On going repairs - when is it too much? Please help!

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    On going repairs - when is it too much? Please help!

    Hi all,

    My first post here & hoping for some advice :-) Apologies in advance for the rambling!

    I moved in to a property (3 year old property) with my husband & 4 children mid December 2013.

    After just 2 weeks the boiler started cutting out, in the new year we informed the letting agency (property is managed by the estate agent). Throughout Jan & beginning of Feb we had to make many phone calls & have many visits from the boiler man to get the issue fixed, he kept 'fixing' it, only for it to break again.

    Then 2 cosmetic faults have appeared on the walls (one in bathroom & one in kitchen, too hard to explain!!), they cause us no problem but felt we should let the agent know. After a couple of weeks, someone came to have a look at them, he said he needed someone else to come & have a look!
    He also said that the bathroom issue wasn't under the warranty, that means someone else would deal with that - so another 2 further visits just to have a 'look' before they come to fix the 'faults'

    At this point we made it clear to the agent that we were not happy with all the coming & going that has been going on over the past 2.5 months (at that point we'd lived there for just 3 months & had at least 6 visits & made at least 20 phone calls &, 30 texts to sort out the on going boiler issue and arrange the visit to 'look' at the cosmetic faults).

    The agent spoke with the landlord & he agreed that the cosmetic repairs would be left until we had moved out (12month contract). We had already told the agency that we won't be staying any longer than our contacted 12 months as to be perfectly honest the house is very over priced - we privately rent a house that is surrounded by social housing. Let me explain that further! The families living in those houses are loud, allow the children (all less than 7 years old) to play outside until past 9 o'clock at night, the adults stand on the door steps drinking until 3am in the morning! So whilst ordinarily I have no issues WHAT SO EVER with social housing, I do take issue with paying £1000 rent for this particular house, which is well above average in this area anyway, to live on a social housing estate with people that have no respect for their neighbours. It's a new build that seemed perfect for us, we visited the property 3 times, unfortunately in November when we viewed the neighbours weren't all on their door steps drinking & smoking like they are now!

    I do realise that sounds b**chy :-/ that's really not my intention, just trying to explain that the property really is over priced for the area & with the on going issues we it all adds up! We were very new to the area & thought we were moving to an idyllic country side location. We were very wrong, turns out we choose the worst area in the village lol!! Anyway that's beside the point..........

    Now the boiler has started to fault AGAIN (4 months into the contact), so we are awaiting (in the coming week) someone to come & look then attempt to fix again. We are out of pocket by £20 as I've had to buy a carbon monoxide detector as I do not trust the boiler (located in my bedroom).

    ALSO the landlord has now gone back on his word & said that the cosmetic work will need attention ASAP as his warranty expires in May. So we're now in for even more visits, phone calls, e-mails & repairs - just 4 months into our contract.

    We have 4 children, husband works long & unsociable shifts, I work full time hours from home (when kids are in bed so through to early hours) & my children (the older ones) are home educated (as there aren't any school places in the village!!). So we (like most families) are extremely busy - as the kids aren't at school I have to make sure we go out daily & they attend various clubs etc. So these visits, phone calls etc are really a nuisance, they are impacting our lives & we have had enough!!

    The estate agent suggested with give them a key so that they can come when we're out to do repairs etc, but I will not allow strangers in my home when I am not here and feel I am within my rights to refuse that. Even if I owned the house I wouldn't leave strangers here, it's just not something I am comfortable with.


    The basic question is, we want to leave, we want to terminate out contact due to the on going problems with this house that are impacting our lives, taking up our valuable time & are now also costing us money. Are we within our rights?

    Please help :-) Many thanks in advance!

    #2
    Sounds like the cosmetic work might be key to giving you an 'out'.

    I would tell the landlord that you won't be allowing builders in to do that unless he agrees (in writing) you can leave next rent day without further liability.

    Comment


      #3
      Regarding neighbours you should take the same action you would if you both owned each property: Other than in Scotland, tenant behaviour is (largely) not landlord's issue.

