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    • RNS
    • By RNS 5th Feb 18, 12:20 AM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    RNS
    Answers/Advice Needed
    • #1
    • 5th Feb 18, 12:20 AM
    Answers/Advice Needed 5th Feb 18 at 12:20 AM
    I'm sorry if I have posted in the wrong forum, I am new here and looked around and thought this might be a place I could get some answers/advice, this has been an issue for us as a family for around two years.

    We live in a terraced Council house, my neighbour is a Council tenant also, our neighbours fitted a cookerhood and extractor that goes straight into the wall between our houses with no outlet to outside air, just straight in the wall space between our two houses.

    These are old Council houses, so the consequences are when our neighbours cook everything gets blown straight up under floorboards in our house upstairs, the overpowering smell and sometimes steam/smoke goes straight from their kitchen in to our bathroom.

    Our neighbours cook extremely spicy food and the smell is overpowering, so overpowering we can't use our bathroom for hours sometimes because the smell seems to slowly leak out from under our bath (through floorboards under the bath). I really can't stress how strong this is, It actually makes us cough and our eyes burn.

    We contacted the Council on countless occasions and got passed from Dept to Dept who all took weeks and sometimes months just to pass us to somebody else but we finally we got a Housing Officer to visit and make an inspection in our and our neighbours properties.

    The person who made the inspection was not my Housing Officer but they sent a temporary housing officer who I've never seen, spoken to or been able to contact again.

    He told us there was significant damage to the walls of our neighbours property (kitchen) after they refitted their kitchen and they would need a further inspection to determine who was responsible for repair costs of the damage and that damage was the most likely cause of the problem and if it wasn't then they would have to revisit the problem.

    So we were told the further inspection would take place early January this year to determine who was responsible for the damaged walls and a repair to the walls would be done very soon after, As far as we know there has been no further inspection and no repairs. We have rang the Council numerous times and nobody can confirm either an inspection or repair.

    When I questioned the temporary Housing Officer about his conclusion and asked about the cookerhood/extractor he said even though it goes in to the wall it had a filter so it wasn't the problem.
    With respect he was an temporary Housing Officer and not a building inspector who didn't seem very interested and didn't really seem to know what he was talking about because damage to our neighbours walls alone couldn't possibly be responsible for what we have to endure.

    There is more to this but I'm trying to keep as short as possible, so my questions are..

    Is it a requirement or are there any building regulations for my neighbours to have a outlet to outside air?

    What are the Councils responsibilities as I'm a tenant and my bathroom is completely uninhabitable at times?

    We have felt and still feel like we are being ignored by the Council who acknowledge there is a serious problem so what should we do next or who should we contact next?


    Thank you so much if you took time to read this and I appreciate any answers and advice.
    Last edited by RNS; 05-02-2018 at 12:23 AM.
Page 1
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 5th Feb 18, 10:19 AM
    • 2,003 Posts
    • 2,640 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    • #2
    • 5th Feb 18, 10:19 AM
    • #2
    • 5th Feb 18, 10:19 AM
    I think you've just got to keep pushing the council. The bit about there being a filter is rubbish - it's probably a grease filter which does nothing to stop the extraction of smelly air, it just traps the grease on its way through. Some cooker hoods just recycle the air back into the kitchen after passing it through a filter, and all that does is remove grease and other particles. A proper extractor draws air out of the kitchen and supposedly outside. In your neighbours' set-up, it's being pumped into the wall cavity, which is ridiculous.

    Keep calling, emailing and writing to the council. It sounds like you will have to keep on at them to get any action.
    • Le_Kirk
    • By Le_Kirk 5th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    • 2,749 Posts
    • 1,634 Thanks
    Le_Kirk
    • #3
    • 5th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    • #3
    • 5th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    You could try Environmental Health.
    • RNS
    • By RNS 5th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    RNS
    • #4
    • 5th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Feb 18, 11:53 AM
    Thank you for the replies.

    I contacted the Council Building Control Dept this morning, they agreed it was completely unacceptable and to keep pushing the Council Housing Dept and my Housing Officer, unbelievably they even suggested I consider legal action.

    I didn't really understand what they were saying in regards to the regulations on ventilation for example, the person was rattling off of sorts of building codes (mentioned Part F quite a lot) and other terms I have never heard of.

    They said the rules/regulations can be complicated and there are grey areas but they confirmed there was no permission given by the Council to our neighbours for any work, no work they carried out has been inspected and no repairs have been made to their walls.

