My rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby!

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    My rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby!

    Hello, I'm wondering if anyone can give me any infrmation about my rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby.
    I signed a contract for 18 months with my landlord via the estate agents as the LL wanted to sell the property and didn't want people viewing the property whilst me and my son were living in the property so I signed for 18 months and the LL agreed to take it off the market and no1 would iew he property whilst I was a tenant.
    I have been in the property for 7 months on Thursday (15th Sept) but the heating system and hot water hasn't worked properly since the end of March. The pilot light on the back boiler trips out and will not reset unless I trip the trip switch (I have to knock the trip switch off and then turn it back on). The pilot light comes on and fires up, but the radiators don't get hot and neither does the water, after a maximum time of 10 minutes the pilot light trips out again and we are back to square one. I contact the letting agent and they said to contact British Gas as the LL had a hoecare agreement with them. I did this and it was fixed....for a day! I left it a few more days before contacting the LA again in case it rectified itself, but it didn't so called the LA an again was told to contact British Gas. This I did again and the engineer changed some part of the pipe and it seemed to work a bit better, although I still had to trip the switch. I kept doing this for a few months, but the heating never heated the house and I din't have hot water. I boiled the kettle to wash up and had to take my baby boy to his grandmas for a bath. As it was the summer months by this time the heating wasn't needed, but I mentioned that I still had a problem to the LA but nothing was done. As the weather changes I knew I had to report the problem again as I am without heat and hot water. I contacted BG again as I was previously advised to do and an engineer came out saturday (10th Sept), he identified that the tank is very hot but the radiators are not getting hot and I have no hot water, suggesting that there is a blockage within the system and he also mentioned that the water in the tank was very very dirty. He said that he thinks the reason the boiler/pilot light is tripping out is because it is getting too hot and it is a safety feature, but obviously as I didn't know this I kept tripping the switch each tme I tried to put the heating on and get hot water, but nothing was happening. The engineer confirmed that the pipes need to be flushed but would obviously come at cost to the LL, but suggested that as the pipes were very thin, if they are really blocked, the flush either won't work or will only work for a short while then I will be back to square one. If the flush doesn't work, all new pipes would need to be installed. I am still without heating and hot water with a 5 month old baby in the house. The LL was infored on saturday morning of the situation. He has asked for another contractor to come out to check the boiler and give his opinion, and he is coming out tomorrow morning. Apparently the LL had the pipes flushed by a contractor one month before I moved into the property. This to me suggests that the flush hasn't worke properly as BG engineer suggested and therefore it could be a major job. On top of all of this, I noticed within the 1st month of my tenancy some small insects on my stir carpet, I killed them and didn't think anything of it. But more and more appeared. Over the past few months I have found them in the lounge, on the stairs and also on my kitchen work tops. I have since found out they are silverfish (which come when there is damp apparently). I have noticed that my bread (which is kept in the cupboard that is fixed onto the wall that connects the kitchen and stairs) goes mouldy within 3 or 4 days of buying it. I have tried buying different brands but they are all the same, but last much longer in my mums, dads and grandmas house. Aswell as the bread my fresh sugar goes very hard very quickly, which is also situated on that wall. When I have put all these factors together, the silverfish, the mouldy bread and the hard sugar I believe tthe wall that connects the stairs and kitchen has an element of damp. The cupboads smell damp and the kitchen always seems cold, which doesn't help that I have no heating. As I have previously mentiond I have a 5 month old son and the house is very cold at present, which no doubt will become worse as the weather deteriates. I have no hot water to bath my son or wash the dishes and I am concerned about the damp and silverfish. I have become very stressed and depressed because of it all because I can't stay in the house as it is too cold but I haven't got anywhere else to stay, so I have to stay in the house with my son. I really want to get out of this house but as I signed for 18 months I don't think I can and I am very scared and worried about mine and my sons future in the house. Please can anyone shed any light on my situation? The contractor who is coming out tomorrow isn't doing ny work, he is just looking at the boiler etc and reporting back to the LA.
    Thank you for any advice.

    #2
    Please break up your solid wall of text into paragraphs. It is extremely difficult to read.

    Then I'm sure someone will respond.
    '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

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ckc86 View Post
      Hello, I'm wondering if anyone can give me any infrmation about my rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby.

      I signed a contract for 18 months with my landlord via the estate agents.

      I have been in the property for 7 months on Thursday (15th Sept) but the heating system and hot water hasn't worked properly since the end of March.

      On top of all of this, I noticed within the 1st month of my tenancy some small insects on my stir carpet, I killed them and didn't think anything of it. But more and more appeared. I have since found out they are silverfish (which come when there is damp apparently).

      I believe tthe wall that connects the stairs and kitchen has an element of damp. The cupboads smell damp and the kitchen always seems cold, which doesn't help that I have no heating. As I have previously mentiond I have a 5 month old son and the house is very cold at present, which no doubt will become worse as the weather deteriates. I have no hot water to bath my son or wash the dishes and I am concerned about the damp and silverfish.

