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Flat unfit for living (and landlord claims no responsibility)

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710 views 1 replies latest reply: 14 September 2015

I have just started to rent a new place few days ago. Unfortunately there are numerous issues that we discovered on the first day we got access to the property. There’s no inventory check provided and we’ve only been told by the agent to go to their branch to collect the keys. 


One of these issues is related to all doors in the flat: None of them can close or open properly, looks like the doors have expanded. They either scratch the floor or are too large for their frames. All handles are very loose, including the entrance door, the bathroom doesn’t even have one, it’s just a hole! We have emailed the landlord concerning  these issues, surprisingly he said that the doors are meant to be designed like this, they were like this on the first day they were installed. (The landlord has lived there before we moved in, he said he doesn’t think it is a problem at all!)  

There is a suspicious assortment of pipes, most of which are open ended in many of the cupboards. It looks like it could have contained a boiler at one point. What really worries me as well is that we could see the paint on the inside of these cupboards was blistered and signed and we suspect that something may have caught fire but the landlord denies this and said it was checked

The light switch in the bathroom makes a crackling noise wwhich again, the landlord claimed was normal and said “all other flats in the building are like this…”

And aside from safety, the place is dirty and cluttered and he isn’t considering any of this his duty either.

The landlord has just basically written off any of our demands saying we should have checked this before we put down deposit/first month’s rent. He has claimed, “it is not our responsibility in any way” and seems to think our lack of observance mitigates his wrongdoings.

What should we do?

We know that this can’t be legal but what we are trying to ask is official legal sources (the likes of HSE.gov and gov.uk) that specifically make reference the problems outlined above.

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First, you could create your own inventory – here is a sample one. Email this once complete to the landlord/agent with photos of all the issues as proof. That will give you a dated record of the problems. Alternatively, you can pay an inventory clerk to come and do an inventory, which will give you a verified independent source.

Ask the landlord who checked the pipes and when. Ask him when the property last had an electricity check – this is not required every year but must be done often enough to ensure the property is safe. Have you had the gas safety check? That IS a legal requirement for when you move in.The HSE deals with both the gas and the electric issues.

As for the rest, unless it drops below an acceptable standard of repair then it’s hard to suggest a solution – even if it does you would potentially have to sue the landlord to get any ‘justice.’ However, it might be worth speaking to Citizens Advice as they can give you more information. If you think the property is a health hazard you can also go to the local council – more info here. If you want to take legal action against the landlord then try a Law Centre for advice. Make sure your deposit has been properly protected with one of the three schemes (this must be done within 30 days of you moving in and you should be notified of the details of the scheme). It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide you with the property as described in the tenancy – unfortunately there are many lazy landlords around who think this isn’t the case but you do have rights.


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