Flooding: Is my rented flat "uninhabitable"? Can I break my lease without notice?

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  • Flooding: Is my rented flat "uninhabitable"? Can I break my lease without notice?


    This is my first post and I hope someone here has some advice. Apologies if it seems long winded.

    Background: My partner and I have been renting a flat for just over a year. It is a new build, but shoddily put together. There are many issues with the place, but the main one is that the roof leaks in various places. This has been happening since we moved in. The property is managed by a letting agent. We have informed them of the leaks several times in writing (email) and via telephone, as well as telling the live-in caretaker. Usually they take a minimum of two weeks to send someone round, and as far as we can tell, no repairs have ever been carried out. As a result, every time it rains, we have to put out containers to catch the drips.

    This past weekend, one of the leaks turned into a downpour. The pipe from the runoff drain on the roof actually runs through our bedroom. On Saturday afternoon, we had a sudden bout of heavy rain, and the pipe leaked about 10 litres of water into our bedroom. We called the letting agent's emergency repair line 3 times over the weekend and never had a call back. On Monday when the agent's office opened, we complained via telephone and in writing. The sent a repairman around, but he did nothing except put a bucket on the floor beneath the pipe join. Last night (or rather, 2.30am today), the pipe leaked again - about 25 litres of water into our bedroom (we caught most of it in buckets, which is how I'm judging the amount). I took a video of the leak on my phone as evidence.

    There's more heavy rains forecast this week. We have a break clause in our lease, but it's two months' notice. I don't think we can put up with this for two months, and considering that we've complained about this issue periodically over the space of a year, I doubt we'll see it fixed any time soon.

    My questions:
    • How long is a reasonable amount of time for us to allow for repairs? It rains a lot here. Are we really expected to deal with 20 litres of water pouring into our bedroom every time it rains?
    • What constitutes "unihabitable"? Would this qualify? Or is it just merely "inconvenient"?
    • What happens if our personal property is damaged? So far we've been lucky to be at home when the major leaks happened, but that will not last. We have contents insurance, but this looks like a building issue and I'm not confident we'd be covered.
    • Is this grounds for breaking the lease without a 2 month notice period?

    Sorry for the novella.

    Last edited by poisonivy; 31-03-2010, 11:19 AM. Reason: corrected a typo

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