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Tippytoes
02-10-2011, 13:53 PM
Hi there,

I signed a contract for a house I hadn't seen but was assured by my flatmates who had found it, that it was of a habitable condition. I moved in last sunday (exactly a week ago.)

We found a huge number of things wrong with the place:


Bathroom door doesn’t close or lock
Broken toilet seat
No lino on bathroom floor - just mouldy floorboards
Not a real shower - have to kneel down in bath to wash self
Grime and mildew everywhere, after scrubbing intensively for two hours, one side was a whiteish and the other was brown with orange sealant.
Rodent droppings in the kitchen cupboards
An actual rat/mouse living in our kitchen
Grease and mould in most kitchen cupboards
Oven with only 2 out of 6 knobs and door hanging off
Fridge had grime in that looked and smelled like it had been in there for years.
Cracked/smashed window panes
Windows that don’t shut or lock - was advertised as double glazed, but it clearly not!
No lock for balcony door
Random blood smear on wardrobe door - assuming from previous tenant or painter
Broken light fixture in hall way
Broken buzzer


Now, we've had a few of those things fixed, but most of all and perhaps the most horrifying discovery, was that we all have bedbugs.

We had it fumigated but they're still running rampant and last night I came up in a red rash from the bites from them. It's incredibly itchy and paiful - I'll need to go to a minor injuries unit AT LEAST to make it better

I'm wondering if I could claim breach of contract and move out? I told my flatmates I wouldn't move out and leave an empty room for them to fill, that I'd find someone else to fill it. But is this even possible? It must be against some sort of clause in the contract or even an environmental health law.

Please get back to be ASAP as I'm going to try and get some legal advice this week and would prefer I had actual grounds before I go.

jta
02-10-2011, 14:12 PM
I believe bedbugs have to be treated more than once to get rid of them, others will have a better idea.

Do you have the landlord's address? Complain.

Security of the property is a major concern, especially as you probably all have computers.

Are you joint tenants or do each of you have a separate agreement for your room? Do you have locks on your own doors?

bhaal
02-10-2011, 14:20 PM
Unfortunately I don't think the problems you've identified are bad enough to say that you can repudiate the contract and walk away from the lease. The better option is to get the landlord to pay for i) professional cleaning company; ii) pest control; iii) a new oven/possibly fridge; iv) new windows; and v) a new door/maintenance on the old one for the bathroom. If he complains point out that he'll have to do it anyway if he wants to have a hope of letting the place for next year.

Snorkerz
02-10-2011, 14:23 PM
If you get no suitable response from the landlord in the morning, call the Environmental Health Officer at the local council. They may refer you to the HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) officer or Tenancy Relations Officer - but someone will help.

As JTA asks - do you rent an individual room, or are you all on the same contract for the full flat.

How many occupants are there in the flat? Is it a purpose built flat, or a conversion? If the latter - how many floors in the full building?

Tippytoes
02-10-2011, 14:23 PM
We've had a replacement oven and fridge put in and have been promised a new bathroom floor and had the smashed pane in the living room fixed.

My main concern is the flipping bed bugs. They are everywhere and it is disgusting and I can't sleep and am COVERED in big red bites all over my body. I'd try to upload a photo but it won't let me :S

There are 4 occupants, and it's a flat above a shop, so a conversion I suppose? There are 3 floor I think - the ground floor is the shop and the first and second floors are our flat.

We're all on the same contract.

jta
02-10-2011, 14:28 PM
You should be concerned, it sounds as if the place is completely unfit, try talking to your student accommodation office about the state of it.

If those are the problems you have identified so far, who is to say there are not deeper, dangerous faults through-out the rest of the property?.

Tippytoes
02-10-2011, 14:37 PM
I had to upload the photos onto photobucket so click on here to go to the album. (http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q288/Twinkletoes_016/bed%20bugs%20bites/)

Snorkerz
02-10-2011, 14:59 PM
From a legal stance, you would all have to attempt to repudiate the contract - if any of the tenants remain in the property then all tenants will remain jointly and severally liable for the rent for the duration of the contract (and possibly beyond). That doesn't stop you trying to gain some sort of compensation for your situation - preferably via negotiation, but possibly through the courts. However, that is not a priority for now, just keep records of what happens.

ram
02-10-2011, 15:03 PM
I had to upload the photos onto photobucket so click on here to go to the album. (http://s139.photobucket.com/albums/q288/Twinkletoes_016/bed bugs bites/)

Do you have a vacume cleaner ?
Well known for sucking up bed bugs, and of course yu have to vacume
the edges ( periphery ) top and Bottom, and the bed, and everywhere they
can hide.
If you don't vacume, you will never get rid of them ( seal end of cleaner every
night ) and change bag every 2/3 days. Put bag in a plasic bag in outside bin.

