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No Hot Water for 2 weeks.. Am I Legally required to pay Rent?


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Hi, I have recently rented a flat with my partner and have only been living in it for 4 weeks. For the last 2 weeks we have not had any hot water as the boiler broke. I informed the property mgnt company of this as soon as we noticed (2 weeks ago) and they have sent engineers etc and eventually got the go ahead from the landlord to install a new boiler on Sat. The guys came but couldnt turn off the mains so have to come back this week.

 

Basically as the title suggest, am i legally required to pay rent during this period of no hot water. It would appear the landlord has breach his condition in section 11 (think thats the section) which requires them to supply the ability for hot water (obviously we pay the electricity).

 

I have written the Landlord a letter and sent it off last week stating how unhappy we were that it has taken so long to fix. It took 10 days for the Landlord to give the go ahead for a new boiler. The engineer that came and inspected the broken boiler, told me it needed to be replaced on day 1.

 

In my letter i mentioned that we do not expect to have to pay rent during this period. I just want to know if there are any legal grounds which we are entitled to. I said I would expect compensation (in the form of a credit on the full weeks rent) for the 2 weeks we have been without water.

 

Background info: rent is paid in advance and i will not change the dd for next months rent until i heard back from the landlord as i understand we can not legally stop paying rent.

 

 

I have read a few of the other threads but question has not really been answered. Any help/advice would be very much appreciated.

 

Please help!

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Frustrating as it is, you need to continue to pay your rent.

 

While not knowing the full situation regarding the LL/LA/Management companies response to the boiler being broke, the fact that the process is now underway to replace the broken water means that the LL is fulsiffing his s.11 obligations imho.

 

I think the most ou could ask for would be a a reasonable level of compensation for your inconvenience and difficulties over the past weeks. Request it in writing, I would suggest you open negotiations with a 25% reduction in one months rent.

 

Good luck.

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Yes have continued to pay rent so havent stopped that. 16 days after raising the issued the the Property managment company we now have a new boiler fitted.

 

My issue is really to do with the "reasonable" timeframe. Surely 16 days is not reasonable to be without hot water and I going to argue that tenant who rented the property should not reasonably be expected to put up with this.

 

Am planning on issueing them with a CCJ for not resolving the matter within a reasonable timeframe. I have offered to meet in the middle with a 50% credit for the 2 weeks without hot water. This has been made to avoid the courts. If they say no then CCJ it is.

 

These agencies need to realise they can not take advantage of tenants.

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16 days without hot water is far from satisfactory, but, at least compared with what some people have to put up with, not that bad. By all means ask for compensation and threaten legal proceedings, but I cannot help feeling that the amount of compensation the court is likely to award is unlikely to make the time and trouble of suing worthwhile. It is almost always unwise to pursue litigation as a matter of principle; it should always be a commercial decision.

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Totally agree 16 days isnt too bad compared with some people on this forum. However i`m sure when the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 was drafted the intentions of the act was to protect both the Landloard and Tenant.

 

Whilst there is no defination of what is a reasonable period of time, an ordinary man in the street would not consider that to mean 16 days in the case of Hot water.

 

Online courts only cost £20 iand if it doesnt make it through to CCJ stage, then at least i`ve tried. Often legal action is the only way to get places in this country as people/companies seem to have forgotten what customer service actually is.

 

Had the property management company or at least appologised for the delay then that may have gone some way but to simply tell me that they treated it as a matter of urgency and that it has been resolved in a reasonable period of time is certainly taking the P%SS I feel.

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In order to proceed with filing a successful CCJ you will need to have provided the debtor (in this case your landlord) with 'reasonable' notification before applying to the courts. They will have the opportunity of defending the claim and one likely scenario is that they have not been provided with enough notice to settle this before court, as frustrating as this is court is supposed to be an absolute last resort, you will have to supply all letters sent to the landlord. reasonable correspondence and request for payment sent by recorded delivery (you will have to prove your correspondence was received) and finally a 'notification of legal action' giving the landlord at the very least 14 days, though normally 21 days would be more feasible, if THEN they hadnt responded then it would be fair to pursue through the courts.

 

I do understand your frustration, but if they do defend the claim, which could prove likely, then the hearing will be transfered to the court nearest to your landlord and then you will have to actually attend, this will then start to rapidly increase your costs.

