Do I sue the Landlord or Agency?

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    Do I sue the Landlord or Agency?

    Hi all, thanks in advance for reading.
    We have been good tenants in the current property despite a succession of issues - the final straw came when a 'handyman' came to fix a small issue, caused a massive ceiling leak destroying our kids tablet and wifes iphone, then left the water pressure too low meaning she scalded herself badly in the shower (temperature recorded at 50 degrees).
    When we moved in the boiler wasnt working, electrics upstairs had been cut, and we couldnt use the shower, plus a double glased window which had been smashed had been left (jagged glass etc), and I cut myself on it. We drafted a letter to them in December, which they have ignored. Dues to our son needing an operation to remove a tumor we have stayed for the time being. Below is some of the letter copy we sent - we have been advised we can take them to court but what would, if anything, we sue them for? ;

    "HISTORY OF PROPERTY

    7. I first viewed the Property without the presence of Letting agents. We were shown around by the previous tenants. At the time the property appeared to be being sub-let. xxx (‘the Area’) in which the Property was situated was the area in which we wished to be based, and with the added fact that my wife does not drive, it would be a suitable walking distance to out children’s school.

    8. When we originally viewed the Property it was not in a clean state, however, we accepted that the Property would be cleaned prior to us moving in, as this the normal procedure for lets.

    9. On the day we were due to move in there was an unprecedented delay in both signing the contracts and the actual move. At this time the Letting agents showed us some photos on a CDR. To our shock the Property was still in the dismal state to which we had first viewed it. However, at his stage we had both our belongings in moving vans, and our children in the car, which left us with very little choice but to move in.

    10. We mentioned to Mr xxxe’s at the Letting agents our concerns relating to the property and the damaged state it was in, we were reassured that this could be added to the inventory list and not be alarmed by this matter.

    11. Upon moving in the whole property needed to be deep cleaned. In particular the kitchen and bathroom, which were left in a particularly abysmal state. (Photos are attached at exhibit SH/1)


    ISSUES WITH PROPERTY

    12. Upon further investigation whilst in the Property, other than the aesthetic issues to the property we also noticed other more complex issues. We noticed:

    a. The upstairs light was not working in the shower
    b. There was no hot water
    c. The boiler was making an alarming sound
    d. Wires cut in Bedroom 2
    e. Bare wires showing in the downstairs toilet
    f. Windows would not open

    13. To date there have been over 80 issues raised with the Property, and at least 20 of those are still outstanding. (exhibition SH/2).

    14. My wife xxx reported these issues immediately to the Letting agents via telephone, to which I backed up with an email on the 17/10/2013 at 11.49am.

    15. The Letting agents eventually sent round a ‘handy man’ to assist with some of the issues, but this still took a considerable amount of time to sort. All the time my wife, our small children and myself were living in the Property.

    16. Due to one of the issues with the property I also cut my arm on the glass. (exhibit SH/3)

    17. The Letting agents were almost dismissive of our problems, and made us feel as if the large quantity of issues with the Property was an annoyance to them. (Email dated 18/10/2013 at 3.09pm)

    18. Some of the issues were fixed, but this caused me a considerable amount of time and stress to chase.

    19. I have always emailed the Letting agents to let them know of any issues relating to the Property and have kept a firm paper trail, in case we needed this when we left the Property.


    ISSUES OF A SERIOUS NATURE

    20. The most concerning issues with the Property has been the issue regarding the boiler.

    21. The issue regarding the boiler has been an ongoing issues, to which has reported to both the Letting agents and the Landlord on several occasions (Exhibit SH/4)

    22. In or around September 2015, after a routine inspection of the boiler it was revealed that it had an alarmingly high reading of carbon monoxide present and needed to be shut down.

    23. This left us without hot water or heating for many days, with small children and now a baby in the house. However, our concerns rapidly started to grow to the bigger issue of what health impact this could have had on our children, who had all been unwell.

