‘The only action my landlord took to tackle repairs was to evict me’

Theresa is 50 and lives in West Sussex. She was served with an eviction notice after asking her landlord to carry out repairs.
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I’ve lived in this flat for five years. I had just split up with my partner and I wanted to go somewhere where I could just relax.  It was a brand new property. I didn’t want to have to start cleaning old carpets and stuff like that. When I moved in I loved it.

Within a few months cracks started appearing in the walls and mould formed on the ceiling in the hallway.

I asked the landlord if he could sort out the mould and he said: “There is nothing I can really do about it you need to ventilate the flat more”. I replied: “What do you mean, leave all the doors and windows open in the middle of winter?  It’s a studio, there’s a limit to how much I can ventilate it”.

The real problem though, has been the shower. It has leaked for five months.

The wood under the shower tray is completely rotten and it floods the bathroom and has now gone under the lino in the kitchen.  It smells terrible.

052I have to keep using the shower because there is no bath.  I put down towels to build a dam every morning to stem the water.  I have to wash and dry those towels every day or they start to smell.

I emailed the landlord about it but he didn’t respond.

Eventually I contacted environmental health.  They carried out an inspection, took photographs and wrote to the landlord to ask him to fix it. My landlord then come round and have a look.  He said it was just cowboy builders, as if it wasn’t his responsibility, but he did say he would fix it.

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I emailed him to confirm what had been agreed.  He also agreed to check the boiler because the temperature on the shower went really hot and really cold and I kept scalding myself. He has not fixed the problem.

In the last few months my landlord has just not bothered.  The security light has gone outside and he won’t fix it. So I am unable to see at night when I try to get into my flat.

I also had problems with my neighbour downstairs who would verbally abuse me. I’ve got medical notes to show I was suffering from stress.

It was absolutely awful and I ended up with depression and felt scared to leave the flat. I asked my landlord to do something about it, as he managed the same tenant but instead of tackling the problem the landlord ended up serving both of us a section 21 eviction notice.

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I couldn’t believe it.  I felt sick. I rang Shelter’s helpline. They were very helpful and told me what my rights were.

My notice is now up. I’m waiting for the landlord to apply to court for a possession order. It’s a horrible position to be in. My deposit here was nearly £1,000 and I can’t raise that amount of money again to move somewhere new.

A few weeks ago the landlord fixed the leaking shower. This was prompted by the new tenant downstairs complaining that the water from my shower was cascading down into his bedroom.

I do not see why I should be evicted when I have done nothing other than report disrepair.
I’m being evicted because I’ve complained. So I’m sitting tight and seeing what happens.

Shelter provides free, expert housing advice. We have advice online if you are facing eviction, homelessness or disrepair.




 

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