help required confronting landlord

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    help required confronting landlord

    Hi all.

    I've recently moved into a rented place.

    Unknown to us the landlord had left a container of caustic soda crystals in the property.

    My one year old child found it, and has suffered chemical burns to his face, hands an toungue.

    Luckily he is at the best end of a terrible situation, and the hospitals and plastic surgeons have all said he's fine, although there could be some permanant scarring.

    I really dont know how to confront my landlord about this without losing my rag.

    Undoubtably he is the cause of this by being negletant.

    But if i do tell him, what would happen from there,
    I'm being advised to claim compinsation for what has happened, but if i do this then surely my landlord could think well this is a good excyse to evict them in a few months time.
    I'm not wanting to cause a rift.
    Its complicated.
    Any advice would be greatly recieved.

    #2
    Thats terrible, obviously pleased to hear that your son is on the mend.

    Whereabouts in the property was the container left? In a cupboard, in a spare room ?
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

    Comment


      #3
      We can only presume that it was left under the sink. ( i have a huge sink area with quite deep/wide cupboards underneath.

      My 2 year old has pointed out that this is where he found it, and then the 1 year old, opened it.

      It wasnt left in a obvious area, otherwise we would of noticed it, as with 2 young-uns you have to be careful about things like this.

      Comment


        #4
        GothicFaerie

        So sorry to hear of your story. I have young children of my own and this should surely serve as a warning to all out there that you can never underestimate the detective skills of a small child when it comes to hunting out things they really shouldn't be messing with.

        I wouldn't like to comment on you confronting your landlord because I know how I would feel in the same situation. However, I think it very important to keep your cool - particularly if you are considering lodging a compensation claim. I do wonder though - did a thorough check-in/inventory not take place upon you moving in? If so, shouldn't the hazardous product not have been flagged up by somebody! Also, one might want to say that you were negligent yourself by not checking the property yourself from the eyes of such a young child. Most parents fit cupboard locks to cupboards within a young child's reach these days - especially cupboards where one might expect to find cleaning chemicals and the such like (under the kitchen sink being one of the most obvious places).

        I'm not wanting to belittle what has happened to your son but just want to point out what the landlord or a defending solicitor might say in the event of you lodging a complaint/compensation claim. Fore-warned being fore-armed and all that.

        Good luck with your chosen course of action and I wish your son a very speedy recovery!

        Kind Regards

        J

        Comment


          #5
          To be honest, this is something a little bit over and above the realms of this forum - it is more about personal injury legal claims than housing law, and so I would advise seeking better qualified advice elsewhere. I would also certainly consult with a solicitor.

          I do have to say that I agree with JP however - the negligence in a legal sense would probably be at least partly shared. I in no way mean that you have been negligent as a parent, please dont misunderstand me, everyone blinks for a minute! However, I am of little doubt(although as I say this is not my field of knowledge!) that the landlord should be held legally and financially responsible, at least partly.

          I wish you the best of luck, and wish your son a continued speedy recovery.
          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

          Comment


            #6
            This is a terrible thing to have happened and I wish your son well.

            Shows the importance to both the landlord and the tenant of the full check of the property and its condition at the start of the letting.

            As with any problem it may be wise to notify the landlord and give him/her an opportunity for comment but first have a word with someone who can give expert advice. The burden of proof will be on you to show that the caustic soda was not introduced to the property by you (or someone doing work of visiting the property since tenanted by you) It will necessary to prove the chemical was left on the property by, (for example) the previous tenant, the landlord or someone acting on behalf of the landlord.

            If your adviser feels there is a chance of a successful Personal Injury Claim and that it is OK to contact your landlord then remember...

            It won't help your case by focussing on rage or anger in front of your landlord.

            Try and get a well spoken friend go with you to do the talking to see the landlord and let him know what has happened. If you are able to adopt an approach of sadness and worry for your son the landlord may be less defensive.

            State that you (since being at the flat) you have never purchased caustic soda or had anyone use caustic soda at the dwelling. Ask if he has any recollections as to how the chemical came to be at the property.

            Note the landlord's comments and then decide your future action.

            The main domestic use of caustic soda is to clear blocked drains or very badly soiled WC traps. If you still have the product in a safe place it might be worthwhile checking if there are other recommended uses.
            Vic - wicked landlord
            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

            Comment


              #7
              Why not write to LL - you will stay calm and reasonable in a letter - this is so difficult to do when you are angry and the matter concerns a child. His response will hopefully then be in writing (give him a limited time, say 14 days to reply to your questions) It is also possible that the LL will evict at 6 months - awful but has to be said. The incident was tragic and every parents nightmare. It is difficult to say (as a mum) but I don't think you will be advised to seek compensation. However I fully agree with all the advice above - go and see a solicitor and I wish your son a speedy and full recovery.
              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

              Comment


                #8
                Dreadful situation - my sympathy to GF and her son.

                Originally posted by Worldlife View Post
                If your adviser feels there is a chance of a successful Personal Injury Claim and that it is OK to contact your landlord

                [...]

                State that you (since being at the flat) you have never purchased caustic soda or had anyone use caustic soda at the dwelling. Ask if he has any recollections as to how the chemical came to be at the property.

