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smelly flat


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We've recently moved into a flat with a twelve month assured shorthold tenancy. The flat is newly decorated and in quite good condition.

A few weeks after moving i started sensing a bad smell of sewer in the stairs leading up from the door to the living area. It seems to be getting worse, and I can now feel uneasiness when sitting in the living area due to the smell.

I've contacted the landlord and he says if the smell is due to a leak in one of the houses close to this, but not on his property, he can't and won't do anything about it.

I feel a bit powerless as I don't have the option of seeking out the cause of this smell, and feel it's the landlords responsibility to handle the matter.

I'm now wondering if it comes to the point where there's no solution to this problem, what are my options of terminating the lease early to move somewhere else?

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Hi Ian,

You need to get your landlord to own this problem. Irrespective of whether the smell is coming from the property you are renting or a neighbouring property - it is spoiling your enjoyment of the accomodation that he is providing (as a service) to you.

Tell the landlord that you will be withholding next months rent and reporting him to the Environmental Health department of your local authority unless he takes ownership of this sewage problem and sorts it out.

If he refuses to take ownership then 1) report him to environmental health, 2) withhold the rent 3) find somewhere else to live. The landlord will try and withhold your security deposit if you leave the tenancy early so it is important that you remain behind with the rent to off-set this security deposit loss.

I am a respectable landlord that believes that tenants should be provided with quality accomodation in exchange for them paying a monthly rent.

I do not lightly recommend that tenants withhold rent - but some landlords are so GREEDY that until you cut off their supply of money (ie: rent) they won't do anything to maintain their properties.

Good luck,


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There's been some development; we've got a mice infestation in the kitchen!

I've reported this to the landlord by phone, and am now writing a letter requesting emergency repairs be done within five days, since the kitchen lacks proper skirting boards along the floor/walls, which allows mice to come into the flat.

We're getting second thoughts about the flat. If a landlord doesn't do emergency repairs within a reasonable timeframe, can we claim breach of contract and get out of the AST "legally", without being responsible for costs until he find new tenants?

The info I found was on this page: http://luuonline.com/advice/disrepair.html#pest

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It really depends what is stated in your tenancy agreement.

Most agreements state that the landlord will provide and maintain the premises in a good state of repair for the duration of the tenancy period.

If you agreement has words similar to above then you could claim "breach of contract" against the landlord.

The problem is that the landlord is holding your security deposit so it might be a fight to get the money back - which might result in you having to take legal action against him.

It is really important that you keep all correspondences and take photos of the poor condition of the property.

Good Luck .......

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