    24. On the 10th October 2015 at 1.45pm I send an email to xxx who works within maintenance at the Letting agents to inform her of the some of the ongoing issues and in particular the boiler, an extract to this email is contained below:

    a) We have been without hot water for 7 days and 11 days on separate occasions
    b) Been without a shower 8 days and 12 days on separate occasions
    c) Without Electrics upstairs for 12 days when we moved in
    d) Had to pay £25 for someone to remove some rubbish from the shed.
    e) Our time is taken up waiting in for tradesman to replace a succession of faulty, broken, badly maintained equipment. On some occasions they did not turn up
    f) Had to spend our time and energy removing old tenants rubbish and having to clear out the car because of it
    g) Had to chase up xxx to deal with these issues when they shouldn't have even occurred
    h) Re-grouted, repainted (to neutral colours - from disgusting purple/bright orange), painted ceilings white (bedroom 1 and 2)
    i) Our youngest son has suffered with some illnesses/breathing issues. A request has been made to our doctor to see if the boiler has caused this.

    25. Over all we have been left without hot water or heating for 34 days on three separate occasions.

    26. I will consult with the doctors regarding the long-term exposure of carbon monoxide to both my children and myself to gain advice of what possible poisons we have been exposed to for over 3 years. I have suffered with breathing issues, headaches, and vertigo-like symptoms, which can be brought on by Carbon Monoxide exposure, but have been fine since the new boiler has been installed. Our children have had breathing issues and my wife has had severe headaches.

    27. It has subsequently been brought to our attention that the boiler held an ‘at risk’ status since 2012. Despite this and our many requests to provide us with a new and safe boiler nothing was completed, until I mentioned getting the Environmental Health involved.

    28. I would like to reiterate that this has put my family and my health at considerable risk with such long exposure. I would also like to add that my family have had a succession of health problems since moving in, this all being backed up with medical experts, examples being:

    a. Chronic headaches
    b. Respiratory problems
    c. Dizzy spells
    d. Continued health problems with the children
    e. Vertigo-like symptoms


    NEGLIGENCE

    29. I feel that both the Letting agents and the Landlord have been negligent towards my family and myself, both in the breach of their duty of care owed at common law, and a breach of the contractual relationship and statutory breach of duty.

    Common law

    30. I feel this breach of duty of care owed has put both myself and my family at considerable risk both to our mental state, but more concerning to our health and the health of our children. This concerns me greatly.

    31. If the Landlord and Letting agents were aware of the boiler for so long and the effect this could have with carbon monoxide poisoning then a positive action should have been taken, in which it was not putting us at risk of exposure.
    Statutory breach

    Contractual breach

    35. Under Paragraph 8.2 of the Tenancy Agreement, the Landlord has breached the contractual duty owed to carry out such repairs as stated above through the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s.11 – s.16, and as amended by s.116 of the Housing Act 1988.

    36. As per Paragraph 8.7 the Landlord has also breached the contractual obligation to supply me with the up to date, Energy Performance Certificate.

    37. I further feel that the Letting agents have failed to provide my family and myself with an adequate service.


    REMEDY

    38. I request that my deposit is returned to me immediately in full £1800.

    39. I would like a compensated and reimbursed for my time and expenditure, and the money I have had to pay to perform repairs to the Property and bring the Property up to a livable standard; a detailed schedule of payments has been attached. (Exhibit SH/5) £445

    40. I would like a formal apology from the owners in writing.


    41. Compensation of £2700 to cover the time we have been without services, stress and anxiety, and interruption to our daily lives due to repairs, waiting in for repairs, and physical damage (Carbon Monoxide poisoning, scalding, cuts, respiratory issues.)"

    #2
    My advice is always to sue as many people as possible and to seek compensation while continuing to expose yourself to the problems of which you complain.

    I think the problem you have is that (you may have serious cause to complain) but you are taking an approach which discredits your position. You are half-discussing things which makes it look as if you are -- well -- telling half of the thing. And many of these things (not all) would have been evident to you on viewing.

    So please go through ONE thing in detail - the Carbon Monoxide. Were gas services and gas certificates carried out according to schedule? What *exactly* did each say since you moved in? What actual *evidence* is there that you are poisoned by that or anything (I am not saying that you are not so poisoned)?

