View Full Version : Paying for carpet cleaning after building work
22-02-2008, 12:38 PM
I'd really appreciate views of people on various issues I'm having whilst work is being done in the house I'm renting - I'm the tenant.
New double glazing has been put in the entire house just before Christmas which has created loads of dust. This work was necessary as the previous windows were rotten and was maintenance that was suggested during an inspection visit and which I agreed to. After quite a delay over January where the walls in the house were unfinished around the windows, more work has now started to put in air bricks in each room, replaster where some of the old plaster was damaged or crumbling, strip wall paper, repaint. All this means workmen have been in and out which has created more dirt and dust which seems to have gone deep into the carpets.
Although the decorator is cleaning up after himself with a domestic type hoover, I have yesterday asked the LA to arrange to have the carpets deep cleaned as the level of cleaning he is doing is still not removing all the dust which has been created by the various works - you can run your hand over the bedroom carpet after it has been hoovered and see dust coming up. I'm in discussion with the LA about this at the moment but the initial response is that it is my reposibility to pay for deep cleaning if I want this done. I obviously don't think it is and consider it part of the work to get the house back to normal.
At the moment I have moved all bar large bits of furniture out of the two rooms being worked on, into the other two rooms so cannot really do much more than sleep and wash in the house. The admittedly elderly hoover that I had stopped working as I was trying to clean up all the dust from the double glazing installation and I've had to buy a new hoover to replace it. (I'm not letting the decorator use the new hoover which has also put his nose out of joint). I am having to pay for additional heating which is needed to dry out work as its going along / make walls warm enough to paint on and to have hot water heated whilst the decorator uses his steam stripper. I've also had a flower pot (not overly expensive) broken. Not to mention cups of tea / coffee etc I'm supplying. I'm not so far asking for any rent reduction or payment to cover any of this inconvenience and know I will be paying more rent when the work is done as well.
I'd just like to get everyone elses perspective, as pushing the discussion on the carpet issue is going to delay the work being completed which is also a priority for me. The work is expected to continue for another two weeks further.
22-02-2008, 15:50 PM
I would see if your landlord will pay for this, it seems unlikely to be honest as it may get dismissed as something minor. But if its a health hazard (particularly for anyone with asthma etc) then I would get the landlord to pay for it, they're responsible for maintenance of the place and even after building works have been done its still technically not in livable conditions.
22-02-2008, 18:18 PM
The landlord is responsible for all costs concerning improvements/remedial work and for fully cleaning up afterwards. This includes the additional electricity costs. You are not obliged to "deept clean" the carpet at the end of the tenancy even if it states you must - it's considered an unfair term, especially as it will be nigh impossible to return the premnises in the same condition as at the beginning of your tenancy if all the mess is not cleaned up by your landlord.
I know you don't want to make a fuss but record all this in writing and send it to the agent with a copy to the landlord (they have to give you his/her name & address within 21 days providing you make a written request for it if you don't know it), otherwise they are committing a criminal offence.
Remember all this is the responsibility of the landlord, not the agent although he acts on the landlord's behalf.
24-02-2008, 13:38 PM
Thank you for your advice and views. I feel a bit calmer about it all now - I think the rant alone was helpful.
I spoke to the agent on Saturday and he said he would visit at the end of the works to see about further cleaning. I did raise the point about the extra heating and was told that that was necessary to enable the work to go quickly! He said it was not worth cleaning at this stage as there would be more mess around - this is the point I have been trying to make to him that its a complete nightmare living there at the moment! In the meantime I have spent most of the weekend cleaning and moving stuff. I can't bear the thought of having to move all my stuff again to enable carpet cleaners to come in. I will be asking the workmen to either put down dust sheets where they are walking / working or else take their shoes off from now on - which I can imagine will go down like a lead balloon.
I'll do as you said and reiterate all the detail in a letter to the agents asking for LL address too. Paul its interesting what you say about the deep cleaning at the end of the tenancy. The agent did say they would expect me to do this. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it but its useful information to have - this may not be too far away as all the stress has started me looking for a new place to rent. Thanks again.
25-02-2008, 15:40 PM
I'm a LL and I think that your LL/LA should be taking into account the mess and inconvenience you are having to put up with. The improvements will be to the benefit of the LL as well as you in the long run and, as you say, you will probably end up paying more rent on top of everything else.
If it were my house, I'd make sure the mess was cleaned up as the workmen went along, have everything cleaned properly at the end of the refurb and compensate you for the extra electric bills & inconvenience.
I'd stick to my guns and ask for more than you're getting from your LL/LA at the moment.
29-02-2008, 13:36 PM
Just to update, things have moved in that on Monday morning the decorator walked out on the job saying I am interferring too much in how he is doing his work - I only live there! :mad:
The agents have written to me to confirm this and that they have written to the landlord to see what he wants to do next but that he is out of the country for a further 10 days so at this point all work has stopped.
