, may take a while though.

She will not be happy once the council have finished with her.

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your land lady cannot ask you to leave if she has not protected the deposit, she can only get you out through a court, but only after your tenancy has ended, but since you have 8 months left on your tenancy, you cant be asked to leave any sooner, if you accept your deposit back, she has more of a leg to stand on when your tenancy ends in getting you out, so if i was you, i would use the non protection of the deposit as a levaridge in getting her to do what you want and make the rooms right, or threaten to sue her for three times the depost plus your deposit back, plus sue for inconviniece, stress and affects to your health due to damp and cold, she if she speaks a different tune then, just for the record, she left it too late to go and protect your deposit now, she can protect it, but the law will still stand the same, ...., as for councils, some people on here are telling you to go to them, yes go to them, but they will only tell you they cant help until your are litrally being thrown out onto the streets just before baliffs arrive, so basically they will wait until your landlords gone to court to evict you , they want it to get to that stage before they accept you as a duty to house you.... it does not put your banding up automatically anymore, thing have changed a alot in regards to getting housed, due to a huge crisis of housing in the uk, I know all this because my daughters just been all through it with council, and I know all about the deposit side as had experiance of it too. fight back and good luck

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Janieski, the trouble is, and to the advantage of the tenenat, the council will take action against the LL as the property is not licensed as a HMO and does not comply, so the LL has to end the tenancys asap. hence the offer of compensation.

the tenant holds all the cards at the mo. and should be able to negotiate a good deal.

have to see how she responds.

Nobody as far as i am aware has succesfully used the new act to claim for non-protection, so expensive to got court on that one, but the threat may be enough at this stage.

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An update. Left last December almost £3k richer. Now in a much nicer place in a better area. AFAIK she has not rented it out yet or even attempted to repair the problem.

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An update. Left last December almost £3k richer. Now in a much nicer place in a better area. AFAIK she has not rented it out yet or even attempted to repair the problem.

Pleased to hear there was a good outcome and thanks for the update. Hopefully your husband is on the way to recovery.

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