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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12081
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I am looking on issue in flat I rent. This issue

Customer Question

I am looking for advice on issue in flat I rent. This issue has now been going on for over 2 months. I would like to find out what are my rights as a tenant not being able to use full facilities.I rent a 2 bedroom flat with ensuite from Learmonts letting agency.
16/6/15: I called Learmonts to notify them of discolouration in master bedroom ceiling which I stated my assumption was that it seemed to be dampness/mould from upstairs & in the en suite. I never heard anything with regards ***** ***** of this.
20/06/15: The en suite ceiling plasterboard fell through. I called the tenants emergency number for plumber to which he stated that he was not informed of any issue, if he had of he would have been on site during the week to investigate issue.
The letting agency stated that they did not think the issue was that serious so they never passed this on to plumber. However they did state they looked through the property file & saw that the Ensuite bathroom in flat above had been replaced because of leaks into my property around 3 years ago. Also, that they contacted Glenvale (joiner) who completed the work to see what the warranty was on the works & would chase this up as it now seems to be important.
I was advised if I wanted the debris cleaned I should do it myself as nobody will be out to do this.
22/6/15: Learmonts:
Learmonts do not own the properties and all repairs are at the mercy of other parties, such as owners/contractors/insurance companies. We cannot authorise any repairs without permission.
Plumbers have been out today, they have just sent me an estimate for work required. I have left a voicemail for the owner of Flat 2.1 (upstairs flat) and emailed her to get permission for the repairs.
Once these repairs are carried out, we will be able to quote for the damage on your ceiling. Depending on costs, it may go through insurance. However I will not know how the owners wish to proceed until I get their estimate.
25/6/15: Chase up as no update. The owner of above flat had given go ahead of repairs in her own property. Glenvale were also contacted to get a quote for repair in my flat and I was told they would also clear the debris while on site.
Glenvale (joinery company) came out but did not clean up debris. Learmonts response was I should have asked them to do it.
7/7/15: I was informed that the landlord from above flat will be claiming on insurance.
9/7/15: I contacted Learmonts stating that through no fault of my own I am unable to use the full facilities I pay for. I asked for either alternative accommodation or recalculation of rent stressing that the problem with the delay re the insurance is nothing to do with me. It is Learmonts who I rent from.
Unfortunately as I have explained, the owner of Flat 2.1 is wanting to claim through insurance. We have no control on the length of time the process takes, however the estimate was only received one week ago and submitted to the insurance company this week. Insurance claims do take time and you will struggle to find an insurance company that will give an instant go ahead on a claim. If you were the home owner of the company, you would have the same issue and you would not be able to ask for alternative accommodation from your mortgage company for example.
10/7/15: Asked for update
13/7/15: Received by Learmonts
Can I ask why you cannot use the bedroom? I thought the damage was just in the Ensuite? As I have stated, you have no legal right to further accommodation as you have a main bathroom still in use, also you live in a 2 bedroom property. You have no legal right to withhold your rent also. If you wish to take legal advice on this, please do. I will be more than happy to send emails and call logs showing we are dealing with the repair and we are doing nothing to hold this up. Unfortunately we are at the mercy of waiting for an insurance decision.
I repeated I had already explained to the letting agency there was mould in the bedroom as well as en suite & that the smell of dampness was not fit for someone to sleep in.
22/7/15: I received the following from Learmonts
At the moment your Landlord is not willing to pay for the cost of the repairs, they feel that the owner of Flat 2.1 should be responsible. I have contacted the owner of Flat 2.1 who is seeking legal advice and is dealing with the contractors about the repairs carried out in her property over the past two years. She is seeking information on this as there has been many issues with the Ensuite bathroom over this time.
19/8/15:The owners are wanting a second estimate for the damage. I have passed your number to rapid response, they will contact you to quote.
28/8/15: I was notified that second quote had been sent to upstairs landlord.
I am currently still using my spare room & using main bathroom. The bathroom does not have a shower so I have resulted in bath only.
Thank you for your time,
Cheryl Francis
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
This is an all too common scenario with letting agencies. Here's what you have to do. You can't run the risk of withholding rent as the rules don't allow for that. You should immediately contact the Private Rented Housing Panel, see and submit a claim / complaint. They have the power to direct the landlord to have work carried out and they can make orders reducing rent, and even prosecute the landlord. All the leaflets and other information are online as well as the style letters and application forms. And it's all free.
Happy to discuss further.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.