Reduction of rent due to damp

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JMH
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We had damp in one bedroom that went unreported for a while but was Ďcuredí by a builder and a roofer doing remedial work. Everything seemed fine but the damp has come back and was reported again late November. I have had trades in to check this out and as yet no-one can tell me where the damp is coming from. Every roofer stands at the gate and says the house needs a new roof (itís about 15 years old and no signs of damp inside the roof space). I reckon the chimney is causing it and I am open to whatever needs doing including, if needed a new roof and the chimney removing. This has caused issues in the past and been addressed before we got the house in probate. Annoyingly it is taking time to get anyone to attend, made worse by the holiday period. I have a roofer Iíve used before coming to look next week, the earliest they can come.

Or course the tenant is now concerned that they are using more gas to heat the place to keep it dry and that they are having to pay for storage and clothes have had to be thrown away. Iíve seen no evidence of this and every time I go the windows are closed and there is condensation all over them. But the damp wall is certainly not condensation. I purchased a large-ish dehumidifier to help out.

The tenant told me they were told they should be rent free or have a significant reduction but when asked this turned out to be unprofessional advice.

The tenancy ends in May and now one of our kids is back from university we are considering not renewing the lease. Also, brexit concerns and road expansion concerns may lead us to want to be rid of the place anyway.

Morally it feels like I should reduce the rent until the damp is sorted but I have no idea what amount. Itís a 3 bed house, two receptions, and a basement (below the damp course so can be damp and was pointed out before they accepted). What would be a morally acceptable reduction percentage for the loss of one bedroom?

Given the potential expense of the new roof and chimney work I am torn. I do not want to re-roof and then sell. I am further torn because if the place was empty I would ventilate it a lot better than it is and I could myself find the source of the damp and maybe fix for little cost. But with it occupied I am at the mercy of the trades. Also, to my mind if I reduce the rent because they cannot use that bedroom then I expect that bedroom to be emptied out and not entered at all by the tenant. Or maybe I am being too strict.

I would even consider, say halving the rent for the remaining months on the agreement that they will vacate at the end and then we can decide to sell or fix, i.e.not fix the issue until then. Building issues are not my strong point though and this may be a stupid idea.

Iíve heard all the horror stories and seen the TV - this is not those. This is a good tenant and an issue that is taking time to sort and so I want to do the right thing.

Any advice welcome!

04/01/2019 13:43

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