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View Full Version : How are reasonable repairs defined?



Doxie
09-11-2009, 08:54 AM
I have been renting a flat from a private landlady for 2 years now. The flat had been in a relatively bad state of repair before I moved in (water damage to the walls in the bedroom, cracks in the walls). She initially promised to redecorate the bedroom prior to me moving in but did not do it and assured me that the cracks were not structural damage and hence nothing to worry about.

She now has decided to schedule renovation works to the flat which will go on for 2 weeks (4 days living room, 4 days bedroom, 2 days each for kitchen and bathroom) without agreeing the dates with me and only giving me 1 month's notice of the planned work. While living and bedroom undergo renovation, they will basically not be usable. The builders claim that the flat will be livable in while work is ongoing.

My landlady is expecting me to pay rent for the 2 weeks which I am obviously not happy about as these works will massively inconvenience me. She insists that I may pay 50% of the rent but only for those days out of the 2 weeks that I will actually be in London for (I am going on a business trip for 2x 2 days during the period and she knows that).

She furthermore refuses to insure my belongings in the flat or provide me with a written confirmation that she will cover any loss or damage to my belongings.

My questions are:

Could such extensive renovation work even be defined as reasonable repairs to the flat and do I hence have to put up with them or is this already beyond reasonable?
If these works go ahead against my will, do I have to pay rent for these 2 weeks and if so, how much?

How can I get her to provide me with written evidence that my belongings have been properly insured for the 2 weeks?

johnjw
09-11-2009, 09:32 AM
I think that if the renovations are not essential, then providing you are willing to live with the flat in its present state, you could refuse to allow the work. You are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property you rent.
Work which you couldn't reasonably refuse would include things like repairing after water leaks, repairing structural damage or work done to make the flat safe.
So far as insurance goes, the contractors should be insured and they would be liable for any damage to your possessions. Claiming from them could be a bit troublesome but I don't think that it would be possible for your LL to insure your possessions.

subjecttocontract
09-11-2009, 09:41 AM
This really annoys me and gives the rest of us a bad reputation......

Could such extensive renovation work even be defined as reasonable repairs to the flat

Its irrelavent. They are not emergency repairs which are the only kind that the landlord has a right to impose on their tenant.

and do I hence have to put up with them or is this already beyond reasonable?

No you don't have to put up with them. You cac refuse. If you are unsure that the landlord will meet your requiremrnts then change the locks but put them back when you terminate.

If these works go ahead against my will,

They shouldn't.....you have the final say on if and when the repairs take place.

do I have to pay rent for these 2 weeks and if so, how much?

The short answer is probably yes but surely you can see that its negotiable. You put up with some inconvenience and you get a newly decorated flat. Seems a good swap to me. But when this takes place is really down to you.

How can I get her to provide me with written evidence that my belongings have been properly insured for the 2 weeks?

You can't and neither can she. You have a few options:
* Put your stuff in storage at her expense.
* Only allow redecoration whilst you are there
* Tell her to decorate when you have ended your tenancy agreement.

Don't let this landlord walk all over you.

Doxie
09-11-2009, 09:43 AM
Thanks John. What about the rent issue? Can I be expected to pay rent for the period and if so, how much?

Doxie
09-11-2009, 09:51 AM
Thanks Subjecttocontract. If I'd get a newly redecorated flat at the old price, I'd probably not be making such a fuss but she has also announced her intention to increase the rent after the repairs have been done (giving less than 2 months notice!), claiming that she cannot subsidise my rent. In that case, I don't want to subsidise her renovation work.

Regarding the keys issue - am I even legally entitled to change the lock?

Staying at home while renovations are ongoing is not practicable as I have a full time job and working from home for 2 weeks is not an option, so I can't really stop the builders from going in.

subjecttocontract
09-11-2009, 10:01 AM
Regarding the keys issue - am I even legally entitled to change the lock?

Yes. Provided you replace the originals when you move out.

so I can't really stop the builders from going in.

Yes you can. You might not really want a confrontation with your landlord but you CAN definitely stop the work.