Teething Problems

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    Teething Problems

    We moved into a rented house just over a month ago. It was let unfurnished and the previous tenants also previously owned the property. It is now coming to light that there are a number of issues with the place due to previous work done by the former owners. I want to address these with the landlord but want to be aware of my legal standing beforehand, so I'd help any advice regarding the following:

    1. The house was let unfurnished. I was aware that this meant no whiteware. However, when I viewed the property, what wasn't made clear was that all the fittings in the bathroom (i.e. mirrors, shelves and cabinets) were also going to be removed and since I have five small children, not having anywhere to keep toothpaste, etc., out of little hands isn't great. Am I entitled to bathroom fittings when these were in situ when I viewed the property and I was not warned they would be removed?

    2. Further, there are no curtains. There are blinds, but these are all old, one has already broken and there are no curtain poles in any of the rooms. I have curtains that I can put up, but do not want to spend money on poles that I would then take with me on principle, especially I'm not planning on staying here too long. Am I entitled to curtain poles when these were in situ when I viewed the property and I was not warned they would be removed?

    3. More worryingly, there are stairs which I discovered the previous owners had built. I have fallen down these stairs four times because they are very slippery. I am concerned that I will do this carrying my three month old baby at some point. What can I get done about this?

    4. The previous owners ran electrical sockets from existing ones rather than having new ones fitted, so there are now four or five sockets running off a single one. Is this illegal/a fired hazard and how quickly should this be fixed?

    5. I currently have no upstairs landing light because the landlord installed insulation in the loft and it is apparently a fire hazard with the light as it currently is according to the workman. How quickly should this be sorted?

    6. I have had workmen show up on Saturday and Sunday with no prior warning to do work on the property. They've been very polite and given how many hazards there are in the house with small children around, I've let them in, but I'd really rather some notice, especially when conversely, they've not shown up when I have expected them.

    The landlord is lovely and has acted promptly on other issues in the past, so I really don't want to jeopardise a good working relationship. Nevertheless, I'd appreciate some advice on where I stand on the above issues and the best way to approach this with the landlord so that we're both happy with the outcome.


    Gosh - where to start! The house should be given to you in the same condition as when you viewed and any items in the property upon letting are subject to repair. You are entitled to repair of curtain poles and blinds.

    The landlord has a duty of care to ensure that the house is safe - so if the stairs are dangerous, this should be reported for repair. Eg new carpets or similar.

    Also, the electrical system must be safe! Running sockets of sockets is a fire risk!

    You need a light because this is another safety risk.

    These issues should be sorted straight away.

    The landlord should give you at least 24 hours notice to attend for repairs/inspection.

    You need to ensure that you record all you concerns in writing, keep a copy and say that they must be attended to. Failing which, you should report the matter to the environment health officer of your local council.

    They will visit, list the works required and give the landlord a fixed time to carry out the repairs.


      Whilst I am sure the LL is "lovely" he is a rotton landlord to have given you a house in the reported state of disrepair. Your house is unsafe. Check with your local council to see if they run a "Homecheck" service. Most do and becuase you have children they will treat it as a priority. Call Environmental Health immediately and ask for their assistance.

      Do not be fooled by his nice manner your landlord is absolutely taking the micky. I encourage not to be in awe of him becuase he is your LL, you have "rights" and he has a duty of care so get "stuck in" (to him) and use every resource available to make your house safe and suitable for habitation before Christmas!! You and your family DO NOT have to live like this.

      Here endeth the lesson!!!

      PS lots of experts on this site will willingly give their advice both legal and more general.


        Thanks. I've dropped the landlord an email detailing all the issues. I think half the problem is that because the former tenants used to own the house and did all these DIY botch jobs all over the place and didn't have an issue with them, the landlord really had no idea that the house was in as bad condition as it is and I moved in the day after the previous tenants moved out, so he didn't really have a chance to check things over (although he and his wife did stay in the house until late scrubbing it because the former tenants left a lot of rubbish which took them over two weeks to come back and remove and didn't get round to cleaning). So as I've been living there, I've been finding out all these problems which he was unaware of, which is why I say he has been great so far, but at the same time, hasn't really wanted to do anything in terms of replacing the fittings in the bathroom and sorting out the curtains. I think he expected me to be buying curtain poles, which, if nothing else, seems daft because if each new tenant buys poles, they're going to be doing more and more damage to the house to install them, ditto the bathroom cabinets. Since we're only planning on being here six months or so, I'd quite happily let a lot of things slide, but these are all issues of safety that can't be ignored.

        Would a homecheck throw up everything that needs repairing so that the landlord can have a list he can deal with in one hit?

        Also, although the lease I've signed states no smoking, the previous tenants were heavy smokers and the house absolutely reeked of cigarettes when we moved in (I'm a non smoker). When I brought this up beforehand, the LL said that he wouldn't clean carpets (not that there are many) or do anything about it and the smell wasn't usually that bad. A month of heavy Oust use and it's still evident.

        Am I entitled to any rent rebate since I'm having to live through all these works? For example, at the weekend, they installed new insulation, which meant the children were running around it until the guy cleaned up after himself before leaving (and to his credit, left the place spotless).

        Thanks for all the input.


