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thrafael
10-04-2008, 12:02 PM
Hello there, I'd be most grateful if someone could give a little help. This story is a little complex though so bare with me.

Been living with my girlfriend and 3 other students in rented private accommodation. We have a joint tenancy agreement I think (our contract is very faded and is barely legible). The house has been a fiasco ever since we moved in. It was not complete on the start date of the tenancy agreement and the landlord tried to get us to live in another one of his houses. We refused and said we would rather live at home for the summer and save on the rent. He accepted this after a while. When we eventually did move in (term time at Uni) the house was unfinished and in pretty poor state: no tv aerial, boiler wasn't working yet. It was basically a half finished house with builders coming into rush the house into being done.

I've had numerous run ins with the landlord over these issues before Christmas. When we came back in January it looked like the ceiling in the kitchen was going to fall in, we rang the landlord (he's a builder who does all his houses up) to warn him and he said he would come at the weekend to look at it. We said that would be too late as it would obviously fall in by then. It did and it fell on one of the other student's head. The landlord came round and in the next few days ripped down the rest of the ceiling without actually fixing the leak which caused it. Over the next two weeks or so he would come and attempt to fix the leak without ever really solving the problem.

Anyway we hadn't heard from him for a while and then in March we got a letter saying the house has been taken over by receivers. They wanted our tenancy agreement which we sent off and now they want to start charging us rent for the property. They have served a section 21 on us to leave the property on July1st (end of tenancy agreement). The problem is the house is still in disrepair, we still have no ceiling in our kitchen. We still have dangling wires all over the house.

Some other points of interest:
We never got a boiler certificate for the property when we moved in. The boiler hadn't even been fitted when we moved in and we are still without a certificate.
We don't know what has happened to our deposits but trusting the competence of the landlord it won't have gone into a secured policy.


Me and my girlfriend basically want to move out, we're sick of this house and the bother it has caused but we don't want to land our housemates in it too much. We don't think we should be paying £140 between us every week for this house. What do you think we should do?

settloe_99
10-04-2008, 14:13 PM
Move out in a word. If the landlords mortgage company have repossessed the property and appointed a receiver to manage your tenancy I would assume they would rather have vacant possession than a tenant. I doubt you will ever see your deposit again if it hasn't been protected.

jeffrey
10-04-2008, 14:25 PM
Me and my girlfriend basically want to move out, we're sick of this house and the bother it has caused but we don't want to land our housemates in it too much. We don't think we should be paying £140 between us every week for this house.
I agree with settloe_99. There are so many problems with this house itself, let alone the insolvency of L, and moving-out frees you from them.

As to rent: if it is a weekly rent, according to the AST, you should have been issued with a rent book [s.4(1) of LTA 1985]. Did you receive one? If not, L committed a criminal offence [s.7].

Of course, the Receiver may well want to demand rent for your period of occupation. Against that, you should argue that at no time was the house in a legally habitable state, so you want to counter-claim against L for damages and compensation. Whether that would entirely offset the rent is not clear, but the Receiver might take the sensible cost-effective decision to write it off and draw a line across your supposed liability.

thrafael
10-04-2008, 14:44 PM
Cheers for the responses guys.

We are paying £280 every four weeks each. I presume that means we are paying weekly as opposed to monthly (this is at the top end of the market in our area - we wanted a nice house this year after we had a dump last year). We didn't get a rent book. Due to the state of the house we were loath to pay anything so we only paid up when they asked. No wonder they went bust!

There's another complication, my girlfriend and I want to move out but the other housemates may want to stay (I've not asked them). They are in their final year and this is exam time, they may not want the hassle.

If two of us move out where does that leave us?

Plus can we take the original landlord to court about the deposit or is that pointless now he is insolvent?

attilathelandlord
10-04-2008, 16:50 PM
I can never understand why people move into what is obviously a dump and then complain about it.

If ever you get a situation like that again you must point blank refuse to move in.

If tenants of mine don't have everything to hand when they are about to move in they are politely told to come back when they are sorted.

I think tenants should do the same to landlords and that way the bad ones will clear off and leave the market open to decent ones.

thrafael
10-04-2008, 18:20 PM
I can never understand why people move into what is obviously a dump and then complain about it.

If ever you get a situation like that again you must point blank refuse to move in.

If tenants of mine don't have everything to hand when they are about to move in they are politely told to come back when they are sorted.

I think tenants should do the same to landlords and that way the bad ones will clear off and leave the market open to decent ones.

Yeah we made a big mistake, we accept that. But the house wasn't a dump per se when we moved in but it had some serious faults which developed in time due to poor tradesmen (the same 'plumber' hammered nails through two pipes when putting floor boards down which caused one leak). The leak which brought the ceiling down came on suddenly from the toilet and the shower leaked also. My point is you couldn't see any of this by looking at it.

We moved in on reduced rent whilst other work was going on (new front door put in, smoke alarms installed etc) . Unfortunately not everything got done and what did get done wasn't up to scratch. We were anxious to settle in and start studying. Unfortunately everything isn't always so simple.

Paul_f
10-04-2008, 21:12 PM
Your previous and current landlord are in breach of the:-

Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 S.11
Defective Premises Act 1972
Protection from Eviction Act 1977
Housing Health & Safety Rating System 2005

I wouldn't be paying any more rent until all repairs are remedied as the premises are also probably an HMO and unlicensed. Your local authority may be able to assist.

househunter
11-04-2008, 07:12 AM
I would agree you'll be better off moving out as this situation doesn't look like getting better anytime soon.

Regarding the legal aspects of it I would look further into the posibilities of claiming some money back for the state of the property and the landlords negligence. You can persue the landlord even if you've already moved out.

Also I would speak to your other housemates and if they agree, look for another place you can all share together. This time if you like a property but it still requires some work doing to it. Draw up a snaggling list of jobs for your landlord to do and let him know you won't be moving in until you are satisfied completely with the property.
Good luck!