Just moved in but there's mould, wood rot, and cockroaches

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  • Just moved in but there's mould, wood rot, and cockroaches

    Hello,
    I have just moved in to a Victorian terrace property and have discovered that I am infested with mould, wood rot (multiple infestation of wood lice - vaccuming up about 30 - 40 daily) and some other type of nasty roach living in the bedroom baseboards swarming up walls and droppping on me from the ceilings at night. Have spent a horrifyingg weekend and checked into a hotel tonight becuase I couldn't face it. I am going to call the agency tommorow and I do expect they will attempt to call pest control, etc. But given that, in the week I have been here the showers don't work, several of the rooms don't have functioning windows, etc. I think the problems with this property are too deep to just fix without a major retrofit. I think all of the baseboards will need to be pulled (holes too numerous to just plug) and I am worried about my furniture (and me) under the circumstances. I am on a short term (6 month) assured tenancy with no break clause. I at this point I don't think I can stick it.
    Can anyone advise me as to how to approach getting out of this. In the worst case scenario I will take out a bank loan to cover dual rents for the period but would like to come to some less extreme arrangement. I am paying 950 a month in rent so this would bite for 6 months. I am from Canada where I am used to being able to give reasonable notice and not be locked in like this so would very much appreciate insight into the usual way this is handled here ...
    Cheers and thanks in advance for any input.

  • #2
    I have no valuable input for you but would just like to offer my sympathy and good wishes.

    Your local council 'Environmental Health' department might be able to help - in fact I think I'd visit them before seeing your agent.

    I am sure you'll get lots of great advice on here. Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Snokerz

      Your sympathy is appreciated. I really don't want to get the council involved as I am sure the landlord is well intentioned. He had rented it out for some years to tenats who apparently did some major damages. I am sure he is unaware of the extent of nastiness as it has been unocuppied for some time since. But thyere is a strange sickly sweet smell that hurts my throat (cable guy even noticed it and had to have a glass of water to contrinue) so I am sure there are drastic environmental things wrong ...

      Comment


      • #4
        I appreciate what you say aout the landlord not knowing - but thats what (s)he employs an agent for and they SHOULD know, especially if it has been vacant for a while - ie they've had plenty of time to inspect.

        If you go to the EHO they will give you advice, they'll not take action if you don't want them to, unless it is an extreme issue. A list of necessary work from the EHO might save your agent/landlord doing works that aren't necessary.

        Comment


        • #5
          What you say makes sense ...

          Thank you - I will contact both the agent and the council tomorrow and let you know how I get on

          Comment


          • #6
            ""strange sickly sweet smell""

            do you have any idea what this is ?

            do you have gas in the property and if so - is there a Landlords Gas Safety Certificiate ?

            is the property in England or Wales ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes I have a gas safety certificate

              and there is gas cental heating, stove, etc. But I don't think that is what the smell is. I think the smell is associated with the bugs, wood rot, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                sorry should have added that the property is in Wales

                I am new to the area and very unfamiliar with rental standards here ...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by adp View Post
                  I am new to the area and very unfamiliar with rental standards here ...
                  The law in Wales is almost the same as in England. Ask the Local Housing Authority if there are any relevant differences here.
                  JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                  1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                  2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                  3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                  4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not sure what the laws in England are either

                    As I am from Canada. I have been in the UK for about a year but have not encountered anything like this situation before so find myself quite ignorant as to how to proceed here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by adp View Post
                      Hello,
                      I have just moved in to a Victorian terrace property and have discovered that I am infested with mould, wood rot (multiple infestation of wood lice - vaccuming up about 30 - 40 daily) and some other type of nasty roach living in the bedroom baseboards swarming up walls and droppping on me from the ceilings at night. Have spent a horrifyingg weekend and checked into a hotel tonight becuase I couldn't face it. I am going to call the agency tommorow and I do expect they will attempt to call pest control, etc. But given that, in the week I have been here the showers don't work, several of the rooms don't have functioning windows, etc. I think the problems with this property are too deep to just fix without a major retrofit. I think all of the baseboards will need to be pulled (holes too numerous to just plug) and I am worried about my furniture (and me) under the circumstances. I am on a short term (6 month) assured tenancy with no break clause. I at this point I don't think I can stick it.
                      Can anyone advise me as to how to approach getting out of this. In the worst case scenario I will take out a bank loan to cover dual rents for the period but would like to come to some less extreme arrangement. I am paying 950 a month in rent so this would bite for 6 months. I am from Canada where I am used to being able to give reasonable notice and not be locked in like this so would very much appreciate insight into the usual way this is handled here ...
                      Cheers and thanks in advance for any input.
                      Are you sure your not just exagerating a little? Sensitive to bugs? Try and get photographic evidence to show them how bad it really is.