      If you won't provide key & won't be in can't see how a reasonable agent or landlord could be expected to fix things: Or did I misunderstand something...
      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


        #4
        Thank you for your reply. The neighbours aren't so much of a problem that I'd want to take legal issue with them, just explaining that the property is over priced & that does cause us annoyance added to the other issues (probably seems trivial that I mentioned it, but feel a bit duped & that the landlord is being greedy to be perfectly honest).

        The problem is that I WILL have to allow access & continue to waste my time making calls & rearranging our days to allow yet more work to be carried out - we need hot water, therefore I have to allow the boiler to be fixed AGAIN. My point is this is getting too much now & is infringing on our life.

        The cosmetic problem are not a concern of mine & I do not want or expect them fixed, however I am being told I have to allow access for that too.

        Would you be happy in these circumstances?

        Thank you for your help

        Comment


          #5
          It may come as a huge surprise to you but I, along with many others, have aspects of my life the I am not "happy with in these circumstances"..

          However...

          Have you written (yes, WRITTEN!! - keep copy) to landlord, copy agent, listing the issues (including wanting to break contract.. & why..) and requested their response?? If not, do so.

          It does not matter if there is a warranty or not on any item: If something needs fixing & is landlord responsibility then landlord should fix it, regardless of it costing him ££££.

          Do you have landlord home address?? If not ask for it, in writing. Do you have a gas safety certificate??

          Cheets!
          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


            #6
            Hi there,

            Not sure what you mean in your first line? It's no surprise to me that everyone has aspects of their lives that they are not happy with & I hope, if that can, they seek to improve them. Hence my reason for being here & asking for advice :-/

            Unfortunately the landlord lives in the US, so no I haven't written to him, with the warranty expiring in May, I think it may be too late for that as he needs the cosmetic repairs sorted ASAP.

            We have explained the full issue to the LA and the LA suggested that we find another property, they will advertise this one & until another tenant moves in we pay the rental costs & the letting agents fees. They said the important thing is that the landlord isn't out of pocket. Why is it so that the landlord cannot be out of pocket? But it's ok for us to be out of pocket?

            I'm sure I have a gas safety cert :-) We are told there landlord had never had any problems with the boiler until we moved in.

            The way we see it is we are paying customers, we have a faulty 'product' therefore we want to return said product (in this case cancel tenancy). We have allowed for reasonable repair & that hasn't fixed the problem, so enough is enough for us now.

            I think this situation breaches the 'quiet enjoyment' clause I have been reading about this morning. Does anybody have any thoughts on that? Does anyone know where we legally stand on this?

            Thanks again

            Comment


              #7
              As explained, warranty or not does not make any difference to landlord's responsibility for fixing things..

              Do you or do you not have landlord's home address?? I say again
              If not ask for it, in writing
              You are entitled to it, regardless of where in the world he lives. As he is in USofA suggest you enquire of agent of they have seen/have-copy-of the HMRC "non-resident landlord" approval documentation for this landlord. See...
              http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/international/nr-landlords.htm

              I also say again
              Do you have a gas safety certificate??
              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


                #8
                Yes as mentioned I have the gas cert.

                No I do not have his address.

                Your replies do not seem to acknowledge my questions/understand my points.

                You seem very angry. I am not a child, please do not speak to me as such.

                Thank you for your time.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thank you for your comments: I had not meant to indicate at all that I was addressing a child.

                  You stated
                  I'm sure I have a gas safety cert :-)
                  Which leaves the matter somewhat uncertain.

                  I say again,
                  Do you have a gas safety certificate??
                  .... please..

                  Are we to take it then that you have no intention of requesting the landlord's address or contacting him directly - e.g.
                  listing the issues (including wanting to break contract.. & why..) and requested their response??
                  ??

                  Re:
                  Your replies do not seem to acknowledge my questions/understand my points.
                  Kindly state which specific questions you wish answers to, & I'll see what I can do.

                  You'll probably know already you can 'phone Shelter's **free** helpline on 0808 800 4444 (but expect a wait from this excellent overworked charity) which is open today (even Christmas day..) - the experts on these & other housing matters..

