Nightmare tenancy - now with personal injury added

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    Nightmare tenancy - now with personal injury added

    I had immense help from everyone here when I first posted about a relatively minor issue, although of course it didn't feel so at the time, so I thought I might ask again now that things have escalated.

    The previous problem with the flat was that it was clearly not inspected and was released to me filthy, stinking of cigarettes (it's a non-smoking flat) and in a bad state of disrepair. I thought the problems were cosmetic and although I did go in to the letting agency to stomp my feet and make a general nuisance of myself (so that they did agree to clean the carpets) I just set in to clean the place myself. It's now in much better condition, and I can see myself living here for the rest of my 6 month tenancy, since I have to. I mention this only to give the backdrop to my relationship with the letting/management agencies.

    The problem now is the immersion heater. When I arrived, the hot water was FAR too hot. I heard it actually boiling in the tank. I took a series of measurements of the water, and it was averaging 80 celsius right out of the hot water tap. At one point it measured 90c. This, by the way, is even too hot for a cup of green tea. When trying to mix it with cold water so that I could enjoy personal hygiene, I found even the cold water came out warm. I informed the management company and they fixed the 'fuzzy' pipes but ignored the immersion heater. I complained again, clearly identifying the temperatures of the water, and they sent out the same guy again (I don't know why he didn't notice the temperature when he fixed the fuzzy pipes) who did some sort of work I imagine, and insisted that he'd fixed the heater.

    After repair, I still noticed the water out of the tap was 70c. I mentioned this to the contractor (importantly, alas, not the management company), saying it was still too hot. He said the temperature has to be above 60c in the tank for sanitary reasons (which is true). I felt a bit bulldozed by him so I just shut up.

    I have since suffered 2nd degree burns from the hot water despite taking care to mix with the cold. I'm still under doctor's care - the blister is over 2" long (and - gross! - 2" puffy) and the doctors have told me to expect to suffer permanent scarring. Fortunately this is only on the back of my leg, so it's not a disfigurement issue, but damn

    My question here is simply what I can do next. I have not yet told the LL/agency because I wanted to explore my legal options first. A non-legal person who dishes advice at a clinic says that there has been no breach of contract as the LL did try to fix the problem when I brought it to their attention - so if the LL does not let me out of the contract I am still stuck. I am considering bringing in the council to check the safety of everything else, with the suspicion that it will end up with a list of problems, but this of course still leaves me in the flat, with a permament scar.

    I would welcome any advice, comments, suggestions, questions...?

    Incidentally, the landlord is, technically, the Citizen's Advice Bureau, who operate their offices downstairs. So that potential route of advice closed to me :/

    #2
    Incidentally, the landlord is, technically, the Citizen's Advice Bureau, who operate their offices downstairs. So that potential route of advice closed to me :
    /

    Why? No particular person in that office is going to be responsible.


    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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      #3
      Ahh I'm just concerned about a potential conflict of interest. The manager in the office has been the one to hand me keys, discuss where I'm supposed to keep the bins (on the street, apparently, instead of tucked away with theirs), etc.

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        #4
        the CAB aren't always brilliant anyway so I wouldn't worry too much about that! I don't think you would be able to walk away in spite of the problems. Contact the council and have a free interview with a no win no fee solicitor - there are lots of them about - just watch daytime TV....they will be able to tell you if you can do anything at all.
        Finally expect a S21 through the door as soon as you have been to the council!
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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          #5
          Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
          the CAB aren't always brilliant anyway so I wouldn't worry too much about that! I don't think you would be able to walk away in spite of the problems. Contact the council and have a free interview with a no win no fee solicitor - there are lots of them about - just watch daytime TV....they will be able to tell you if you can do anything at all.
          Finally expect a S21 through the door as soon as you have been to the council!
          So, does the tenancy name CaB as your landlord?? If not, who is LL??

          Hopefully the CaB will be smart enough to realise that the bad publicity arising from a S21 in these circumstances would be unhelpful.

          Treat CaB as you would any other Landlord: If they won't react sensible escalate through the Council environmental health. Usually local CaBs are individual charities and will thus have trustees who's name & addresses are listed at Charity Commission

          (for use if manager is silly..)

          I'd hope the landlord sorts this promptly.
          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...

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            #6
            The CAB is listed as my LL on my contract.

            I'm not fussed about the S21 as I do want to get out of here. (The S21 just means I have to leave at the end of the contract, yes?) Unfortunately it's a student town so currently all the properties are let (I counted 5 available in the whole city) but I'm still hopeful I'll find something. Even if I have to buy myself out of this contract, I think that's what I want to do - I don't trust the safety of this place, other issues with how the management company handled my money mean I don't trust them on that point either, and frankly I'm just plain pissed off that I have to carry this experience around with me for the rest of my life, via a 2 inch permanent scar.

            S21 would be fine and dandy - even better, a dissolution of the contract - as long as I've a place to go to. Well, one that won't burn me, anyway.

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              #7
              a dissolution of the contract
              There is nothing to stop Landlord & Tenant agreeing to end the tenancy/contract on any timescale&terms..(eg We agree to end the tenancy on 3rd October 2010 @ 12:12 and CaB will pay Tenant £456.78 and return deposit in full, and supply good reference). However, if going that way, get it in writing before agreeing... and in your shoes get any legal action regarding burn underway first...
              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...

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                #8
                Originally posted by nesbitt View Post
                My question here is simply what I can do next.
                Report to the Environmental Health Officer at the local council.
                Consult a personal injury lawyer.

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                  #9
                  You took care to mix the water, and yet received 2nd degree burns?

                  You haven't told the LL or letting agency?
                  How much compo are you after?
                  Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

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