PDA

View Full Version : Withhold rent- L has no Gas Cert./mortgagee consent?



sr2010
18-01-2010, 16:06 PM
hi im new to this forum, came across it as i was googling for advice for our ( my children and myself) current situation
i moved into the property in march, under a 12 month shorthold assured tenancy

out rent is £700 and its paid via housing beneifit
these are the problems that have led to the current situation:

i signed the agreement for a furnished house, yet i have had to furnish it myself ( mostly from ebay)

i have evidence that my landlord does not have the kind of mortgage that allows him to rent the property out.and also the house mortgage is way behind ( 3 months before i moved in is when that started)

there was also no gas safety certificate on the property...( has been carried out today- boiler has broken down 5 times in past 12 days so we have been cold and miserable during the snow!)

the first time i asked him about the certificate i told him ( verbally) that i would withold rent till such a time when this was issued,,( this rent is all sitting in the bank)
today i have called him, to let him now that the saftey check all went well and hes banging on about back rent... hes also gone to the council and told them that im in " arrears"
i have spoken to the council half an hour ago, told the lady the situation, and bascically what ive been told is " well if you are more than 8 wks behind with the rent, then we will in future have no alternative but to pay direct to the landlord- as you are putting yourself at risk of eviction ( spose thats better than carbon monoxide posioning)

ive told the landlord that i will go tommorow and clear up the back rent... feel like telling him to *go away*
incidently the council have now put a stop on my rent until they are satisfied with the reason i provide for with holding rent...

feel like i dont have a hope in hells chance of "winnin" this, as the lady said, if i dont pay then theyll go over my head

many thanks for any advice you can offer

jeffrey
18-01-2010, 16:10 PM
No, you do have to pay rent. After all, you have been living there.
BUT you might argue for a reduction to take account of heating failure.
Lack of mortgagee's consent will not be a ground for withholding rent, however.

islandgirl
18-01-2010, 16:25 PM
and it is correct that the council will pay to the LL if you are 8 weeks in areas!

sr2010
18-01-2010, 16:58 PM
thanks both :) its really not the issue who the rent is paid to, its more the case of being a tenant with seemingly no rights where safety is concerned...i mean had anything happened with any of the gas appliances ( my main issue) would it just have been bad luck? i had no idea that these existed until the day before i asked him for one, and have asked everyday since... ive also asked the "gasman" on every call out- one even threatend to turn off the gas completly and have him prosecuted for not holdning the certificate... so if its that important to a stranger then why didn my landlord think so


anyway thats by and by now, ill pay up in the morning and shut up

Emma1973
18-01-2010, 17:14 PM
If he does start getting it paid to him clear the arrears to under 8 weeks and ask the LA to have it paid back to you, thats all it takes!

Give Enviromental Health a call about the lack of a gas certificate, tenants do have safety right, and EH take it quite seriously!

sr2010
18-01-2010, 17:28 PM
thanks emma :)
the inspection was carried out today, and while the engineer recommended that the boiler be replaced ( its over 20 yrs old) its running quite safely, which is all i wanted to know...( cert to be posted out)
cant see any reason to be in arrears now at all.. though i was fully intending to pay the money back to the council and have the landlord explain to them why he wasnt paid, but like i said, they have already told me that they will just go over my head and pay him anyway..so not a lot of point in arguing :/

Snorkerz
18-01-2010, 17:49 PM
hi im new to this forum, came across it as i was googling for advice for our ( my children and myself) current situation
i moved into the property in march, under a 12 month shorthold assured tenancy

out rent is £700 and its paid via housing beneifit
these are the problems that have led to the current situation:

i signed the agreement for a furnished house, yet i have had to furnish it myself ( mostly from ebay)Presumably it has the same furnishings as were in it when you viewed? There is no real definition of 'furnished'.
i have evidence that my landlord does not have the kind of mortgage that allows him to rent the property out.and also the house mortgage is way behind ( 3 months before i moved in is when that started)This is an issue between the landlord and the mortgage company. You might want to consider moving at the end of your fixed term (see below) because the mortgage company may want to repossess the house and evict you
there was also no gas safety certificate on the property...( has been carried out today- boiler has broken down 5 times in past 12 days so we have been cold and miserable during the snow!)the first time i asked him about the certificate i told him ( verbally) that i would withold rent till such a time when this was issued,,( this rent is all sitting in the bank)
today i have called him, to let him now that the saftey check all went well and hes banging on about back rent Although LL has an obligation o provide heat, it's not a reason to withold rent. He must have acted pretty quickly to each of the recent failures for it to have been fixed 5 times in 12 days. The gas safety certificate is obviously a major concern, but thank heavens that's sorted now
hes also gone to the council and told them that im in " arrears" You were
i have spoken to the council half an hour ago, told the lady the situation, and bascically what ive been told is " well if you are more than 8 wks behind with the rent, then we will in future have no alternative but to pay direct to the landlord- as you are putting yourself at risk of eviction ( spose thats better than carbon monoxide posioning)yes, that's the regulations
ive told the landlord that i will go tommorow and clear up the back rent... feel like telling him to *go away*
incidently the council have now put a stop on my rent until they are satisfied with the reason i provide for with holding rent...

feel like i dont have a hope in hells chance of "winnin" this, as the lady said, if i dont pay then theyll go over my head

many thanks for any advice you can offerWhat do you want to achieve by "winnin"?

