House is damp and cold, what are my rights?

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    House is damp and cold, what are my rights?

    Hi everyone!

    Below is an email I have sent to my letting agent and below is their email back to me, does anyone have any advice on this or experienced a house that was too cold or damp.

    I hope you can help!

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

    Good morning

    Please can you forward this to the property manager of 197 Cranbrook Road.

    I have made a list of issues with the house that I believe have made the
    property not habitable and need resolving.

    1. Cold: The landlord has a right to heat the house sufficiently in all
    rooms.

    Kitchen has no working heater, cold spreads through the whole house. There
    is a gas fire that doesn't work, can this be repaired or else another heater
    needs to be fitted.

    Bathroom doesn't seem to warm up too much even with the heat on for a number
    of hours. The bathroom also has condensation, probably due to the window
    never being opened after a shower because the room is too cold.

    General: More insulation is needed in loft and beneath the floor.

    The walls are so cold, and the property feels damp.

    I have never lived in a house where the bedrooms have needed to be heated
    constantly through the night to get a decent sleep. The tenant should not
    have to spend an unreasonable amount of money heating the property.

    2. Bedroom to right of house: The carpet smells awful, either it's very old
    or it is damp. The carpet needs replacing and if it is due to damp this
    needs to be sorted out. When doing the inventory we presumed this smell was
    due to the house not being lived in for a couple of weeks.

    3. Garden: Rubbish needs to be removed, it is obstructing both gates to
    garden.

    Wear and tear problems are not an issue, we knew that the house was 'lived
    in' but at a cost of #675 per month I expected a house that was not damp or
    as cold as this. As a tenant I have a right to live in a damp free and
    sufficiently heated house.

    I hoped that living here for a week would of cleared the heaters and
    suitably warmed the house and I have also given the house a good airing in
    the hope that the odour from one of the bedrooms would of gone, but this
    odour is obviously coming from the carpet. The kitchen is very cold at
    night and unless we keep the cooker on all night it will stay so, this cold
    spreads to the rest of the house. When I have to walk around wearing a
    jumper all the time and sleep fully clothed I know something is not right.

    Lucy was supposed to move in this weekend but due to these problems I have
    said she should not, as she is currently in the middle of her studies I
    don't think it's a suitable environment for her, therefore she is currently
    paying rent for two properties.

    This is inconvenient, expensive and also a health issue.

    I don't believe any of this is unreasonable and I know I am within my rights
    as a tenant, you only know after living in a property what the conditions
    are really like.

    I hope these problems can be resolved in the near future. Can you please
    contact me asap as to your thoughts.

    Regards

    Martin



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

    Dear Martin

    A contractor has been instructed to attend to the rubbish and the
    maintenance issues that you have reported.

    There has not been and will not be a radiator in the kitchen.

    The property has been tenanted almost continuously over the last four years
    without complaint regarding heating etc and we must advise that the property
    will not be improved as you have requested. It was made clear to you during
    the viewing and in the memorandum of let that the property was taken "as
    seen" and the rent reflected the general condition of the property.

    Regards

    Lyndon

    #2
    Generally, as a tenant you are responsible for heat provision in your own home with one main exception and that is if the landlord has provided any space heating - if he/she has, then that has to be maintained in working order by the landlord, and if GAS, there must be a safety inspection certificate in force - so for the gas fire in the kitchen, you can at least insist that this is repaired and that a Gas safety inspection is done and the certificate handed to you.

    If there are no other heaters, then it is up to you to provide them.

    The carpet - if it is a furnished house, then you are within your rights to ask that an old smelly carpet be replaced.

    Cold and damp - if there is damp penetration, then you are within rights to ask for that to be sorted out BUT your landlord could argue that your lack of heating provision is what is making the property cold and damp!

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Gooner

      Your LL may be interested in the post I made:

      http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...read.php?t=265

      Doesnt cost him much to help you with insulation.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the advice!

        The gas fire in the kitchen has a label on it saying that it is unsafe to use, I will ask that they fix it.

        I have only lived there for a week so I cannot be to blame for cold and damp, the previous tenant moved out only two weeks before. Th

        I think I have rights to live in a house that is sufficiently heated and not damp, I hope Environmental health officers agree.

        Comment


          #5
          does anyone know where the law stands on damp and cold properties?, are they with me or the letting agency?

          Comment


            #6
            Other than the gas fire in the kitchen you don't mention what type of heating system (if any) is installed at the house. Does it have a gas boiler feeding radiators? electric heaters? gas fires? and in what rooms do you have heating?

            Has someone shown you the correct operation of the heating system? or were you given an operating manual?

