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Kath
20-03-2006, 12:34 PM
Unusual situation, for which we'd be extremently grateful for advice on:

We lived in our current property for 1 year without any contract (due to unusual circumstances it was unsure whether we were due to pay rent so it was considered by a Court). It was decided by the court that rent was due and from the date of the Court Order rent was paid and an assured shorthold tenancy was signed. The Court asked for no backpayment of rent for the previous year.

The query relates to some work that was undertaken to replace some dodgy electrics in the garage of the property when we first moved in. We told the owner (or to be precise the person with authority for the owner) that the work needed doing and asked if they would be happy to fund it. They agreed and said that if we got the work done and presented them with the invoice, they would pay for it. We got the work done and after 3 months the electrical firm were chasing for payment. The owner would not pay up so we paid to stop the company threatening legal action against us. We have been asking for reimbursement ever since, but two years on, and one year into a contract, we have still not been reimbursed for this electrical work, for which we obtained authorisation and commitment to pay from the owner in advance.

Is the owner legally obliged to reimburse us for this work? 1) They agreed to do so in the first instance (although this was not in writing – it was via email which we no longer have). 2) We now have a contract, although we didn’t at the time, and wouldn’t the owner be legally obliged to repair faulty electrics anyhow?

We’d be extremely grateful for any advice please! Thank you.

davidjohnbutton
20-03-2006, 13:07 PM
You may end up forcing this issue into court if you take my advice below.

Write to the landlord giving then 7 days to pay - send this both recorded delivery and a copy in the ordinary mail obtaining a receipt from the post office (this to avoid "non service" if the RD is not signed for).
State what you have put in your post viz. the agreement and that if payment is not forthcoming you will deduct the said some from the next x weeks/months rent payments.

If the landlord wants his money if you do deduct as suggested, he will have to take you to court and the judge will have to decide who to believe, BUT it is usual for the landlord to be responsible under the law for repairs to the fixed wiring system in residential properties and this fact would tend to support you.

The other way is to be thankful that you have been given free acommodation for a year and forget about it seeing as the court did not order you to pay back rent in the judgment. I do not think the landlord could now claim back rent and be successful in court because there must have been some reason why you were not called upon for the years backrent - some irregularity which perhaps made it unlawful for the landlord to charge it???

In your shoes, I would be inclined to forget it - the hassle is probably not worth it - surely the garage works would not have cost that much compared to the free year you had valued at say £60 a week = £3120 or so?

Kath
20-03-2006, 13:25 PM
Thank you very much for you reply, it is very helpful.

The circumstances regarding the year without rent are very unusual, but we were not ordered to pay rent because it was not considered appropriate, not because the court could not make us pay it. There were other angles to the circumstances that meant we did not benefit financially through living in the property rent free for a year, so we are keen to recoup the money for the electrical repairs if at all possible.

Thanks again.