    Can you please post here your exact detailed schedule of things you say you paid for to "bring the property up to scratch" - you cannot for example rent a property with purple walls and then complain that the walls are purple (nor can you paint those walls unless your tenancy agreement says you can or you receive permission to do so). Roughly speaking, you cannot rent a dirty property and then complain that it is dirty.

    Your remedies are all wrong -
    38) It has nothing to do with your deposit (yet), 39) Let us see that schedule,
    40) A waste of time,
    41) A waste of time mostly - you were without hot water for a few days on a few periods over 3 years (do you have an electric shower), what season was it, and how long ago was the last episode? It certainly is a problem, but when things break they have to be fixed and it takes time to get a new boiler.

    The most important issue seems to be the first one you mention. However the landlord is not responsible for insuring your iPhone, and everyone (including children) have to be careful of water temperatures before they jump in.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the reply AndrewDod. I get (unlike some of my friends and family) that the laws are the only thing that matters here and not personal feelings, so some of the requests I have put in the letter I couldnt care less about ie apology but my boss (student lawyer) insisted, so I did it.
      When we moved in the place was filthy dirty, dangerous (bare wires, broken glass) and as mentioned boiler, hot water, electric shower, and electric upstairs was not working. It took 2 weeks for the issues to be remidied -baring in mind we had just moved in. Letting agent said it was because the previous tenants hadnt informed them of the issues - when we viewed the property we were only allowed certain access, and I accept that this was in our interest to not do this in future (we were really keen to get this property - nice area, we had been live-in carers at my wifes great nans etc). But we expected the property to be cleaned and at least working - however, we didnt make a fuss; cleaned it, took pictures and emailed over to the LA the state and could it be sorted.
      In short, we have had so much disruption but have always aimed for a win-win solution; it was last Octobers boiler failure and severe high levels of co2, plus low/no interest of the LL/LA after everything we had gone through that annoyed me....then the scalding, and no apology at any time.
      i have a list of issues that I had compiled, plus all of the work and so on but do not know how to attach the file to this thread - do you have a private email address please?

      Comment


        #4
        While I'm broadly in agreement with Mr Dodd, the person you will be suing is the landlord.
        The agent works for the landlord and it is the landlord that has the duty of care not the agent, and it is the landlord with whom you have a contract.

        In your position I would seek legal advice from a local solicitor who may take it on a no-fee no-win basis.
        Call a few up, ask if they take cases on a no-win, no fee basis and they'll meet and spend some time (FoC) to assess the merits of the case.
        Find one who'll do it and that you like.

        You shouldn't try and detail all the laws you think that have been broken, or the duty of care.
        A solicitor can pile the statutes up, I wouldn't try it without professional support.

        The compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning is likely to be contentious, as you should a) involve environmental health - not just threaten to and b) vacate the premises if they are toxic.
        You can't simply sit there being poisoned asking for compensation - that's not rational.

        This seems to have been ongoing for two and a half years, the delay in escalation is going to be a real obstacle to compensation.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          thanks for all the advice so far

          Comment


            #6
            'phone Shelter 0808 163 6963 for free advice. There may be a wait from this overworked but under-resourced charity..
            http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...dvice_helpline
            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


              #7
              Please complete and paste -
              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...w-posterslease

              How did you reach the figures for your compensation? x hr @ ££/hr How many hrs at what cost/hr
              Owner-occupiers (and LLs) also suffer wasted time like you, for Contractor delays/no shows.
              Cut your arm on obviously broken d/g window!
              Move-in inventory should reflect condition/cleanliness of property at start.
              Long term health risk from CO is minimal, death occurs within hours from asphyxia (lack of O2)

              Comment


                #8
                Unless you were tied in to a multi-year tenancy, why did you remain on beyond the initial fixed term (usually 6 months, but often 12)? As this reads more like someone biding their time for a smash-and-grab... kind of gleefully noting "yet another issue" that we can add to the list... it's strange.

                Anyway, you sue the Landlord... but don't be assured of success. I expect your best bet (possibly your objective?) is to put the frighteners on them and receive an offer to 'go away'? That might well work.

                Comment

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