                      The showers dont work and windows dont function? Be more precise please. I've heard that before and it turns out to be that the showers do work but not quite what the tenant is used to and that the sash windows are stiff and just need loosening.

                      Smells are not good. Close all doors and block gaps with a towel to see if you can isolate he problem into one area
                      All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                      * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                      You can search the forums here:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well I don't think I am more sensitive to bugs than most people but if I owned this house I would be very concerned about a high level of wood lice as they obviously are associated with rotting wood. If these critters are eating the house then there will eventually be major subsidence problems.

                        When I say the showers don't work I mean as in don't turn on at all. I am not trying to be nasty about anyone here. I know the owner of this house must be even more agonised than I am about the issues associated with it. After all he is the one who will ultimately have to dig deep to repair it one way or another. I at worst only have to put up with it for 6 months.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          But your L has a statutory requirement to provide you with habitable accommodation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Telometer View Post
                            But your L has a statutory requirement to provide you with habitable accommodation.
                            If you mean under s.11 of LTA 1985 [see below], note that the Act does not imply a 'habitable accommodation' obligation on L's part.

                            11. Repairing obligations in short leases.

                            (1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor:
                            (a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
                            (b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
                            (c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

                            (1A) If a lease to which this section applies is a lease of a dwelling-house which forms part only of a building, then, subject to subsection (1B), the covenant implied by subsection (1) shall have effect as if:
                            (a) the reference in paragraph (a) of that subsection to the dwelling-house included a reference to any part of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; and
                            (b) any reference in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection to an installation in the dwelling-house included a reference to an installation which, directly or indirectly, serves the dwelling-house and which either:
                            (i) forms part of any part of a building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; or
                            (ii) is owned by the lessor or under his control.

                            (1B) Nothing in subsection (1A) shall be construed as requiring the lessor to carry out any works or repairs unless the disrepair (or failure to maintain in working order) is such as to affect the lessees enjoyment of the dwelling-house or of any common parts, as defined in section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which the lessee, as such, is entitled to use.

                            (2) The covenant implied by subsection (1)( the lessors repairing covenant) shall not be construed as requiring the lessor:
                            (a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,
                            (b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or
                            (c) to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.

                            (3) In determining the standard of repair required by the lessors repairing covenant, regard shall be had to the age, character and prospective life of the dwelling-house and the locality in which it is situated.

                            (3A) In any case where:
                            (a) the lessors repairing covenant has effect as mentioned in subsection (1A), and
                            (b) in order to comply with the covenant the lessor needs to carry out works or repairs otherwise than in, or to an installation in, the dwelling-house, and
                            (c) the lessor does not have a sufficient right in the part of the building or the installation concerned to enable him to carry out the required works or repairs,
                            then, in any proceedings relating to a failure to comply with the lessors repairing covenant, so far as it requires the lessor to carry out the works or repairs in question, it shall be a defence for the lessor to prove that he used all reasonable endeavours to obtain, but was unable to obtain, such rights as would be adequate to enable him to carry out the works or repairs.

                            (4) A covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises is of no effect so far as it relates to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (c), except so far as it imposes on the lessee any of the requirements mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (c).

                            (5) The reference in subsection (4) to a convenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises includes a covenant:
                            (a) to put in repair or deliver up in repair,
                            (b) to paint, point or render,
                            (c) to pay money in lieu of repairs by the lessee, or
                            (d) to pay money on account of repairs by the lessor.

                            (6) In a lease in which the lessors repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.
                            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by adp View Post
                              Can anyone advise me as to how to approach getting out of this. In the worst case scenario I will take out a bank loan to cover dual rents for the period but would like to come to some less extreme arrangement. I am paying 950 a month in rent so this would bite for 6 months. I am from Canada where I am used to being able to give reasonable notice and not be locked in like this so would very much appreciate insight into the usual way this is handled here ...
                              Cheers and thanks in advance for any input.
                              Here's a link to dealing with disrepair in private rentals. It's English law - but I think very similar to Welsh law (the Welsh Shelter websites links to the English one for online advice).
                              http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...n_private_lets

                              As others have advised, report to the agent/LL and get the Environmental Health Officer to inspect; the latter not least because it'll provide an independent witness to the mould and infestations and, if it's bad enough to be a health hazard, that's a good basis on which to negotiate with the LL - either for an early termination of the tenancy, or a reduction/suspension in rent until the problems are remedied, etc.

                              Or, in the event that the LL refuses to negotiate or remedy the problems, you may be entitled to claim compensation (in which case, you'd need evidence such as EHO report, etc). See the section entitled "LL refusing to do repairs"

                              Takes photos of everything, and keep an ongoing record of the disrepair, events, all communications with agent/LL, phone calls etc.

                              Qs: 1) Has the LL provided you with a gas safety certificate?
                              2) Is your tenancy an Assured Shorthold tenancy and if so, is your deposit protected in a scheme?

                              Comment

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