Ongoing Maintenance | The Tenants' Voice
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Ongoing Maintenance

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742 views 1 replies latest reply: 20 January 2015


mo need some advice regarding some maintenance issues. I have been in this property since March 2013, and the property is managed on behalf of the landlord by a local Rental Agency as the landlord lives in England and we are in Scotland. When we took tech lease on, the previous tenants had been asked to leave due to various ongoing issues. We were actually urgently requiring entry, so there was quite a quick turnaround, and as such no maintenance was carried out after previous tenants left and us moving in. The landlord had instructed via the agency for the painter & decorator to come and carry out a quote to have the lounge, kitchen and back summer room, for a refresh. And poss a bit in the bathroom, that had had damp issues. The painter came and quoted and price submitted, and after a month or so, I made contact with the agency regarding update, as I had wanted to freshen the bedrooms for myself and children. I was continually told that the landlord hadn’t come back to them but they would pursue It. Time rumbled on and 2 6 monthly inspections later it was now looking unlikely that this decoration was going to be done. During this period, however there was an incident that the kitchen ceiling one afternoon fell through and IT was discoveres that the bathroom had had  longterm water leak that had been going manifesting and had eventually fallen through. After about 6 weeks the repair to the bathroom was carried out but the kitchen ceiling not. Another 8 months passed before that was sorted. To date the internal decoration still remains not completed despite having recorded my concerns again at the last inspection in November 2014. Another point that has to be made is that many of the windows in the property suffer from varying degrees of condensation, and many of the windows are cloudy due to the condensation being trapped in the double glazing. I have never mentioned this to the agency, as till now it has not posed any issues other that looking unsightly, but now the 3 bedroom windows suffer from excessive water on the inside of the windows every morning and it has to be wiped down daily. My daughters room also has black damp marks on the wood work, so Last week I contacted the agency to advise if there was anything that could be done. I was told in response that there was nothing that could be done, as it was likely that it was being caused by ourselves, a perhaps due to not heating property sufficiently or during clothes on radiators. I was also told that I should be aware that I should continue to wipe and clean windows daily but must be aware I must not damage woodwork. I was angry at this so responded by asking that at the next inspection the windows be looked at sling with the exterior of property as the Facias are all cracked and wood work has clearly not been upgraded for several years, and it was possible that this could be a contributing factor to the ongoing condensation problems. I received a letter yesterday from the agency which contained a list of guidelines that I should follow in order to eliminate the condensation problems, and within this was advised that any damage caused to the windows would ultimately render my deposit from being returned. My gripe now lies with the fact that I am being ridiculed by the agency, regarding my apparent inability to respond to my tenants requirements, when the landlord doesn’t seem to be abiding by hers. Would welcome some advice on handling these issues. 

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Hi Carrie

Unfortunately this is most likely always going to be the way some agents respond. However, the law makes your landlord responsible for the exterior and structure of the property, including the windows. It might be an idea to try and take some photos of damage you think might be causing the damp so that you have proof that it could be a structural issue. There some info here on damp and condensation and who should deal with it. We also reported a while ago on why letting agents shouldn’t ignore these types of issues, which you might find useful (here).

With the redecorating this is difficult as you can normally only force the issue of repairs or a property in a serious state. Have a look at your tenancy and see what it says about redecorating. You can also ask the Citizens Advice Bureau or you could insist that redecoration is made a condition to signing any new tenancy (get it in writing though or it might be conveniently forgotten).

In terms of your deposit it isn’t the landlord or the agent who will determine whether or not any of it is retained to cover damage from condensation but the tenancy deposit scheme that is safe guarding your deposit (check to make sure that it IS being held by a tenancy deposit scheme). If the landlord tried to claim for this then the scheme’s dispute resolution service would ask both of you to provide evidence as to why you feel the other party should cover the cost (which is why I think you should take photos of any structural issues). The dispute service would then decide whether it was reasonable for the landlord to retain part of the deposit – and how much. Letting agents often act like they get to decide what is deducted but they don’t.

There are unfortunately letting agents that make us all angry – that’s one of the reasons this site was started, to expose disrespectful and unprofessional behaviour.  It’s a common tactic to try and make you feel small in a situation like this but that’s all it is. It might be better to just not engage in this instance if you can – you know that you’re meeting your tenancy obligations, collect evidence of the situation and be comforted by the fact that no one can take anything from your deposit without it going through an objective third party first. 


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