my wife & I moved into a property which was advertised a 4 bedroom dwelling. Just recently we had a blockage from the WC caused by “fine to flush” wipes. The landlord has deemed that the blockage was caused by us and has subsequently sent us an invoice for the works performed by his appointed plumber. He stated that we flushed a bunch of them down, but the reality is 1-2 were used at any event. Landlord claimed this was against Thames Water Guidelines, however, further research proved otherwise. Particularly when the soil does not have enough gradient to effectively carry solids. No response by them to the question I posed regarding the conformity to Building Regs Part H.
However, a month prior to thisl I slipped down the stairs coming from “Bedroom 4” in the loft. I wasn’t injured, more bruised pride, but it evoked some curiosity regarding the legitimacy of the advertised bedroom.
I have contacted, and subsequently had a meeting with District Building Control and they have identified that the loft is not bedroom on many counts, access, fire, escape etc. I was then told by the Officer that the staircase from dining room to 1st floor is also a fire risk as it is open plan (when combined with no fire stopping at 2nd floor level.
Further to this, they have also advertised a parking space. This however is contentious as the Landlord may deem the road a parking space, but they explicitly told us that we can park on the driveway…which does not have a dropped kerb.
The other issue has been utilities. We were assured that they would not be more than £200/month, but over the winter season we accumulated a £2500 bill just for the gas. This was due to the poor condition (single gazed) windows and we would have to keep the heating on constantly at 29 degrees just to achieve an internal ambient temperature of 21 degrees C.
Has anyone ever taken a Landlord to court for instances like these? I would like to know what your experience has been like and whether you were successful in legal pursuits?
I am not out to sue him, but my wife & I would like to get back some of our expenses which were effectively caused by the landlords false advertising & plain lies, and to also punish him for endangering us by his false claims regarding the bedroom and the fire risk.
Regarding the heating, we had to keep it on permanently otherwise their was only a 5 degree difference to outside temperatures.
Government guidelines do state that a legal temperature must be reached with a reasonable cost.
The drain blockage is down to you. There is no such thing as flushable wipes. Several TV programmes, all the water and sewerage companies and lots of other sources have confirmed this.
2.If the landlord has advertised a property as 4 bedrooms when there is no planning consent or building control approval for the loft room, then this is both a breach of consumer rights and planning/building regulations. It possible that you are being overcharged, but you would need to take this to the first tier, (rent) tribunal to determine it or negotiate a reduction. You could take further action against the landlord if you really want to.
You cant park on the drive if there is no drop-kerb as you’d be committing a road traffic violation. If you have evidence that the landlord intended this, then you could take action. Otherwise you don’t have much to go on.
The landlord is not responsible for the recent huge increase in utility costs and trying to pin that on him is a hiding to nothing. I assume that the EPC is E or above.
You could use these issues as bargaining chips, but be aware that it will sour the relationship and you are likely to find a s21 notice in the post.
With regards to the heating/gas costs. We brought this up with the landlord and he explicitly told us it would only cost in the region they said. My wife even pointed out to him the rising cost but he assured us it wouldnt cost more.
Unless you have something in writing from the landlord giving you that assurance about the utility costs, there is not much that you can do about it.
Clearly these wipes are not flushable if they’ve caused a blockage. However, if you have a professional opinion that the gradient of the drain is too shallow for normal domestic usage, you may be able to force the landlord to fix it.
With regard to advertising the property as 4 bedroom, the landlord might claim that he meant that to include the lounge. He would be unlikely to get away with that in a consumer rights case, but it might come down to the wording and other factors such as whether the is more than one reception room.
drains domestically are 1 in 40 and may be allowed at 1 in 60… Over time drains do move with ground movement. Obviouly they cannot be seen so the traditional method of measurement is to have a couple of inspection chambers and check the invert levels of the two ,record distance and depth.