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Problem encountered in London...Need a solicitor...

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by arizonaitalian, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    10,923
    Wyoming
    Hi gents,

    We need some help here....we finally moved into the leased flat and its infested with mice and the shower has too little pressure to take a shower and get clean. Its absurd. The landlord and building person have had a Pest Control guy come twice, but we are still seeing a few mice and lord only knows how many run around when we are not looking.

    We would be planning our move out already if it weren't for one problem...I prepaid 6 months rent (plus 5 weeks deposit) when we moved in on 1 December. So they have my money. I'm going to start researching our options online, but thought I'd ask folks here for any advice and guidance. And ask if anyone is a solicitor or knows one that could help us with this?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
    5,024
    Exeter and Cirencester
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    John
  3. gsholz

    gsholz Karting
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    Jan 21, 2006
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    Gerald
    I'm sure Europe requires the shower head restrictors. Take off the shower head and remove the plastic restrictor. This should restore your flow and pressure.
     
  4. sammysaber

    sammysaber Formula Junior

    Dec 21, 2011
    429
    Hi there,

    Re pest control, was it a professional contractor that the landlord sent ? Whereby there's a contract saying they will will visit on a regular basis and monitored ?

    Re the shower - could be what gsholz stated but weak showers are not rare at all, and tenants usually check before taking the property. Funny enough my wife's uncle who came from the States had the exact same issue, and it was agreed with the landlord to fit a booster pump which cost less than £500 all in.

    Feel free to pm me anytime re any rental issues.

    Best,
    Sammy
     
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  5. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    10,923
    Wyoming
    Thanks for the replies gents.

    Re the "flow restricter", I checked, there isn't one. I suspect its either something simple like valves are worn and/or clogged or more difficult like overall pressure. However, to that last point, the nearby tub has a hand-held sprayer and it runs very strongly. As does the bathroom tap and the kitchen tap. So, I think its a unique problem to the shower. I'm sure they will sent a plumber at some point...but its irritating.

    The pest guy is a professional and he has been coming weekly since we moved in. Its just that there are still mice and he thinks (each time he comes) that he has sealed up all the holes, only for more mice to appear. He complains that its likely other flats below or to the side that are having a problem too. Its disgusting, and likely unhealthful. I'm worried that they won't get this fully solved (mice eliminated) as these infestations are usually a building issue and not just one flat...and I don't want to live with mice running around (cooking is a passion for me and the chef's kitchen in this flat was a big reason we took this one. Pretty unappetizing to see a mouse run by when prepping or cooking. I'll add that we are fastidiously clean and don't leave any food out for any time at all or trash of course).

    I'm going to give it a couple more weeks, with increasing noise and pressure applied to the newly appointed property mgmt company (the landlord - a first time landlord - has already thrown in the towel and done the proper thing and retained a prop mgmt company as of last night). If there are still mice one month after we moved in (which would be on 2 January), I will be looking for next steps and talking with a solicitor. Just wanted to start my research and outreach now in case...
     
    sammysaber likes this.
  6. A348W

    A348W Formula 3

    Jun 28, 2017
    1,028
    North Wiltshire, UK
    No requirement for shower restrictors here.

    As to pest control, as long as the landlord is doing everything reasonable and to have pest control out twice in two weeks seems reasonable to me. Pests aren’t necessarily and instant fix. At least it’s not rats!!!

    Tenants have fairly strong rights over here (there is a big hole in my bank account as a result!). But the legal process takes time, and whether you could achieve much inside 6 months I don’t know!

    I’m sure you have started here https://www.gov.uk/private-renting

    but lots of website with consumer advice etc.
     
  7. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
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    Property management company should be a member of a professional body. If so, you could take your case to that body. If not, maybe try Trading Standards.
     
  8. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    10,923
    Wyoming
    Just returned to my laptop after chasing and stomping a mouse (and cleaning up the mess). I actually wacked my thumb pretty good when i tried to slam him with a heavy box that was nearby. This is so absurd. One before we cooked dinner to chase around the living room and kitchen. Then my girlfriend calls me into the kitchen after dinner to help kill this latest one. What in the actual hell is going on here? Never seen a mouse in my house in all my life. Now seeing them daily.
     
  9. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
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  10. Ferrari 308 GTB

    Ferrari 308 GTB F1 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2015
    5,623
    get yourself a cat .(if its allowed in your Tenancy agreement)
     
  11. daytona355

    daytona355 F1 World Champ
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    Mar 25, 2009
    12,120
    London
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    Sid Korshak
    Morning my friend, sorry to hear of the issues, but here’s the skinny. The water pressure issue, well, this is a complaint to put forward in writing, and demand something is done. The landlord, if he has a brain, will then get a plumber to report on the problem, ie, is it just old plumbing, and common to the whole building, or is there a specific issue with the equipment (you haven’t mentioned if it’s an electrical set up (with electrical box on the wall in the shower) or a gravity fed system (oil or gas heating).

