Have a long drawn post for myself and fiance. We have been renting a 3 bedroom house for the past 11 months and have ran into a series of problems with the property.
These began with an outside pipe being stuffed full of builders rubbish which led to overflowing drains to the rear of our property. This was dealt with however we were soon faced with a overflowing pipe that the washing machine runs off into. Our landlord sent his maintenance man out to deal with this. He said that the pipe was flowing upwards instead of down and this caused the water to backwash and overflow out of the pipe and over the kitchen floor from under the washing machine. It was also badly placed directly above a plug socket!
He changed the angle on the overflow pipe so that water from the washing machine ran downhill and also moved it out of the path of the plug socket. This did not solve the problem of overflowing as when next used the same problem occured. We then bought ourselves a new washing machine, thinking it may be our washing machine at fault, however this was not the case as the water continued to spill out. We eventually found an overflow pipe connection under the sink on the U bend though this required the purchase of a further 2 meters of washing machine drainage tube.This rectified the problem at the cost of a new washing machine and drainage tubing.
We also had a fuse that was not of the correct ampage and led to cut outs from electrical appliances,for example we could only use 2 out of 4 of the electric hobs on the built in cooker before the electric panel would flick back the switch responsible for electric to that part of the building. The problem was rectified though in my opinion should never have occurred.
The doors for all rooms on the property have been fitted with inadequate door handles/fittings. The door handles simply rip out, screws and all from the wood as the doors are hollow.These door handles do not appear to be made for these style of doors.The maintenance man said he'd drill new holes through the door handle bases and re-fix them to the doors, though he did this only on the kitchen door claiming he'd come back and try a different solution on ALL DOORS if it did not work, or use the same solution on all doors if it did work. He never contacted us again.
We are extremely busy career people with a young family so did not have time to chase them up time and again so accepted this small inconvenience.
Our landlord scheduled a routine inspection for the month of this September. We recieved a letter shortly after stating that he needed to rectify the paint peeling off outside and above the front door/porch, the pipe outside the back door (that the bath water drains off into) which had again fallen off despite being refitted by both the landlord and ourselves, a damp patch that had appeared in the dining room (not our fault as the property is well ventilated), and that he would re-fit all door handles for us within the property. He stated that he would return on the 30th of October to fix these problems, but did not turn up on said date, so therefore these problems are still outstanding.
We have now recently ran into further problems with the property. Three weeks ago we noticed water running down the walls in the dining room/play room extension. This water was running slowly but steadily during heavy rain through a long crack where the wall meets the ceiling. We notified our landlord immediately of this and he assured us his maintenance contractor would contact us. Not contact was made. We should not have to continually chase this man up. We noticed then, a second leak coming through the dining room, next to the original one mentioned before. We contacted our landlord immediately again, and left him a message. No contact was returned.
We then noticed water coming through the closed back kitchen door at the bottom. Again we contacted our landlord immediately and told him of this and again notified him of the leaks to the dining room/play room extension. He FINALLY came out to inspect these a day after contacting him and said the lead flashing was letting water in through the dining room extension and that the kitchen door needed a small fitting to allow the water to drain off and onto the floor rather than down and through the bottom of the frame. This was last tuesday 24th November.
The next day our 3 year old son told us there was water coming in through his ceiling while he played in his room. We went to inspect this and found a large L shaped outline of discoloured ceiling surface approx 1.5 meters in length(due i suspect to water/damp in the attic loft space) and droplets of water gathering where the upper wall meets the ceiling to one side of said L shaped patch. We contacted our landlord, again immediately, and he told us that he would contact his maintenance man but informed us that his maintenance man is busy at these times and though he would try to get him out to us that same week, that he actually might not be able to make it until the FOLLOWING week. We were told that we had to be sure to mention it to his maintenance man when he eventually came out to us. He did eventually contact us Yesterday and arrange to come over to the property an hour after. When he arrived he inspected the back kitchen door and said he would drill a couple of drainage holes into the bottom inner lip so that water could drain out into the garden instead of into the kitchen and over the floor. He then looked at the roof of the dining room/play room extension to the rear of the house and said that he would re-do the lead flashing to the correct standard i.e with the flashing concealed within the structure forcing water to run down it and off onto and off of the roofs surface instead of behind the flashing and inside the roof. He then promptly changed his mind and said he would instead fit, battoning i beleive he said, instead so as to save himself extra hassle!. We then reminded him of the leakage and damp in our sons bedroom. He looked at this and then went to the rear of the house again, this time holding a tape measure in the air and muttering to himself. Most peculiar. He did not go up into the attic/loft space and neither did he head up onto the roof itself to inspect for any signs of tile damage etc.
I can understand him not heading up onto the roof himself as i would expect that would require a second qualified person for health and safety reasons, however i would have thought he would have inspected the loft/attic for other tell tale signs of leakage, point of entry or damp.
He then told us he would be coming back to us this Tuesday coming to rectify all problems found though having spoken to a builder friend he informed us that the solutions that will be implemented are insufficient for purpose.
We have since had a rapidly expanding area of black spots and blotches appearing on the bay window ceiling of our own bedroom with large droplets appearing in patches. Our window is open all day up until we retire for bed at night so therefore, well ventilated. Room temperatures throughout the house are kept constantly warm, not too hot and not cold, the bathroom window is always left open to avoid condensation build up after showers/baths etc and the overhead extractor is used whenever we cook. However the heating system has been inefficient in the whole of the upper portion of the building since we took it over back in January and i believe this can lead to condensation problems. However these damp, condensation and leakage problems have only began to occur the past 3-4 weeks.
We have today found further problems in the shape of a large volume of condensation build up on our eldest daughters bedroom window, black blotches behind her chest of drawers eating into the chest itself and damping several items of her clothing, which have had to be discarded. These were not there 5 weeks ago when we had a move around in her room.
I understand that on many occasions condensation, leading to damp, is the fault of the tenant due to poor ventilation, drying damp clothes over radiators and rooms being excessively cold or hot, as i understand it. However when drying our washing it is always dried in a tumble dryer with an outside outlet and as i have stated already we have a good constant level of ventilation except at night times when we are in bed, though the bathroom window is ALWAYS kept open regardless. It also strange that we are the only people in our road to suffer with this as none of the other properties ever have any windows open and yet having spoken to several, in particular our neighbour, not one suffers with damp or condensation.
Problems are made worse still by the fact that for the previous 2-3 weeks our 7 month old daughter has developed a wheeze which has worsened, she has trouble sleeping at night as has our son. Our GP has reliably informed us that wet and damp/leakages within the property could be a cause and contribution to this niggling condition. This is particularly worrying for me as there is a history of asthma within my side of the family. We are considering leaving the property until all work is carried out, to the REQUIRED standard, to return and carry on our let on the property once this is done.
What are our rights concerning this? Are we within our rights to withold payment for this month (bearing in mind we are a month in advance for our rent), as we would have to use that money to pay for alternative accomodation until work is carried out and seen to be effective. Or are we expected to stay here until these problems are rectified? No one can use the dining room/play room extension due to worry that the inner ceiling may cave in due to the craked area where ceiling meets wall, approx 2-3 foot in length and our son has been forced to sleep in with us in our bedroom on a matress due to the problems in his room.
Can anyone point us in the right direction with this?