Roof problems (Landlord/Managing Agent slow to act)

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    Roof problems (Landlord/Managing Agent slow to act)

    Hello,

    I have recently renewed my tenancy for another year (lived there for nearly 2 already). Back in January I noticed some watermarks appear on the ceiling so reported this to the Managing Agents along with some other ongoing issues. When I finally renewed last month, I raised the watermark issue again as it had turned a reddish colour, unlike anything I had seen before and definitely not blue/black mould. More like rust.

    Finally I popped the roof hatch this week after being woken by scratching and cooing very early in the AM. The hatch is quite difficult to get to and leads to a part of the property I don't consider myself to rent. Plus, its full of my Landlord's old junk by the looks of it. When I popped the hatch, I could see.....the sky. There are at least 4 massive holes. And there are pigeons living up there.

    I have been speaking to the Managing Agent this week who are quite coy about whether they reported it to the Landlord back in January blaming staff absence for their apparent lack of knowledge. They say the Landlord is mulling over a £20k repair bill.

    Does anybody know my rights regarding the safety here? There are, from my untrained eye, several cracks appearing around the watermark and other watermarks elsewhere so I am concerned about the structural safety of the building. Its barely stopped raining for a week.

    If the roof has to be totally replaced, would I have to move out bearing in mind its the upstairs of a Victorian conversion?

    Could I ask to re-consider my renewal with the new knowledge of the safety issues?

    Thanks.

    #2
    1st, write (yes, WRITE ) -or email landlord, copy agent, keep copy point out issue, request plan to fix within 5 days.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Yep, done that but with what outcome in mind if there is no action? Do I have recourse to cancel the agreement bearing in mind the renewal doesn't kick in until July?

      Surely it benefits the owner to at the very least shift the vermin and shore up the holes.

      Maybe I should turn into a tenant that doesn't give a f**k. Nobody would have known if I hadn't reported it. The Managing Agent missed it during their 'check up visits' and the Landlord obviously can't be arsed either.

      Comment


        #4
        If LL/LA does not reply or fails to give a timetable for repair within 14 days, invite local EHO to inspect.
        Most routine property inspections do not include roof/loft inspections.
        In these days of suitable rentals, you would be ill-advised to become a T that doesn't give a damn.
        I cannot see a valid reason, so far, to release you from the T
        Negotiate with LL for possible early surrender.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Rooster View Post
          Nobody would have known if I hadn't reported it. The Managing Agent missed it during their 'check up visits' and the Landlord obviously can't be arsed either.
          Maybe the Landlord has been getting you the right bunch of flowers and bottle of wine as a "thank you" for alerting him to this "£20K repair bill". Seriously, if that is the kind of money being talked about, then I can easily see someone mulling this over - how best to do it, is a patch-up workable, insurance implications yada-yada-yada - for some time. Just because it hasn't been noticed before doesn't necessarily mean it's been a problem for a long time - you say you've lived there some time yourself, is it fair to assume you think this wasn't like this when you moved in and has been getting worse all that time? Is it fair to assume it might be related to the terrible winter we've just come through?

          Also, we don't know what 4 massive holes are like... are they holes that are a metre across in size, or are they actually a couple of inches, or even smaller? None of them are good, granted, but one is entirely different from the other.

          The good thing about Victorian stuff is that it was built to last.

          Don't blame everything on the Landlord until you've absolved the Letting Agent of blame... this could very easily be where blame lies. Your post is not clear on whether you have communicated directly with the Landlord at all... if not so far, could you? You might get a better feeling than that which you've got so far (of course, you may not).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
            Don't blame everything on the Landlord until you've absolved the Letting Agent of blame... this could very easily be where blame lies.
            From the sounds of it this is correct, but why should this be any matter for the tenant?

            Your post is not clear on whether you have communicated directly with the Landlord at all... if not so far, could you?
            Why should the tenant do so? It is surely the letting agent who was appointed by the landlord to be the main contact for the tenant.

            As regards whether the tenant can cancel the tenancy agreement - again why should they have the right to do so? As long as the property is inhabitable the tenant has no right to cancel the tenancy.

            However, should the whole roof need to be replaced then I would assume that the landlord will have to provide alternative accommodation to the tenant (and their belongings) for that period unless it can be stored safely and securely at the property. Also, if the roof is about to collapse (which we don't know but to be honest it doesn't sound like it) then the tenant could have a claim to rectify the immediate danger. Also, if the leak causes damage to the tenant's belongings (which again we don't know but from the sounds of it hasn't happened yet) then the tenant could request this damage rectified by the landlord.

            But from the sounds of it, the landlord is aware of the need for repair and the tenant has done all they can and need to. I don't see reasons for any other demands at the moment, apart from the tenant to be kept up to date on the progress and proposed repairs.

            Comment


              #7
              Well, I sensed the OP was getting somewhat irate and, while I do understand this, I wanted to suggest a calm, collected, approach to the problem and also ensure that the OP's rising irritation was aimed at the correct party.

