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Disrepairs - with-holding PART of the rent?


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Hi,

 

I would like to know where I stand with holding back some of the rent. I realise that if I with-hold all the rent the landlord can serve me a possession notice which it is mandatory for a court to give if proven.

 

However if I hold back part of the rent then is it mandatory for a court to give a possession notice? Or is this discretionary so I could argue my case?

 

Basically my landlord is failing to deal with the severe damp I have in my room and so I want to with-hold what I consider a fair portion of the rent.

 

Thanks in advance

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There are 2 issues:

 

1) Witholding rent (full stop)

Presuming you are on an AST in England or Wales your landlord can only get a guaranteed eviction against you if more than 2 months rent due is unpaid. So, if you pay 2/3 of your rent every month then it would be 6 months before 2 months would be unpaid. Then he would have to seek possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. All unpaid rent would eventually have to be repaid.

 

2) Effecting Repairs

(Same assumption) Obtain 3 quotes for treating the damp. Send copies of the quotes to your LL and ask him to organise the repairs. State that if he doesn't come to an acceptable arrangement within 14 days then you will have the work carried out yourself and deduct it's cost from future rent(s). Send this letter by recorded delivery (you can get proof of delivery online, including a copy of the signature). Get the work done and don't pay rent until the cost is covered. If LL disagrees and tries to follow the unpaid rent procedure above you just need to make sure you have your 3 quotes, your letter (and p.o.d) to LL and your receipt and explain in court what happened. Judge will find that rent is not unpaid and therefore s8 will be thrown out.

 

Whatever you do, remember that LL can issue a s21 notice once your fixed term is up and (provided any deposit is protected) the court will have to issue a possession order.

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