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Kurt Barlow

Fighting Scumlords across the Planet (at the same time!)

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I am currently fighting two battles with landlords in both Australia and the UK. Fook me - having been an owner occupier from 1996 to 2010 and land lord to 2014 this has been a real eye opener to the BS tenants have to face at the hands of these people.

Australia.

Final clean arranged and undertaken. Agent signs off property as fine - confirmed in writing . 3 weeks later landlord comes back saying we have damaged wooden floors (several boards appear lifted) with pictures going back to the 31/12 and 05/01. Landlord wants payment of $1000 to release the remains of the bond (which was 2K in total) I have refuted the claim based on:

1 Our care for the floor in terms of cleaning throughout the tenancy which is supported by provinces own reports on the condition following inspections
2. The cleaning methodology used by the cleaning company outline dto the agent
3. No instructions were issued as regards special cleaning of the floor from either landlord or agent.
4. The length of time in actually getting to hear about the issues which did not afford us an opportunity to see or elect a representative to view on our behalf

5. Practical experience of hardwood floors - they don't bow up like that following light cleaning. I believe the floor is Jarrah which is renowned for its extreme resistance to wood warping and swell.

Tomorrow I submit court papers along with statements and exhibits to fremantle Court.

 

UK

Moved into new apartment. Issues include oven that doesn't work and a hot tap that almost leaks as much water off as it does on full bore. The landlord agreed to fix the oven and the tap. I pointed out the hot tap flow is woefully inadequate - infact I measured the flow and its 1.1-1.2 litres per minute. Its a gravity fed system from a tank inside the unit. I suggested that a pump (salamander type) was relatively low cost and would resolve. The landlords wife basically told me to FO and I could pay for it myself. On hold on this one as Im currently fighting the battle on Australasian front however my thoughts are:

1. I have a tenancy

2. By virtue of 1 the Housing Act 2004 and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System apply

3. The Act / Standard states an adequate supply of running hot water to be provided to the kitchen

4. The standard references BS6700 (and the BS EN that replaced it)  which states an adequate flow should be at least 6 litres per minute

5. The local Council is responsible for enforcing

 

Any advice on either, prospects of winning? Should I just roll over and take it up the A**e?

 

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I would go ahead and take it to court but if the landlady told you to eff off when you reported I would also be looking for a new place.

I wouldn't want to live in a place where the landlord did not care about the facilities

 

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2 minutes ago, giesahoose said:

I would go ahead and take it to court but if the landlady told you to eff off when you reported I would also be looking for a new place.

I wouldn't want to live in a place where the landlord did not care about the facilities

 

Not before I have made a complaint to the Council and just prior to departure make a noise complaint against a neighbour (that can prejudice a sale!)

What hacks me off is I agreed to take a 13 month tenancy as a favour to the landlord as trying to an apartment is a hassle for him in December.

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Tell the tw@ts in Oz that returning your whole bond is cheaper than four new tyres and various vehicle repairs if you ask one of your mates over there to pay them a nocturnal visit.

Edit to add: I had the exact same revelation at how terrible it was to be a residential tenant when I needed to be in London a lot and rented a flat there. Particularly eye-opening in contrast to the experience renting a lot of commercial property - although career LLs have never been a breed I've particularly warmed to.

 

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Go for it in Australia.

In Britain you're getting the tap and oven fixed; quoting legal requirements for hot water flows however is going to get anybody's back up.

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Sounds like you have already fallen out with your UK landlord and will a) Be leaving (I assume without notice) at the end of 13 months and b ) Will have some kind of battle for your deposit.

The water flow rate is going to wind you up every time you use it for the next 13 months. I would advise LL in writing that unless they fix the problem in 14 days you will do so yourself and deduct the cost from next months rent.

 

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10 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Go for it in Australia.

In Britain you're getting the tap and oven fixed; quoting legal requirements for hot water flows however is going to get anybody's back up.

1.2 litres per minute - seriously try it. Furthermore with a 17 month kid in the house I really don't want to be fecking about with kettles / pans  of boiling water.

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This is probably not the attitude to have ,but the way I see it is--- even if you were to win, how much time and effort on your part will it take.  For example the hot water pump may take you £200 and an afternoon to install yourself some time next week, and then you have hot water at a convienient rate, and can get back to doing more interesting things with your time.  Or 6 months p7ssing about with letters and phonecalls etc etc, you then okay you win and in 8 months they install the pump and then you move out 2 months later.  Whats more valuble to you.?

My time is precious so I normally roll over and go for convenience and write off the money.  Its worth finding some way of getting it back by other means if thats possible.  But usually the bastards win.  

 

I guess you have to balance it out.