              I don't think you saying "why should the Tenant do so?" is very helpful. I think it's the end result that matters and if the current communication is causing a level of dissatisfaction, and there isn't a line of communication currently open with the Landlord, then this might bear fruit (although it might not too). I'm tired of people saying "why should I?" when it's them that's 'suffering'; so I don't like to see others encouraging folk to do it either. The Tenant is frustrated - if there is no line of communication open directly with the Landlord and the Tenant thinks this is damned urgent, I would advise the Tenant to be talking direct to the Landlord, I would not trust any Agent to be doing their job (I never do, right? I assert they're universally rubbish).

              I hope you mean "habitable"?

              Comment


                #8
                Hippogriff,

                So I'm supposed to feel sorry for the Landlord? I couldn't give a toss if it costs £20k, that's what's I almost pay in rent per annum. It's taken him nearly 2 years to not fix dangerous broken jagged tiles in the kitchen, something I raise every single time the MA contacts me regarding their visits. The watermark appeared ages ago but having living through mould before I just put it down to that and anyway, that is clearly visible and once again was missed by the MA until I reported it several times.

                The holes are big enough for a chunky pigeon to fit through, not a scrawny little one. I just popped the hatch again after being driven to distraction by the constant 'fiddling around' up there to see one jump through the main hole and then peer back through at me. The one hole is on the apex of the roof so totally exposed to all the elements.

                I don't have a direct line to the LL but tried to contact him through a boiler repair guy who worked here and left his number. He said he would ring the LL for me. I didn't ask for the LL's number as I wanted to give him the chance to contact me if he wished rather than rock the boat. The MA's use the excuse that it's down to the LL.

                All I want is for somebody to attempt to do something, even if it's temporary and communicate that instead of hiding away behind some bullshit protocol that the tenant who is living through this ridiculous situation cannot communicate that to the person responsible for getting it fixed.

                Comment


                  #9
                  mattl,

                  Thank you, that's all I am asking for. I'm well aware that a complete roof replacement could mean having to vacate which was something I was hoping to avoid this year hence the renewal I agreed to before I realised it was like a scene from The Birds directly above me.

                  If I hadn't renewed I would have had to have moved out in early July and so I would like to know if that's still a possibility or is it only on the cards if the LL agrees? The MA swerved answering that question when I put it to them.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                    I would advise the Tenant to be talking direct to the Landlord, I would not trust any Agent to be doing their job (I never do, right? I assert they're universally rubbish).
                    I get the distinct feeling the MA is trying to stop me from speaking to the LL so how else can I make that happen now apart from writing to him? I'm pretty sure he told me he was moving the one time I met him ages ago so not even sure the address on the original agreement is correct.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mariner View Post
                      If LL/LA does not reply or fails to give a timetable for repair within 14 days, invite local EHO to inspect.
                      He's got until the end of the week and then I may just do that.

                      He's had a fortnight already.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Rooster View Post
                        So I'm supposed to feel sorry for the Landlord?
                        Well, that wasn't remotely like what I said. My whole point is to get directly to the Landlord because I have experience of, and distrust of, poor Letting Agents sitting in the middle, adding no value, causing delays and blaming everyone else.

                        "Dangerous broken jagged tiles"? I think you should get out of your high-chair and do something instead of whining. Get beyond the "bullshit protocol" and find out how to get to the Landlord, it is the right of a Tenant to know how to contact their Landlord, regardless of a Letting Agent being involved or not, exercise that right... you're exacerbating this "ridiculous situation" yourself through your inaction... you didn't actually try to contact the Landlord through the boiler repair guy, really, dd you? You just passed over your number, hoping the Landlord would contact you... that's not trying to contact him... you didn't even ask for the Landlord's number as a backup, just in case nothing happened, that's being - like - totally passive, man.

                        Anyway, seriously, now that we know you've not spoken to the Landlord directly, and you are shackled by the Letting Agent being in the middle, please do whatever you need to to make this happen - it might change things immediately - it might not, but at least if not, you know a bit more about where you stand / what you're up against. The one thing I hope you get out of this is improved communication, I understand that there's often nothing worse than silence.

                        If I ended up in a situation whereby I knew the Letting Agent and Landlord were not going to do anything to fix things, or even in a reasonable time, I'd just be out of there - they can try anything with you later, threatening letters, sue, deposit deductions - just ensure you've got good photographic evidence of the situation, and maybe something from the EHO, and I would feel you could easily justify your actions. Maybe we hope it doesn't come to that, though.

                        P.S. - just because the Landlord receives almost £20K from you in rent per year doesn't mean they would not like to mull over how to resolve this situation that might end up costing them £20K, insurance or not... I mean, the Landlord is not your personal charity, right? The Landlord hasn't been saving up that £20K per year rent, you've been paying him, so he can use it on things for you. The Landlord wants to make a profit out of this.

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