If you bring your rent up to date and notify the council they will possibly agree to he housing benefit being paid directly to you again. However, there is no real advantage to having to pay the rent yourself - is there?

sr2010
18-01-2010, 18:07 PM
actually there were no furnishings when i veiwed. he made a verball agreement to have that sorted within a matter of days so far as beds and a fridge went.. never happened

yes he did move fast... he saw an ad for british gas boiler insurance and got it... its even clear to the men that have come out that he was putting "right" issues that already existed with the boiler.. his policy is now under reveiw( the first call was the day after he took the policy)

what i meant by winning, was having someone on my side to stand up to him.. because im on hb does not ( so far as im aware) mean we have to live in a sub standard/potentally dangerous property

nope there is no benifit what so ever of having the rent paid to me.. infact its a hassle i could do without.. i was told at the time of my claim that as i wasn`t a drug user/alcoholic/totally useless with money.. that thats the way it would be

sr2010
19-02-2010, 21:14 PM
hi,
ive lived in thsi house with my children since march of last year, took it on a short term assured tenancy of 6 months, in the past few months i have had a few problems with the landlord, not providing a gas safety cert etc, but all seems sorted now except :
the lease was for 6 months and it started off at £700 pm, he wrote on the agreement that after 3 months the rent would increase to £800, i must have agreed as i signed the lease, anyway nothing further was said about the increase till last month ( after i had withheld 3 months rent for him not proving the gas safety cert- all of which was paid on the day that the cert was issued)
but according to my rent book i have never been in arrears.. in every coloumn where arrrears would be recorded its states "nil" now it reads £800 due to the fact that its 8 months @£100 that i "owe" him.. where do i stand now ? given the fact that we havent signed a new lease for the period after that 6 months?
if i have missed anything, please feel free to ask me and ill reply as best i can :)
many thnaks in advance

Preston
19-02-2010, 21:55 PM
Hi

An agreement which provides for a rent increase after three months is in principle enforceable. You could try arguing that the entries in the rent book prove that the landlord has agreed not to increase the rent, but I think this would be a difficult line of attack. Accounting errors of this type would not generally be held by the courts to override an otherwise clear and explicit term of the agreement.

Sorry to sound a little pessimistic. It might be worth providing a little more detail about the rent increase clause itself to see if anyone can spot any difficulties with it.

sr2010
20-02-2010, 07:58 AM
hello and thankyou for your reply
there isnt a clause as such that states thats the rent will increase, on the old agreement where it states that the rent will be £700 pm ,scribbled underneath that it simply says " rent will increase to £800 after 3 months" on my rent book it says "£800 arrears "in last months column,but nothing about an increase.. when i took my book to HB the lady on the desk basically said, "well it look sto me like hes plucked a debt out of the air - how can you owe nothing for all of those months then suddenly owe £800?"( even tho she has a copy of the lease to hand)

many thanks for your help so far :)

Preston
20-02-2010, 09:10 AM
hello and thankyou for your reply
there isnt a clause as such that states thats the rent will increase, on the old agreement where it states that the rent will be £700 pm ,scribbled underneath that it simply says " rent will increase to £800 after 3 months" on my rent book it says "£800 arrears "in last months column,but nothing about an increase.. when i took my book to HB the lady on the desk basically said, "well it look sto me like hes plucked a debt out of the air - how can you owe nothing for all of those months then suddenly owe £800?"( even tho she has a copy of the lease to hand)

many thanks for your help so far :)

Well, if the clear intention of the agreement which you signed was that the rent would be £700 for the first three months then £800 thereafter, it would be enforceable unless the landlord has subsequently agreed to a reduction. I am afraid that, so far, you don't seem to have sufficient evidence of any variation.

Unfortunately for you many landlords include this type of clause in their agreements (although generally more professionally drafted of course), particularly larger ones who tend to increase all their rents on the same day each year.

My best advice is that you get some expert advice on the precise wording and construction of your agreement.

