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Letting Agent & Repairs: How to approach the situation


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Hi all, 

I am not sure if this the right forum, but I thought I'd ask some advice on how to operate with this letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord. 

I moved into my current apartment 9 months ago and it was all fine. I've had water pressure issues since day 1 but these were not critical enough to warrant an escalation to the letting agent. However, in the last two to three weeks, the issue has gotten worse. The water pressure drops on a constant basis to the point where if I try to use the shower in the morning, there is no water coming through at all. I could be waiting roughly 20 to an hour minutes before the water pressure comes back to "normal". When the water pressure comes back to "normal" and I can use the shower, the shower always cuts off after 5/10 minutes maximum without fail. Then I have to wait another twenties minutes for the pressure to return to normal and use the shower again for another 5/10 minutes before it cuts off. Rinse and repeat all day every day. 

While I'm not asking to be able to take showers for an hour, it's simply not manageable to have a shower cut off after 5/10 minutes or wait for 30 minutes before the water finally comes through, especially if I need to get to work in the morning. 

I raised the issue to the letting agent last week since I signed my lease with the letting agent. The letting agent responded saying it is an external issue that should be checked with the company managing the entire complex. They put me in touch with them and this management company confirmed it is an internal issue specific to my apartment as there have been no reports from other tenants. They advised me to arrange with a letting agent for a plumber to inspect. I consequently reached out to the letting agent three days later requesting if we could arrange for a plumber to come and inspect this. 

The letting agent has since been radio silent. They have not answered my email nor acknowledged it. Granted, I sent it three days after speaking with the management company, but the pressure got slightly better for a day before it got worse again. I wanted to monitor the issue to make sure we're not bringing a plumber in for an issue that's no longer (though it's been weeks of this now). 

I have not raised any issue since I moved in 9 months ago. I only raised one issue when I got my keys, which was the heaters not working, but they got sorted out really quickly. I'm not a chronic complainer at all. I only raise an issue if I'm sure it is one. 

There is a housing crisis at the moment, so I don't want to wind up in a position where I'm regarded as an annoying tenant and thus given the boot (although my statutory rights clearly prevent any type of eviction that does not fall within any of the specific categories listed by law). I'm not sure as to what to do because as much as I don't want to come across as an annoying tenant out of fear they retaliate, rushing in the shower because I know it consistently cuts off after 5/10 minutes is not reasonable either. 

How should I approach the situation with the letting agent for the best outcome?

Thanks. 

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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  • RuedeRivoli changed the title to Letting Agent & Repairs: How to approach the situation

Continue complaining, tell the truth as you've done, go up the chain of command and never give up.  If you receive radio silence or crickets, go up higher than your letting agent and management superiors.  They'll do something such as repairs if you continue to be noisy.  In order to silence you, they must repair plumbing in order for you to shower more than 5 or 10 minutes.  It's unacceptable to tolerate and endure this inconvenience while you're paying monthly rent.  You have every right as a tenant to have plumbing operating normally.  They can't evict you due to this complaint.  Do whatever it takes to get this plumbing issue resolved.  Don't fear.  Get it done.  Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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I hear you about wanting to be a “good tenant “.  Do what Cheryln advised.  And if it doesn’t work then see what the rules are where you live as far as withholding rent for an uninhabitable apartment. To me normal water pressure is basic. I’m sorry you’re going through this. 

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1 hour ago, Cherylyn said:

Continue complaining, tell the truth as you've done, go up the chain of command and never give up.  If you receive radio silence or crickets, go up higher than your letting agent and management superiors.  They'll do something such as repairs if you continue to be noisy.  In order to silence you, they must repair plumbing in order for you to shower more than 5 or 10 minutes.  It's unacceptable to tolerate and endure this inconvenience while you're paying monthly rent.  You have every right as a tenant to have plumbing operating normally.  They can't evict you due to this complaint.  Do whatever it takes to get this plumbing issue resolved.  Don't fear.  Get it done.  Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

I agree with all of the above and just wanted to add:  Also make sure to keep a paper trail of all your correspondence about this issue so as to have proof of what your requests are/were and who you spoke to.  You don't want a situation of "he said, she said". 

Is this happening only in your apartment?  Or is this throughout the entire apartment complex?

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12 minutes ago, Capricorn3 said:

I agree with all of the above and just wanted to add:  Also make sure to keep a paper trail of all your correspondence about this issue so as to have proof of what your requests are/were and who you spoke to.  You don't want a situation of "he said, she said". 

Is this happening only in your apartment?  Or is this throughout the entire apartment complex?

Thank you.

Every correspondence is done via email for this purpose. 

