Ruth is having problems with her landlord not carrying out maintenance at her house. Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…?
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I’m renting a house privately on DSS with my two children but the house has become really run down in the years we’ve been here. The boiler is constantly being repaired, the window latches are broken, the kitchen is really worn with broken cupboards but my landlord says they don’t have any money and can’t afford to make improvements to the house and if I don’t like it then we should move.
I like the area, my children are happy here and if we had to move we’d have to move out of the area and the children would have to move schools. I don’t want to upset the landlord too much in case they force us to move, but we can’t live in a house like this for much longer. What should we do?
Our FamilyPoint Advice to Ruth
Hi Ruth, thanks for getting in touch with us here at Family Point.
I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling to resolve long standing maintenance and repair issues with your landlord which are resulting in you feeling like you’ll be unable to remain in your property.
It doesn’t sound like your landlord is being 100% reasonable. Whilst renting you are protected by housing legislation and your rights should be protected by your tenancy agreement which outlines what is expected of both you as a tenant and your landlord. A standard tenancy agreement or licence outlines minimum repair duties so it would be worth having a look at your copy of this which you will have signed to agree to the tenancy.
Some of the superficial maintenance such as decoration may not be covered and this may include wear and tear on the kitchen, however repairs to the windows and the doors for example would be covered by these minimum repair duties on most tenancy agreements and licences as they relate to the security of the home. Due to the differences in tenancy agreements and Licence agreements I would advise that you have a look at this link which will give you details on your rights and how you might go about dealing with this with your landlord.
If your landlord doesn’t engage with you and carry out his duties (which would seem likely, given that this is a longstanding problem), you have several options:
- Contact your Local Authority Housing department for advice (you didn’t mention which part of Wales you live in but if you would like details of the department/ offices you need to contact then you could come through to the Family Point helpline, or text or via the website – the details are below).
- Contact Shelter Cymru on their housing advice line on 0345 075 5005. You could also email their housing advice team, or, if you prefer, visit advice near you in a local Shelter Cymru advice surgery where you can talk to someone in person. In some areas you may also be able to speak to advisers online by live chat and webcam – visit the Shelter Cymru website
- Whilst you want to remain in the area due to family circumstances, it’s not clear if you are keen to remain in the same home or whether you’d be prepared to move. Whilst claiming housing benefits it can be difficult to find a landlord that you can trust, however tenants have achieved more rights in recent years and there are lots of regulations in place to protect you and your family whilst renting. If you are unable to get the changes you want at the property via support from Shelter it may be worth starting to consider finding alternative accommodation. I know this will be a difficult decision to make, however as you are currently in a secure accommodation this is a good time to start looking.
You will need to be realistic that this can be a really lengthy process (particularly with the local authority where waiting lists can be variable). It will not impact on you negatively if you should register for social housing or start researching private landlords. It might be worth speaking to your local authority who will be able to register your interest in social housing but also provide you with a list of trusted private landlords.
Above all, I hope you get your situation resolved so you can concentrate on family life in comfortable surroundings.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
The FamilyPoint Cymru Team
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