                Note the landlord's comments and then decide your future action.
                I'm not sure how the above has any bearing on whether GF takes action or not... she knows herself that she didn't bring in the chemical, so it must now be the landlord's responsibility that it was there, whoever else did so. I doubt she's going to decide not to take action on the basis of whether he holds up his hands and says "sorry", rather than says "tough, nothing to do with me?"

                I think that GF needs to decide whether potentially she wants to take action or not. If she does, she shouldn't talk to the LL at all until she has taken legal advice, which she should do ASAP - there are any number of these dreadful 'no win, no fee' accident claims outfits out there to consult. If she's advised there's a case to answer (and I'm sure she will be) then win or lose, she's bound to receive an S21 notice to evict her at the end of the 6 months - that's surely a given. So she needs to make the decision with that in mind.

                Comment


                  #9
                  GF - just a quick thought but have you taken photos of your child's injuries just in case they are required?

                  Also, a quick question to other members. In the event that GF submits a a personal injury claim and was to go on to be successful with that claim would the landlords public liability insurance cover the cost of any financial award? It's just that obviously the landlord will have to notify his insurance company of a possible claim once he is aware of the situation. Am I right in thinking that in the event of a claim the insurance company actually takes over from the landlord and deals with defending the claim?

                  Kind Regards

                  J

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                    Dreadful situation - my sympathy to GF and her son.



                    I'm not sure how the above has any bearing on whether GF takes action or not... she knows herself that she didn't bring in the chemical, so it must now be the landlord's responsibility that it was there, whoever else did so. I doubt she's going to decide not to take action on the basis of whether he holds up his hands and says "sorry", rather than says "tough, nothing to do with me?"

                    I think that GF needs to decide whether potentially she wants to take action or not. If she does, she shouldn't talk to the LL at all until she has taken legal advice, which she should do ASAP - there are any number of these dreadful 'no win, no fee' accident claims outfits out there to consult. If she's advised there's a case to answer (and I'm sure she will be) then win or lose, she's bound to receive an S21 notice to evict her at the end of the 6 months - that's surely a given. So she needs to make the decision with that in mind.
                    Depends on the landlord - if he is shocked by what has happened he may say things that he will not say if given time to think - e.g. reply to a letter.

                    There is still need to prove the case. For example if one were able to contact the previous tenant who was able to say that the drains blocked and caustic soda was used to clean them this might be evidence of the possibility that the previous tenant, landlord or contractor could have used the chemical and left some behind.

                    In balance the tenant will have to provide evidence along the lines that she had never used the chemical and no visitors or contractors to her knowledge done so.

                    At the moment we are relying on presumptive evidence based on a simple statement by the tenant and Court cases are not normally that simple!!!

                    Let's wait for the verdict of the professionals and hope GF's son recovers fully and the scarring is minimal.
                    Vic - wicked landlord
                    Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                    Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      We have no children at our tenanted property. As a result of this incident I intend to review the safety and location of all tools, spares and patch paints. We will bear in mind the possibility of child visitors.
                      Vic - wicked landlord
                      Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                      Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        For what its worth, I think the length of time between the start of the tenancy and the incident is key. Also if the OP had put any of her things in the cupboard, and hence should have encountered the offending article.
                        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                          #13
                          Good point Bel. Let's make it clear our sympathies are with GF on this one.

                          OTH it would not be inconceivable that a tenant could have an accident like this through something they have introduced into the property (or a DIY friend or contractor) and then try to put the blame on the landlord.

                          The problem is such a defence, that could be genuine in some cases, could equally be made by an unscrupulous landlord trying to get off the hook.

                          Only a Court would be able to come to a conclusion, one way or the other, based on the evidence and reputation of the claimant and the defendant.

                          The last thing one would want to happen after this terrible incident is to live through it all again, perhaps over a period of years, without a successful outcome. It would be tragic if, after a protracted Court action (with an in- depth examination of the actions of all parties involved) the tenant was not able to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the responsibility was the landlord's.

                          Perhaps GF will let us know if her legal advisor feels she has a water-tight case and keep us informed of her progress.
                          Vic - wicked landlord
                          Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                          Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thankyou to all for your comments.

                            I realise that my post has made it seem as if i'm only after compinsation, i'm not, but would appreciate a sorry off my landlord.

                            The incident happened less than 3 weks after us moving in, there was no formal inventory check, and caustic soda was not all he left behind, there was also spray bleaches etc, wich he told me he would move before we moved in, and didnt.

                            Another thing that is on my mind is that we've pointed out some repairs that need doing, ( these wee pointed out before we moved in )

                            his only reply is, yes i know about that, but we've heard nothing about him comin to or arranging for these to be repaired.

                            I really dont want to come across as a pushy tennant as privately renting is the only housing option I have.

                            With reference to writing a letter to my landlord, I believe this is the best way to go,

                            Thankyou all.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Gothicfaerie

                              If you intend writing to the landlord you might be wise to speak to a solicitor prior to doing so. Don't forget lots of the personal injury claim companies work on a 'no win no fee' basis so you have nothing to lose by seeking advice on your particular circumstances.

                              Again, I wish you all the best.

                              Kind Regards

                              J

                              Comment

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