      I have become very stressed and depressed because of it all because I can't stay in the house as it is too cold but I haven't got anywhere else to stay, so I have to stay in the house with my son. I really want to get out of this house but as I signed for 18 months I don't think I can and I am very scared and worried about mine and my sons future in the house. Please can anyone shed any light on my situation?
      The contract you signed is binding; if you want to leave before the end of the fixed term, then you'll need the agreement of the landlord, and if he agrees (which he doesn't have to) he'd probably ask you to pay him a sum of money, for example the equivalent of two months' rent.

      However, as it's long time until the fixed term expires, you have nothing to lose (i.e. no immediate risk of eviction) by reporting the disrepair to the Environmental Health Officer at the local council; call them tomorrow and ask them to inspect. They have the power to force the LL to carry out his repairing obligations - and keeping the heating and hot water system in working order is one of the LL's inescapable obligations.

      The council can also assess the property under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System and if they think the damp/cold is a health hazard to you or your baby, again, they can force the LL to remedy the problem.

      Further info here http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...n_private_lets

      Comment


        #4
        I second westminster's advice. The fact you have a five month old should prompt the EHO into action.
        Disclaimer:

        The above represents my own opinion, derived from personal knowledge and should not be relied upon as definitive or accurate advice. It is offered free of charge and may contain errors or omissions or be an inaccurate opinion of the law. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relying on the above.

        Comment


          #5
          My rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby!

          Are exactly the same as those of a tenant without a 5 month old baby!
          I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

          Comment


            #6
            Hello ckc,

            You have two problems.
            1. Your heating isn't working properly.
            2. You want out of your contract.

            1. Your Landlord is not refusing to carry out his repair obligations, BG have been called out and he has instructed another contractor to call today. He is trying to rectify the situation, he cannot reasonably be expected to do more at this stage.
            Once the property is properly heated, the dampness will go along with the silverfish.

            When the contractor calls ask what the problem is and ask your landlord when he will rectify it. Be persistant and don't be fobbed off. If his response is unreasonable then contact your EHO.
            Meanwhile, you can bath your son and wash dishes adequately using your kettle(s)even though it is inconvenient.
            Silverfish are just a nuisance, they are not dangerous, once the property is heated and dry they will go. You can help by thoroughly clearing up all food spills (especially sugar) and storing foodstuffs in tupperware (especially cerials).

            2. You signed your contract and are legally bound by it, however, most landlords will come to a reasonable compromise.
            Explain to your landlord you want out of your contract. Offer a financial settlement + your deposit if neccessary. Say that you will allow and assist in viewings for lettings and for sale.

            Your situation is not that bad, you just need to look at it calmly and take control of things.

            Comment


              #7
              Boletus have you ever had exclusive care of a wee one? Bathing with kettles???? Inconvenient???
              For once the manatee is lost for words. This may not be the worst situation we have heard but it is bad for this person. She has been given good advice - I hope she acts on it. My view is that she is trying to take control of things without being a bad tenant - the kind most of us LL would like!
              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by boletus View Post

                1. Your Landlord is not refusing to carry out his repair obligations, BG have been called out and he has instructed another contractor to call today. He is trying to rectify the situation, he cannot reasonably be expected to do more at this stage.
                OP says that the problems started in March. I don't think it's acceptable for it to take six months to work out what the problem is and fix it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jta View Post
                  My rights as a tenant with a 5 month old baby!

                  Are exactly the same as those of a tenant without a 5 month old baby!
                  I believe a tenant with a baby would be viewed differently to one without. What a tenant with a 5 month old child (children being more susceptible to illness etc) should reasonably be expected to suffer and what an ordinary person without a child could be reasonably able to suffer are two seperate things and I genuinely believe a court would take it into account.

                  Originally posted by boletus View Post
                  Hello ckc,

                  You have two problems.
                  1. Your heating isn't working properly.
                  2. You want out of your contract.

                  1. Your Landlord is not refusing to carry out his repair obligations, BG have been called out and he has instructed another contractor to call today. He is trying to rectify the situation, he cannot reasonably be expected to do more at this stage.
                  Once the property is properly heated, the dampness will go along with the silverfish.

                  When the contractor calls ask what the problem is and ask your landlord when he will rectify it. Be persistant and don't be fobbed off. If his response is unreasonable then contact your EHO.
                  Meanwhile, you can bath your son and wash dishes adequately using your kettle(s)even though it is inconvenient.
                  Silverfish are just a nuisance, they are not dangerous, once the property is heated and dry they will go. You can help by thoroughly clearing up all food spills (especially sugar) and storing foodstuffs in tupperware (especially cerials).

                  2. You signed your contract and are legally bound by it, however, most landlords will come to a reasonable compromise.
                  Explain to your landlord you want out of your contract. Offer a financial settlement + your deposit if neccessary. Say that you will allow and assist in viewings for lettings and for sale.

