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  • FIRST POST
    • kale_eesi
    • By kale_eesi 13th Jul 18, 5:00 PM
    • 4Posts
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    kale_eesi
    Issues with Damp - Rented
    • #1
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:00 PM
    Issues with Damp - Rented 13th Jul 18 at 5:00 PM
    Hi,

    My partner and I live in one of four privately leased flats. Each flat has its own private owner; there's no maintenance team etc.and it's in a converted house which is quite an old, large building.

    Back in March, we had a really bad flood. We live below ground level and we discovered that the other three apartments' water meters were outside and had burst, flooding down below into our apartment. Landlord was great and came up the next day with a dehumidifyer and was grateful for our efforts which appeared to have saved the carpet in the bedroom. Since then, we've had bad damp in the bathroom which we notified the landlord of and just agreed to keep on top of it as we're not able to open the bathroom windows.

    Last month, my partner had turned the washing machine on and had left for work. I came home from work to find my kitchen flooded as the sink had backed up and overflowed. Landlord was amazing again, had a plumber right out who found that *some idiot* had plumbed the washing machine and sink together. This meant that our tap water had been flowing into the washing machine, and now the washing machine was overflowing into the sink as our Saniflow unit had packed in and was leaking. This has since been sorted, but meant that we couldn't wash up for a few days and were without a washing machine for a week.

    I'd been having problems with my sinuses for around the last month, but last week, I could smell damp in our bedroom (we've been unable to open the windows in here too which the landlord knew about), so I pulled the desk out and saw that the entire back of it was covered in mould. Upon inspection of all of our bedroom furniture, it was all covered in mould (on the back, under the drawers etc.) and we've had to throw it away. I took pictures and told the landlord straight away on the Thursday, and the plumber came back on Saturday to check whether the bathroom was leaking into the bedroom, but apparently not. The landlord's husband came over on the Friday to give us the dehumidifyer again and I showed him that the carpet was stained with mould. We pulled back the carpet and the underlay was soaking wet along the outside wall of our apartment. The landlord's been out of the country so he didn't want to make a decision without her. He managed to find us a key for the windows but it only opens on bedroom window, and this opens onto the pavement on the street outside so we can't leave it open wide, and it has to be closed when we're at work.

    It's been really bad this week and I've been off work since Wednesday with sinus related problems and swollen glands. I've had the doors and window open and we've been sleeping on a mattress topper in the lounge for now and I've seen an improvement in my health, which is great.

    I contacted the landlord again telling them that we were really struggling, and the husband popped round immediately. We spoke to Severn Trent who confirmed that the service pipes for the other three apartments run under our apartment, so the likelihood is that there's a leak from one of those or from their drains which runs down the side and into the ground. If one of the upstairs apartments uses their water, we can hear it in our wall. The carpet is still in the bedroom. I'd cleaned off as much mould as I could when I first found it after taking pictures and showing the husband, just to make the room bearable, but it didn't do much.

    We've since discovered that the mould has spread across the room and into our built-in wardrobe. My partner's father passed away when he was a teenager and he keeps his old biker jacket, which is certainly weathered, but now this is covered in mould and I'm livid. I honestly couldn't care less about our items, they're all replaceable, but this has been the final straw for my partner. We're both exhausted from this whole thing.

    The landlord is coming to assess the apartment tomorrow, but I'm really not sure what I'm allowed to do or ask for? I've got an appointment with ST for a private investigation to determine where the water is coming from, but this is in over two weeks' time, and we can barely live in the apartment as it is. We've never contested paying rent whilst we've had all these problems; we've carried on paying on time without fail. I cannot stress enough how lovely our landlord is, but I really feel like this should have been addressed much quicker.

    We've now lost all of our bedroom furniture which was bought brand new in January, and our clothes are covered in mould in the wardrobe (which I'm sure I can clean out, to be fair), but I don't even know where to start with my partner's leather jacket. I called my contents insurance provider who of course want me to pay a hefty excess, but I don't feel as though I should as there's nothing I could have done to prevent this. Is that unreasonable of me?

