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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My daughter is a single Mum of a 7 year old. She lives in privately

Customer Question

My daughter is a single Mum of a 7 year old. She lives in privately rented accommodation in Graet Moor in Stockport. She works a 30 hour week Monday to Friday and receives some benefits but her housing benefit has now been reduced to £15 a week. The accommodation is a 2 bedroom flat and is of a substandard state. They have damp in the lounge, No ventilation in the kitchen as well as numerous other problems and they have recently had a flood in the flat upstairs which resulted in my daughters belongings being damaged as the flood came down into her bedroom. She has complained to the estate agent several times during the last 2 years but this has been to no avail as the landlord has not taken any steps to sort out any of the problems and things have got progressively worse. My granddaughter also suffers from excema which is being made worse by the dire living conditions. Where do they stand legally with this situation with a view to being re-housed?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.
Thank your for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Is there any reason you want to be rehoused rather than just resolve the disrepair issues?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There has been little or no response from the Estate agent or landlord to get any essential repairs done and it is becoming inhabitable and unsafe.
My daughter has been in the flat for 4 years and has been continually asking for repairs to be done each toime her contract hads come up for renewal/

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.

Has she made any reports to Environmental Health?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She has telephoned housing standards who have replied that they will just refer the matter to the estate agent. The Estate agent did send a person to photograph the mould etc several months ago and it was agreed that it was not a healthy environment for a child but still nothing was done. The repairs include:damaged fascias resulting in leaks in hallway and lounge. front wall of lounge black with mould, Inadequate drainage system resulting in the bath filling up with stagnant water whenever the washing machine or kitchen taps are used. Also mould in both bedrooms and no ventilatilon in bathroom resulting in mould as well as no window in the kitchen and the oven door is missing.There are also other repairs but these are just the main ones.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

It is possible to move out of a property on the basis that its so bad you cannot stay and then make a homeless application to the council but I would not suggest it.

That is an application thats really for people who live in houses with things like gas leaks or severe violence. For this type of disrepair the council will say she has made herself intentionally homeless.

A better option is just to deal with the disrepair. She can sue for disrepair. If this is a private landlord then a reduction in rent would probably be available although that doesn't assist her as the taxpayer pays her rent. She does have a claim for inconvenience as a result of disrepair.

Also, she can put right the faults and sue for the cost. I would have suggested withholding from the rent but that doesn't assist her either.

If she hasn't already done so, then this should be reported to Environmental Health. If the damp is severe then they would act and that would propel the landlord into action.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.