Please help- my landlord is ignorant, irresponsible and greedy

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    Please help- my landlord is ignorant, irresponsible and greedy

    For 2 months now we have had a leak in our bathroom that is carrying through into the kitchen. We need 2 bathrooms with 4 of us in the house and we have made the landlord aware of the problem which is getting worse. Our latest response is:

    The issue with the bathroom is not actually a plumbing one. I have now had 2 plumbers out and they have both told me the same thing. The issue is with the tiles and grouting on the bathroom floor which have become sodden over time (probably over months - either because of water left on the floor or sodden bath mats left on the floor. This has made the grout rotten and affected the tiles so that they are more porous (you can see one has cracked) and as a result water is now dripping through to the kitchen.

    After the first plumber I had the floor re-grouted and sealed but apparently the tiles are so bad that the re-grouting isn't taking and so I may have to do something more fundamental. If you do not use the shower and do not leave any bath mats on the floor the ceiling will naturally dry out and I can get this re-painted and the electrics sorted. If you continue to use the shower then water will continue to seep through into the kitchen ceiling. The toilet and basin are fine to use. Unfortunately I have had a similar problem in another rented property where sodden bath mats were left on the floor (probably with best intent of soaking up the water but were actually then damaging the tiles). In terms of the bathroom repairs I am now having to get people out to quote as it may involve re-tiling the floor (and therefore having to replace the underfloor heating) and potentially the whole bathroom tiling (several thousand pounds of cost). So it is not going to be a small job.
    We have had a professional plumber (friend) assess the situation and tell us isnt the problem. Even a child could tell you that tiles don't become more porous.... I am at a wits end as she has also given us 2 months notice before the termination of the contract due to selling the property.

    I am very worried that she will deduct the cost of a plumber from our bond if we get one in. Either that or she will blame us for the damage and take our bond that way. She has consistently been slow, slack and useless at dealing with problems but I am not willing to lose money over it especially to this individual.

    Please help us with your advice. Can we not pay the last 6 weeks rent and walk away from here with never looking back?

    #2
    We need a little more information from you:

    1. Is the property in England or Wales, your total rent among the four of you per month less than £2083?

    2. Do you know if your deposit has been protected?

    3. Was an inventory or schedule of condition performed by the LL prior to you moving in?

    Comment


      #3
      Hi, thanks for the quick response. Please see answers below

      1. Is the property in England or Wales, your total rent among the four of you per month less than £2083?

      2. Do you know if your deposit has been protected?

      3. Was an inventory or schedule of condition performed by the LL prior to you moving in?
      1 - property is in London, England and our rent is more than £2083

      2- our deposit was held by a foxtons real estate agent so i presume protected. However property has since been managed privately.

      3- yes, we have a full inventory that was performed by a home inventories company (that we only just received today after a year of pestering).

      Comment


        #4
        Could anyone shed some further light on this for me please? I need to discuss this with everyone tonight and make a plan to move forward. Thanks in advance

        Comment


          #5
          Can you not pay the last six weeks rent, the answer is No, disrepair and rent should be viewed as two differant sets of money.

          Hopefully the deposit is protected, and you should have had the details from the LL/LA within two weeks of moving in.

          As per the damage, it would be upto the people who hold your deposit if you are liable.

          1) How old is the grout and tiles.
          2) What was the state of the tiles and grout when you moved in(Inventory).
          3) how long you been in the P.
          4) Could you have done something, to damage the tiles/grout.

          Depending on your answers, ie. 1) new tiles/grout, 2) good condition when you moved in, 3) 6 months, 4) bath overflowed

          If above are your answers then maybe you need to worry about your deposit, if the oppersite is true then I guess you get all your money back.
          Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

          Comment


            #6
            What did the inventory say about the condition of the tiles/grouting etc?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by dominic View Post
              What did the inventory say about the condition of the tiles/grouting etc?
              'beige fitted mottled tiled flooring' no condition noted whatsoever on the report- but it was in good condition when we moved in and still is.

              The bath has never been overflowed and the volume of water leaking (1/4 - 1/2 a bucket) does not come in line with a damp bathmat. The reality is the leakage is down to plumbing but the landlord is ignoring this comment as she is planning to sell the property and does not want to pay the money for a plumber.