    if it’s general to the building, to repair it or upgrade it might require the entire building to be upgraded (addition of pressure pumps/tanks etc, upgrade the pipes to cope). Again, I can’t tell if this is the case, as I don’t know if your building is one which was converted to flats from a house once, or purpose built as flats. If it’s purpose built, the plumbing will be easier as it’s just your flat that needs attention, if it’s a conversion, likely the system could be linked to all of them and harder to fix.

    in my opinion as a landlord that follows the rules, is that as long as I can show I’ve addressed the issue as best I can, you will just get your notice to quit at the right point, and be moved out at the end of your tenancy. In the meantime, long as I show I’ve tried to do everything REASONABLE, that’s the key word, then I’m golden

    As for the mice, as long as he had a professional in, once again, there’s not really much you can do save put in your own traps and poisons. Mice are a real problem in many parts of the UK, and they come from just about anywhere. The pest guy is right, in some ways it doesn’t matter what he does in your flat, unless he can access the entire building (and be sure no nutter is actually encouraging them) it will be tough to get on top of it. However, as a health hazard, I think you have more chance of help here. I would take advice if possible, but you may be able to force the landlords hand by moving into a hotel OF A REASONABLE STANDARD....ie, don’t go booking into a Mayfair boutique at £10k a night..... and make him sort the issue before you will return and pay your REASONABLE EXPENSES. That word again, reasonable, we don’t have to pay for anything you want, but we are supposed to make you comfortable, maybe even get them to book one, but give him a minimum star rating you will accept based on the level of rent you paid.

    anyway, hope you get some resolution, but I think it may be a case of putting up with it and finding a new place to live instead. Try my lawyers, Henriques Griffiths, 01179 094000, ask for Mr Griffiths and mention ‘Daytona’ as having referred you, he will recognise me. Don’t worry that they are based in Bristol, they work across the entire country all the time.
     
  12. Ferrari 308 GTB

    Ferrari 308 GTB F1 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2015
    5,623
    I would be asking the Landlady to find another Tenant asap,then you SHOULD be liable to only pay rent up until you move out.Then you SHOULD be refunded for the balance.

    I would talk to the agent where you signed the AST,what are the possible ways to exit it early with minimal costs to you.
     
  13. daytona355

    daytona355 F1 World Champ
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    Mar 25, 2009
    12,120
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    that won’t work unless there is legal proof that the flat is intenantable..... very difficult to prove. He can move out, but he will lose his money as he is contracted to a six month tenancy, so there is no obligation from the landlord to refund anything. I have to say, if it was me as the landlord, I would look into the issues, get the reports, and demonstrate I was doing what I could, and then the tenant is stuffed.

    just because you want to surrender the tenancy, there is no obligation to the landlord to refund any rent, they can chose to leave the property empty until the end of your tenancy if you move out, or replace you, but either way, the contract for the tenancy is broken by the tenant, so the landlord gets to keep his rent for the six months. Of course, if it were one of my places, I WOULD refund the unused balance, but that’s because I would be nice about it if you left the place clean and tidy.... screw me and I would not do anything of the sort, and of course, you may find you had other life issues after leaving!

    like I said, the clever way to go is to do what I said regards the pests, make the landlord provide other accommodation while that is sorted out, then if it’s not, he can then be cajoled into refund of rent paid to cover a replacement tenancy to move too.

    Tenants in the UK have a lot of rights, far too many in my opinion, but the contract is the contract, and if a landlord takes reasonable steps, no judge can order anything. Low water pressure is a real first world issue, and the judge will ask ‘can you shower?’, not ‘is the shower fantastic and the best you ever had?’, to which the answer is ‘yes, but the pressure is a bit low’. The facilities are there, if they aren’t to you exact liking, unfortunately that is just tough luck really. The mice is the critical issue due to health and safety - this is the thing to go in on, and even that is defendable by the landlord if he employs a professional who confirms the mice are a controllable hazard. Best to do what I said and use them to get out of the contract and find somewhere else as you will never stop the mice completely, let the next tenant have the problem and at least the landlord will feel obligated to refund the rent unspent so far (of the six months upfront paid)
     
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  14. Rene

    Rene Formula 3
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    Jan 5, 2004
    1,432
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    René
    Daytona's advice as a UK landlord is probably the best on this thread. He's given you a solicitor's name too, which I would have done but no need to now.

    You do seem to have rather a lot of mice and the health & safety aspect is one that you could take up with the local council's health officer. If you let your landlord know that you have decided to do this, he may step up his efforts. He won't want his property marked down as a health risk, because this might lead to regular council inspections. Not good.

    Water pressures in the city vary greatly, something that is often difficult to accept, for visitors from countries like the US where the pressure is excellent. A shower booster is a good solution and you could discuss with you landlord having one fitted at your expense and then deducted from your rent. After all, it's a home improvement for him.
     
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  15. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    10,923
    Wyoming
    Thanks again everyone. A couple of clarifications after questions posed:

    1) the water pressure is such that I deem it inadequate to shower. Its just a trickle out of the bottom of the shower head. The other fixtures in the flat have tons of pressure...so I *think* its some issues with the shower valves/lines themselves. But no plumber has been here to diagnose it yet...

