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Long story! Gas safety and vermin and disrepair

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325 views 1 replies latest reply: 07 October 2015
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Tenant

hi all, any help appreciated here, we are tearing our hair out….

we rented a property since 2012 and in 2014 through a small agency was bought out by reeds rains… We had no say in this… Several months before the transfer we had a large wood pigeon fell down the chimney… We reported to the agents and they said would advise the landlord and come back to us… Nothing!! Chased up a number of times even offering to pay ourselves for a gas engineer to remove the bird and was told we weren’t allowed as it would have to be one of their approved contractors… Needless to say after 4 weeks of no calls back it all went quiet and over following weeks the house filled with stench of rotting, maggots and bluebottles coming out of fireplace….. We put complaint in. It it was just after the transfer to reeds rains… Reeds rains say nothing to do with them as it was under previous agent…. Bearing in mind we have had no new tenancy agreement and the only way they are collecting rent is from the previous agents tenancy agreement!!! Now here’s the real clanger… We then had an annual gas safety check done and the fire was Condemned for the reason the surround was not sealed to the wall and there was a gap all around between the surround and wall for carbon monoxide to escape into the room and got me to look myself, they also said it had been like that since install and was never sealed… The fire had been passed through two previous annual checks just before we moved in and the year after. We complained again just after reeds rains took over and in 16 months and being passed to different people still have had no reply. Fo a damages and disrepair claim can the current agents be held responsible, and for living I. Dangerous property are gas safety checks ultimately the property owner or letting agents to ensure done correctly.  

We we have also had other disrepair problems under old agent… No heating for a month and countless excuses for delays… Under new agent… Hot taps coming off In our hands 5 months after reporting and burning us, live halogen lights hanging down from ceiling with live wires in bathroom for months etc it’s not just an isolated incident.

we have now found somewhere else and given notice and now we have the upper hand we have withheld the last months rent to cover loss of earnings, costs in repairing things ourselves and they then wrote to a guarantor we had for the first 6 months and on seeing the guarantor form has been confirmed guarantor was only for initial tenancy period ( although as the amount dates, letting agent name and property name aren’t even on there it’s questionable whether that even stood).

any advice appreciated where can we go to bring whatever cowboy gas guy passed an safe fire twice and our rights re disrepair through a transferred tenancy to another agent.

thanks

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Administrator

Hello

Your tenancy agreement is with the landlord, not the agent. The agent is essentially just a middleman for the landlord. So, all the legal responsibilities remain with the landlord and your rights are against the landlord. The law also makes the landlord responsible for things like gas safety and deposit protection regardless of what the contract says.

To complain about the gas safety element you need to contact the Health and Safety Executive. They can compel a landlord to take action and can also fine them five figures. In terms of the inspection, if it was an official inspection then it must have been with a registered gas safe engineer? It might be worth finding that out because if it wasn’t you should mention that to the HSE too.

I’m a bit confused by where you are now – you’ve withheld the last month’s rent? And as a result the agents wrote to the guarantor asking the guarantor to pay it? Unfortunately, witholding your rent just puts you in breach of your tenancy agreement and the landlord might be able to take that payment from your deposit. I’m assuming there was a deposit and that it was protected with a deposit protection scheme? If so then when the agent tries to make any deductions from it you need to raise a dispute with the scheme and the landlord/agent will then have to prove the right to make deductions. That’s when you can mention everything else that has happened. I’m not a lawyer but I think you also have the option of making a claim against the landlord for breach of your tenancy agreement through the courts – to be successful at this you’d have to be able to show you had suffered loss (and/or stress) that would merit awarding you damages.

Perhaps the first step might be to contact the landlord directly, bypass the agent, and set out in a dated, signed later (of which you keep a copy) everything that has happened, including a timeline. Highlight how it has affected you, any loss you’ve suffered and then state what you want from the situation now. You can really ignore the agent as they’re just working on the landlord’s behalf, it’s the landlord who has legal responsibilities to you, the landlord who will get fined and the landlord that you can sue for damages. You have a legal right to the address of the landlord – the agent has to provide it to you within 21 days of you requesting it. It should also be on your tenancy.

Hope that helps.

Alex

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