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1 minute ago, CunningPlan said:

Sounds like you have already fallen out with your UK landlord and will a) Be leaving (I assume without notice) at the end of 13 months and b ) Will have some kind of battle for your deposit.

The water flow rate is going to wind you up every time you use it for the next 13 months. I would advise LL in writing that unless they fix the problem in 14 days you will do so yourself and deduct the cost from next months rent.

 

I believe he will have to give two months notice full stop. The tenancy ends on the 4th February 2018. If he doesn't give notice on the 4th Novemeber 2017 then I won't be moving at the end of the tenancy unless I chose to give a months notice.

Seriously a Salamander CT 55 pump is about 120 quid plus takes about an hour to fit.

I am going to give them 14 days notice and then take up the issue with Enfield Env Health Dept. The Landlord is a Surveyor - he should understand.

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3 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

I believe he will have to give two months notice full stop. The tenancy ends on the 4th February 2018. If he doesn't give notice on the 4th Novemeber 2017 then I won't be moving at the end of the tenancy unless I chose to give a months notice.

Seriously a Salamander CT 55 pump is about 120 quid plus takes about an hour to fit.

I am going to give them 14 days notice and then take up the issue with Enfield Env Health Dept. The Landlord is a Surveyor - he should understand.

I would advise against the Environmental Health route - you are just going to escalate a skirmish into a war. Show him at the outset that you aren't a push over by all means but I would avoid involving outside authorities. 

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4 minutes ago, Neptune said:

This is probably not the attitude to have ,but the way I see it is--- even if you were to win, how much time and effort on your part will it take.  For example the hot water pump may take you £200 and an afternoon to install yourself some time next week, and then you have hot water at a convienient rate, and can get back to doing more interesting things with your time.  Or 6 months p7ssing about with letters and phonecalls etc etc, you then okay you win and in 8 months they install the pump and then you move out 2 months later.  Whats more valuble to you.?

My time is precious so I normally roll over and go for convenience and write off the money.  Its worth finding some way of getting it back by other means if thats possible.  But usually the bastards win.  

 

I guess you have to balance it out.

Why should I pay to bring the water supply up to the minimum legal standard? 6LPM is not a luxury standard. I asked them very nicely. These people want 'professional tenants' but get so uppety when we articulate our rights.

I will give them 14 days and then go to the Env health Dept. Having worked as an EHO for 18 years including 3 in Housing standards I'm fairly familar with the processes and which buttons to press.

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Just now, CunningPlan said:

I would advise against the Environmental Health route - you are just going to escalate a skirmish into a war. Show him at the outset that you aren't a push over by all means but I would avoid involving outside authorities. 

I shall outline the following to him:

1. I have a tenancy

2. By virtue of 1 the Housing Act 2004 and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System apply

3. The Act / Standard states an adequate supply of running hot water to be provided to the kitchen

4. The standard references BS6700 (and the BS EN that replaced it)  which states an adequate flow should be at least 6 litres per minute

 

The landlord is a Surveyor - he should understand.

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12 minutes ago, CunningPlan said:

Sounds like you have already fallen out with your UK landlord and will a) Be leaving (I assume without notice) at the end of 13 months and b ) Will have some kind of battle for your deposit.

The water flow rate is going to wind you up every time you use it for the next 13 months. I would advise LL in writing that unless they fix the problem in 14 days you will do so yourself and deduct the cost from next months rent.

 

I like the idea but sure it is actually legal?

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2 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

Why should I pay to bring the water supply up to the minimum legal standard? 6LPM is not a luxury standard. I asked them very nicely. These people want 'professional tenants' but get so uppety when we articulate our rights.

I will give them 14 days and then go to the Env health Dept. Having worked as an EHO for 18 years including 3 in Housing standards I'm fairly familar with the processes and which buttons to press.

Absolutely.  You shouldnt have to pay.  

So fair enough its all to do with the balance of time and effort with results. The right words from you will get the results quickly.

You know how the system works so go for it.  

I always struggled with it and just wanted to get things done.

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2 minutes ago, Neptune said:

Absolutely.  You shouldnt have to pay.  

So fair enough its all to do with the balance of time and effort with results. The right words from you will get the results quickly.

You know how the system works so go for it.  

I always struggled with it and just wanted to get things done.

TBH - I am sick to the back teeth dealing with these criminal fraudsters either here in Oz or in the UK. As soon as me and wifey get settled I am going to be looking to buy in 2018.

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6 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

I like the idea but sure it is actually legal?

