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Landlord harassment/repairs problems


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Hi all!

 

in 2017 I moved into a private rented house with my then partner. Not long after, my partner left and I began dealing with the landlord. At the time I was a 23 year old single mother, terrified of being made homeless.

 

The next month, I started getting messages from my landlord asking me to go out for drinks, telling me he fancied me, and requesting I send photos of myself. If I read and didnt reply, I’d promptly get a “x” or a phone call (all of which I declined). This went on for the space of a week until I sent a lengthy message explaining that I was not looking for any unprofessional relationship.

 

Since then, I have felt very uncomfortable being alone in the house with him for inspections/repairs. My mother has had similar messages informing her of how good she is looking (he has her number as she approached him about the empty house knowing that I was looking to move). 


Since I rejected his efforts, repairs have taken months to be completed. I was left for months over winter with an unreliable boiler and faulty radiators, my bathtub collapsed due to poor installation (whilst I was taking a bath) causing me to experienced worsened pain (related to hypermobility syndrome), and I have had a hole in my roof for 11 weeks now.

 

After four years of slow, sloppy repair efforts, no-shows for said repairs, and feeling genuinely uncomfortable and unsafe in my own home, I decided enough was enough and reported him to the council for general disrepair and lack of EICR testing. He has since visited, and said that due to me reporting him, he would be looking to serve notice. 


I am aware that he cannot do this for the next 6 months without it being classed as retaliatory eviction, and obviously I know that there is 4 months on a section 21 before homelessness is a threat. We are pending council inspection on the 22nd September. 


In the meantime, is there anything else I can be doing? (Moving isn’t a feasible option, I can just about afford the rent at the moment and have a poor credit rating thanks to endless problems with universal credit and student finance. As yet, the council will not accept me onto the housing list because I have this home). 
thanks in advance! 

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Hi.

 

I've moved your thread to our residential lettings forum.

 

I'll also edit in some paragraphs to your post to make it easier for the advisers to read. Please try to put some spacing into what you post next time. :)

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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It sounds like an extremely distressing situation.

Clearly you must keep copies of all messages which are sent and photographs.

Did you get this property through an agency? Frankly I would inform the agency and give them copies of everything that has been sent – although that will probably bring an end to any kind of relationship with the landlord – not that you want one.
Just because this person is not in your family doesn't mean that this isn't domestic abuse. It clearly is a form of domestic abuse and I would contact the abuse agencies and discuss with them and ask them for advice. I think I would also contact the police.

I think you definitely need to let some outside authorities know what is going on. Clearly you should be letting the council know as well.

In terms of any more immediate direct action – hopefully somebody else can come along and contribute. But I would certainly take steps to make sure that the police knew, abuse agencies, the estate agents from whom you got the property and also the council.

It seems to me that September is a long time to wait if the place is in bad condition. I think I would call the council and tell them that it is an emergency. I doubt that it's got an electrical safety certificate or smoke alarms or monoxide alarms – or anything.

Clearly you need to start looking around for a new home

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Hi,

it’s rented directly from the landlord, no agency involvement at all. I’ve kept a record of every message and photo sent as all dealings are via WhatsApp. 
 

The council advised me to contact the police, which I have done, pending a response from them. They haven’t been particularly interested in helping much aside from that, they’ve simply advised that he cannot evict us for 6 months as it would be retaliatory. 
 

No electrical safety certificate (switchboard installed October 2016), washing machine runs off of an extension lead, kitchen plugs are generally a bit iffy. No upstairs smoke alarm, no CO detector. Mentioned to him that the front door was difficult to shut and not particularly secure (rough neighbourhood makes one paranoid about security) and his solution was to paint it. 

council won’t come any sooner as they don’t see any immediate threat to mine or my family’s health or safety- and I do understand that other people are in housing far far worse than my own. 
 

unsure if I should press police charges and potentially inflame the situation further, or just let them know that I want it recorded and not followed up. 

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Hi

 

I agree with Bankfodder that you really need to start looking for somewhere else.

 

What this Landlord has done to both yourself and your mother is harassment and need to be reported to both the Council and the Police by both yourself and your mother

 

Couple of links on repairs:

 

WWW.GOV.UK

Private renting as a tenant - repairs, rent increases and arrears, settling disputes, deposits and your rights and responsibilities

 

 

WWW.CITIZENSADVICE.ORG.UK

Overview and content list for repairs in rented housing.

 

 

ENGLAND.SHELTER.ORG.UK

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home and should make sure it’s safe. Tenants are responsible for some minor repairs & any...

 

 

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Update! 
I’ve had a response from the police, and been referred to victim support. 
Before the police proceed any further, they want to contact the landlord. Owing to the threat of eviction and the fact it’s already an incredibly uncomfortable situation to be in, I really don’t want them to contact him. The council have also offered to liaise with him, but he is the sort of person that would consider such action as inflammatory. 
 

My partner and I have applied for a number of properties, as well as hospital staff accommodation, but the waiting list is a few months long, and there is a massive shortage of housing in the area. 
 

Any advice on what to do next? 

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