Contract/Maintenance Questions

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Contract/Maintenance Questions

    Hi

    Am seeking help for a friend of mine, whos story follows…

    She has been renting since December 2005, through an agency, it is a ground floor flat, in a 3 storey building.

    3 weeks ago, her bath and toilet were flooded with raw sewage. She called an emergency plumber out who flushed the pipes in the street and told her there was a blockage somewhere in the main pipework.

    On the Monday, she contacted the Estate Agent (who was handling maintenance) and was told that her landlord had decided he no longer wanted them to look after maintenance, so she should go through him, but gave her the contact details of the company who looked after the block of flats.

    There then followed a period of 3 weeks of contacting a mixture of the landlord and the maintenance company trying to get the problem resolved, the maintenance company were suggesting the blockage was in her flat, the plumbers were suggesting it was in the street, still the sewage was dumped into her bath and toilet, every couple of days, and the plumbers were out every couple of days to flush the pipes in the street, before eventually some weeks later the maintenance company finally instructed them to put a camera down where they found the pipework in the street to be in a semi-collapsed state.

    I was disgusted with this, and have a few questions. The maintenance company were incredibly hard to deal with, fobbing her off and not getting back to her, suggesting the problem was a blockage in her flat and she had to get it dealt with, despite the initial plumbers report suggesting a camera inspection as he suspected the main pipe to be at fault. All through this time, raw sewage was being dumped into this poor girls bathroom, the cleaning of which was carried out to her great expense.

    Should the maintenance company not have ensured this was fully investigated immediately? Surely allowing this cycle of dumping of sewage, and blasting of pipes to continue to take place was negligent? I can’t imagine much worse than having the streets waste dumped into your bathroom every couple of days.

    Also, she is in an AST I believe, arranged through the Estate Agent, can the landlord demand part way through that she now pays him directly (the Agent is still handling renewal paperwork and such) and no longer contacts the Estate Agent for maintenance calls? This I suspect would have got the situation resolved quicker

    He is also asking for an increase next year from 700 to 750pcm, is this legal?

    To top it all, a week ago the boiler packed up, and she is calling plumbers on the landlords behalf as he’s too busy, and she has been without hot water for a week, resulting in damp problems in the bedroom. She now has to sleep in the front room with an oil heater, and all her clothes are damp.

    Thanks for any assistance.

    Nick

    #2
    Poor girl! In her position I would be looking to move at the earliest opportunity!

    As for what's been going on, I can answer some of your questions but not all of them.

    Emergency plumber: who paid the bill? I would expect it to be the landlord but if your friend paid, she is perfectly within her rights to deduct the amount paid from her rent but she should tell the landlord that is what she is doing.

    Paying landlord directly: yes, the landlord is perfectly within his rights to insist that the payment is made directly to him rather than via the letting agent. I don't see that it would be any problem at all to your friend WHO she pays it to, as long as it ends up with the landlord. After all, HE is who her contract is with.

    Status of maintenance company: I believe they are acting as agent for the landlord, so anything they say they are saying as his representative. If they have not acted quickly enough, your friend should be able to negotiate some compensation from the landlord for the serious inconvenience she has suffered with the sewage and is still suffering.

    Rent increase: It is likely that there's a term in her agreement that allows a rent increase 12 months after the start, but as I said in the beginning, if I were her I'd be looking to move. The landlord has not been particularly responsive (to say the least!) and unless he is VERY accommodating with compensation for the current state of the place, I wouldn't want to give him my rent money in her position!

    Do keep us posted.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Surrey View Post
      Poor girl! In her position I would be looking to move at the earliest opportunity!

      As for what's been going on, I can answer some of your questions but not all of them.

      Emergency plumber: who paid the bill? I would expect it to be the landlord but if your friend paid, she is perfectly within her rights to deduct the amount paid from her rent but she should tell the landlord that is what she is doing.

      Paying landlord directly: yes, the landlord is perfectly within his rights to insist that the payment is made directly to him rather than via the letting agent. I don't see that it would be any problem at all to your friend WHO she pays it to, as long as it ends up with the landlord. After all, HE is who her contract is with.

      Status of maintenance company: I believe they are acting as agent for the landlord, so anything they say they are saying as his representative. If they have not acted quickly enough, your friend should be able to negotiate some compensation from the landlord for the serious inconvenience she has suffered with the sewage and is still suffering.

      Rent increase: It is likely that there's a term in her agreement that allows a rent increase 12 months after the start, but as I said in the beginning, if I were her I'd be looking to move. The landlord has not been particularly responsive (to say the least!) and unless he is VERY accommodating with compensation for the current state of the place, I wouldn't want to give him my rent money in her position!

      Do keep us posted.
      Thanks for the response, the reason I brought up the subject of where the rent is being paid towas due to the agent looking after the maintenance of the property really, of course it doesn't make any difference to her paying the money directly to him

      Personally, I've always rented through an agent because of maintenance, I get dedicated 24 hour emergency numbers, quick responses, and (at least) the impression that should things go wrong, I'm dealing with a company with multiple points of contact and am well protected

      I've never dealt directly with landlords because of this, and I'd be a bit miffed if part way through a contract the landlord informed me I should now go directly to him for any problems, especially after going through the above !

      Thanks
      Nick

      Comment


        #4
        Inform your local authority

        Please someone tell me if I am wrong, but dont Local Authorities have the power to inforce work orders if a property is not fit for human habitation ( the sewage problem surley would come into that catagory.) If the Landlord does nothing, go to your Local Authority. They will certainly advise you.
        By law, your landlord is responsible for maintaining your heating system etc; especially getting a gas safety certificate every year. By not doing so, he is at risk of prosection with prison and/or a fine.
        If maintenance is not carried out, I believe you are entitled to withhold rent until maintenance is done in certain circumstances; ask citizens advice, even if your agreement says you cant withhold rent.
        It sounds like your landlord is heaping up a load of trouble for himself.
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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

        You can search the forums here:

        Comment

        Latest Activity

        Collapse

        Working...
        X