Landlord hid damp and structural problems

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    Landlord hid damp and structural problems

    Hello, I'm wondering if anyone could give me a bit of advice.

    My partner and I have just had a baby and recently signed an assured short hold tenancy agreement for a period of 6 months with a landlord who owns a string of properties in the local area.

    We viewed the property once, and although it was basic, it seemed on first glance liveable, at least in the short term.

    We were told that the property had had a full damp proof course done 2 years ago and we were even shown "proof" of this on the landlord's office computer.

    It was only when we started to decorate a week later that we realised that this was in fact false. In the master bedroom there was severe damp, so much so that it covered almost an entire wall. The reason we didn't see it before is because it had been wallpapered over.

    They had also wallpapered over some, in my opinion, quite severe structural cracks. In one instance daylight could be seen through one of the larger cracks.

    On top of that, the living room ceiling had a crack spanning the entire length of the room (It had been painted over to conceal it) and I could physically move the ceiling up and down with very little effort.

    I refuse to allow my young son to live in such a place, especially considering he had breathing trouble at birth, and so I moved what little furniture we had moved in out and we are currently living at my partner's parent's house.

    I would like any opinions on where I stand legally and if there's anything I can do to recoup my money.

    Thanks in advance

    #2
    L has to keep the structure properly maintained [s.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985]. Is the property:
    a. badly-maintained but habitable; or
    b. uninhabitable (in which case have you contacted your Local Housing Authority)?
    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).

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      #3
      It's habitable in so much as there's a roof and 4 walls so to speak. But as soon as you step through the door you can smell damp (Which was hidden with incense on our first visit)

      My partner's uncle, a former builder, said that the ceiling could potentially come down if left as it was for much longer.

      Comment


        #4
        You need to get the local council Environmental Health Officer in there as soon as possible, because uless you can get some kind of 'official' opinion that the place is uninhabitable then you are likely to remain liable for rent until the end of the fixed term.

        Comment


          #5
          I plan on doing so.

          I don't however, plan on paying him another penny. Any idea the repercussions of that?

          Since finding the damp, we've heard countless stories from his tenants, both previous and existing, about the state of his properties.

          Comment


            #6
            I am not sure where you got your proof that the damp course was not done 2 years ago.
            Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

            Comment


              #7
              Again, my partner's uncle. But if the damp proof course was done only 2 years ago, it can't have been done all that well for almost an entire wall to be covered in damp.

              Comment


                #8
                Is that bedroom upstairs? Because if it is, the rising damp from ground level will not be the problem and it will not be due to lack of/badly done damp course.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Yes the bedroom is upstairs. The property was a duplex flat above a small general store with the kitchen at ground level and the rest of the property on the first floor.

                  If it is not due to a badly done damp course what could have caused it?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Leaks from roof/gutters?
                    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


                      #11
                      The damp stems from the floor upwards, there is no (Or very little) damp near the ceilings.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It could have simply been damp caused by condensation which has then been papered over. i.e from bad ventilation of the property, or one of my nightmares which is tenants stacking clothes on radiators!

                        It could be defective gutters/downpipes or roof problems. If the wall is rendered outside there could be water penetration behind the render....

                        On an upper floor rising damp is highly unlikely.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jghomer View Post
                          It could have simply been damp caused by condensation which has then been papered over. i.e from bad ventilation of the property, or one of my nightmares which is tenants stacking clothes on radiators!

                          It could be defective gutters/downpipes or roof problems. If the wall is rendered outside there could be water penetration behind the render....

                          On an upper floor rising damp is highly unlikely.
                          Agree with this - could be a number of issues. Rising damp definitely does not go as far as a floor above ground floor (unless you watch homes under the hammer - they made this mistake in a shop, which had an open front (eg no brickwork below a bedroom at all as it was supporting steelwork!!!)). Get the council in to look at the structural issues and damp ASAP, I would not let a child live in a house like that!
                          Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

                          I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                            Agree with this - could be a number of issues. Rising damp definitely does not go as far as a floor above ground floor (unless you watch homes under the hammer - they made this mistake in a shop, which had an open front (eg no brickwork below a bedroom at all as it was supporting steelwork!!!)). Get the council in to look at the structural issues and damp ASAP, I would not let a child live in a house like that!
                            I'm calling them tomorrow morning.

                            Either way, if it's damp or simply due to a leaking gutter or something, I refuse to pay any more rent on this property.

                            What could the landlord do should I not honour the rest of my tenancy agreement?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Nineteen85 View Post

                              What could the landlord do should I not honour the rest of my tenancy agreement?
                              Sue you for the amount you agreed to pay.
                              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                              Comment

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