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Landlord Problems (sigh)


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Hi all,

 

I'm usually pretty good with legal matters regarding landlords, etc, but this one really does have me stumped.

 

We have been having one problem after another regarding the flat I currently live in and I will go into each one by one.

 

We moved in last November and the flat was recently decorated, clean and tidy and we really looked forward to a happy future within the flat. The landlord seemed pleasant enough and we moved all of our gear in.

 

We immediately started having issues with the heating within the flat. Regulations at the local council state that any private rented property must have an affordable fixed heating source that works and is maintained regularly (such as gas central heating or storage heaters for example)

 

We have 1 storage heater that doesnt heat up at all (in the front room), and a convector (portable in other words) heater that is fixed to the wall in the bedroom. The council have already told me this is NOT suitable heat for the property and therefore the property is classed as un-inhabitable.

 

During the winter, we had to use 2 portable heaters from Argos. This ran up an electric bill of £100 for 6 weeks worth (even though we had the heaters on for 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in evening)

 

We have had intermittent faults with our electric - it keeps tripping and sometimes it is a couple of hours before it can be switched back on without tipping off again.

 

Last Friday however, the electric tripped and stayed off for 24 hours. I phoned the landlord first thing on Saturday morning and he came round.

We had no hot water (as it is an electric water heater) and all of our food had defrosted in the freezer :(

 

His attitude was "ah well, its the weekend, what do you want me to do?" and with that he disappeared. He added on the way out that if we wanted to get an electrician, it would be our own expense.

 

I did just that. I got an electrician out and it only cost me £45 total. The electrician said it was the water boiler, and that it was quite a dangerous fault. He advised us to keep it unplugged and worse case scenario is that it could blow up if we continued using it !!

 

So here we are. Tuesday evening - no water since Friday. Landlord doesnt care. So I phoned the council, thinking it was the best way forward.

 

The council are coming round tomorrow and are looking to do the following to the property:

 

- Fix numerous light fittings (electrical faults, only minor)

- Replace water boiler with a brand new one

- Fix storage heater and get another installed to bedroom, or failing that, get central heating in the flat

 

(And charge the above works to the landlord)

 

Now the landlord isnt happy. He just told me on the phone he is going to write to me with one months notice (even though he has to give two) and his last words were "happy house hunting"

 

And the bad thing is, I know he is within his rights to end the tenancy at any time with notice.

 

I'm presuming there is nothing else to do, except look for a new place.

 

Anyone with any suggestions? :)

 

Rich

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The landlord commits a criminal offence if he evicts a tenant of residential premises without first obtaining a court order for possession.

 

You might consider suing him for breach of contract, if the letting contract contains an express term that the property will be fit for habitation. If it does not, then it is nonetheless arguable that it contains an implied term to that effect.

 

If the landlord has failed to comply with a term of the contract as to fitness for habitation, that is a breach of contract. The court could award the tenant damages: e.g. for the extra costs incurred as a result of the landlord's default.

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Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

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Ed999,

 

Many thanks for the reply.

 

I was thinking that the court order would be needed - wasnt too sure though, so thanks for confirming.

 

The contract does say that:

 

"The landlord will make all repairs and keep the property in a state of repair" - the landlord has therefore broken this clause.

 

Looks like we are staying put for the time being.

 

Any ideas what we do for the heating situation? I presume we would let the Council do what they want to do....... I cant go through another cold winter with a big electric bill :)

 

Thanks again

 

Rich

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A clause stating "the landlord will make all repairs and keep the property in a state of repair" is not much help.

 

"Repairs" in that context means repairs to the fabric of the building: broken windows, chimney pot falling off, roof repairs, etc. It probably does not mean keeping the premises in a habitable condition.

 

The property must be fit for habitation (i.e. the water supply, heating, electricity, drains, etc, must be working properly). The landlord has a statutory duty under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 in that respect.

 

The landlord's obligation to repair under section 11 does not arise until he has notice of the fault, and he must then be given a reasonable time to fix the fault. Always give such notice in writing.

 

If the local authority is willing to prosecute the landlord, that is fair enough. That might convince him to put matters right. But it might equally convince him to give you the 2 months notice and then seek a court order for possession. (I rely entirely on you as to that, as you don't mention what type of tenancy you have.)

 

You can sue in the county court for an injunction or an order for specific performance, to compel the landlord to repair the heating. Or you might simply refuse to pay the rent until the landlord complies with his contractual or statutory obligation to make the premises fit for habitation.

 

However, that is the point at which you lose the landlord's goodwill, and lose your reference from him - which you may need if you move.

Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

If you've found my suggestions useful, please click on my star and add a comment

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Ed,

 

In reply to your post, I have an ASH which expired in August, so am now on a month-by-month agreement - the landlord does indeed have to give 2 months notice and a court order, which in all fairness isnt worth much as I can still remain at the property until the bailiffs turn up (technically)

 

Going to the council got results - I have an engineer here now fixing the hot water.

 

However, I totally agree with the landlords goodwill. When he found out I complained to the council, he did indeed give me 2 months notice (which I am waiting for in writing)

 

The problems have been sorted but I now have to find elsewhere to live. But if I didnt push the issue with the landlord, I could have stayed but wouldnt have had the repairs done - bit of a catch 22

 

Rich

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  • 10 months later...

Hello all

Just joined the group and I have a question concerning my landlord. We signed up to a 6 month contract, ending in October and shortly after we moved in the chimneys have been falling down (bricks coming down onto the patio) and the roof tiles falling off. The landlord has repaired the chimneys but not the roof tiles, just because he is planning to build an extension in a few weeks time (unspecified) and doesn't want to build the roof twice!

 

We did know there would be an extension built some time, but we were not aware that the roof and chimmeys were unsafe and there are still tiles falling off the roof where I hang out my washing regularly and my children go out into the garden. Surely, this is breach of contract by the landlord and we are entitled to move out now without paying further rent rather than in October? Unfortunately though, the landlord has deposits/damage cover which he could withhold if we don't pay any more rent.

 

Any advice please?

 

Camilla

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Can I advise you repost in and create your own thread instead of reopening a year old thread?

 

To answer briefly, no you cannot do this. I will answer more fully in a new thread.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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