                  Cheers (to all.. )!!
                  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


                    #10
                    At this moment in time I have no intention of asking for the landlords address. Every time we contact the LA, they e-mail the LL - he is aware of our 'issues'. Hence he agreed to wait until we move to carry out the cosmetic repairs. He has now gone back on his word & said the repairs need to be done by May due to the warranty (this will mean at least another 2 appointments & more phone calls to arrange).

                    We have made over 20 calls & sent over 30 text messages & had 6 visits already to repair the boiler. It has now started to fault again.

                    My question is basically where do we stand on these matters? WE feel it is now unacceptable, we do not want to continue to live here and have to put up with arranging repairs (some essential & some not), we have only lived here for 4 months & due to one thing and another we have had to have (WE feel) too many inconveniences. Where the law stands - when is it too much? How many times is acceptable to have your boiler fixed? (a 3 years old boiler) As a side note the boiler man told us the boiler is "cheap crap".

                    Yes I have got the gas cert. - why is that so important? I guess it proves the boiler was safe in November when it was checked, doesn't really reassure me now though.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      See Shelter's advice on reporting repairs:
                      http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad..._to_a_landlord

                      Note
                      It's best if you write to your landlord to report repairs. Use our sample letter to report repairs to your landlord.

                      Keep a copy of your letter
                      I happen to disagree with them about recorded delivery as wicked persons have been known to decline to sign, thus wasting the time & letter: Better, IMHO, to use 2 **free** proof-of-postages from 2 different post offices

                      The problem with 'phone calls & TXTs is there is (usually) no record if matters get to court...

                      As you have "no intention of asking for landlord's address" there is nothing further I can add.. Your contract is with the landlord, not the agent (yes I know you deal usually with agent).

                      Cheers!

                      PS Apologies to anyone earlier insulted by my signing off Cheets! I habitually sign "Cheers!" (or "Slàinte mhath!" for Scottish answers). It was a typo, my fault, unintentional, I cannot now correct it (too late) - check my other posts for confirmation...
                      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


                        #12
                        Thank you. If the property were managed by the LL of course I'd be writing to him, but it's managed by the LA who are situated a 5 min walk from us (I should have added the 6+ times we've also gone directly into the shop to notify them of boiler faults etc too) just seems like I'm adding another avenue into the mix if I start contacting him too.....

                        Thanks for your time :-)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Walton View Post
                          I moved in to a property mid December 2013.

                          We had already told the agency that we won't be staying any longer than our contacted 12 months.

                          The basic question is, we want to leave, we want to terminate out contact. Are we within our rights?
                          You have a legally binding contract until December 2014. You can leave the property at any time you want to, but you will have to pay the rent until the end of your contract.

                          You will need to get the landlords consent to terminate your contract early, and he can stipulate any conditions and costs that he likes. If you don't like these conditions you will have to carry on paying the rent.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thank you for your reply.
                            Yes under normal circumstances I completely agree. But I have on going repairs being carried out within the house - am I supposed to just put up with having to rearrange my life to baby sit this house whilst the landlord continues to repair 'a cheap crap' (FAULTY!!) boiler and has cosmetic work done? I feel that is unfair on us as tenants?

                            Is this predominantly a site for landlords? The site seems to bias towards the landlord, perhaps I'm wasting my time here.....

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Walton View Post
                              Thank you. If the property were managed by the LL of course I'd be writing to him, but it's managed by the LA who are situated a 5 min walk from us ...
                              Yes, I always understood the property is managed by agent

                              I'm no doubt being unclear: Your contract is between you & landlord: The agent is just that, the agent & the agent of the landlord at that: The agent does (or should do -..) what the landlord tells them to do (well, is agent?? Is agent "managing" the property??Sounds from your comments that they are failing to do so). Clearly your communications with the agents are not getting what you want: Please reconsider, take Shelter's advice, mine also, write to landlord.. If the landlord is prepared to release you from your contract he will tell agent: Agent just wants their %commission..

                              I have an agent, a good one: Tenants also have my details & can & have contacted me when they felt it necessary.
                              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

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