As stated above, the management company advised there have been no reports from other tenants on such issue and therefore asked me to revert to the letting agent to arrange for a plumber to inspect this as it is an issue specific to my apartment. 

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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I would copy the response from the management company to the letting agent and request that they arrange for a plumber to come out asap and to contact you within 24 hours to arrange that. Get specific and don't leave it hanging indefinitely.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Do a demo of the shower water, record the time and take a video of the lack of water pressure as evidence for the complaint.  Don't just describe the complaint in writing or on the phone. 

I think I will also do this since they're completely unresponsive. I will attach a video in my next chaser email. 

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I agree with everyone else. Don't be so timid. Get self-defeating thoughts like this out of your mind:

13 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I don't want to wind up in a position where I'm regarded as an annoying tenant .... I don't want to come across as an annoying tenant

Be persistent, be annoying, attach videos, watch the plumbers make the repair if you have to. You pay rent, you get water. Period.

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1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

I agree with everyone else. Don't be so timid. Get self-defeating thoughts like this out of your mind:

Be persistent, be annoying, attach videos, watch the plumbers make the repair if you have to. You pay rent, you get water. Period.

Thank you, Jibralta. 

I agree. The self-defeating thoughts keep running through my mind and I feel rather uncomfortable acting pushy, but at the same time, as you said, I am paying rent. I should be able to properly avail of basic facilities. This issue has been ongoing for months now and got worse over the last couple of weeks. For a long time, I refused to raise it until it became unbearable because I didn't want to be the "annoying tenant". I have to choose between washing my hair or body because I can't do both otherwise the shower cuts off (tried taking care of both on Sunday and after 5 minutes, I ended up standing there like a naked vegetable with shampoo all over my head unable to rinse it). 

I suspect the letting agent has known about this issue since before I moved in and refused to fix it as too costly. The agent told me they had a hard time getting approval to change shower curtains, so I can't imagine what it's like getting a plumber in. The issue came up as soon as I moved in, but it wasn't critical, so I let it slide. 

Local regulation stipulates that shower/water issues are regarded as "urgent" issues that should be remediated within 3-5 days. It's almost been two weeks now. The next reminder will include a video evidence. If no response after the third reminder, it is getting escalated to the local tenancies board who will advise on the best course of action. Withholding rent is not an option over here, but if they refuse to bring a plumber in, I can bring a plumber in myself and offset the expense against the rent. This might be an avenue although this is the last recourse because there is a liability dynamic at play here. If something goes wrong during the plumber's visit, I will be held liable for any lateral damages. I thus need to make sure they're unwilling to fix it and get approval from the local tenancies board to bring a plumber in myself. 

This is the first letting agent / landlord I've had who is willing to disregard a tenant's basic request. All of my previous landlords were very prompt regardless of the issue. I think this specific agent thinks they can get away with not fixing the issue and if I decide to move, they'll find someone in no time as there is a severe housing crisis - except I'm not planning on moving and they are in breach of statutory laws. Besides, any other tenant would complain, so the issue is not going away in any case.  

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11 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Do a demo of the shower water, record the time and take a video of the lack of water pressure as evidence for the complaint.  Don't just describe the complaint in writing or on the phone. 

Thank you. I just recorded the videos a few minutes ago. They will be sent with my next chaser. 

I originally didn't include any videos because I thought the agent would have enough common sense so as to not assume this is a fabricated issue. One has to be pretty unhinged to manufacture such issue. Or they alternatively think I have been taking one to two hour showers, thus the water running out (not the case, because the shower won't run for more than 5-10 minutes anyway). 

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10 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

Thank you. I just recorded the videos a few minutes ago. They will be sent with my next chaser. 

I originally didn't include any videos because I thought the agent would have enough common sense so as to not assume this is a fabricated issue. One has to be pretty unhinged to manufacture such issue. Or they alternatively think I have been taking one to two hour showers, thus the water running out (not the case, because the shower won't run for more than 5-10 minutes anyway). 

Never think anyone has common sense.  It's better to under estimate than over estimate anyone.  Never give anyone the benefit of the doubt.  I've since learned this hard lesson long ago.  Set your expectations lower.  You'll be less disappointed.  You'll become shrewd and adept when dealing with them. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone, 

I just wanted to update on this. After weeks of patience, they managed to send a plumber in (they never responded to any of my emails letting me know they'll send someone, but the plumber reached out to me directly).

The plumber asked me about how long I've been dealing with this issue and I explained. He said to me "Next time you have an issue, don't be so polite. You were really polite with them. You should have been all over them jumping up an down. Keep that in mind for next time". 

He's right! He managed to fix the issue (which was obviously a real issue). As everyone said on this thread, I should be more assertive!

Thanks everyone!

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