 

If it is the property management company you are pursuing then the courts could possibly take the stance that the first port of call should be the ombudsman that governs them.

 

It is very frustrating but the courts general view is that a reasonable timeframe must have been allowed before court action is sought

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I take it you dont want to remain in the property past your fixed term?!

 

If a s.21 hasnt already been served, I Imagine one will be finding its way to you shortly.

 

I understand you are frustrated over this, but you should have taken a step back and looked at the situation without emotion. I think your response has been 'knee jerk', lets just hope it has the required effect and your successful.

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I have to agree with Planner on this one. I don't know the ins and out of the situation, but as a landlord myself, who has experienced a similar problem, I can tell you that it is not always easy to get things fixed. First of all, when the boiler in one of my flats failed, the agency didn't tell me for three days. I then had to find a plumber, but the earliest appointment was a week away. The plumber came out, serviced the boiler and then had to order some new parts, which took another week to come. In all, it took 15 days to get the problem resolved. Fortunately my tenant was reasonable and understanding about the situation. I know it's frustrating, but things don't happen immediately and you can't always find someone to blame.

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I've got a similar 'pay rent' dilema but, rather than things going wrong into the tenancy, these things were wrong from the outset, at the commencement of the tenancy.

 

Clause 4.3 of my tenancy agreement states that the landlord shall ensure that all installations, systems and appliances are clean and in proper working order upon commencement of the tenancy and at the time the agent signed this agreement, upon behalf of the landlord, they knew darn well that the place was filthy with installations/systems/appliances not clean or not in proper working order.

 

Now with regards to the filth and the previous tenants, nor the landlord, nor the agent, made any attempt to clean nor put a duster or vacuum cleaner around and it is written in to the tenacy agreement that I shall keep clean and clean at the end of the tenancy.

 

Now the rent is £700 pm, 6 months = £4,200 + deposit thus, aware that things were not right upon signing, the landlord/agent have duped me in to signing that I shall pay them £4,200 and for the privelige I must clean up other peoples filth.

 

As soon as it became apparent that they were unwilling to act I revoked the tenancy agreement telling them they need to remove the 'I will clean' clause.

 

With regards to installations etc. there have been many problems but just to itemise three such problems:

 

1. The upstairs carpets were so disgustingly filthy that for the first week, of a 4 bedroomed house, I was reduced to sleeping on the sofa downstairs.

 

2. The bathroom floors were so cracked they were leaking like sieves, damage had already been caused to the ceilings below, thus, not prepared to risk further damage for which I would be responsible, my only washing facility for 6 weeks, until they repaired the floors, was the kitchen sink.

 

3. After 2 months they are still unwilling to repair the 'installed' TV aerial, there is an aerial installed in the loft, there is an aerial point in the lounge, just that there is obviously a break in the cable somewhere inbetween thus 2 months, so far, with no TV reception.

 

I have informed the landlord/agent in no uncertain terms that with so many breaches of clause 4.3 I consider that the tenancy cannot commence until they have adhered to it and thereafter I shall happily pay £700 pm but until that time I do not consider the tenancy to have commenced and we need to mutually agree on how much rent I should pay during this period taking in to considerations of sleeping on sofa and washing in kitchen sink, like most other things they decline to acknowledge nor reply to me although I do receive 'read receipts' to prove that they have received and read the emails.

 

During these disputes I have not been paying the rent but that is another cock up of theirs. By the tenancy agreement rent payments may only be made by standing order, I completed all their paperwork but they lost the standing order mandate. More recently their debt collection are saying "send £700 to this office" but, as I have pointed out to them, I can't because I would be breaching the 'standing order' of the tenancy agreement.

 

Now reading what others have said regarding 'must pay the rent' I'd be interested to learn opinion(s) of my scenario as, within a few days, my patience will be exhausted and I'll be taking them to county court.

 

Thanks

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Martin, can't believe what I am reading here! Well, rather than go steaming down to the Court, alter your direction and go steaming in the direction of your local Environmental health Department. You'll find them much more bullheaded and determined than the county court.

 

Check the property over, look for things which you would consider unsafe, in particular, gas appliances, look for the sticker to tell you when its been serviced. Photograph what you can, make notes etc.

 

Then let the EHO go over the place with a fine toothcomb. That should teach the agent the error of their ways! Do be prepared for them to evict you for it though!

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