Also. those bites will end up as a red dot, and be there for the rest of your life.

Happy sleeping in the garden ...........

leaseholdanswers
02-10-2011, 17:23 PM
Most of the responses have been given but the landlord needs to get in a pest controller very soon, and the local authority pest control might provide a service.

The landlord can readily say that one of you brought them in with you as these little pest follow you and travel across the world and are at home is student squat or a five star hotel- just look at the stories in New York.


I signed a contract for a house I hadn't seen but was assured by my flatmates who had found it, that it was of a habitable condition.

And dude get some better mates, where did they live before, in pits? :D

mind the gap
02-10-2011, 18:20 PM
I was wondering that, too. Why on earth they did they agree to rent this hell-hole in the first place?

Tippytoes
02-10-2011, 19:24 PM
Trust me i'm asking them the same question - but I giess you notice things a hell of a lot more when it's the actual place you live, rather than a,a fleeting viewing.

Also, we dwfinitely did not - a previous tenant popped by in the week to get his post & said 'have you found the bedbuga yet?' Ans I dont rhink.they could get into eveey bedroom & living room which is on the 2nd floor, in 1 day - as we moved in.onn sunday & found them monday morning.

mariner
02-10-2011, 22:32 PM
Have you had a GP confirm they are bed bug bites? Looks more like an allergic reaction or poss fleas.

Tippytoes
03-10-2011, 07:13 AM
I haven't been able to get a GP appointment yet, it's frustrating. But they are definitely bed bug bites, we all have them all over our arms in particular. I just have very sensitive skin, always have ever since I was a baby, hence why it's gone full-on crazy. :(

Paul Gibbs
03-10-2011, 12:48 PM
Was the property rented furnished or part furnished. If the property was let unfurnished I believe there is no implied term that the property is fit for habitation as at commencement of the tenancy.

PaulF
03-10-2011, 17:30 PM
I expect it was furnished. As an ex-Public Health bod I had to deal with bed bugs in the late 60's and they are virtually impossible to get rid of. They get into mattresses under the buttons and in the piping and spraying them with insecticide (because you need copious amounts) makes a mattress smell of insecticide for a long time.

They like the warm humidity of a bed to draw them out of hiding. Want the Scientific Name name? Cimex Lectularius

mind the gap
03-10-2011, 17:53 PM
At the very least you will need new mattresses.

Tippytoes
03-10-2011, 20:36 PM
The flat was furnished - we all had supposedly new beds and new mattresses put in a week or so before we moved in.

I'm currently staying at a friend's house as the bites and consequent allergic reaction have gotten so bad I cannot sleep or concentrate from the itching. I can't write because I have a huge cluster of them on my fingers, and find it painful to walk because I have several on the bottom of my feet.

Should I go in and show them and say I want out of my contract, or should i seek legal advice first so I actually have a legal basis? My only worry is, if I leave it any longer, the bites may start to fade and may not put my point across so well.

mind the gap
03-10-2011, 21:25 PM
You could always felt-tip them back on again. :(think):

For crying out loud, go and see your GP, if they are that bad. You can't have it both ways!

With any luck, your lectures will start soon and that will take your mind off it all...

Tippytoes
04-10-2011, 06:36 AM
What does 'you can't have it both ways' even mean? I went to the hospital yesterday to get them treated but all they could do was give me antihistamine, which don't work. I can't get a GP appointment until next week and if I'm not in the house, they should have gone down a touch by then. And lectures started last week.

mind the gap
04-10-2011, 06:41 AM
What does 'you can't have it both ways' even mean? I went to the hospital yesterday to get them treated but all they could do was give me antihistamine, which don't work. I can't get a GP appointment until next week and if I'm not in the house, they should have gone down a touch by then. And lectures started last week.

My comment was prompted by your own remark:


My only worry is, if I leave it any longer, the bites may start to fade and may not put my point across so well.

Snorkerz
04-10-2011, 12:12 PM
So Tippytoes - it's Tuesday lunchtime - what did te Environmental Health officer or HMO Officer say to you?

Tippytoes
05-10-2011, 00:33 AM
Well, I spoke to my university housing services who said that my first port of call is to write a letter informing the estate agents I have had to temporarily vacate the property for health reasons as it is uninhabitable, as well as a long list of complaints and ask for a time frame of when they'll be done. He said if they're not done within a week or so, I should contact environmental health services then and consult a lawyer.

Also, apparently it's not a HMO? :S I was under the impression that it was as I've seen several definitions as it being letting to three or more individuals, and there are four of us. But apparently not. It's all up in the air right now, but letter and email are sent and I've asked them get back to me by friday.

I also tried looking up fire regulations but it's all a bit of a mystery to me, as the contract says nothing about fire safety. Mainly it's the fact that there is no escape route, and in particular there are bars on my window, so if there was a fire in the hallway I'd be trapped.

