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AIBU to be upset with my landlord

(37 Posts)
vampirequeen Wed 17-Dec-14 11:23:24

I have lived in my little house for seven years. In all that time I have never been late with my rent and I have looked after it as if it were my own property. The landlord owns this house and the one next door. They are very old and linked by a single brick wall. The other house has been empty for over seven years.

Soon after I moved in it became apparent that there was a rising damp problem. Not a huge issue and the landlord appeared to sort it out. Unfortunately he didn't do it properly and the rising damp returned. Also because next door was cold and our house was warm, damp started to draw through the wall. The agent came every six months and made a report to the landlord. There was also a problem with one corner of the children's bedroom where the wall met the roof. The landlord came a few times, said he was going to sort things but never did.

Last year we reported to the agent that we were concerned about the house next door as the windows were so rotten there was a danger that they might fall out onto the pavement below (we open straight onto the street). He sent in a builder who not only replaced the windows but discovered that the chimney had collapsed inside the property and water had been pouring in. We assumed that this was the reason for part of our damp issue and expected it to dry out. However things have gone from bad to worse. The damp situation has not improved. We have updated the agent on a regular basis regarding the situation and, although they have been supportive, they have been told by the landlord that he will deal with it.

Today he came with a dehumidifier and said that the issue was condensation!!!! Now I grew up in an old house and I know what condensation is like. I also know how to deal with it. I open windows and have air flowing through the house most days. I told him that there was no way it was condensation. Condensation doesn't rise up the wall and have salt forming on it. And that the new section of wet wall was so wet it indicated water ingress as did the problems upstairs. I also said that if he just kept the heating on low next door then the problem of damp drawing through the wall would sort itself out.

He wouldn't listen and insisted that it was condensation. He wanted to tell me how condensation is formed and got upset when I told him that I knew how it formed and that there was no way this was condensation. He got stroppy and said that if I wouldn't listen he wouldn't bother so I said he could leave the dehumidifier and we would try it for two or three months but the only result would be that my electric bill would go up and surely if he wanted to dry anywhere out it should be next door. We then took him outside to see where there were missing bricks. He reckoned he hadn't known about that but I told him that he did know because I'd told him ages ago when the agent told me during a house check and if the agent told me then it must have been on the form he gets after each check. I realised I was getting upset and I didn't want it to turn to a panic attack so I left him to talk to DH. Not long after DH came back in and said the landlord had gone off in a huff because I wouldn't listen to him.

I was very upset and phoned the agents. I apologised for crying and started to tell them what had happened but I became too upset so DH took over and was put through to the manager. The manager is going to phone the landlord and arrange for a builder to visit to assess the damp situation.

Now, of course, I'm in a panic in case the landlord takes his huffy one stage further and gives us notice. I love my little house. It's my safe place and the thought of having to move elsewhere terrifies me.

Elegran Wed 17-Dec-14 11:39:23

He can't give you notice just because you want him to sort out a thoroughly soaking wet damp house which is making you ill.

I'd say you have grounds to involve someone other than just the agent. I don't know who, but there will be someone on GN who does.

Presumably the agent has records of his accounts to him of the condition of the house. In fact, the agent has a responsibility to get things moving too, so you may have a come-back on him as well.

This is NOT the time of year for all this hassle, and you are not in a good state to deal with it either. Why should you apologise for being upset? THEY should be apologising for allowing your home to become so awful.

loopylou Wed 17-Dec-14 12:05:06

Phone CAB, they're very knowledgeable and am sure will be able to give you advice. Horrible situation for you, do hope will be resolved soon vampirequeen

ninathenana Wed 17-Dec-14 12:08:31

There was a series on BBC recently with Matt Alwright (sp) where he spent time with a local council worker whose job it was to make landlords rectify problems such as this.
I suggest you contact your local offices. Good luck, the landlord definitely needs to get his act together!!

Eloethan Wed 17-Dec-14 12:44:57

Elegran Have you not read about "revenge evictions"? Unless a tenant has a long term fixed tenancy - and I think most tenants have one yearly tenancies - I believe a landlord is quite at liberty to give notice once the term has expired. Many tenants are therefore frightened of asking for essential repairs to be carried out.

Hopefully, vampirequeen, since you have been such a conscientious and reliable tenant over the years, he won't want to risk bringing in somebody who may well be more demanding and less responsible than you.

Of course you're not being unreasonable, it's shocking that he's ignored this issue for so long. As others have said, if he continues to be obstructive, try and get some help to deal with this. Good luck - I hope it's soon sorted out.

FarNorth Wed 17-Dec-14 13:02:42

Shelter has a lot of info for tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities :

Check it out with them and/or the CAB, and/or your local council, to find out what your rights are and what would be best to do.

Get yourself informed as soon as possible, then you will not feel so much at the mercy of this incompetent landlord.

Riverwalk Wed 17-Dec-14 13:17:12

What a horrible situation to be in VQ.

Let's hope the landlord comes to his senses and sees the value of having a reliable tenant.

Unfortunately, as you already know, it all depends on what type of tenancy agreement you have. With some agreements they have only to give 2 months' notice and not even have to give a reason.

