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View Full Version : Tenants refuse to pay rent- due to condensation



Rostafio
25-03-2009, 14:13 PM
Hi all, I'd really appreciate if anybody can help me out on this one, I'll try to be brief:

Middle-aged couple move into my 1 bed garden ground floor flat Feburary - March (winter). This place has only electric heaters, and often gathers condensation which can get hard to manage unless dehumidifier is used.

Here is a section from the information I had told them previously, and left at the flat on move-in day (which they were fine with):
Humidity
Especially during the winter, the bedroom can develop condensation due to lack of ventilation. During the day, use the de-humidifier to keep condensation at bay. The normal place to use is the bedroom, but it might be useful also to use in the living room occasionally, as this sometimes gathers condensation. Previously I thought this may be a damp issue, but after having my property managers assess the building, they have confirmed that the building is damp proofed and the occasional damp patches are just condensation from lack of heating and ventilation.

A burst pipe from upstairs then caused one wall to be saturated with water, and so after repairing what needed to be repaired I gave them £50 off that months rent for the extra heating & dehumidifier use they might need to dry it out.

Then, a few weeks later they sent me a letter for ONE months notice, as they could not manage with the damp problem, and clothes/furniture were getting mouldy. A serious chesty illness was also mentioned and this was explained to be caused by the dampness/condensation.

Apologetically, I responded with a reminder to keep ventilation and heating on the go, and that they need to unfortunately pay TWO months rental notice, as they had signed for in a Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. I outlined resolution propositions as follows - a second dehumidifier to see them through the notice period (which they refused), and that i would be getting property managers to again assess the problem (see beginning extract from note left at property), an assessment from an independant assessor, and then fit whatever lasting resolution was suggested. So far, the property managers have been to assess ,and again have advised it is condensation and there is no penetrating damp issues. Independant assessors are coming in a few days.

The tenants advised they could not stay any longer. Because they were having problems and illness, i said ONE months notice would be fine.

They have now refused to pay the one months notice, and are also saying that they should be claiming compensation as they did not know the 'full seriousness of the damp issues', and have 'paid almost £1000 in improvements to the garden, which we would not have done so if we knew of the problems'. There is suggestion, but not directly asking, for me to pay for the expenses they organised while living there. I have not agreed to this as the works were not passed by me beforehand anyway.

Please can somebody advise whether I should, and if I have a good chance of claiming the TWO months notice that they signed for? Or whether this problem might be seen as in favour for compensation for the tenants?

I feel awful about having to do this as they are a lovely couple, but I have a mortgage to pay, and no tenants or notice to get any.

Thanks very much for any help you can give me.

Poppy
25-03-2009, 14:34 PM
Definitely do not pay for any "garden improvements". £1,000 they must be mad!

Rabbit
30-03-2009, 11:54 AM
What are these "garden improvements"?

Bel
30-03-2009, 13:56 PM
It could be that they found the condensation inconvenient rather than unhealthy.

If you have been upfront about your condensation problem from the beginning (before let), you could say that you are prepared to allow them no further liability if they can get their doctor to write you a letter confirming that the condensation/humidity contributed greatly to their medical problem. Other wise you will be taking them to court to claim whatever they owe you.



Why 2 months notice? If they are within the fixed term they are liable to the end of that term. If the tenancy is periodic, then you can only ask one months notice.