Snorkerz
05-10-2011, 11:21 AM
Also, apparently it's not a HMO? :S I was under the impression that it was as I've seen several definitions as it being letting to three or more individuals, and there are four of us. But apparently not. It's all up in the air right now, but letter and email are sent and I've asked them get back to me by friday.It is definately a HMO. It probably does not need a HMO license, but it is still a HMO and needs to comply with the HMO regulations. Here's the law.

Meaning of “house in multiple occupation” (1)For the purposes of this Act a building or a part of a building is a “house in multiple occupation” if—
(a)it meets the conditions in subsection (2) (“the standard test”);
. . .
(2)A building or a part of a building meets the standard test if—
. . .
(b)the living accommodation is occupied by persons who do not form a single household (see section 258);


I also tried looking up fire regulations but it's all a bit of a mystery to me, as the contract says nothing about fire safety. Mainly it's the fact that there is no escape route, and in particular there are bars on my window, so if there was a fire in the hallway I'd be trapped. The fire brigade will probably do a free visit to check that - look up your local brigades web site. I have a feeling that the windowas are a red herring - after all, what would you do if you lived on the 16th floor? I suspect your 'escape route' is through your room door (which must have a no-key-required lock) and through the front door.

Tippytoes
16-10-2011, 14:35 PM
Hi all,

The estate agents never got back to me, didn't even attempt to even call me. I want all communication to be written so I can prove they've said stuff to me, but they've just completely avoided even speaking to me by ringing up my flatmates.

I emailed environmental health and they sent the landlord a warning letter and he rang up the estate agents who in turn rang up my flatmate and said the landlord was PISSED. Apparently it said he hadn't done anything about the bed bugs and mice etc, but I specifically told environmental health he HAD fumigated but it hadn't worked. And apparently whilst I've been living at a friend's house he got a guy in for the mice, but again I'm not sure it worked.

I've got a meeting with my university legal advice services on thursday but I'm still pretty sure I have no legal case or grounds to get out of my contract and I'm going to have to move back next weekend and get eaten alive by bedbugs all over again :(

Sad S
16-10-2011, 18:10 PM
So YOU have written to landlord's agent?
If YOU haven't had a written reply, WRITE AGAIN demanding that they reply in writing.

What exactly did Environmental Health say to you? did they think that you had a case against L re bedbugs? if so, how is it on the scale of severity?

(And you have written to landlord?)

billpilkington
30-10-2011, 23:43 PM
How to get rid of beds bugs quickly and easily.

If you have Bed bugs don’t worry, you are not alone. I get many calls every day concerning this growing problem. However, if you follow my simple guidelines, you should be able to get things under control quickly.

The one thing I can’t emphasize enough is a clean mattress. Bed Bugs love mattresses. To a Bed Bug, a mattress is a fast food take-away, with us humans providing the source of food - our blood! It is the perfect home, being warm, dry and with plenty of food around. Best of all, a warm human to curl with and bite at night. It couldn’t get any better for them.

The Bed Bug Plan. You will need to buy:

1 x Bed Bug Killer Spray
1 x Bed Bug Killer Smoke Bomb (per room)
1 x Bed Bug Proof Mattress Encasement cover


1). Chose a day when you can blitz the affected room(s) in one go.
2). Remove all the bedding down to the bare mattress and if you can, lean it against the bedroom wall. Wash the bedding on the hottest wash it will take. Clear the floor area and start by giving the room a good vacuuming.

3). Light one of our Bed Bug smoke bombs, close the doors and windows and leave for about 1- 2 hours. Open the windows, let the fumes escape then vacuum again. Clean around the edges of the carpet where it meets the skirting board.

4). Spray the bed frame with one of our Bud Bug Killer sprays.

5). And now the VERY important bit. Encase the mattress in one of our Mattress Protector Covers. This will stop any of the eggs that will have been laid, from hatching in the coming weeks and getting out of the mattress. They are encased and cannot get out at all. If you don’t do this, the problem will only come back in weeks to come.

6). In the following days and weeks, keep giving the room a good vacuum cleaning.

If you have more than one room infected, do both together. If you don’t, by simply walking from your “infected room” to your newly clean one can start the whole thing off again.

mariner
31-10-2011, 03:02 AM
Resp for eradicating pest infestation eg mice is Ts resp unless they can show ingress was due to a pre=existing, unrepaired sructural fault, which is LLs resp to repair. As for bed bugs, any current T could have introduced them with his belongings or may have been present since previous Ts. As LL I might be persuaded to contribute 50% of cost for eradication, provided a prof pest control firm was employed. It is a myth that bed bugs only inhabit mattresses.Eggs can lay dormant for several months.
OP has the option to move after due Notice, but should ensure her belongings are treated before taking new T