    2) I have submitted both of these matters in writing to the landlord, to the letting agent and more recently to her newly hired property management company. I have provided updates, pictures and videos of both issues (yes, pictures of mice - both dead and alive).

    3) The mouse issue - the pest guy has been 3x now (he comes weekly). Today on his visit we again moved all of the kitchen appliances out from the walls and re-affirmed that the walls are sealed. His best guess is that when he sealed them on his last visit a couple of mice might have scampered into the back of the oven/hob/range and hid there and lived out of there. We did chase and kill two mice this past week after the sealing up. So, if they don't show now, then he has done what is needed...I hope. We have an armada of sticky pads deployed in the likely mouse highways in the kitchen. Yesterday was the first day I didn't kill a mouse in 3 days...

    4) The landlady threw in the towel and got a prop mgmt company. I talked to them yesterday and they are going to send a plumber...told me I would hear back today and maybe even he would be here today...but its 3:30 and no word yet. I will call her shortly.

    5) I signed a one-year lease (from 1 December) and prepaid the first 6 months rent. So I'm out of pocket for the 6 months and contract calls for 12 total. Of course we would not have chosen this flat had they disclosed a mouse infestation (the landlady literally told me 5 minutes after we moved in) nor a functioning shower. Anyways, we are working thru the issues, and I will go to Defcon 4 after the holidays if not resolved (we are leaving Friday for 10 days).
     
  16. A348W

    A348W Formula 3

    Jun 28, 2017
    1,028
    North Wiltshire, UK
    Good to hear some progress is happening.

    Don’t be surprised if the management company is useless. I use to chase the one we used as much as our tenants! They seem to fall in the same camp as double glazing salesmen and second hand car dealers.

    Fingers crossed the plumber is a good one as well. If it is a trickle and everywhere else is good it should be sortable. I could second guess a few potential issues from here.

    You will look back in years to come and laugh.....then cry!

    Have a great holiday/Christmas!

    (I’m sorry but when you mentioned going on holiday I had visions of mice in party hats having Christmas at your place inviting their friends around for a piss up! Not funny I’m sure )
     
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  17. daytona355

    daytona355 F1 World Champ
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    Mar 25, 2009
    12,120
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    With what you've now stated about the plumbing, sounds like a sortable issue, so fingers crossed. With the mice, that’s a really horrible thing to hear, that the landlady may have known about the problem already and advised you after signing. Ask Mark, but you may have something there if that is the case, but don’t quote me on it.

    good luck, and enjoy your trip
     
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  18. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 10, 2002
    17,202
    socal
    I'd be pushing for a refund hard or I would invite my new homeless friends to come live in my flat. They don't care about the plumbing because they don't take showers.
     
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  19. Ferrari 308 GTB

    Ferrari 308 GTB F1 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2015
    5,623
    Bit of light reading for you ...its from quite some years go but still relevant i believe.

    https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/forum/residential-letting-questions/5822-problems-with-rodent-infestation-mouse-mice-rats-etc

    Did you inspect the flat before moving in? Did you get an inventory?

    If the Landlady withheld the mice issue with you she is knowingly restricting you from 'quiet enjoyment of the property' which is mentioned in most AST contracts.

    Definately spend the 1/200 GBP to get proper advice from a lawyer specialising in rental property issues.

    Get out of that place asap ,you have been ripped off big time!
     
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  20. CGH

    CGH Karting

    Nov 8, 2011
    76
    Tenerife, Canary Islands
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    Gino
    Best thing you can do is to go to citizens advice bureau and tell them what’s going on. A landlord doesn’t want a anything to do with them believe me. Best of all it’s free. They work with the financial ombudsman and there are guidelines when it comes to what’s a decent living standard. Last resort you can take them to court and pretty sure it’ll be a county court judge. Hope this helps


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  21. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
    13,206
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Matt F
    If the nearby tub faucet is strong, I’d think about hiring my own plumber to investigate the shower.

    A fairly cheap valve replacement might change your life. And for a lot less than a solicitor would cost!

    Matt
     
  22. PTG1

    PTG1 Karting

    Oct 7, 2017
    172
    UK
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    Pete
    What kind of boiler is it a combi or system boiler with a tank?
    Sent from my CLT-L09 using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
  23. PTG1

    PTG1 Karting

    Oct 7, 2017
    172
    UK
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    Pete
    Did you try to unscrew all the connections you can see to look for debris and scale, often if there has been solder work to the pipes you can get some bits caught in the mesh and it restricts flow. Also try to take off the head and see if the flow is better it could just be scale in the show head, where ru based in UK?
    Sent from my CLT-L09 using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
  24. PTG1

    PTG1 Karting

    Oct 7, 2017
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    Pete
    For mice there is a plug in repeller you can try as it seems the situation is really bad so anything you can try in the meantime is worth a try

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
  25. Daytonafan

    Daytonafan F1 Rookie

    Oct 18, 2003
    2,655
    Surrey, England
    Full Name:
    Matthew
    Indeed our cat is a very proficient killer of mice, birds, weasels and even a small snake. I sometimes worry that like all serial killers one day she will get emboldened and move onto humans.
     
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