Student HMO has bed bugs!

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  • Student HMO has bed bugs!

    Hi there,

    I signed a contract for a house I hadn't seen but was assured by my flatmates who had found it, that it was of a habitable condition. I moved in last sunday (exactly a week ago.)

    We found a huge number of things wrong with the place:
    • Bathroom door doesn’t close or lock
    • Broken toilet seat
    • No lino on bathroom floor - just mouldy floorboards
    • Not a real shower - have to kneel down in bath to wash self
    • Grime and mildew everywhere, after scrubbing intensively for two hours, one side was a whiteish and the other was brown with orange sealant.
    • Rodent droppings in the kitchen cupboards
    • An actual rat/mouse living in our kitchen
    • Grease and mould in most kitchen cupboards
    • Oven with only 2 out of 6 knobs and door hanging off
    • Fridge had grime in that looked and smelled like it had been in there for years.
    • Cracked/smashed window panes
    • Windows that don’t shut or lock - was advertised as double glazed, but it clearly not!
    • No lock for balcony door
    • Random blood smear on wardrobe door - assuming from previous tenant or painter
    • Broken light fixture in hall way
    • Broken buzzer

    Now, we've had a few of those things fixed, but most of all and perhaps the most horrifying discovery, was that we all have bedbugs.

    We had it fumigated but they're still running rampant and last night I came up in a red rash from the bites from them. It's incredibly itchy and paiful - I'll need to go to a minor injuries unit AT LEAST to make it better

    I'm wondering if I could claim breach of contract and move out? I told my flatmates I wouldn't move out and leave an empty room for them to fill, that I'd find someone else to fill it. But is this even possible? It must be against some sort of clause in the contract or even an environmental health law.

    Please get back to be ASAP as I'm going to try and get some legal advice this week and would prefer I had actual grounds before I go.

  • #2
    I believe bedbugs have to be treated more than once to get rid of them, others will have a better idea.

    Do you have the landlord's address? Complain.

    Security of the property is a major concern, especially as you probably all have computers.

    Are you joint tenants or do each of you have a separate agreement for your room? Do you have locks on your own doors?
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


    • #3
      Unfortunately I don't think the problems you've identified are bad enough to say that you can repudiate the contract and walk away from the lease. The better option is to get the landlord to pay for i) professional cleaning company; ii) pest control; iii) a new oven/possibly fridge; iv) new windows; and v) a new door/maintenance on the old one for the bathroom. If he complains point out that he'll have to do it anyway if he wants to have a hope of letting the place for next year.

      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.


      • #4
        If you get no suitable response from the landlord in the morning, call the Environmental Health Officer at the local council. They may refer you to the HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) officer or Tenancy Relations Officer - but someone will help.

        As JTA asks - do you rent an individual room, or are you all on the same contract for the full flat.

        How many occupants are there in the flat? Is it a purpose built flat, or a conversion? If the latter - how many floors in the full building?


        • #5
          We've had a replacement oven and fridge put in and have been promised a new bathroom floor and had the smashed pane in the living room fixed.

          My main concern is the flipping bed bugs. They are everywhere and it is disgusting and I can't sleep and am COVERED in big red bites all over my body. I'd try to upload a photo but it won't let me :S

          There are 4 occupants, and it's a flat above a shop, so a conversion I suppose? There are 3 floor I think - the ground floor is the shop and the first and second floors are our flat.

          We're all on the same contract.


          • #6
            You should be concerned, it sounds as if the place is completely unfit, try talking to your student accommodation office about the state of it.

            If those are the problems you have identified so far, who is to say there are not deeper, dangerous faults through-out the rest of the property?.
            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


            • #7
              I had to upload the photos onto photobucket so click on here to go to the album.


              • #8
                From a legal stance, you would all have to attempt to repudiate the contract - if any of the tenants remain in the property then all tenants will remain jointly and severally liable for the rent for the duration of the contract (and possibly beyond). That doesn't stop you trying to gain some sort of compensation for your situation - preferably via negotiation, but possibly through the courts. However, that is not a priority for now, just keep records of what happens.


                • #9
                  Do you have a vacume cleaner ?
                  Well known for sucking up bed bugs, and of course yu have to vacume
                  the edges ( periphery ) top and Bottom, and the bed, and everywhere they
                  can hide.
                  If you don't vacume, you will never get rid of them ( seal end of cleaner every
                  night ) and change bag every 2/3 days. Put bag in a plasic bag in outside bin.

                  Also. those bites will end up as a red dot, and be there for the rest of your life.

                  Happy sleeping in the garden ...........


                  • #10
                    Most of the responses have been given but the landlord needs to get in a pest controller very soon, and the local authority pest control might provide a service.

                    The landlord can readily say that one of you brought them in with you as these little pest follow you and travel across the world and are at home is student squat or a five star hotel- just look at the stories in New York.

                    Originally posted by Tippytoes View Post
                    I signed a contract for a house I hadn't seen but was assured by my flatmates who had found it, that it was of a habitable condition.
                    And dude get some better mates, where did they live before, in pits?
                    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


                    • #11
                      I was wondering that, too. Why on earth they did they agree to rent this hell-hole in the first place?
                      '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


                      • #12
                        Trust me i'm asking them the same question - but I giess you notice things a hell of a lot more when it's the actual place you live, rather than a,a fleeting viewing.

                        Also, we dwfinitely did not - a previous tenant popped by in the week to get his post & said 'have you found the bedbuga yet?' Ans I dont rhink.they could get into eveey bedroom & living room which is on the 2nd floor, in 1 day - as we moved in.onn sunday & found them monday morning.


                        • #13
                          Have you had a GP confirm they are bed bug bites? Looks more like an allergic reaction or poss fleas.


                          • #14
                            I haven't been able to get a GP appointment yet, it's frustrating. But they are definitely bed bug bites, we all have them all over our arms in particular. I just have very sensitive skin, always have ever since I was a baby, hence why it's gone full-on crazy.


                            • #15
                              Was the property rented furnished or part furnished. If the property was let unfurnished I believe there is no implied term that the property is fit for habitation as at commencement of the tenancy.
                              PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.


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