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Sick from sewage. (Please help)

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327 views 1 replies latest reply: 10 August 2017

Hello all!

Myself and my partner moved into a new flat 4 weeks ago. On the first day of moving into the apartment me and my partner noticed a strong smell of sewage. While also noticing a problem with the plumbing in the flat (all plug hole gurgling toilet not flushing, water coming up from the bathroom drain, ect). We requested a plumber to come to the property within the first week. However no one came. 

Moving to the point. A few weeks later me no my partner felt ill. Stomach pains, dizzy, cough and so on. And the smell persisted. At this point me and my partner were sleeping on our living room floor while we waited for a new bed. (So 4 weeks total sleeping on the living room floor).

it was only until a few days ago, we woke up soaking wet. I lifted the carpet back to find there was a man hole cover overflowing with sewage and pumping a awful gas up. We were obviously alarmed and our landlord sent a plumber to unblock the the drain. The man hole cover was not sealed properly and apparently it did not have the right cover. 

We had to remain in the property for a few days with the sewage damp carpet. Eventually we felt so ill, I feared for my partners health and we went to a cheap hotel for a night. The next day we returned to the property to asses the situation. My partner had to call a ambulance as my breathing was bad and we were both so ill. The paramedics were furious we had still been in the property, and they called environmental control. Every one said we should not be in the apartment. Though our estate agent and landlord said it was fine. (I have a upper chest infection, sinus infection, belly problems and more, and so does my partner.) we are both on antibiotics. 

It was only until environmental control contacted our estate agent, did they start to do any thing. People came and removed our carpet, and they sent a cleaning team in, and some on to seal off the drain properly. Our landlord also agreed to put us in a hotel for a week (even though days later), but refuses to reimburse us the first day in the hotel. 

A few days later, on returning to the property to collect a few things, I noticed the Lino in the bathroom was strange. (And smell aweful again.) I lifted the Lino to only find another unsealed man hole, backed up with sewage. So again, some one came and drained the second man hole. Removed the black with mould Lino. Though no one has come to clean, and tomorrow some one is coming to put a new Lino in the bathroom without cleaning the area first.

i am so sorry for the long essay, though my question is : is this negligence? We were not made aware of these unsealed man holes in the property. Our landlord and estate agent say they to were not aware of the unsealed manholes. (Though the lease holder was aware). Me and my partner would not of moved into or signed a contract if we knew they were there, and would cause us to be ill. Is this negligence on the lease holders behalf? Could we take them to court for making us ill? Can we break our contract with them and request our deposit and first month rent back? 

Thank you for reading. We feel very stuck and would love some help. 

Thank you!

fraser and Olenka.

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Could we take them to court for making us ill? – Yes, it’s a critical responsibility of the landlord to ensure you live in a safe and secure home and that there are no health hazards of any type. You can claim compensation fairly easy with the use of a decent solicitor. 

Check our resources page, where we list a bunch of options for getting legal help. –


Also, keep calling Environmental Health each time there is a problem with the sewage. The way to go about this is to force your landlord to implement a permanent solution or get Environmental Health involved each time there is a problem. 

AST’s are typically hard to invalidate from the tenant’s side. Maybe your solicitor will have an idea, but there is hardly any legal standing to dissolve a tenancy (being the tenant) other than fraud and if Environmental Health condemns the property permanently. 

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