Water leak in leasehold building

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    Water leak in leasehold building

    My partner and I have recently become renters of a basement flat. We haven't yet moved in, end of the month. First visit to the property, no signs of any issues. Second visit and there is water damage to the chimney breast wall(which we pointed out, the landlord didn't seem to want to mention it) Landlord said it's possibly coming from a hole in the roof and we have had significant amount of rain recently. Wall was damp and cold to the touch But we were assured that it dries up(?)
    Top floor flat is the leaseholder for the whole building, flat above us is with a different landlord. Apparently plans to fix the roof last year were curbed due to landlord of middle flat saying he didn't have the money and his tenant is happy, no leaks or damage to property.
    Where do we stand as renters? can we approach the leaseholder ourselves if the situation gets worse?
    Can anyone suggest anything please?
    We have already paid deposit and given notice to our current landlord, we can't back out now.

    Your contract is with the landlord of your flat, not the freeholder for the building. The landlord is responsible for any necessary repairs.

    This might help:


      Originally posted by HazeltonLane View Post
      The landlord is responsible for any necessary repairs.
      Not exactly.
      The landlord of a rented property is responsible for ensuring that the property that he/she is renting out is properly maintained to a suitable standard, but when the landlord is renting out a leasehold property it will usually be the freeholder of the building who is responsible for any repairs to the structure of the building.

      In this case, if the problem is a leaking roof (or something else that the freeholder is responsible for) the landlord of the basement flat is realistically likely to be unable to arrange the necessary repairs themselves.
      Instead what needs to happen is the following:

      1. The landlord needs to be repeatedly reminding the freeholder that repair of the roof is their responsibility, and that the fact that the landlord of the middle flat says that they don't have the money is not an excuse for not getting the work done. The freeholder needs to find the money for the necessary repairs, and then take whatever action is necessary to recover the share the middle leaseholder owes.
      2. Your landlord should acknowledge that it is not reasonable for him to be renting out a flat that he knows has a problem with water ingress due to a leaking roof at full market rent (especially when he doesn't know when the roof repairs might go ahead), and should agree a reduction in rent with you until repairs have been completed, or (if the leak is so bad that the property is uninhabitable) should pay to have you housed in equivalent accommodation elsewhere.
      They should tell the freeholder that they will be charging any losses that result from the freeholders failure to repair the roof to the freeholder.

      The problem is, that your landlord may not wish to push the freeholder to make them fulfil their responsibilities, definitely won't want to lower your rent for any reason, and may treat any complaints from you as a reason to end the tenancy as quickly as possible.

      If I was you, and was unable to pull out of the contract and find a property elsewhere, I would make it clear to the landlord (in writing - with a copy of the letter and evidence of receipt by the landlord kept) that, because you were not aware of this issue before you agreed to rent the property, you will expect the landlord to take whatever action is necessary to get the problem corrected quickly, that you will expect them to fully compensate you for any damage to your property that occurs as a result of this leak (you would be expected to take action yourself to minimise damage, such as not storing items that can easily be damaged by water close to the affected part of the property), and that you will expect a reduction in rent until the necessary work has been carried out.
      I would also start looking for a new property to move into as soon as possible (depending on how long you are contracted to remain in this property for).
      After you have moved in (assuming that you do still move in) keep a record of everything that you think is associated with the leak, including photographic/video evidence if possible, and inform your landlord, or their managing agent, if there are more than minor consequences.

      Good luck!


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