            If the fire in the kitchen was labelled as unsafe to use when you first looked at the house you might not be able to get it repaired by the agent unless they told you it would be repaired or hadn't pointed out that it was not working when you viewed

            If the house had no heating and you accepted it then you'll need to be buying a thicker coat; if it has heating that isn't working properly then the landlord needs to get if fixed.

            Reading between the lines of the agents response it appears that they claim they advised you of some of the properties shorcomings. Did they?

            Is the house really damp or is just the cold that makes it feel damp
            My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

            Comment


              #7
              Am i right in saying that properties can not be let with out some form of "working" heating. I think you should contact the local enviromental officer, then can force a landlord to make improvements if they are bad enough, good luck

              Comment


                #8
                The house does have electric heating but the heat escapes the house so quickly once you turn it off. Every room has a heater apart from the kitchen which has an old gas heater that is labelled unsafe. I am not to know how cold the house is until I live in it, this is what the money grabbing agency are clearly or conveniently forgetting.

                I have read two articles that state that all rooms need to have a minimum temperature and a tenant should not need to have the heaters on constantly to warm the house.

                I am not completely sure if the property is damp or just cold but it does have condenstation in the bathroom, am I not right in thinking that if something affects my health in the house the landlord should resolve it?

                The landlords did tell me the property was not in great condition but as I say they in know way told me it was cold or damp, I have also read that if a property is not sufficiently heated or suffers from damp it should not be let.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by gooner442
                  The house does have electric heating but the heat escapes the house so quickly once you turn it off. Every room has a heater apart from the kitchen which has an old gas heater that is labelled unsafe. I am not to know how cold the house is until I live in it, this is what the money grabbing agency are clearly or conveniently forgetting.
                  Ok, we are slowly getting there. So you do have electric heaters, are they storage heaters or are they convector heaters? Storage heaters need to be left on for 24 hours to charge before they work efficiently; in addition to that you need to ensure that you are not trying to output more heat than you have stored. The operating manual that you should have been issued with will tell you how. These provide background heat to keep the property at an acceptable temperature most of the time.

                  As you mention switching off the heaters I'm going to assume you have convector heaters (storage heaters don't need to be switched off) These provide only local heat for the immediate area and would need to be left on for longer to do any good.

                  In this case you could possibly have a case for the heating being insufficient for the property but as it appears that the agent has 4 years of history to call on to the the fact that it works ok, and may well call on the previous tenant to back this up, you may have an uphill struggle.
                  My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I don't know exactly what my heaters are, you have three settings, off, just water and then water with heating, it also has a timer. Surely it's a health and expense issue to leave heaters on overnight?

                    sounds like a fair point about the 4 year tenant history but whos to say they are telling the truth?, it's funny how the letting agents attitude changes after you are given the keys

                    Comment


                      #11
                      With timers I would guess they are storage heaters: you set them to charge at certain times (usually during the night) and then to go on at certain times.

                      They're not the best heating system in the world (I had just 2 of them in a flat when I was a tenant) as they tend to run out quite early in the day.
                      But if you keep them on charge most of the time you should be ok.

                      There's no health issue with leaving heaters on overnight (as far as I know). In any house if you turn any heating off at 8pm, you'll be quite cold at 8am in winter.
                      Regarding cost, it costs more than central heating, but I'm afraid that's not the LL's problem. You saw the radiators when you took the house, you could have asked the agent or looked on the internet if the heating system was suitable for you costwise (I know that's not something we think of as tenants but can we blame the LL for it ?).

                      If the radiators work then you'll have to use them.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by gooner442
                        I don't know exactly what my heaters are, you have three settings, off, just water and then water with heating, it also has a timer. Surely it's a health and expense issue to leave heaters on overnight?
                        Doesn't sound like storage heaters, they don't heat water as well. Have you had any instructions for the use of the heating system from the agents? if not ask them for some or at the very least findout what type of system you have, they don't vary that much in the UK
                        My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          All this aside, is there a legal requirement for the LL to ensure the property is provided in a "heatable" state, i.e. adequate insulation and effiecient heating installed. If the accomodation is too costly to be run at a healthy levels, does the tenant have any recourse in terms of fuel bills?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            The landlord must ensure that the property has adequate provision for heating under S604 HA 1985. This doesn't necessarily mean that a heater has to be provided, just that the property is capable of being heated i.e. a gas and/or electric supply with accesible points, sockets etc.

                            Damp is only accepted as making a property unfit for human habitation if it is serious and prejudicial to the tenants health
                            My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by oaktree
                              The landlord must ensure that the property has adequate provision for heating under S604 HA 1985.
                              Is this the case for all rooms as the kitchen is the only room without heating, as I said it has a gas fire that has a not safe to use label on it.

                              Comment

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