Letting agent will not pursue tenants for rent at damp-ridden home

Dr Sophie Housden (l) with wife Shey and their three children are protesting at the way abbotFox ren

Dr Sophie Housden (l) with wife Shey and their three children are protesting at the way abbotFox rented them a damp and mould-ridden home. Photo: Archant/Sophie Housden - Credit: Archant

A letting agent, which rented a home with severe damp to a young family, will not pursue them for rent - but has ruled out paying them compensation.

A dark stain on the bathroom floor which Dr Sophie Housden said was damp. Photo: Sophie Housden

A dark stain on the bathroom floor which Dr Sophie Housden said was damp. Photo: Sophie Housden - Credit: Archant

As reported last week, abbotFox let a home on St Martin’s Road to Dr Sophie Housden, her wife Shey, and three young children in July.

But the Housdens abandoned the home after finding a string of problems with it.

They complained to abbotFox, which sent a repairman.

But a week later, an inspector from Norwich City Council’s private sector housing team uncovered “significant” damp in the property and told the landlord, a partner at abbotFox called Ivor Newman, to carry out repairs.

Dr Housden took photos of larvae at the property, but abbotFox said a pest controller found no larva

Dr Housden took photos of larvae at the property, but abbotFox said a pest controller found no larvae and the water was safe to drink. Photo: Sophie Housden - Credit: Archant

The family moved out after finding larvae around the kitchen sink and fearing the water was not safe to drink. This was denied by abbotFox, which said Anglian Water told them the water was safe.


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After the Housdens left the home, abbotFox told them it would not reimburse for the month’s rent they had paid.

They also refused their request to pay them for the cost of having to move again, finding an AirBnB and then renting a more expensive property, totalling more than £5,000.

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AbbotFox told them their was no reason for them to move out as the drinking water was safe.

The Housden Family. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The Housden Family. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

When Dr Housden, a registrar at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, complained, she was also told she may have to pay rent for the full six months of the contract, despite moving out in the first month.

AbbotFox partner Dean Cooke wrote to the family in September: “As far as abbotFox are concerned the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is still valid and you are liable for those terms. At this stage the landlord is considering what action to take with regard to rent arrears.”

However, after this newspaper published the article, abbotFox emailed the Housdens: “We or the Landlord have never pursued or asked for money, and have never intended to.”

The Housdens said they were pleased, but are still asking abbotFox to pay back the first month’s rent, reimburse them for moving costs, pay compensation, and cover the difference in rent between the property they moved in to.

Damp on a wall behind the washing machine at 15 St Martins Road, Norwich. Photo: Sophie Housden

Damp on a wall behind the washing machine at 15 St Martins Road, Norwich. Photo: Sophie Housden - Credit: Archant

They are being supported by community union Acorn which said: “We strongly object to the way in which these essential members of our community have been treated so disgustingly.”

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