    It was mentioned that they would be happy to relocate us to another property of theirs if we did need to move out while work was carried out, but it's miles away from where we live now. We chose this property because my partner doesn't drive, it's a 5 minute walk into town, practically on the doorstep of my job, equidistant from both our parents' homes and we have two dogs that I need to let out on my lunch break (my doggos are currently at my parents' while we sort this), so moving so far away, even for a short period of time is not feasible for us. I would be happy for us to move back to our parents' homes if they let us off the rent during that time.

    What can I ask for tomorrow? I don't want to damage the good relationship we have with our landlord, but I also feel like I'm going to be seriously out of pocket if I don't say anything. Have I said anything unreasonable or silly here?

    Please advise
Page 1
    • Mrs pbradley936
    • By Mrs pbradley936 13th Jul 18, 5:12 PM
    • 12,928 Posts
    • 19,860 Thanks
    Mrs pbradley936
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:12 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:12 PM
    Hello,

    You seem to have a good relationship with the landlord which is a good thing. Do you want to stay there or have you had enough and would really like to find somewhere else? Ask yourself that first, then think about the pros and cons of moving.

    A hefty excess for contents is usual I'm afraid. If you try to be reliant on the landlords' policy it might not cover you for personnel items. My policy would not cover my tenants items only my furnishings.

    It does seem that the landlord is doing his best and is simply responding to circumstances. I think you could negotiate a rent free period while you move back to parents. if it suits both of you, I would be amenable to that.
    Last edited by Mrs pbradley936; 13-07-2018 at 5:16 PM.
    • kale_eesi
    • By kale_eesi 13th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    kale_eesi
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
    Hello,

    You seem to have a good relationship with the landlord which is a good thing. Do you want to stay there or have you had enough and would really like to find somewhere else? Ask yourself that first, then think about the pros and cons of moving.

    A hefty excess for contents is usual I'm afraid. If you try to be reliant on the landlords' policy it might not cover you for personnel items. My policy would not cover my tenants items only my furnishings.

    It does seem that the landlord is doing his best and is simply responding to circumstances. I think you could negotiate a rent free period while you move back to parents. if it suits both of you, I would be amenable to that.
    Originally posted by Mrs pbradley936
    Thank you for your reply. I would not want to try to claim the cost from my landlord for the sake of it. My partner and I felt that it was unfair for us to have to buy brand new furniture 6 months after we purchased the first lot, but then I guess life isn't fair!

    We do love it here. We've got a lovely little patio for the dogs and we know that our landlord does have our best interests at heart. My partner has some horrendous horror stories to tell about his previous landlords, so I at least know that we're safe here.

    If we discover that the water is coming from a pipe that belongs to another apartment, is it fair for us to ask our landlord to ask the owner of that property to cover the costs of our furniture? Or is that plain naughty?
    • t0rt0ise
    • By t0rt0ise 13th Jul 18, 7:23 PM
    • 3,116 Posts
    • 1,957 Thanks
    t0rt0ise
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:23 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 7:23 PM
    Basement flats are often damp. Here where all properties in the road are being refurbished they are putting special lining stuff on the walls of the basement flats to try to prevent damp. If it were me I'd look for another place not in a basement.
    • tlc678910
    • By tlc678910 15th Jul 18, 9:12 PM
    • 732 Posts
    • 1,144 Thanks
    tlc678910
    • #5
    • 15th Jul 18, 9:12 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Jul 18, 9:12 PM
    Unfortunately I think you would be best to ask your landlord if you can be released from your contract as the place is uninhabitable. Move back to your parents and look for somewhere for a fresh start. Your landlord would have plenty of time to refurbish the place properly or sell it.

