We bought a brand new property in Aug 2005 off a builder and rented it out immediately to a tenant, who has been there ever since. She firstly signed a yearís contract, and then in Sept 06 signed a six month contract. Everything was great until two days after she signed the six month contract.
Her partner is living with her and has been since the start of the tenancy in Sept 05, and was quite adamant that when I asked them to sign for additional period that is was only for six months, as he said they didnít know where theyíd be in six months and that is was only to be in his partners name, he wanted no part of it. This should of raised my suspicions but didnít and in hindsight I should have asked why.
Then as I have said, two days after signing I received a call from him, not the lady whoís named on the agreement to say that there was damp in the master bedroom, which I said I would come down to check out. The property is a ground floor apartment with a master en suite. The tenant claimed that the damp was coming from the floor, which I found hard to believe as it was a new property and the wooden floor wasnít lifting anywhere. The room didnít even smell damp. He then showed me the underneath of his mattress, which had mould on it. I explained that Iím not qualified to say what is causing the problem I would need to get in touch with the builder and would get back to him. Personally I thought at this time it was due to him not ventilating the room when he used the shower and asked did he open the window when he showered to which he replied he did.
Two weeks passed before I could tie the builder down to coming in to have look at the problem and when he did he said it was definitely due to a ventilation problem and kindly offered to put in, in addition to the extractor fan already in place two additional vents to try and elevate the problem. He also asked the tenant did he open the window when he used the shower to which he replied ďno because the blinds flap all over the placeĒ. At this point I was livid but couldnít say anything as I wasnít sure whether it was a building error or the fault of the tenant. I wanted to speak with the builder alone.
The builder has said he has been building apartments such as these for years with the same extractors fans installed in each and has never had a problem, but he couldnít say for such if it was due to the tenant not airing the area properly. NHBC were then called in to investigate. We are still waiting the outcome of this report.
In the mean time the tenant has asked for a rent reduction to which I said no as we arenít sure what is causing the problem and he said that heís paying X number of £ís to live there and his £600 mattress (very difficult to believe that the mattress cost this much) and 5 pairs of shoes which he kept under the bed are ruined due to the damp, and he will be seeking legal advice for compensation.
Iím getting concerned now as I received a phone call from his last night saying that he has had legal advise and he will be taking me to the small claims court. I think heíll get legal aid so he has nothing to loose and Iím worried now that Iíll be out of pocket. Can anyone give me some advice?
Also am I correct if I said to him that all correspondence needs to come from his partner as it is her name on the agreement?
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