FarNorth Wed 17-Dec-14 14:19:17

That's why it's important to get info as soon as possible, so you don't worry about all sorts of things that might not happen, and you know your rights.

vampirequeen Wed 17-Dec-14 15:29:27

Thanks for the link to Shelter, FarNorth. It's been useful.

I know if my landlord decided to be petty and end the tenancy then he has to give me two months notice. I don't know if he will because he'll be cutting off his nose to spite his face and he'd still have to do the repairs. He'll be hard pressed to find a tenant like me. Apparently prior to me he had some serious problem tenants. The people who had my house simply moved back to New Zealand without telling him and the house next door was wrecked by the people who lived there hence it's been empty.

He owns the land behind my house but has no right of access to it. I think he's hoping that if he lets the properties fall into serious disrepair he'll be able to demolish them and gain access. I know he tried to get permission to demolish the house next door but the council refused as there a shortage of houses in this area and, at that time, it only needed cosmetic work to make it habitable.

The daft thing is that last year he had the windows and bathroom replaced. We thought he was going to finish doing it up and let it but then everything came to a standstill.

annodomini Wed 17-Dec-14 17:15:43

This extract from CAB's Advice Guide is all about the landlord's responsibilities, though I suspect you will receive much the same information from Shelter. Good luck. A model tenant like you doesn't deserve this level of landlord neglect.

vampirequeen Wed 17-Dec-14 22:10:55

The agent rang me this evening. He's had an email from my landlord saying that there is a 'little rising damp' but that most of the problem is condensation and that he'd tried to leave a dehumidifier but I was too bothered about my electricity bill. That's not exactly what I said hmm

Anyway the agent asked if he could come and see the damp. Of course I agreed. He also said that he is going to tell the landlord that he wants to send in some builders to assess the damp and quote for repairs. He said the landlord can't keep trying his DIY repairs because they're obviously not working.

It will be the new year now but at least someone who knows what he's talking about is going to have a look.

If the worst comes to the worst we have a nice caravan we can live in and although we'd have to move every 28 days at least we'd constantly have new views

Lona Wed 17-Dec-14 23:05:42

That's good news vampirequeen and I do like your positive thinking!

Eloethan Thu 18-Dec-14 01:27:22

vampirequeen that sounds like good news - hope he gets the necessary work done. When I thought about it, your landlord's argument doesn't make sense. If the damp was caused by condensation resulting from inadequate heating, surely it would have been present all the time you've lived there - unless he's saying you've suddenly cut down on heating?

vampirequeen Thu 18-Dec-14 11:21:36

I think that's why it upset me so much when he tried to blame condensation. In all the years I've lived here and all the times the damp has been looked at, condensation has never been mentioned. Suddenly when the time comes that he has to deal with the problem it appears that it's our fault for breathing hmm

Anya Thu 18-Dec-14 11:50:39

Do you have a meter to measure the humidity in your house? You can buy a decent one quite cheaply. Over a certain level damp can cause health problems (try googling this) so you need to get this sorted ASAP.

vampirequeen Thu 18-Dec-14 12:04:30

I think that's what the builder is going to bring but I'll google them and see if I can get one after Christmas. In the short term I just want to prove it's not condensation.

glammanana Thu 18-Dec-14 17:09:15

vampire has he had air brick fitted into the walls to help with the air circulation ? has a damp proof course been done correctly DD had a similar problem and the builder had fitted the membrane above the soil level on the walls in the garden and above the membrane to the side,to call them cowboys would have been an insult to cowboys,once rectified it dried out in about 3 mths but she did have to get help from Building Control Officer via the Council.

Mishap Thu 18-Dec-14 20:07:59

Damp can be quite a complex problem to deal with I believe. I do hope the builders can sort it out for you - and without any aggro with your landlord. If you have been good tenants for so long he would be daft to antagonise you - who knows who he might get after you! Fingers crossed.

durhamjen Thu 18-Dec-14 22:25:23

Over the last few months there has been legislation going through parliament to stop rogue landlords evicting tenants just for asking for basic repairs. Unfortunately it will not be voted on because the Tory MP Philip Davies talked it out. Apparently Eric Forth taught him how to do it because "You can't pass legislation on the whim of a worthy sentiment because it affects people's lives."
He obviously does not mean the lives of tenants.

vampirequeen Fri 19-Dec-14 08:21:11

I'm not sure the house has a proper damp course as it was was built so long ago. I think he tried to put something in before I moved in as he once told him he'd dealt with a damp issue. The main problem is the house next door. If he just left the heating on very low it would dry out then damp wouldn't draw through the joining wall. The landlord also needs to get the roof checked by a proper builder and not the friend who's worked for him for years because although he did some roof work last year I don't think he did it properly.

There are no airbricks but the damp isn't condensation. I open the windows everyday and get the air circulating.

Tony Fri 19-Dec-14 09:39:58

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Tony Fri 19-Dec-14 09:41:16

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Elegran Fri 19-Dec-14 09:43:06


Elegran Fri 19-Dec-14 09:43:23


loopylou Fri 19-Dec-14 09:44:05