Yes. You just need to write a couple of letters and give him the chance to fix the problem himself.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/repairs-in-rented-housing/disrepair-what-are-your-options-if-you-are-a-private-rented-tenant/withholding-rent-because-of-disrepair/

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3 minutes ago, CunningPlan said:

Thanks - interesting. Still I'd prefer the HA 2004 Improvement Notice given the quality of 'Plumbers' in the Enfield Area. I don't really want to take responsibility

The Eastern European 'Plumber' who fixed the tap has put a mixer tap on a supply with significantly different hot and cold pressures......go figure.

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3 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

Thanks - interesting. Still I'd prefer the HA 2004 Improvement Notice given the quality of 'Plumbers' in the Enfield Area. I don't really want to take responsibility

The Eastern European 'Plumber' who fixed the tap has put a mixer tap on a supply with significantly different hot and cold pressures......go figure.

Maybe - but this way you get to pick the plumber (or at least pick 3 that he has to choose from). Let him organise it and it will be both inconvenient and probably very cheap.

 

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24 minutes ago, CunningPlan said:

I would advise against the Environmental Health route - you are just going to escalate a skirmish into a war. Show him at the outset that you aren't a push over by all means but I would avoid involving outside authorities. 

Why?

The OP isn't in the perfect location (the only, and probably most stupid reason that people use to avoid bringing in the authorities)

Env health can enforce repairs. If they think repairs need doing to bring the property up to scratch they will enforce. If they don't then they won't.

 

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1 minute ago, CunningPlan said:

Maybe - but this way you get to pick the plumber (or at least pick 3 that he has to choose from). Let him organise it and it will be both inconvenient and probably very cheap.

 

My plan is speak to the Landlords wife when we get back - outline the risks to my wife and child etc

Expect the inevitable Feck off so I will write to the actual Landlord - he only lives 10 minutes away.

I shall point out my observations and detail my request. I won't threaten him with getting EH involved but I will mention the fact I am an EHO with 18 years Local Government experience including 3 in Housing standards so am reasonably confident in the points Im making. I shall ask him to contact me within say 5 days to discuss. Hopefully he will get my drift.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

My plan is speak to the Landlords wife when we get back - outline the risks to my wife and child etc

Expect the inevitable Feck off so I will write to the actual Landlord - he only lives 10 minutes away.

I shall point out my observations and detail my request. I won't threaten him with getting EH involved but I will mention the fact I am an EHO with 18 years Local Government experience including 3 in Housing standards so am reasonably confident in the points Im making. I shall ask him to contact me within say 5 days to discuss. Hopefully he will get my drift.

 

 

I would say that is a reasonable plan. Being able to quote the relevant legislation should goad him into action given it is, in reality, a very small amount of money.

I would add in a guestimate of the cost - the wife may have thought she was looking at a massive bill which could have caused the original response.

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7 minutes ago, Kurt Barlow said:

My plan is speak to the Landlords wife when we get back - outline the risks to my wife and child etc

Expect the inevitable Feck off so I will write to the actual Landlord - he only lives 10 minutes away.

I shall point out my observations and detail my request. I won't threaten him with getting EH involved but I will mention the fact I am an EHO with 18 years Local Government experience including 3 in Housing standards so am reasonably confident in the points Im making. I shall ask him to contact me within say 5 days to discuss. Hopefully he will get my drift.

 

 

Wouldn't speak to the wife again, everything in writing from now on, you need a trail of evidence.

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On the Aussie front here is a picture of the landlords claimed damage. My Brother who used to run a contract cleaning company reckons the boards have been pulled up using a suction pull - like the type used to transfer large sheets of glass.

We only cleaned once a month sparingly with a little water and detergent floor cleaner. The professional cleaner used a 20:1 Water - methylated psitit mix and applied with a squeezed out mop.

This allegedly started on the 31st Dec which was a day after the agents inspection yet they only told us on the 19th January (coincidentially after the Landlord had replaced the entire floor) . One aspect of my defence is we were never given the opportunity to view for ourselves or by a representative.

IMG_7941.JPG

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3 minutes ago, onlyme2 said:

Wouldn't speak to the wife again, everything in writing from now on, you need a trail of evidence.

I agree - but I may give her one more go. She tends to back up her FO's with a text message to reinforce :-)

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That floor looks pretty beaten up - were all the boards cupped like that (they certainly looked cupped). If so looks like the landlord wanted a new floor, the additional clean may/may not have caused additional expansion but the affected board/boards could have been dried out and popped back into place.

I lost the deposit on rental at college, knew I had moved away, good and easy opportunity to ****** me over at distance. It worked, most landlords as you say are or turn into  scumbags.

I've seem an oak floor fitted right to wall lift up a foot high ridge in the centre due to a radiator leak that seeped under the floor - you could stand on in and it would not budge a mm. Apparently a thick floor like that can even push out walls if damp gets in.

 

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