Can the agents leave me in limbo like this for 10 days + with the house next to uninhabitable. I know you can't replace someone over night but I would have thought they should be trying to get someone else in to do the work in the meantime or at least getting quotes so that work can re-start again quickly?
29-02-2008, 15:12 PM
My main gripe is about the non-use of dust sheets, this means that other accidents such as spilling wall paper paste and him walking in dog muck into the into carpets have caused even more mess. I also wouldn't let him use my (new), hoover to clean up his mess - I'd just replaced the last one after trying to clear up after dounble glazing being put in so I didn't want to damage the new one.
We had a bit of a barny at the start of last week over whether I could say my bedroom which that week was not being currently decorated was off-limits and not to be entered. I felt really threatened by him saying that if he or other workmen needed to enter the bedroom for some reason (he didn't explain what this might be as they weren't working in there at the time and had already seem the room when pricing up the job) then they would just do so. I didn't really have security worries about him its more just privacy and also as the room at that point was so full of stuff this would mean he would need to move my personal stuff around too.
And finally I mentioned to him when he was applying stain over dirty marks left by buidling work on the window frames. I've kept quite on other work things of his as I think they are too late to fix now - he has put lining paper up which had tears in it so these are now papered to the walls and show. He seems to have a habit of making joins between sheets which are butted up at one end but overlap by a centimeter or so at the other so there is a sort of double depth v-stripe down the paper. There is also one bit where I think he mismeasured the drop but used the paper anyway so had to patch a bit across at the bottom.
I don't know if these are reasonable things to expect when having work done. I should say I've had no trouble with the other four sets of tradesmen that have been in the house working on other aspects of this job nor with others over the years so I'm not a psycho tenant (I hope!).
01-03-2008, 08:52 AM
I recently had builders doing refurbishments and messing up many carpets in the block I live in. (I own the flat but there are works on the building.)
They sent a contractor to deep clean the carpets (after nagging them a bit!) and expect you are entitled to expect the same.
04-03-2008, 19:40 PM
This decorator, and I use the term loosely, sounds like a right cowboy to me. I think you've done the landlord a favour getting rid of him!
I think LLs/agents should keep on eye on stuff like this and not just swan off on holiday leaving you to deal with the fall-out.
I don't think you're getting the 'quiet enjoyment' of your property that you're entitled to. I'd go on making a fuss if I were you and get some compensation for all this hassle.
05-03-2008, 11:07 AM
Everything is still at a standstill at the moment. I've moved some belongings back into the cleared rooms so I can live at bit more comfortably but the majority of stuff is in boxes still.
The agents have not yet written back with the landlord's address or acknowledged my letter - now over a week. I have dug out an address for the landlord on the tenancy agreement but this is from 8+ years ago so I don't know if it is current. Should they reply anyway to this request?
I feel like I'm just stuck here at the moment with a half decorated house and no propsect of it being finished. Looking at other agencies all seem to want a reference from previous agent / landlord so I'm concerned that if I push things more I will get a bad reference (if my fate isn't sealed already!) which will cause problems renting anywhere else.
06-03-2008, 17:35 PM
I really feel for you and in this case I feel the Tenant (you) is really getting a raw deal. Let's hope you can work it out with the LL when he gets back.
07-03-2008, 13:45 PM
Thanks very much for your support. Another letter from agent today.
Good news they are agreeable now to getting the carpets cleaned "in view of the circumstances". They have also said sorry for the whole saga which really goes a long way to making me feel much happier.
Bad news though is that they think it is probably best not to have any more works done except emergency ones. I can believe that they think it is OK to leave the house like this with some walls with bare plaster so will be asking them to reconsider on this. I know they want to put the rent up once the work is finished which I had said I would expect so I'm surprised they would want to stall things now. I know I probably could ask for a rent reduction (although I probably would just get notice to leave back) but I really just want my home back in one piece!
On my final request for the landlord's address they said that the landlord wants them to deal with the problem and I was not to get insulted but that landlords often don't want to deal with tenants! I think this is a polite way of saying no we won't give you the address! For the moment I think I'll sit on this one as if things are moving more constructively with the agents I've no wish to annoy the landlord.
I'll be writing back to try and encourage them to complete the decoration work. Any suggestions gratefully received.
08-03-2008, 17:04 PM
You said in an earlier post that you'd had no problem with many other workmen that had been working on your house so I'd explain that it was just a problem with that one particular workman.
Tell the agent that you'd like the work finished and that you would be happy if they just found builders/decorators who will take into account the fact that you do have to live there while the work is going on and are prepared to clear up after themselves as they go along.
See if this has any effect.
It's quite true that some LLs don't want the hassle of dealing with tenants (my own brother for one!) so I guess you are stuck with dealing with the agent.
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