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Haven't seen my landlord for over a decade... I need advice.

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Author Topic: Haven't seen my landlord for over a decade... I need advice.  (Read 194 times)
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« on: April 04, 2022, 06:06:07 AM »

So I've not seen my landlord for over 13 years.

We moved in years ago and since then the house is subsiding quite badly now, with cracks down several walls which were only hairlines when we moved in. The home is leaky and damp with black mould sprouting up all over which has made me and the other tenant ill. The walls are bubbling. Plaster is peeling away from the exterior walls.

Long story short. The house is in poor repair, but on our part only fair wear and tear as we've been living in it for over 15 years. (Same carpets, never painted more than a couple of walls etc)

Now I've finally been able to hand in notice that we're leaving, I'm wondering if the landlord will try and blame me for the structural issues and damp.

I've never reported any of these issues for fear of being evicted as we weren't in a position to afford to rent privately again and have been homeless in the past. But there has never been a house inspection in 15 years, and we have never has any updated inventories etc even though a few items were left but not maintained. (Outdoor furniture, lamp shades, blinds, curtains etc)

As well as not having inspections every 3 months as set out in the tenancy. None of the legal obligations have been followed either. No gas safety, no electrical testing (the plugs in multiple rooms trip the fuse or buzz when you use them as the wiring seems ancient). No fire alarms. No carbon monoxide sensors. No nothing.

I'm just wondering what your thoughts are?

Edit: I should probably mention that I am sure the landlord was aware of the issue as they had some basic roofing work done prior to us moving in (which didn't fix the leak) and the back garden wall was sloping so badly it was noticed by people helping us move in. It's impossible to miss. A few weeks ago next door but one has a land slip and 1/3 of their back garden slid into the garden of the people below/behind us)

Edit 2: I forgot to mention I fell down the stairs and broke several ribs when a rotten floorboard gave way on the steps. Also had a friend who fell down the stairs but managed to save themself when the carpet came away from the top step. Also my relative fell through one of the ourdoor chairs as it had rotted away. :/ - I honestly just want to wash my hands of this slum, but am fully prepared to take legal action for damages in this instance. It really depends on her. I'm all for a quiet life, really.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2022, 06:14:43 AM by Jubes »
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 12:27:04 PM »

It's not clear from your account if you have reported all these issues or not.Either way,it would be a foolish landlord who tried to penalise a tenant who has been living in a place that could be condemned for habitation. Has she made some comments that make you suspect trouble?
Did you pay a deposit?
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Web Designer trying to be a landlord too.

« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2022, 04:18:36 AM »

Sorry for the long delay in replying.

We reported some of the issues, such as the boiler going. The first time we reported that, we were asked if we wanted her 'husband to have a look' (not being a gas engineer, that was a no) and the second time a few years later, we finally got it fixed. I haven't reported any of the structural issues, as I am not someone who has much idea regarding that sort of thing. To me, it's wear and tear on the structure. To a professional, the entire area could be shifting. Next door but one recently had a land slide in which 1/3 of their back garden just slid away into the opposite garden, so I presume the area is quite active for subsidence.

Well she came round to have a look at the state of the place. Didn't seem interested that I'd broken ribs going down the stairs when the floorboard there went through and claims the broken floorboard in the living room was 'hit with force'. Ignoring the fact it's clearly woodworm as you can see where they have eaten through the floorboard and the surrounding wood. I'm just having the house cleared now, leaving her stuff behind.

We paid a deposit of 450, yes. Which I presume she will want to keep. She seems more interested in me repainting the exterior fence and painting a pair of walls than the actual walls collapsing. But hey ho. I'm just glad to be out. Our health has picked up brilliantly.

She did initially try to blame the condition of the house on me, but when I asked why she hasn't done a house inspection in 15 years, when the tenancy says 3 monthly, she said 'it says I COULD do one' - Which to me means she's made a conscious decision not to bother. Recorded the entire conversation. She claimed the roof doesn't leak, then the person she brought with her mentioned something has fallen off the roof causing it to leak. It's all very contradictory. I also asked why she hasn't bothered fitting fire alarms or doing legally required electrical or gas testing, to which she claimed she had done all that testing and had the certificates to prove it. No-one has entered the property except our own workmen when things have gone wrong, so I know that isn't true.

As far as I'm now aware, she is taking a structural engineer round on Monday and I'm handing the keys back at the same time to save me travelling back again. I've reported the property to the local council. Unfortunately they can't get anyone out to the property before I hand the keys back, so they're contacting her (they weren't aware she was a landlord in the area as they still have the letting agent listed - They just did the tenancy/inventory and left it at that) to make sure the property is safe before she tries to let it out again.

One thing I'm concerned about is the house clearance people I've hired have removed a section of carpet on the stairs that isn't safe (so they can see the missing floorboards). I assume she will use that as an excuse to try and take as much deposit as possible, even though being 15+ years old, the carpet is practically disintegrated.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 04:20:31 AM by Jubes »
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2022, 09:05:06 AM »

If she deducts anything state that due to the length of the tenancy you are not liable and this is in line with fair wear and tear.

If she doesn't back down, raise a deposit dispute.
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2022, 09:53:07 AM »

I am pleased that you have reported this to the council. She really should not be allowed to be a landlord,so I hope she learns her lesson and sells up. 
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2022, 06:16:11 PM »

Hi everyone. So we have some more happenings in my saga.

The landlord came round while my house clearance guy was there and hired him to remove all the carpets and take them away. (even though the tenancy hadn't ended yet) - as you will see later, she is now claiming for this with the deposit protection scheme. Good luck with that.