    Looks like I'm going to have to keep plugging away and hopefully stumble across a member of the Council who actually cares.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 5th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    • 5,225 Posts
    • 13,935 Thanks
    EachPenny
    • #5
    • 5th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    I think you've just got to keep pushing the council. The bit about there being a filter is rubbish - it's probably a grease filter which does nothing to stop the extraction of smelly air, it just traps the grease on its way through. Some cooker hoods just recycle the air back into the kitchen after passing it through a filter, and all that does is remove grease and other particles. A proper extractor draws air out of the kitchen and supposedly outside. In your neighbours' set-up, it's being pumped into the wall cavity, which is ridiculous.
    Originally posted by Aylesbury Duck
    And importantly for the OP, it won't be trapping water vapour being created by the cooking. That water vapour will be entering the cavity and building structure where it will condense, leading to problems with damp, and potentially with rot.

    The Council should see this as a priority issue to resolve as long-term use of the extractor will pose a risk to their asset (the houses) and create the potential for a very expensive repair bill.

    Personally I would find the contact details for the Director of Housing and email them directly to complain, requesting politely that the matter is resolved within (say) two weeks. I would also find out which councillor has responsibility for housing (they are usually referred to as the 'Cabinet Member for Housing') and copy them in to the email.

    If there is no resolution to the matter within (say) two weeks, then email the Cabiner Member again (copying in the Chief Executive and Director of Housing) stating that unless it is resolved within the next 7 days you intend to contact the media to raise the issue of the Council failing to protect its assets from damage.

    This won't make you popular with your neighbour, but I suspect things have already progressed beyond the point where that matters.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • RNS
    • By RNS 6th Feb 18, 3:11 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    RNS
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 18, 3:11 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 18, 3:11 PM
    Thanks for the reply, I'm going to get straight on that.


    I have been trying to contact my new Housing Officer (third one in 5 months) for over two weeks now, I've left messages on the automated service, I emailed, when I've rang the Council the Council Staff have emailed his office and have told me he'll contact me within 48 hours..

    And I've heard absolutely nothing, no phone call, no email, he obviously doesn't want to have to deal with this.

    I've lived in this property for 15 years and have never made a single complaint to the Council before so its not as if I'm some sort of constant complainer and they have had enough of me. They have acknowledged the problem but just are not dealing with it.

    When I've heard people complain about Councils in the past I always thought they were exaggerating but obviously not.
    • baldelectrician
    • By baldelectrician 6th Feb 18, 4:15 PM
    • 2,183 Posts
    • 1,366 Thanks
    baldelectrician
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 18, 4:15 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 18, 4:15 PM
    I would suggest you EMAIL the housing officer- many councils have a firstname.secondname@councilemailaddress.com format- call up and ask if this is so.


    Email building standards and send a copy of this email to the council, make sure you carbon copy his supervisor, environmental health and building standards


    Have you tried your local councillor?

    The council seem quite bad- my local council is quite good.
    I emailed my local councillor last week about a school crossing issue and she called me back today - she also sent me a copy of the emails to the people in the council she dealt with.
    baldly going on...
    • RNS
    • By RNS 8th Feb 18, 7:31 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    RNS
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 7:31 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 7:31 PM
    Thank you baldelectrician, I've done something similar, After speaking to Citizens Advice yesterday who were understanding and very helpful and taking some of the advice here..

    I've sent the Council Housing Dept (Housing Officers) and Repairs Dept a joint email asking them to complete the work/any further inspections or at the very least start the process within 10 working days, which we believe is fair.

    Reminding them that this problem has been going on long enough without any resolution and it is seriously affecting our comfort, convenience and there are potential health and safety issues being ignored.

    I've also made a formal complaint to the Council Complaints Dept, I have absolutely slaughtered the Housing Officers Dept, my old, my temporary and my new Housing Officer, I wouldn't normally name and shame but I have no choice now because the more understanding and patient we have been the more they have seemed to make hardly any efforts.

    The complaints department actually phoned me yesterday and said they will investigate and normally they say this could take up to 28 days but they said they are going to deal with this within 14 days and confirmed this in email.

    So we are feeling positive that we are actually doing something now, how long this feeling lasts for is anybody's guess, we are dealing with a Council.

    On the negative side still no contact from our new Housing Officer, I don't think he will contact us but I'm slowly building up a big list of emails, phone calls, times, dates and names because the way this is going it could end up in court.

    Two different Council Depts have said I should get legal advice and the Citizens Advice said it could end up a legal issue.

    Fingers crossed it does not get to that stage, we just want the problem dealt with and finished.


    Thank you all for taking the time to read my posts and thanks again for all the advice, we really do appreciate it.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 8th Feb 18, 8:22 PM
    • 7,096 Posts
    • 5,870 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:22 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:22 PM
    On the negative side still no contact from our new Housing Officer, I don't think he will contact us but I'm slowly building up a big list of emails, phone calls, times, dates and names
    Formal complaint to the councils housing department about the housing officers failure to contact you.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
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