    I rented a very old basement flat (because it was cheap). Also had long, narrow windows at street level. Slugs in the cutlery drawer - I kid you not.

    Tlc
    • kale_eesi
    • By kale_eesi 15th Jul 18, 11:47 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    kale_eesi
    • #6
    • 15th Jul 18, 11:47 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jul 18, 11:47 PM
    We're a bit stuck - we can't move out until we find another private landlord. We can't go through a lettings agent as my partner will fail the credit check. Like my father, and his own father, he has the money, but is just absolutely rubbish with paying stuff on time. We can't have a credit check on just me as otherwise the agency misses out on the application fee for him and we'd be in breach of our contract straight away. Our landlord, bless her, when we first spoke prior to signing the agreement, I asked who she would need to run the credit check on and she understood straight away and asked if it was better for her to just run it on me, and she gave me that "I know what you mean" look and didn't run one on my partner.

    They came round yesterday and we have a specialist coming over tomorrow to find the cause of the issue. They also think they can put a claim in as they had a surveyor who confirmed to them in writing that there was no risk of damp etc. which obviously wasn't true.

    We found a few slugs last night! We'd had a couple of drinks so found it more funny than anything.

    I've managed to talk my partner down and he's okay now. I think we've just accepted that we're kind of stuck in this situation for now but it won't be like this forever. *Cue corny line* We're happy that as long as we're together, we're fine. We're still in our twenties (late twenties ) and figure it'll be a great story to relay to our kids one day.

    Like I said before, the landlord is doing everything they can to look after us, so I figure we're just going to have to get on with it for now

    But if anyone has a spare 10k they want to be rid of, we'll take it because that'll be a nice deposit to buy our own place!
    • tlc678910
    • By tlc678910 16th Jul 18, 2:16 PM
    • 732 Posts
    • 1,144 Thanks
    tlc678910
    • #7
    • 16th Jul 18, 2:16 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Jul 18, 2:16 PM
    It sounds like you need to start influencing your partner's finances or else you will have the same problem in the future when you want a mortgage. Get everything that needs paying monthly on direct debits and have a mail tray for post so you can (with his permission) screen his mail to make sure nothing goes unpaid. If you start now all the late payments should have fallen off his credit record in six years. You will then be in a much better position when you look for a mortgage.
    • parkrunner
    • By parkrunner 16th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    • 1,527 Posts
    • 2,471 Thanks
    parkrunner
    • #8
    • 16th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    How much is the excess on your contents insurance?
    • kale_eesi
    • By kale_eesi 18th Jul 18, 8:24 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    kale_eesi
    • #9
    • 18th Jul 18, 8:24 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Jul 18, 8:24 PM
    Update on partner's finances: have taken out a credit card in his name for me to use on shopping and fuel and pay off immediately to build up his credit rating. All bills since January have been paid on time.

    Excess is 300.00.

    Update on damp issue:

    Landlord came over Saturday, said to me (and my Mum who was round) that the property had been surveyed back in January and that there was no damp issue then so this was a huge shock to them.

    Damp surveyor came round today. Said he had surveyed the place back in January and the walls that I'd pointed out as being a problem were black with mould when he was over. Told them that the timber inside the walls were rotten and that they would all need replacing (plus whatever else he needed to do). They never got back to him, scrubbed the walls down, covered it with plasterboard and painted over it. Unbeknown to my landlord, he's actually a really good family friend and is happy to hand over all the reports from January. He has also said that we shouldn't be living here and could smell the spores as soon as he walked in.

    I've pretty much not stopped crying (I know that's pathetic...). I've been lied to, blatantly, and I'm devastated because they were told this was an issue and did nothing, and now all our furniture is ruined as a result. My partner's Dad's jacket is with his Mum at the moment who is finding it difficult to clean it fully. I honestly don't know what to do right now.

