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View Full Version : repair and maintenance issues where I live...any advice please?



hairypitz
04-02-2010, 12:37 PM
Hi
I've been a tenant in my home for 2 and a half years, it's a regeneration for key workers and is billed as "a prestige development". When I initially viewed the accommodation I liked everything about it and I was really happy until recently.
Our concierge used to keep the building and communal areas spotless and was always available to help with little problems. However he was replaced and our new concierge only works half the hours and doesn't have the same eye for cleaning. Our communal areas now look scruffy and dirty at times. There's lots of dust on skirting boards, window blinds and the garden often looks unkempt. I was picking up stomach bugs after using the communal loo and spoke to someone at the management company who owns the building about this. To my dismay, she was rather unprofessional and went back to the concierge, telling her I had accused her of leaving the place filthy. I don't think our concierge is the greatest cleaner, it's certainly nothing like it was when our last concierge was here, but I was rather more diplomatic than that.
So now I find the place not very clean or well cared for anymore, and I don't really feel like I can speak to anyone about it.
In addition, we've noticed that the sealant between our windows and window ledges has deteriorated and in some places has left a gap where condensation gathers and mould and damp are able to fester. I haven't done anything to damage this sealant. I like living in a nice home and take care of my apartment. I contacted the management compant and they've told me that I'll be expected to repair this myself. I'm not a handyperson and I don't think I'd be able to do a professional job. I wanted to let the company know about this so that they could rectify the situation while it was a small problem, but I'm not prepared to pay a contractor for what I believe is a maintenance job. The "customer service" manager told my partner to fix it himself, or that the maintenance team will fix it but bill us. Is this reasonable?
My partner and I are both mature students. Where we live is in a bad area but is convenient to where we study and we like our apartment and don't want to have to move as the rent and service charge is in our affordability bracket. We used to be really happy but it's just not the same place we moved in to and we're now finding it difficult getting anything done by the management company.
Any advice please?
PS I'd really appreciate constructive advice that helps us stay there and be happy, rather than "why don't you move out". We're in a really financially tight situation until we finish our studies and we can afford to live in this apartment. I also try to be a good tenant. I'm quiet, I look after my home, like to keep it clean and tidy, I'm civil to the neighbours, I report problems and don't leave it to someone else and just want to live somewhere clean and well cared for.

jrsteeve
04-02-2010, 13:22 PM
I'm guessing the window is in your apartment, not a communal area? If so then you are responsible for repairs, not the management company.

If you can get the other owners together you can employ a new management company, but you've said the management company own the building, are you sure? They're usually just employed.

mind the gap
04-02-2010, 13:54 PM
Assuming this is an AST and unless the tenants have damaged the window seals (and LL can demonstrate this) I do not think they are responsible for the repair. I agree with OP that it is a maintenance issue and that it falls within the LL's statutory repairing obligations.

OP, write to your LL (whoever that is) advising that the window seals are failing and that they need replacing. Ask him to make arrangements for the repair and to let you know when to expect a tradesman.

If he refuses, or does not reply, write again saying that unless he organises something within 7 days you will get three quotes and instruct a tradesman yourself and withold enough rent to pay for the repair until/unless he reimburses you. Then do it.

hairypitz
04-02-2010, 14:56 PM
Thanks for your advice.
I bumped into the maintenance man just earlier and explained the problem to him. He said he'll do it for us when we renew our tenancy at the end of the month, no charge, no problem. So that'll be fixed hopefully.
I'm still a bit concerned that customer service think that maintenance issues are my concern tho. I was thinking along the same lines as you Mind the gap.
I have emailed advising them of the problem, and I have given them picture evidence. With luck I'll have it sorted by the end of the month, so I won't need to go to the hassle of quotes, tradespeople and rent witholding.
I'd just like to pay my rent, live in a nice place and have the little problems dealt with without too much of a fight.

mind the gap
04-02-2010, 15:02 PM
Thanks for your advice.
I bumped into the maintenance man just earlier and explained the problem to him. He said he'll do it for us when we renew our tenancy at the end of the month, no charge, no problem. So that'll be fixed hopefully.
I'm still a bit concerned that customer service think that maintenance issues are my concern tho. I was thinking along the same lines as you Mind the gap.
I have emailed advising them of the problem, and I have given them picture evidence. With luck I'll have it sorted by the end of the month, so I won't need to go to the hassle of quotes, tradespeople and rent witholding.
I'd just like to pay my rent, live in a nice place and have the little problems dealt with without too much of a fight.

Good, I'm glad the problem is resolving itself. I think your last statement is entirely reasonable.