                  Your situation is not that bad, you just need to look at it calmly and take control of things.
                  Boletus, I am not sure I agree with your statements. In my opinion the two are intrinsically linked to be honest with you Boletus. If I fail to comply with my obligations of a contractual agreement a tenant can repudiate the contract - See Hussein V Mehlman (1992).
                  [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
                    Boletus have you ever had exclusive care of a wee one? Bathing with kettles???? Inconvenient???
                    For once the manatee is lost for words. This may not be the worst situation we have heard but it is bad for this person.
                    Boiling a kettle for a weekly bath is not much of a hardship, it's for a 5 month old baby not an 18 stone coalminer...

















                    ...only joking. I do sympathise with the tenant as I have had to care for children and, like many parents, I've had to boil kettles for their daily bath from time to time. It is a pain and an inconvenience but it is not the end of the world. The landlord has sent a contractor round today and hopefully she will not have to endure this for much longer. The situation will get better and is not a cause for despair.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      OP says that the problems started in March. I don't think it's acceptable for it to take six months to work out what the problem is and fix it.
                      I agree that six months is unacceptable but the landlord was unaware that the problem had not been previously fixed;

                      CKC said- 'The LL was infored on saturday morning of the situation. He has asked for another contractor to come out to check the boiler and give his opinion, and he is coming out tomorrow morning.'

                      At this stage the landlord is acting reasonably.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
                        Boletus, I am not sure I agree with your statements. In my opinion the two are intrinsically linked to be honest with you Boletus. If I fail to comply with my obligations of a contractual agreement a tenant can repudiate the contract - See Hussein V Mehlman (1992).
                        It's a fair point, however, I think the best practical course of action is for the tenant to negotiate with the landlord.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The LL was informed of the boiler situation in April when the first BG engineer came out and was advised again when he came to visit in May and I was advised to contact BG, which I did. He was informed again on Saturday about the most resent BG visit but was formally informed on Thursday 8th september by the letting agent of the problem still being present.

                          The contractor that was suppose to call yesterday did not show and informed me that he would be at the house between 9 and 10am, but finally showed at 11:15 - during this time I kept my coat on as it was that cold.

                          The contractor confirmed what the BG engineer had informed me but also found more problems and said "unfortunately, it looks like its going to be a big job".

                          According to section 11 of the Landlord and Tenancy Act 1985 the house must have water supply, which I presume would mean hot water also, for it to be fit for human habitation.

                          I have put up with the problem since the end of March, informing the letting agent and landlord, and I informed the LA that I still had a problem and again was advised to contact BG. After a while I just put up with having to trip the electrics and not having heating or hot water, which I shouldn't of but really didn't want to keep pestering everyone and with the summer months didn't really need the heating on and went up and down the stairs boiling kettles for my sons bath (no wonder Im now a size 6).

                          My relationship broke down and I became very depressed and withdrawn and went to see my mum for 3 weeks in August, when I realised that I shouldn't have to put up with not having heating, especially as the colder months are approaching and I should have hot water. I informed my LA of the situation on Monday 5th September when I returned from my mums but the lady who deals with my property wasn't in the office until Thursday 8th September, hence why the LL wasn't informed until this date.

                          Basically the LA have known about the problem this time around for 9 days and I have been totally without heating and hot water since then.

                          The silverfish where in the house since I moved in (mid feb) but the heating didn't "break" until end of March, so I believe the damp is a separate problem as there was previously a leak above the kitchen prior to my tenancy which they said had been resolved.

                          The house is too cold for me and my son to live in and have had to say at my elderly grandparents for the past two days, which is extremely inconvienent, and upsets them so we have to move back into the house.

                          Would any of you like to live in a house with no heating and no hot water with a 5 month old baby for as long as I have? I think I am being a very good tenant and maybe that is why I'm not really getting very far. I pay my rent, which I don't get help with, I am only on maternity pay at the moment, and I pay it on time, every time and have never really complained.
                          Surely me and my son deserve better.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ckc86 View Post
                            Would any of you like to live in a house with no heating and no hot water with a 5 month old baby for as long as I have? I think I am being a very good tenant and maybe that is why I'm not really getting very far. I pay my rent, which I don't get help with, I am only on maternity pay at the moment, and I pay it on time, every time and have never really complained.
                            Surely me and my son deserve better.
                            No I wouldn't like to live like that and yes you do deserve better.
                            But you must pester and complain.
                            Firstly to the letting agent/landlord today to find out when they intend to repair and then, if you don't get a satisfactory response, to the EHO.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by boletus View Post
                              I have had to care for children and, like many parents, I've had to boil kettles for their daily bath from time to time.
                              As have we all - I have bathed a couple in a sink on a caravan park once - that was fun! However the key phrase is "from time to time". Imagine having to do it every day. and in a cold house...Simply not acceptable and not fair.
                              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                              Comment

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