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Landlord taking a very long time to repair

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638 views 1 replies latest reply: 05 August 2015

Right, so ive been living in a private rented property for 3 months now with my 1 year old son. All looked great when we came to view and it didnt take me long to choose if i wanted the property. Since then there has been a few problems, there was a leak from a pipe in my sons room that had been going on from before my landlord had even bought the property and now half the bedroom carpet (that i paid to have put down so my son could play in there) has had to be lifted so they could get to the floorboards which have also been ripped up. It has been like this for around 5 weeks now the whole bedroom is a mess and my son has to sleep with me as ive been told off builders who have come to look at it the room is not safe as floorboards are crumbling. My landlord keeps telling me she is sending someone to sort it but they never turn up and its a never ending job. To top this off ive now been told the kitchen ceiling is going to have to be ripped off cos all the joists have rotted and they need to replace them. I feel so upset about all this i wanted to move to a nicer house for my son and now all this. Also my landlord knows im a single struggling mum and has not offered discount or anything from rent when im basically living in a 1 bedroom house. She just says she is going to send someone round to fix it they dont turn up. Im just wondering where i stand in all this? My tenancy agreement is not up while November but as much as i dont want to move again, what would happen if i left and took another property? 

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Hi Leonie

It’s a difficult one because you’re legally contracted to pay rent until November. The only way you could potentially get out of that was if the landlord agreed to let you leave (in writing) or possibly if the landlord was in breach of contract, voiding your obligations to pay rent. The problem is establishing whether there is a big enough breach of contract for you to be able to leave – normally you’d have to go through the process of leaving, being chased by the landlord, going to court and having the courts decide.

If the property is in serious disrepair or a health and safety hazard then this considerably strengthens your negotiating position. You could call the local environmental health department, for example, and they may have the option to compel the landlord to take action.

The best approach is to put your issues in writing in a dated letter that sets out all the issues, when they’ve occurred and how long you’ve put up with them. You should also set out what you want: so a discount that reflects one completely unusable room, and some account for the hassle it has caused you. It’s also a good idea to give the landlady a reasonable time in which to fix things, bearing in mind how much time she has already had. Finish the letter by saying that if she doesn’t take action as you’ve asked her to then you’ll be forced to speak to the environmental health people/consult a solicitor. You could also offer her the option of allowing you to surrender the contract and leave soon, given the state of disrepair.

I’m not a lawyer but I do know that this kind of correspondence a) shows the landlord you’re serious and b) shows any court in future the timeline of what has happened and that you’ve tried to take action.

Hope that helps.


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