    My partner and I barely make it to payday as it is (woe is me, tiny violin...), and we're going to lose out because they didn't fix this when they were warned about it. Our parents have been amazing and said we can move back in at either house (together), but this doesn't solve our long term problem.

    Can I actually do anything if we can prove they ignored this issue at the start of the year? No, it doesn't solve the long term problem, but can we claw back any of what we've paid to maybe get a bigger lump sum together (I'm thinking we maybe offer to put down a much bigger deposit as a gesture of good faith to a landlord who would be cautious about my partner's credit history?).

    I'm genuinely lost for words right now.
    • tlc678910
    • By tlc678910 19th Jul 18, 1:44 PM
    • 732 Posts
    • 1,144 Thanks
    tlc678910
    Hi, I wonder if you would have a case for claiming your furniture, clothes cleaning and rent for when the place was deemed uninhabitable at small claims court (money claims online) if you had proof the landlord knew the place had structural damp problems that had not been rectified and rented it out. The fact it was not habitable affecting your furniture, clothes and health.

    Not sure how the surveyor would feel about his report being evidence if it is supposed to be confidential though?I

    You could send your landlord a letter before action detailing the claim you will be making (plus full deposit back of course) and see if they would like to settle out of court.

    Good luck
    Last edited by tlc678910; 19-07-2018 at 1:46 PM. Reason: Autocorrect courgette not could send!
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 19th Jul 18, 3:38 PM
    • 5,704 Posts
    • 7,993 Thanks
    deannatrois
    I totally sympathise. Had my LL try to claim against me for damages when the bathroom and hallway fell in after a lot of rain (and me complaining about mould, even a downwards fountain developed after rain which the LL saw).

    This did stop after they got a builder in who found not one but two rotting layers of damp roof coverings - the bottom one the builder said hadn't been used for 25years.

    But this was after 2 years of complaining about damp/mould and being told it was tenant caused in spite of always having windows open.

    I am sorry you are going through this. Could you get the leather jacket back (probably very upsetting for your mum) and send it to a cleaners for a quote? I do know how this feels as I have leather gloves and a hat from my father's place after he died.

    Then claim for replacement of mould ridden goods. However, don't expect new replacement costs except nearer that for the furniture you have only had a few months use of. Having receipts for as many of the ruined items as you can find will be very helpful with your claim.

    However also be aware that even if you win the court case, you then have to actually get the money off the LL. Bailiffs cost and aren't always successful. Whether its worth it depends on the amount of the claim and how soon you expect to get the money. But you might have a successful claim if you can get hold of the reports. Unfortunately, it might be complicated by the fact that the LL paid for the reports initially.

    Sorry to be negative, but unfortunately it can be how life goes.

    I hope you have a good outcome from all this. Sorry you have had such a nightmare.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 19-07-2018 at 3:48 PM.
    • takman
    • By takman 19th Jul 18, 6:09 PM
    • 3,777 Posts
    • 3,436 Thanks
    takman
    Update on partner's finances: have taken out a credit card in his name for me to use on shopping and fuel and pay off immediately to build up his credit rating. All bills since January have been paid on time.
    Originally posted by kale_eesi
    Don't pay it off immediately, you need to pay it off when you get the bill. If you pay it off immediately then when the bill is produced and it shows a zero balance that's what is reported to the credit reference agencies and it will look like it's not being used so won't improve the credit history.

    Make sure you both check your reports at the three main credit reference agencies to see if there are any problems (ignore the score as it's not relevant)

    Have a look on the credit file part of this forum for more information.

    My partner and I barely make it to payday as it is (woe is me, tiny violin...), and we're going to lose out because they didn't fix this when they were warned about it. Our parents have been amazing and said we can move back in at either house (together), but this doesn't solve our long term problem.
    Originally posted by kale_eesi
    If you struggling to even get to payday you have a big problem.

    Post on the Debt-Free Wannabee forum (even if you don't have debts). They will have a look at your incoming and outgoings and help you save money and come up with a budget.
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