Invoice dilemma

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    Invoice dilemma

    Hi guys,

    I am hoping this is the correct place to post this.

    I am currently a tenant who is 8 months in to my year tenancy. In September (17/09/2020) I had to report to my letting agency about mould that was growing in my bedroom. Since I first reported it, it got progressively worse.

    Both me and my partner have had the windows open and had the heating on here and there (not at the same time obviously). I at one point tried to clean some of the mould but it just kept spreading and cleaning it made me very wheezy.

    I reached out to my agency again and made it clear to them that I have asthma and this was affecting my health. To this I had a reply in regards to building management is arranging someone to come and have a look. No mention about my health at all.

    52 days after reporting this incident someone has come and have a look (08/11/2020). They’ve told us that it’s just condensation so it’s reversible. However the heating systems we have aren’t the best.
    It was made very clear to us that we’ve done all we can and that there’s not much more we can do.

    Sometime has passed and on 23/11/2020 I received an email from the letting agency stating the invoice is chargeable to us for £200.

    Please keep the following in mind:

    - We were never told we were at risk of being charged. This was never mentioned to us. We were never told there might be a fee, only that someone is coming to have a look at the problem.

    - There has still been no communication from the letting agency in regards to getting this fixed, even though I mentioned my health issues. Isn’t this failure to duty of care from the landlord?

    - It has also taken over a month to have someone come out and look at this. 52 days since it was reported. I was never given a timescale of when I could expect someone to come and look, just me chasing it. (These guys took 3 months of chasing for one lightbulb which I had to fix myself).

    - The invoice is made out to my landlord on the official invoice, not us. Is there not and legality that he can’t pass this on to us? I feel like he’s just trying to abuse the fact this is our first property and that we’ve never done this before.

    Are we responsible for the invoice? Or is it down to the landlord to pay?

    Any and all help is appreciated




    #2
    If your names not on invoice it's not you who has to pay, but in the future the landlord may try and pass the invoice on either by getting it taken out of deposit or court, I would speak to the landlord as he may be unaware of the situation.

    Comment


      #3
      Does your tenancy agreement say anything about paying professional fees? If it does, please quote the clause in full,

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
        Does your tenancy agreement say anything about paying professional fees? If it does, please quote the clause in full,
        No such things are stated in my AST. Just the usual paying for utilities that we use.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jase222 View Post
          If your names not on invoice it's not you who has to pay, but in the future the landlord may try and pass the invoice on either by getting it taken out of deposit or court, I would speak to the landlord as he may be unaware of the situation.
          So I can refuse to pay for it? They’ve given no reason as to why it’s us that have to pay. The verdict of the visit is that the bedroom is suffering from very high condensation. And they believe that’s a good enough reason to charge us?

          Comment


            #6
            Mould is a problem in a lot of homes.
            Heating won't really help, you need to reduce the humidity in the room, there's obviously a cold spot where the condensation happens and that causes mould to form.

            I'd get a dehumidifier.

            The invoice is for the call out which wasn't necessary, and the landlord is probably entitled to recover the cost from you as the cost was incurred at your request.
            However, the sensible thing to do was to advise you ahead of time that, if it turned out that the mould was related to your lifestyle, that the cost would be passed on to you - that way you may have chosen to engage someone else.

            It's also worth noting that damp companies almost always charge a lot for this kind of visit, because they are almost always a waste of their time and almost never lead to any actual work for them.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              Mould is a problem in a lot of homes.
              Heating won't really help, you need to reduce the humidity in the room, there's obviously a cold spot where the condensation happens and that causes mould to form.

              I'd get a dehumidifier.

              The invoice is for the call out which wasn't necessary, and the landlord is probably entitled to recover the cost from you as the cost was incurred at your request.
              However, the sensible thing to do was to advise you ahead of time that, if it turned out that the mould was related to your lifestyle, that the cost would be passed on to you - that way you may have chosen to engage someone else.

              It's also worth noting that damp companies almost always charge a lot for this kind of visit, because they are almost always a waste of their time and almost never lead to any actual work for them.
              Okay thank you.
              However, I never requested someone to come out, I just reported it to my letting agency. They decided to get someone out.

              Comment


                #8
                This is something I’ve experienced as a landlord – the first tenant in our flat complained endlessly about mould and mildew and we ended up redecorating the whole flat and trying all sorts of things to fix it. It turned out it was caused by the way she was living in the flat, and we probably shouldn’t have done what we did and incurred the costs we did.

                The next two sets of tenants had no issues at all, but the one after that had mould and when we visited he was growing lots of houseplants, had fabric hangings on the wall – lots of thing to create and trap moisture, not ventilating when cooking, after showering, etc.

