Landlord basher requests advice

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Landlord basher requests advice

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Landlord basher requests advice

As per title, I am looking for advice and yes I am a landlord basher so the irony of my post here is not lost on me. Perhaps when you read this you will understand. Landlord basher requests advice

I’m 12 days into a new tenancy. I’m in Northern Ireland, which I realise makes a difference.

So far I have found mildew (damp mold) on all the ceilings upstairs (freshly painted on viewing so not noticeable).

The garage I am paying for needs a new shutter door (so can’t be used as a garage) is in a dangerous condition.

Loose, broken and uneven kitchen flooring (hidden by mat on viewing).

Live wires behind free standing fridge (remains of old fridge wiring which was never disconnected – just left lying).

I wanted to clean and pulled the fridge out – luckily I was not on my hands and knees with water cleaning when the wire hit something causing a large spark and loud noise.

The oven was so dirty I called the chemical boys out to clean it so hadn’t used it. Oven door has broken hinges so stays open (hitting the floor) or closed. The hob is gas and has missing pieces (burner and igniter button).

I asked for a gas safety record and was ignored so using my intuition, decided not to use it until I knew it was safe.

I must be running out of lives now, because on Saturday night there was a gas leak from the cylinder installation. Cylinders outside the kitchen window were leaking in a crowded area while there were barbecues going on in the surrounding gardens. The help number on the tanks was so old that the number was dead. In a panic (first experience with household gas) I phoned a number on the gas safety site. When the engineer came out he was horrified – dismantled it and told me to contact the landlord and get it fixed asap. He asked if safety records existed.

The landlord has been aware of all this (apart from the gas leak which she heard about yesterday) for over a week. She has, in true landlord fashion, blamed it all on the previous tenants (sorry can’t help myself) but the issues are years old and previous tenants were only here 6 months. I did explain that I would have expected that any property be checked before a new tenancy but no, the landlord seemed to think that was a ridiculous suggestion as it was time consuming.

My landlord has said just today that all will be fixed, well the electrics and gas anyway.

What would you guys do for your tenant in these circumstances?

I do want reduced rent – I feel that I have not got the house I am paying for, that my life (and others) has been put at risk and I am furious about that. No cooking facilities for the past 12 days, no garage, no hot water for the first 10 days, the mold, the dodgy electrics and there is no gas certificate – never has been in years of renting. That, I think is a deliberate disregard of tenant safety.

So what would you guys class as a fair reduction to offer?

Thanks

Dee (Landlord Basher)



Comments

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Hello Dee "Landlord Basher"

Let's hope we can show you that GOOD landlords far outweigh the numbers of bad ones.

Good landlords hate bad landlords as much as good tenants hate bad landlords.

Bad tenants and bad landlords probably deserve each other!

I'm working on the basis that you are a good tenant who hates bad landlords, in which case, we are all on the same side here at Property118, right? That being the case, perhaps you might consider changing your title to bad landlord basher?

Now then .... phase one ....... call your local environmental health officer. He has the powers to order you landlord to get this work done.

Phase two - find a "no-win-no-fee" solicitor who will sue the landlord. As much as it pains you to do so you must continue to pay your rent.

Phase three - look up retaliatory eviction. Two Property118 readers called Roy and Tanya went through something very similar to you and their story and all advice given to them is well documented here at Property118. It's a long thread but you really ought to read it - see >>> http://www.property118.com/retaliatory-eviction-possibility-of-civil-litigation/42290/

I wish you good luck and keep posting.

I appreciate you are angry but don't lash out at the people who are trying to help you, otherwise your experience of forum Karma will be that you will be less likely to get the help and advice you deserve.

I'd like to think the embers of Property118 will convert you to being a supporter of The GOOD Landlords Campaign. By all means, continue to bash bad landlords, metaphorically only of course!
.

Neil Patterson

4 years ago

Hi Dee,

That sounds awful and the property is obviously not fit for purpose.

Can I ask out of curiosity how you came to rent the property as I am assuming from your story there is no agent and there was no viewing.

Have you paid a deposit and is it protected?

Lynne Davis

4 years ago

There WAS a viewing (Dee mentions a mat hiding damage to kitchen floor), but the things that Dee has discovered would probably have escaped her (his?) notice in a quick 15-minute whizz round the property, which is often all a prospective tenant will get. How many viewers check inside the oven and that the garage door works, never mind the wiring behind the fridge?

Mark gives good advice - call Environmental Health at the council straight away and ask them to inspect the property (they'll do a HHSRS inspection - or at least they would in England; not sure if it's the same in NI). Besides all the disrepair issues, failure to provide a Gas Safe certificate is a criminal offence, at least in England.

But don't withhold rent; you want to be able to show that you haven't bent the rules in any way. If there's an urgent repair that needs doing and the landlord isn't doing anything about it then you can get it done yourself and deduct the cost from the rent (tell the LL that you're doing this), providing the LL with any invoices involved.

Neil Patterson

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lynne Davis" at "17/06/2014 - 09:52":

Quite correct Lynn my mistake.

matchmade

4 years ago

Dear Dee,

You have my sympathies. I agree with most of what Mark suggests, though I'd hesitate to jump straight for the solicitor option: you are clearly dealing with a lackadaisical and ignorant landlord who does not realise the dangers her neglect is causing to you, and her own property. You need to get her to fix the faults and the gas cylinder situation, and I would negotiate about compensation, with the threat of legal action as a backup.