              Comment


                #8
                Have you checked with the three deposit protection schemes that your depsoit is protected, don't assume!

                Go to http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/DG_066383 and call up each scheme to check if it's registered.

                If it is, and the LL cannot prove that you caused the leak, then it is likely in the event of a dispute you will be awarded the deposit back.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by dominic View Post
                  If it is, and the LL cannot prove that you caused the leak, then it is likely in the event of a dispute you will be awarded the deposit back.
                  Regarding the landlord proving that we did not cause the leak what is the best action to take? Is it in our interest to have a professional plumber of our own look at this during the time she keeps blaming us for wetting the grout?

                  We are extremely hesitant to call in a plumber as the cost I am sure she will make every effort not to pay. As the bath/shower is tiled in place it is not a simple case of removing the side of the bath and inspecting- it requires some serious work and £££

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Shazbucketfail View Post
                    1 - property is in London, England and our rent is more than £2083

                    2- our deposit was held by a foxtons real estate agent so i presume protected. However property has since been managed privately.
                    The rent is above the threshold for an assured shorthold tenancy, so deposit protection is not required as it only applies to ASTs.

                    3- yes, we have a full inventory that was performed by a home inventories company (that we only just received today after a year of pestering).
                    Did you sign the inventory when it was done at the start of the tenancy?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      The rent is above the threshold for an assured shorthold tenancy, so deposit protection is not required as it only applies to ASTs.
                      True, but that's not too relevant to OP's original question. L's duty under s.11 applies even to non-1988 Act lettings, as do L's contractual duties.
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                        True, but that's not too relevant to OP's original question.
                        It's relevant in respect of OP being advised to check with the deposit schemes.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Shazbucketfail View Post
                          Regarding the landlord proving that we did not cause the leak what is the best action to take? Is it in our interest to have a professional plumber of our own look at this during the time she keeps blaming us for wetting the grout?

                          We are extremely hesitant to call in a plumber as the cost I am sure she will make every effort not to pay. As the bath/shower is tiled in place it is not a simple case of removing the side of the bath and inspecting- it requires some serious work and £££
                          If the leak is due to a plumbing fault, then you are not liable (unless you failed to report the leak when you first noticed it, and the failure to report resulted in worse damage). It's often very difficult to find the source of a bathroom leak without ripping up tiles etc. Obviously, it's not a good idea for you to do this.

                          I agree that 1/4-1/2 bucket of water leaking through suggests a plumbing leak, not seepage from splashes of water coming through the tiles. However, on the issue of tile porous-ness, are they stone tiles, as these can be porous and require sealing.

                          But anyway, regardless of who's responsible, the LL still has an obligation to fix the disrepair. Which she hasn't.

                          If you end up having to issue a claim against LL for return of your deposit, the LL will have to provide evidence of the following in order to support any claim for deposit deductions:
                          • Good condition at start of tenancy (ideally, in the form of an inventory check-in signed by T - otherwise, T can claim the inventory report is inaccurate)
                          • Damage at end of tenancy
                          • That the damage was due to T's negligence
                          • Cost of remedying the damage, i.e. LL's actual loss


                          Also, the cost must be reasonable, and LL is not entitled to 'betterment'.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by westminster View Post
                            Did you sign the inventory when it was done at the start of the tenancy?
                            Yes- we signed the inventory when it was done - how does this affect us and what position does this leave us in?

                            Another question is the issue of witholding rent- obviously this is illegal but is it acceptable to place the full amount of rent into a 3rd party holding account (western union etc) to prove that the intent to pay is there but only after maintanence is carried out?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Shazbucketfail View Post

                              our deposit was held by a foxtons real estate agent so i presume protected. However property has since been managed privately.

                              In the circumstances, it seems likely that letting agent (Foxtons) passed the deposit to the landlord. And because of the level of rent, deposit protection would not have been mandatory.

                              Did you check with the three deposit protection schemes to see whether, by any chance, your deposit has been protected? If not, it could be harder work for you.

                              Comment

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