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View Full Version : Perfect home is now nightmare- useless L- please help



witch
21-08-2009, 02:23 AM
Hi, I'm new here so bear with me.
I moved into my rented house 18 months ago and what I thought was the perfect family home has become a nightmare. From the start it was obvious that things were not as lovely as they looked. Doors didn't close or fell off easily, locks didn't work, etc. As technically these were little things I didn't complain. Our first major problem occured 6 weeks into the tenancy when a leaky shower pump caused minor flooding. The L was brilliant and had it fixed within a few days so all seemed fine. 6 weeks later the boiler gave up and we soon discovered the immersion heater didn't work either. We spent an incredible 13 weeks without heat or hot water before the L finally had a new boiler fitted.
Since then it has been one thing after another and either it doesn't get fixed at all, with constant excuses for delays or L tries to fix it himself and makes matters worse. The dream home looks like a bombsite. Floorboards pulled up and left, doors hanging off hinges which have been fixed badly so often they can no longer be repaired, bath panel off so I can catch the drips from the once again leaky shower pump, ceiling and light fittings pulled down in the kitchen from the last leak a few months ago. The list goes on and on.
My fixed term does not end for another 6 months and I pay my rent 6 months in advance. I have spoken to Shelter who tell me I can get the council to force him to make repairs but he can just give me notice to avoid doing them. They said this shouldn't cause me a problem if I want to leave.
I do want to leave, but would prefer to find somewhere else first and give him 2 months notice. Unfortunately as there is no break clause in the TA, I can't do that.

Is this true? It seems the L can do whatever he wants, but I have to wait till the end of the term?

justaboutsane
21-08-2009, 07:20 AM
Get the council in and get them to look around and put notice on Landlord to get the works done.

If the landlord gives you notice that is fine, he cannot make you leave before the end of the fixed term. Therefore you have 6 months to find another property. The landlord cannot evict you without a court order so even after the notice has expired you still have some time (not ideal but gives you a little more time)

Is your deposit protected in a scheme? If not you may have some leverage.

havensRus
21-08-2009, 09:40 AM
From the start it was obvious that things were not as lovely as they looked. Doors didn't close or fell off easily, locks didn't work, etc. As technically these were little things I didn't complain. Our first major problem occured 6 weeks into the tenancy when a leaky shower pump caused minor flooding. .......
Since then it has been one thing after another and either it doesn't get fixed at all, with constant excuses for delays or L tries to fix it himself and makes matters worse. The dream home looks like a bombsite. Floorboards pulled up and left, doors hanging off hinges which have been fixed badly so often they can no longer be repaired, bath panel off so I can catch the drips from the once again leaky shower pump, ceiling and light fittings pulled down in the kitchen from the last leak a few months ago. The list goes on and on.


Sounds to me that you have a LL who might be having a hard time financially - hence the delays in getting things fixed or him trying to fix it himself. Its not a crime, its just the sign of the current times.


6 weeks later the boiler gave up and we soon discovered the immersion heater didn't work either. We spent an incredible 13 weeks without heat or hot water before the L finally had a new boiler fitted.


Plumbers tend to charge ridiculous amount for boiler replacements - this can cost anything from around £1,600 to £2,500 depending on which part of the country you are in. Whilst he might not have been able to carry out an immediate replacement, he should at least have been able to get the immersion heater working and provided temporary heating -possibly electric heaters.



Is this true? It seems the L can do whatever he wants, but I have to wait till the end of the term?

LL has a duty of care to you, so can't just do anything he wants. Nor can he force you to leave before the end of your fixed term - he'll need a court order to do so having served appropriate notice. S21 notice route is not open to him as he can't remove you during the fixed term, and S8 is not open to him either as you are not in rent arrears.

One option - may not be helpful now - is to do the repairs yourself and deduct from the rent - but with LLs agreement. You've already paid for the rest of the term, so not an option.

Another option, as previous poster pointed out, call the Environmental Health at the Council, and make a report, asking them to inspect the property. But I'd say to tell the LL of that intention first, and see if that will encourage him do the repairs. If not, follow through. The council would then write to the LL to make the repairs within a given time frame. Enforcement will only be done if he fails to do the works. If he is financially unable to do it, the council might have to do it themselves and then levy a charge on him.

A third option is to go down the legal action route, but you must follow the disrepair pre-action protocol and send preliminary letters etc. etc. (see www.dca.gov.uk).

Best of luck.

westminster
21-08-2009, 10:57 AM
One option - may not be helpful now - is to do the repairs yourself and deduct from the rent - but with LLs agreement. You've already paid for the rest of the term, so not an option.

Agreed.

@witch, if you had acted sooner, then you could have carried out the repairs yourself and deducted the cost from the rent. However, there is a strict procedure to follow before you can do this. See "What is the procedure for withholding rent" on this webpage (http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_lets/tenants_doing_repairs) (clickable link)

See also this webpage (http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_lets/landlord_refusing_to_do_repairs) for other ways to deal with disrepair when LL is refusing to take action.

You can't be evicted during the fixed term unless you are in breach of the tenancy agreement, for example, rent arrears. This is why, if you did carry out the repairs yourself and deduct cost from rent, the correct procedure, steps 1-7 on website above, must be followed before doing so - otherwise it can be construed as unpaid rent and would indeed give the LL grounds for eviction.

witch
21-08-2009, 11:33 AM
Thanks for all your help. I have always tried to remain sympathetic to L as I know this is his first time renting and yes, times are hard. I have never complained and have always been completely amenable. I really don't want to make trouble for anyone, but honestly I can't understand why anyone would want to run their property into the ground like this. I have been a homeowner myself and I made sure I had insurance to cover essential repairs.
To be honest, it's starting to look like he's taking advantage of my good nature.
He makes appointments for workmen to come and they never show. Then he says it's because they are unreliable. It almost borders on harrassment and I'm beginning to wonder if its his way of trying to force me to leave.
Anyway, thanks again for the advice. I will look into it.

witch
21-08-2009, 13:37 PM
I hate to be a pain, but I have more questions.

Firstly, the property was originally let by an agent who have my deposit in TDS. L has since severed all ties with the agent so will I still get my deposit back? I might also add that no check in was ever done so can L try to claim from my deposit for faults that existed before I moved in and indeed the damage he has since done with botched repairs?

Also, I know that the mortgage lender has not been informed of my tenancy and have checked with the Land Registry to discover that the most recent mortgage was granted 12 days after my tenancy began. What happens if they discover the property is let or worse yet, L falls into arrears? Am I left in the cold as I have already paid 6 months in advance?

jeffrey
21-08-2009, 13:53 PM
Also, I know that the mortgage lender has not been informed of my tenancy and have checked with the Land Registry to discover that the most recent mortgage was granted 12 days after my tenancy began. What happens if they discover the property is let or worse yet, L falls into arrears? Am I left in the cold as I have already paid 6 months in advance?
It's not such a big problem in your case. As your tenancy pre-dates the mortgage, the mortgagee is bound by it.