          You are, with due respect, still being nice. I suggest that you need to understand that you do not have to live like that. Your LL is still, in my view, taking you for a ride.
          STOP accepting all of his excuses and accepting a property at a standard which, from what you say, is a serious fire risk. You have 5 children so start getting angry with yourself. Ring Council and ask for help firstly "homecheck" (assuming they have one) who will do every possible to make your house safe. In addition get onto Environmental Health and ask for their urgent assistance on the basis that LL has not undertaken work that you "thought" would be undertaken.

          Ask, nay demand, for your nice LL an immediate Electrical Installation Inspection becuase the house is not safe. Do you have a Gassafety Certificate for the central heating??

          I think you have been a little unwise in moving into this property but by the same token I do understand the problem with housing for such a large family.

          You are getting a mass of excuse from LL PLEASE stop accepting them; it is wholly irrelevant what previous tenants did or did not do. If you have male relatives close by ask them to give you support becuase at the moment this LL is walking all over you and at the end of the day you are not a doormat but rather a mum trying to bring up 5 children in a safety and habitable environment!!

          Action plan for you call Council tomorrow, email LL to advise that you have done so, do not agree anything with LL until you have total confidence that everything that is wrong with the property has been properly identified. Finally find the Gas Safety Certificate as the last thing you need is both unsafe electrics and gas!


            I doubt if there is enough evidence here to form the basis of a realistic claim for compensation.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


              Agreed Mind the Gap the focus should be wholly on safe environment methinks!!


                I do have a gas safety certificate and there is an electrician coming round to inspect the property tomorrow.

                As for why I took the house, I recently returned to the UK from New Zealand and was living in a B&B in one room with the children. For the price, this was by far and away the biggest and most conveniently located while settling back into the country without a car. Plus a lot of the issues simply weren't apparent before I moved in - it was impossible to see, for example, that the tenants had sockets running off sockets because furniture was in the way.

                As it currently stands, the landlord has agreed to provide basic bathroom fittings and curtain poles. He's of the opinion that since it was advertised as "unfurnished" I should have checked that they weren't going to rip things away from the walls when they left (they have left a large number of holes all over the place in so doing and for no real reason other than the landlord wouldn't pay what they wanted for the fittings), but I think he recognised that not only was he pushing it, it was in his own interest to provide them and not have people constantly damage his walls by fitting and unfitting shelves. He didn't want to provide a shower curtain, but I've convinced him to do that. I think he is also aware that I'm being nice, and we'd both rather not get into arguments and hassles, especially since I took the place on knowing that I wasn't intending to spend too long there.

                Oh and no nearby male relatives or friends who can provide that extra bit of muscle, hence needing to know my rights so I can stand up for them myself

                Again, with a home check, would that identify everything in one hit that needs doing? I'd much rather warn my landlord I was going to do it then hit him with the results, because the chances are very good he'd sort things out himself. He has been pretty prompt so far once he's known about a problem, the issue is the ignorance that these problems existed because of the previous owner/tenants creating them.


                  It is the LL's job to be aware of the state of his property - not just at the beginnings and ends of tenancies, but periodically during them, too. For him to say he didn't realise there were holes in the walls really isn't good enough, is it? Also, if he does not provide fittings (as opposed to furniture, which is movable) then he must expect there will be damage as tenants remove their own.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


                    Homecheck is mainly about safety. Different councils have different rules for them but they are unlikely to deal with everything. So assuming they exist in your council when they get there ask them how much they can do for you which given your children should be a lot.

                    When electrician comes ask him for identity and also whether he is properly qualified. If he is then he will have a card a bit like the gas safe engineer. be careful he does not fob you off and the best way of dealing with that is ask him to confirm that the house is fully compliant with electrical regulations for a let property. (he will cough at that point and avert look!!) There are only two possible answers Yes or no. In your case it will be no however should he say yes then ask for that in writing before he leaves the premises. This is all about keeping the pressure on LL.

                    Complete and utter nonsense about bathroom fittings but that can be dealt with later. It is however further confirmation that your LL does not care.

                    Landing light must be fixed with immediacy. Not sure what electrican remit is but advise you that before he leaves the premises get him to call the LL in your presence. Suspect they may a fob you off. Next week is not good enough and do not accept that for making the house safe.

                    Do not be dissuaded by LL from getting local council involved and should he start to threaten you then keep a note in your diary. As mentioned in earlier post it is important that you keep a record of everything that happens.

                    Are there smoke alarms in the house?? Are there rooms where you do not have carpets?floor coverings if so which ones?

                    Did you pay a deposit? If yes do you have a receipt? If you are paying him cash/cheque you must always obtain a receipt this is to protect you in case he tries to say that you have not been paying your rent.

                    Again keep in mind that you are a person (clearly hardworking) not a rug!!!

                    Update the forum tomorrow if it will help you after the electrican has been. And finally continue not to believe anything that comes out of LL mouth until an "action" has actually been completed. Whilst you may not have local support there is plenty of cyber support for you (including legals)if you wish so do worry about the slight isolation that you currently feel the "unseen" are about!!


                      Are you on top of the situation now Thumbelina??


                        Originally posted by Solent Watcher View Post

                        When electrician comes ask him for identity and also whether he is properly qualified. If he is then he will have a card a bit like the gas safe engineer. be careful he does not fob you off and the best way of dealing with that is ask him to confirm that the house is fully compliant with electrical regulations for a let property. (he will cough at that point and avert look!!) There are only two possible answers Yes or no. In your case it will be no however should he say yes then ask for that in writing before he leaves the premises.
                        I am no electrician, and even I know you're incorrect.
                        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


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