The last two days of the tenancy when I was supposed to be redecorating and cleaning, the house was a building site. As in floorboards actually missing and the ones in place has nails and screams sticking out of them. Very dangerous.

She changed her mind about me posting the keys back to her and demanded a handover in person. Yet she didn't bother to do an exit inventory. She also didn't bother to do any house inspections for 15 years, so nothing has been documented.

Now, she has ignored the 14 day deadline for the return of the deposit and forced me to send in a statutory declaration, at cost to me to get it witnessed by a solicitor ect. She replied the day after they received it, so I an only assume she was making me jump through hoops for the hell of it. Anyway. Deposit is 550. She wants all of it. She sent this to them.

'The landlord's disputes the tenant's claim in full and submits; Living room - 430 for woodworm treatment 920 floorboards, Curtains 30, 400 new carpet 250 skip hire for old floorboards, 1600 redecoration for entire property. Bath and floorboards need to be ripped out - 1000.00. 180 rip out kitchen, 4000 new kitchen 420 replaster board and skim damaged walls. The worktops around the sink are also waterlogged, The tap is sunk.There is a bullet hole in the kitchen window.120'

I happen to have recorded her visit to the property and has a pair of witnesses with me. I recorded her confirming she hasn't done a house inspection in 15 years as the tenancy agreement says she 'could do them' - This implies as I suspect, she just couldn't be bothered. That'll look great for the adjudicator. Now in regards to the rest of it....

Woodworm treatment - This is for a floorboard in the living room which fell through into the basement with a lot of the other floorboards in there. On the recording we took, her and her friend who visited claimed the floorboard was 'hit with force' which would be my fault. Now it's woodworm (it's without a doubt because you can see the holes where they have eaten away) - These are structural issues and not my problem. I'm hoping the adjudicator will agree.

Floorboards - These have fallen through due to woodworm, damp or both. Any pictures she submits will show that. The pictures I'm submitting certainly will.  I've broken my ribs on the attic ones when they fell through. (My solicitor is pushing me to sue her for that alone, I was going to wait and see how much of a problem she wanted to be with the deposit first)

Curtains - 15 years later, the single pair of curtains were put in storage. They disintegrated. I would say it's normal wear and tear and hope the adjudicator agrees.

Carpets - All carpets were removed before my tenancy was ended, so I had no opportunity to clean or tidy them. She even use my house clearance man to do it. Either way, she would struggle, I think, to claim for those. Considering I didn't get a chance to put them right. Even so, after 15 years of constant use, they will hopefully be classed as normal wear and tear.

Skip hire - Nowhere near my problem. If she's having building work done, the costs of that are nowhere near my responsibility.

Redecoration - She had me paint the fence brown and agreed for me to magnolia two walls. I'm not sure how it's my responsibility to make the house sellable/rentable. It was returned in exactly the same colour as we got it. We haven't redecorated anything in 15 years except the two walls which we redid magnolia. Two walls do not cost 1,600.

Bath and floorboards - The bath wasn't fitted properly to the wall, and with the floorboards sinking into the kitchen, similar to how the living room was falling into the basement, it needed ripping out. Again, this is a maintenance issue the landlord should have dealt with about 10 years ago, or even better, before we moved in, as it was always a botch job.

Kitchen - A cheap MDF buy to let kitchen. The tap wasn't fitted properly, or I would have fixed it when it started leaking. As it happens, the damp from the structural issues came up from the wall and floor and eroded the MDF over 15 years. Again, wear and tear and a result of the property being in disrepair.

New kitchen - Not my responsibility to modernise/upgrade the house for the next poor tenant.

420 for re-plastering - This is my favourite. I have pictures before and after. She sent her structural engineer round before the tenancy ended. I took witnesses there before and after. They gouged massive holes in the walls of every room, following the cracks down the structure due to subsidence. Now she wants me to pay to fix the mess he made. I most certainly will not be doing so and I hope an adjudicator agrees as the before and after pictures are quite obvious it was done by her engineer.

Bullet hole in the window - This is the best one. We were not aware of this. Also, she did an external inspection and didn't seem to notice this. Then she did an internal inspection we recorded. Again, didn't notice this. Now we've been gone from the property for a while, it has suddenly appeared and is my problem. (For reference, the house is in a bad area, so I'm not surprised. I'm shocked nobody has actually broken in as it was obviously empty as she has the house clearance man take the curtains and leave the windows open with the lights on all night)

So that's where I'm at currently. She is saying it's costing her nearly 10,000 to put the property right. I don't doubt it. I went back today and took more external pictures. The roof she claims doesn't leak is being replaced with new surrounds to stop the obvious leaks. The structurally unsafe porch has been taken away. Every window and door has been replaced. Although no work is being started on the subsiding garden wall. So hopefully the council will do it themselves and bill her.

Any advice for dealing with the deposit scheme or the adjudicator? Their evidence submission is by email which is annoying as the email size limits make it basically one picture and I have hundreds to send. But I'll do them one at a time if that's what it takes.

Think it would be worth getting legal advice now in case she wants to go to court to try and get more out of me?









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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2022, 09:20:19 AM »

This list of hers is laughable.I don't think you need to pay out for legal advice at this stage.She is seriously deluded.Give your evidence to the adjudicator and see what happens.I would be very surprised indeed if she gets the deposit. If she is mad enough to try to go to court the same applies,and by that time the council will have been there and reported their findings.If you want to give the council a nudge to get round there quickly,get onto your local town councillor or M.P and they will get things moving for you. 
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