I would definitely call in the EHO, then write a letter to the landlady detailing your concerns, so you have something in writing. Send the letter recorded delivery so you have proof of postage. Keep the letter factual and objective and in keeping with what the EHO recommends (i.e. don't list every minor issue and don't rant). Also refer to any clauses in your tenancy agreement (I assume you have one) regarding the landlord's responsibilities as regards safety and maintenance, and comment that the landlord has a *legal* responsibility to provide a gas safety certificate and confirm the furnishings meet the 1988 Fire Safety regulations.

At the end of the letter say you also wish to request financial compensation - say a month's rent - for the lack of cooking and heating facilities, and the disruption caused (both in the past and looking forward to when the repair works are done). And add some wording that you wish to settle this matter amicably, because although you have been advised by Citizens' Advice (or the NI equivalent) that you could pursue legal action in the Small Claim's Court, you would hope to avoid the costs and potential animosity involved in taking this route.

In other words, you can show you have the option of using a large stick (EHO and legal action) to beat the landlady with if necessary, but you will probably get a better outcome if you also show that you recognise one or two of her difficulties (the bad previous tenants, for example), that you are reasonable and prepared to negotiate, whilst at the same time you are not a pushover and need the issues resolved, after which you intend to stay at the property for several years and hope you can all have an amicable relationship.

Of course, a visit to Citizens' Advice would be useful - take a draft letter, the EHO report if you have one, and your tenancy agreement with you.

As regards the mildew, this is probably due to insufficient ventilation in the house and will partly be due to the previous tenants' behaviour. We've had an extensive discussion about this recently on Property118 but I can't find the thread at the moment! You should ask the landlady to install at least one extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom, ideally with a humidistat so it comes on whenever the humidity is too high. This will be to her advantage as much as hers, as it protects the furnishings from damage and will save her the cost of redecoration.

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "17/06/2014 - 10:03":

Hi Tony

The recent discussion you are referring too is, I suspect, this one >>> http://www.property118.com/tenants-bathrooms/66405/
.

4 years ago

Hi Dee,

If I were you, I would hand in your notice and find somewhere else.

This is a typical example of a "rogue" landlord and the best way that these landlords are filtered out is not to give them any business!

You are a client of this landlord and you have paid for a safe and compliant home.

You are clearly not going to get it, judging by the landlord's attitude.

This landlord should not be allowed to rent out properties. If no one gave him/her any business, then she would go bust or sell up.

Tenants have the right to vote against bad/rogue landlords with their wallets.

It's pretty obvious to me that you are never going to get any joy with this landlord. Why suffer the hassle? Move on and find a more decent place with a landlord who provides a compliant and safe property and who deals with repairs and maintenance in a timely manner.

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "17/06/2014 - 10:33":

We must bear in mind that Dee is only 12 weeks into his/her contract which is highly likely to be at least 6 months in term.
.

matchmade

4 years ago

Hi Vanessa - unfortunately Dee is only 12 days into her tenancy so she is trapped there for five and a half more months, assuming she's on an AST. I think her only option is to negotiate with the landlady to be allowed to leave early.

a basher

4 years ago

Thank you 118 folk. Pleasantly surprised by your responses. I am now 13 days into a 12 month AST. There was an agent involved on a tenant find only basis. That said, the agents are still communicating with me and it has been them who have to date sent out the workman who found the electric issues (there are more than I mentioned but didn't want to write a book).

In NI LL's have 14 days to protect the deposit and 28 days to tell me where it is. I checked with 2 of the 3 schemes yesterday and it wasn't with them. The third scheme doesn't let you check, not online anyway. I will call them but LL has until tomorrow.

The main reason I won't just walk is that my dad is guarantor, any thing will stress him and he will just pay it. There are family health issues and I just couldn't do anything to cause him further stress. He doesn't know any of this.

We also have a new LL registration scheme but my LL is not registered.

I read Roy & Tanya's thread (well done) )and was struck by the solicitor who said that tenants always start off full of fight but run out of steam when the going gets tough. That makes his job harder. So if people like me just give up and move on, how will these types of LL's ever realise that this is not acceptable? If I leave this house will be back up for rent within days and it's not safe. That doesn't sit easy with me.

Housing Rights told me last week that I needed to give the LL reasonable time to fix everything before contacting EHO. They thought 2 weeks. I disagree and think that is too long but had decided to keep to it as they should know what they are talking about (I remain unconvinced).

I can't stop thinking about what could have happened with the LPG gas leak. That somebody could take chances with the lives of others has shocked me. This, for me is by the far the worst thing that I have experienced at the hands of a LL. I can't explain the feeling of fear, standing with a leaking cylinder listening to the neighboring kids, barbecues all around and I hadn't got the slightest idea what to do. It was awful.

I have communicated everything in writing and have made an effort to keep my tone considered and reasonable. In fact I have been very calm in all communication, I know ranting will not help.

What would be considered a reasonable amount of time to have the gas issues fixed and the cooker replaced (which is what I have been told by a registered engineer needs to happen)

Taking on board all comments and do genuinely appreciate the time you are all taking to help me.

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