                It is a difficult area – almost always caused by the way people live, but can be exacerbated by the type of building. It seems very common, especially when people first have their own place – until it happens to you, you don’t necessarily understand about it.

                I can see both sides – the landlord has incurred a cost through no fault of theirs, but it isn’t very fair at all to pass it on without flagging that up, and could it not have been determined by a quick visit from the managing agent, who must see things like this all the time?

                Agree about a dehumidifier, and also looking at creating less moisture if you can. Not sure what can be done about the invoice at this stage.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by RMasterss View Post
                  However, I never requested someone to come out, I just reported it to my letting agency. They decided to get someone out.
                  What did you expect to happen when you reported it and chased the agency?

                  However, that is a reasonable point to make in opposition to paying the invoice.

                  And what if the call out charge had been a thousand pounds, would they expect you to have simply paid that?
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bethy View Post
                    This is something I’ve experienced as a landlord – the first tenant in our flat complained endlessly about mould and mildew and we ended up redecorating the whole flat and trying all sorts of things to fix it. It turned out it was caused by the way she was living in the flat, and we probably shouldn’t have done what we did and incurred the costs we did.

                    The next two sets of tenants had no issues at all, but the one after that had mould and when we visited he was growing lots of houseplants, had fabric hangings on the wall – lots of thing to create and trap moisture, not ventilating when cooking, after showering, etc.

                    It is a difficult area – almost always caused by the way people live, but can be exacerbated by the type of building. It seems very common, especially when people first have their own place – until it happens to you, you don’t necessarily understand about it.

                    I can see both sides – the landlord has incurred a cost through no fault of theirs, but it isn’t very fair at all to pass it on without flagging that up, and could it not have been determined by a quick visit from the managing agent, who must see things like this all the time?

                    Agree about a dehumidifier, and also looking at creating less moisture if you can. Not sure what can be done about the invoice at this stage.
                    The only room that doesn’t have ventilation is the bedroom. We try to have the window open for at least two hours a day. One hour in the morning and an hour in the night. All other rooms have extractors/ventilation.

                    The window still generates condensation even when the windows are open. The readings on the walls were 55%+ on all of them, some walls had 65%+.

                    I’m happy to get a dehumidifier. But I’m not entirely happy about paying the £200 invoice. If I was warned about the sort of cost it could be, I would’ve opposed and sorted it myself.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                      What did you expect to happen when you reported it and chased the agency?

                      However, that is a reasonable point to make in opposition to paying the invoice.

                      And what if the call out charge had been a thousand pounds, would they expect you to have simply paid that?
                      I anticipated someone would come and look to see what the issue is. I should’ve mentioned that myself and the agency were both under the understanding it was a leak from the flat above.

                      Surely I should’ve been told that I could be subject to paying the invoice before some had even came out?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes, don't pay.

                        Mould can be nasty. I consider myself relatively fit, pensioner as it happens. Used to do a lot of hill walking (scotland, 3000ft+, ie serious uphill drags, big lung usage). Had two occasions that mould was in my (I own) rented different houses. Causes obviously fixed (in one case leak under bath with mushrooms growing on timber underfloor, other tenant was living with all windows and doors shut, heating off (due to cost) , family wearing coats/jumpers, hats indoors) ASAP but then needed to dry out places (de-humidifier, get one) then clean (bleach solution or propriety spray), the re-paint which I was doing myself.

                        In both cases I also became wheezy, found walking up fairly gentle slopes very difficult. Took weeks at least to get over it.

                        So, I'm entirely medically unqualified but I'd recommend you move out if you can today and go see doctor. Best wishes
                        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          How do you dry your washing?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                            How do you dry your washing?
                            We air dry our washing in the living room with the windows open. Living room door is closed when we do this.

                            I understand this could cause mould, but as it’s not done in the bedroom I don’t see how. But I get your logic.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I was shocked by the amount of mould my tenants had managed to grow in my house, and it’s location. It was even growing at the top of the (fully internal) staircase walls. Having lived in this property for more than a decade, I knew it could be prone to growing mould in certain areas (colder areas, bathroom walls) IF humidity wasn’t controlled.

                              I had the mould scrubbed off and over painted with mould resistant paint, and also provided the tenants with two dehumidifiers so they wouldn’t run into the same problem again. (The letting agent also provided them with a booklet on how to not get mould problems).

                              Next inspection, and they were again having issues with mould. “Are you using the dehumidifiers?”
                              “Yes - we switch them on for 20 minutes a day!” 🤦‍♂️

                              Dehumidifiers are great, if you use them. They work like a fridge- I’m not sure if they’d expect their fridge to work well if they only had that on for 20 minutes a day!

                              Comment

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