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Old 12.11.2012, 10:21
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mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Hello,

I wanted some advice -

In September we found all our clothes going mouldy and mould in the back of the wardrobe - the agency sent someone round to fix it but as they can't find the source of a leak its not yet resolved.

Next up we didnt know how to turn the heating on - We asked at the beginning of October for someone to show us, they came in November and it wouldnt work so now we have to wait for new heating to be installed. This could take 2-3 weeks. They have given us electric heaters but these are expensive to run and its still freezing.

Finally in bed last night water started coming through the ceiling (the room is under a patio). It fell on my head! When we looked the wooden ceiling is bowed and with the heavy rain at the weekend it must have started coming through. Not good as electrics - Lighting/plugs - are close to it.

The agency is helpful but I feel this is the last straw. We now can no longer use the bedroom (with the mould and risk of the ceiling falling down).

In the UK we would ask for some kind of compensation or a reduction in rent until this is all resolved but we're not sure what happens here.

Do we have any rights regarding these things as the flat is becoming unhabitable?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:37
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

This is really bad. You have an environmental and health issue.

You're in London? If you were in Switzerland, I'd suggest going to the renter's association who should be able to help you for a small membership fee.
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:41
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Oh no we're in swizerland but I joined when in London still - will change my location now!

So we need to go to the renters association?
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:43
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

I'd take some photos of all the problems now as well.

It's proof of the severity of the problems and something that would be useful when trying to state your case.
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:44
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

To change the location on your public profile, click here:

http://www.englishforum.ch/profile.php?do=editprofile

Search the forum for Mieterverband for other threads that might interest you.

For Biel:

http://www.mieterverband.ch/be_top.0.html
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:44
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Two words: Move out.
ASAP.
This looks like it cannot be "fixed" while you live in there.
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:48
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

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Oh no we're in swizerland but I joined when in London still - will change my location now!

So we need to go to the renters association?
http://www.mieterverband.ch/be_top.0.html
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Old 12.11.2012, 10:48
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

It's definitely a health risk and keep telling them this. By registered letter.

And move out is your long-term answer.

www.asloca.ch might help too, it's the French side's version of the renter's association.
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Old 12.11.2012, 13:52
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

[QUOTE=Sean Connery;1713437]It's definitely a health risk and keep telling them this. By registered letter.
QUOTE]


Thanks for your reply - Can I just ask what do you mean by registered letter?

We have been communicating by email but is this not official enough?
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Old 12.11.2012, 14:00
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

[QUOTE=LornaMartin;1713644]
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It's definitely a health risk and keep telling them this. By registered letter.
QUOTE]


Thanks for your reply - Can I just ask what do you mean by registered letter?

We have been communicating by email but is this not official enough?
You need to take the letter to the post office and ask to have it sent by registered mail, ie, the recipient has to sign upon receipt of the letter, meaning that you will have proof that the letter has been received.
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Old 12.11.2012, 14:51
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Just to stress - email is not 'official enough.'

In your next letter, include your email trail documenting the history of communication and send the whole thing registered letter. If you need to communicate more quickly than snail mail allows, follow through every communication with a registered letter confirming the conversation.

I know this seems like overkill, but the stories one hears about landlords ignoring problems then trying to shift blame (and liability!) to tenants are hair-raising. Do nothing on trust, put everything in writing, by registered letter.

And if you haven't done so already - join the Mieterverband! There are plenty of unscrupulous landlords out there, the Mieterverband's expertise can be invaluable.

Good luck!
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Old 12.11.2012, 15:57
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

No heat in November is an eminent threat to safety...

Give them a call and see if it's their officers or another agency that enforce minimum living standards, in addition to calling the renter's association...



Inspection de police
Rue Centrale 60, 8ème étage 2501 Bienne T: 032 326 18 25 F: 032 326 22 97 inspection.police@biel-bienne.ch
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Old 12.11.2012, 16:16
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

This is a very serious health issue and need to be addressed immediately.

Risks of mould on health
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Old 12.11.2012, 16:18
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Dreadful situation, hope you resolve things quickly! Registered letters are now called "recorded delivery". In German : "eingeschrieben" . Costs more than a postage stamp but well worth the extra charge when dealing with anything "official". Good luck!
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Old 12.11.2012, 17:38
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Quote:
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Just to stress - email is not 'official enough.'

In your next letter, include your email trail documenting the history of communication and send the whole thing registered letter. If you need to communicate more quickly than snail mail allows, follow through every communication with a registered letter confirming the conversation.

I know this seems like overkill, but the stories one hears about landlords ignoring problems then trying to shift blame (and liability!) to tenants are hair-raising. Do nothing on trust, put everything in writing, by registered letter.
Also note that it is standard to put "registered letter" or something similar in the letter itself. Sorry don't know the German words or phrase. Someone else can help with that.
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Old 12.11.2012, 17:45
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Go to Asloca as soon as you can. The fee to register is not too expensive and they are SO worth it. They will inform you of your rights, help you write letters to the agency that are backed up by the law, and represent you in court if needed. They are excellent, do not hesitate!
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Old 12.11.2012, 18:33
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

You can claim for a reduction in rental, but I would claim it is inhabitable and demand the contract be annulled.

They seem to be very slow reacting to the heating problem don't they?

Here is ASLOCA in Bienne-Biel

http://www.asloca.ch/asloca-bienne
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Old 12.11.2012, 18:35
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Perhaps somebody in the area could recommend emergency accommodation, reasonable B&B or hotel - or a warm spare room short-term? I am just too far away.
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Old 12.11.2012, 19:21
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Re: mould, no heating and now water coming through the ceiling - advice needed!

Could you move someplace else (to relatives, friends or similar) until the problem is solved?
Mold can be a big health risk, especially if you're sensitive to it in the first place (which I really wouldn't want to find out under these circumstances if I were you).
Also consider a hostel for the time being, anything is better than getting this stuff in your lungs.

If you can't move out, get as much fresh air as possible to avoid breathing in the spores 24/7.


Registered letter is EINSCHREIBEN.
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