Somna moved into her flat in June 2019 with her two children, then 12 and 10 years old. The family immediately faced many problems in a flat that was clearly in breach of the Scottish Tolerable and Repairing Standards. It took months of frequent involvement and reminders to the letting agent to commit to repairs and to arrange days and times.
Soon after they moved in, the family had to deal with bedbugs and rodents. A pest control inspector advised to get rid of most pieces of furniture. Further, the fridge was broken, sofa to-be-thrown away were taking unnecessary space which prevented the family to bring in 2 beds for the children. The Gas meter was also faulty.
The involvement of one of our team was key to collect photos from and regularly liaise with the tenant, and to keep emailing the letting agent to remind them of outstanding disrepair. Though a new fridge was quickly provided and the shower fixed, the old fridge and broken furniture remained in the flat for much longer. After four months of emails and visits, as well as more formal communications referring to potential legal routes with the First Tier Tribunal regarding disrepair and the letting agent Code of Practice, all disrepairs were finally addressed. The Gas Meter remained faulty for another month and required more engagement from our service to stay on the letting agent’s mind.
Somna’s situation illustrates a common pattern in the cheaper, more rundown end of the private housing market, where cheap properties are often linked to lower maintenance, and tenants are forced to compromise on safety to secure access to affordable housing.
When no one was listening to us, you stepped forward, understood what to do, and helped my family.