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View Full Version : Carpet needs changing, landlord not interested



JaKe
01-12-2005, 18:54 PM
Hi all,

We are private tenants renting a flat in London. Our bedroom radiator broke 2 weeks ago and as a result the carpet was thoroughly soiled. It now smells horrid, musty and regardless of our efforts to clean it the smell remains.

We have requested our landlord to change the carpet as sleeping in the room cannot be healthy on long term. However, he keeps evading the issue.

Am I allowed to arrange the carpet to be replaced myself and then invoice the landlord for the work? How can I prove that the carpet really was damaged beyond repair without him ever coming to see it?

BTW: The radiator was fixed at least so I know a good plumber in London area in case anyone is desperate ;)

MrShed
02-12-2005, 00:33 AM
IMO this is something that the landlord does not have an obligation to repair. If it is causing health issues then that is different, but I honestly doubt it is. Again IMO, your bigger concern would be ensuring that you do not get charged at the end of the tenancy for this carpet when it was not your fault. You can encourage him in many ways to replace it, but I do not believe that he is obligated to do so.

Ericthelobster
02-12-2005, 07:59 AM
For a start, what JaKe should be asking instead is "Am I allowed to arrange the carpet to be professionally cleaned myself and then invoice the landlord for the work?" Pro carpet cleaners have access to all sorts of weird and wonderful potions that you and I don't, and I'll bet there's a good chance they could sort this out, much cheaper than replacement.

But I do agree with Mr Shed that this is highly unlikely to consitute a health hazard. The contents of a central heating system are water, probably some inert black sludge (ie iron oxide) and some dilute corrosion inhibitor. Nothing to cause a problem more than an unsightly stain once it's dried out; if 'professional help' is required to get it all dry then presumably the landlord should pay for that, if it was his faulty radiator which caused the original problem.

MrShed
02-12-2005, 08:05 AM
Very good point eric of course, totally missed that! And I believe the answer to that question would be "no". That is not to say that the landlord shouldnt clean it, I believe they should, but they won't be obligated. I would personally try and persuade them to clean it, but if they wont I would certainly be asking the LL to alter the inventory.

paul_c
02-12-2005, 10:50 AM
As a LL, if this happened in one of our properties I'd get the carpet dried by hiring a dehumidifier for a few days and then assess the state of the carpet afterwards to see if it needed cleaning or had shrunk etc and needed replacing. The cost could probably be claimed back off the insurance. I'd also probably ask how a radiator 'broke' in the first place.

MrShed
02-12-2005, 11:35 AM
To be fair paul, its a fair point but in my experience of renting, radiators do break very easily in particular in rental properties, for a couple of reasons:

- Rental properties tend to be older, and so problems with the walls in particular can cause the fixings to come away from the wall, and you do not notice until it has totally gone.

- By their very nature, radiators are not really physically maintained unless something actually happens with it.

JaKe
02-12-2005, 16:10 PM
Thank you MrShed and Ericthelobster.

The inflowing pipe was leaking underneath the flooring, the management agency called a plumber, a polish fella just out of his teens, who managed to break it completely and then run off while water was flowing out. We had to wait a further day until they got a qualified plumber to actually stop the water and replace the pipe. By that time, half the carpet was soaking wet.

It was actually the proper plumber's advise to have the carpet replaced. He said, according to his experience the smell never leaves regardless of what products are used to clean it.

I understand he may not have to replace it, legally but I will keep trying to persuade him. Surely he'd have to do it sooner or later anyway.

Thanks again for you advise.

MrShed
02-12-2005, 16:41 PM
Yes indeed he would, which is why he should really, doesnt make sense to put it off. Yes keep persuading him, as I say just don't hold out too much hope. Good luck.

JaKe
12-12-2005, 16:12 PM
Hi again,

Is it true that in some occasions a tenant is allowed to commence repairs in the property without the landlord's signoff? According to the same advise, the cost can then be passed on to the landlord by reducing it from the rent.

This sounds incredible to me but atm seems the only possibility I can have the repairs done. The landlord does not seem interested to even meet us.

I'm beginning to get frustrated - 5 weeks into letting agreement and still we haven't even been given bank details to pay the rent to...

MrShed
12-12-2005, 18:21 PM
Jake - yes it is called the right of offset. However, I would strongly advise against doing so in this case, as he could take you to court and you would lose. Only when a certain disrepair is causing health issues or causing the property to be basically uninhabitable(eg broken boiler) should you ever follow this course of action, as it cannot force a landlord to carry out repairs he would not legally have had to do anyway.