This is her email to Foxtons regarding the rent shortfall.
have taken advice from a Barrister and have been told that I should have a reduction in my rent of more than 10 per cent until the current problems are fixed to reflect the loss of enjoyment of my flat.
The facts are as follows :
On Sunday 10 August I experienced severe leaks in the living room of my rented apartment following heavy rain that day. A considerable amount of water came down from the ceiling as well as from the walls. A constant flow of water came running down from three spotlights and each filled up about 7-10 buckets of water which I had to monitor and empty constantly. One wall cracked open with more water coming out of it. The wallpaper started bubbling and it felt that it was literally raining in the apartment. It was a particularly frightening incident to experience alone as I was unable to fully contain such a considerable amount of water. At the same time, I tried to protect the furniture as 90% of it belongs to me. I had just returned from a two-week holiday and cannot imagine the damage that would have occurred had I been absent that day.
I contacted Foxtons emergency number but the man on the phone was unable to help me and instead advised me to contact my landlady direct, who frequently travels abroad. She happened to be in London that day and got back to me and by the end of the afternoon came over to assess the damage in her apartment. She brought with her three huge buckets to help contain the water but by then it had stopped raining and the leaks had stopped. She told me she understood how I felt and knew exactly what had occurred as this situation had happened to her before. She told me that apparently the problem came from the maintenance of the neighbour’s balcony in Flat 4. It was due to leaves blocking the draining system that caused the balcony to overflow with water and flood my apartment. At the time Flat 4 was unoccupied and it wasn’t until the next day that someone could gain access to the balcony and clear the leaves. The landlady assured me that it would be a ten-minute job to fix the walls and repaint the ceiling and that she would send somebody to do the work.
On Thursday, 14 August she sent Bruce, one of her handymen, to look at the damage. He told me that it would not be a quick job and it would take another two weeks for his workers to be able to start repairs. He told me the ceiling could possibly collapse and some of the plaster could come down and that, ideally, the whole ceiling should be thoroughly inspected and properly repaired. However, until such time as the Landlady would agree to have this work carried out, he could replace the wallpaper and paint the stained ceiling. This work would take as long as a week with the ensuing inconvenience of people working every day in the apartment and my having to move and protect all my furniture. My landlady instructed Bruce to remove the big buckets from my living room and assured me that the neighbour’s balcony would be monitored and this situation would NOT happen again. Bruce promised to get back to me to let me know when the repair work would start.
May I also state the fact that recently we have had to put up with maintenance work on the building, scaffolding and workmen affecting our privacy for a two-month period. In fact, the landlord of Flat 4 cannot understand why these leaks occur when maintenance/renovation work has just been carried out on his balcony.
From 14-25 August I heard nothing neither from the landlady nor from Bruce and I continued living with the damages apparent in the living room which not only inconvenienced me but I was too ashamed of the condition of the room to invite anyone to my apartment.
On Monday, 25 August, despite the reassurances of my Landlady, the incidents occured again and water was dripping into my apartment as new leaks appeared in different parts of the ceiling, this time damaging one of my paintings. I immediately contacted my Landlady and told her that this situation needed to be resolved urgently. She copied me in her correspondence in her attempt to resolve the issue with the Contractor and the Quadrant. During this whole period I lived in fear of another rainfall and flooding into my apartment.
On Thursday, 28 August the Contractor and the Quadrant of the building viewed my apartment and apologized for the inconvenience I have had to deal with. They also told me that exceptionally they would block the draining system in Flat 4 so the flooding would never occur again. Since this visit I have heard nothing since from either the Landlady or from Bruce so I am still unsure if the situation has been fully fixed or if leaks could occur again in the instance of rain.
It is clear that before I started renting this apartment the Landlady was already aware of the problem because she admitted to me that it had happened before. She is therefore in clear breach of her repair obligations in the lease. I should state that I have a good contact with my Landlady but despite her attempts to support me I have felt that this problem has been neglected and I have been left in the dark for the past two weeks. It is unacceptable to expect me to pay full rent after such inconvenience.
A 10 per cent reduction in rent is the absolute minimum conceivable for the disruption and loss of enjoyment I have suffered and continue to suffer.
I reserve all my rights to recover more than 10 per cent of my rent if this cannot now be properly resolved. Please therefore let me know urgently when the flat will be properly and permanently repaired.
May I point out that for more than two years (in Islington and in South Kensington) I have been renting through Foxtons and been totally reliable in paying my rent on time. I am disappointed that Foxtons does not support its valued clients in such circumstances and, instead, threatens them. So far I have received only threats instead of support.
This is my reply (there is an email attachment and photo within my email which may not come out your end):
She is too ashamed to have people over to the flat because the water staining in the living room is unsightly
So do I go to her first retrieve the shortfall in rent and do I also pursue my neighbour for this shortfall for failing to maintain his property?
So finally just to clarify one other point. there is no right to deduct rent for disruption to her home whilst the repairs are carried out or for the two days in which she experienced the flooding.
Thank you for your answers