Good luck.

sr2010
20-02-2010, 09:31 AM
again, thankyou

ok so im just going to ask some questions now, im hoping that i dont sound like i want to shaft the LL but im really annoyed with him as he has taken months to do urgent jobs on the house,and then last night he turned up at the door asking for rent.. i have never been late with the rent ( 19th on the button) apart from the time when i witheld it to force him to do the gas saftey cert ( but like i said this was all paid the day it was done) which incidently he hasnt even paid british gas for,and i know as they keep calling me!
anyway less rambling more facts..
seeing as my tenancy has expired now ( 5 months ago infact) and the £800 was for the period of 3 months from the beginging of that..why do i now have to pay £800?
have just looked through my old agreement and the date that the rent is due is infact left blank.. so why on earth was he at the door last night?
i feel like falling one month in arrears and telling him that timing was never an issue when i was nagging him to do jobs!

sorry i am very annoyed ( incase you couldnt tell) i have to find the extra money out of my pocket, were all actually sitting here cold as he wont replace the dodgy boiler and i have already paid £50 into the gas meter this week ( its running very very uneconomicaly) and cant afford to put anymore in

just want to know where i stand with thsi man, its stressing me out massively, and in the past i would have ( and have) just paid up whatever was asked, my sister is a landlord herself and yesterday she told me " find out where you stand legally" so thats what im tryig to do :)
ramble over

sr2010
20-02-2010, 13:15 PM
landlord has been again ths morning.. not a lot i can do as my bank is closed on saturday anyway ( when i said i didnt have it he asked if my daughter could go to a birthday party for his daughter now im feeling torn, like hes mixing business with pleasure he lives next door to me and i want to keep this purely tenant and LL whilst of course being polite).. i came out of hospital on friday where i was for 2 days because my blood pressure was too high,would really appreciate some help on this matter as soon as possible
thankyou so much

Preston
20-02-2010, 23:54 PM
seeing as my tenancy has expired now ( 5 months ago infact) and the £800 was for the period of 3 months from the beginging of that..why do i now have to pay £800?


Any statutory periodic tenancy which follows on from an initial contractual period would be on the same terms as applied at the end of the original contractual tenancy. So, if the rent was £800 pcm at the end of your fixed term, it would I am afraid be £800 during the statutory periodic tenancy. (Section 5(3) Housing Act 1988)

But don't forget what I said earlier about getting advice about the precise wording of your agreement, particularly the clause which increased the rent after 3 months. This clause really needs to be seen in the context of the whole agreement to be absolutely sure of its meaning, (although I still remain pessimistic from your point of view on the basis of what you have said so far).

jeffrey
21-02-2010, 20:16 PM
Is the property in:
a. England & Wales; or
b. Scotland?

sr2010
22-02-2010, 21:43 PM
hi, if you have read my other post regarding rent increase then you may understand where im at with this ( quick recap)
moved in last march with an AST ( undated)
after 3 months rent ws due to increase by £100 ( landlord never enforced this)
today have paid my rent -minus the £100 increase, simply due to the fact that i wont have my top up cash till thursday and thought better i pay the large amount than hold on to it till i get it all
anyway my son has gone to see him as he wasnt availible earlier in the day ( have called at his place of business twice and he wasnt there)
basically he has told my son to tell me that i will be served with 2 months notice to move out, tommorow
i clain HB for myself and my children and this is currently how my rent book looks ( ill explain dates etc as i go) :


moved in ( 18th march 2009)
19/3/09 - rent due-£700- date 18/3/09 -cash received £700- arrears- Nill
18/4/09 - rent due £700- date 18/4/09 - cash received £700-arrears-Nill
18/5/09 - rent due £700 - date18/5/09 - cash recieved £700-arrears-Nill
16/6/09 - rent due £700 - date 18/6/09 - cash revecied £700- arrears- nill
17/7/09 - rent due £700 - date 17/7/09 - cash received £700- arrears - nill
19/8/09 -rent due £700 - date 17/8/09 - cash received £700 - arrears- nill
18/9/09 - rent due £700 - date 18/9/09 - cash received £700 - arrears- nill
21/10/09 - rent due £700 - date 21/10/09 - cash received £700 - arrears nill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
this next part is when i withold rent to "forced" him to have the gas appliances serviced and a cert provided , payment was made up within the week as you can see
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
19/01/10 -rent due £700-date 19/01/10-cash received £700-arrears,nill
22/01/10-rent due £700-date 22/01/10- cash received £700- arrears,nill
27/01/10-rent due £700-date 27/01/10-cash recevied £700-arrears £800
22/2/10 rent due £800-date 22/2/10-cash receieved £700-arrears £900

the part that tells me that my rent would be incresed is simply scribbled on the tenancy, and the landlord never ever mentioned it till last month

where do i stand, i think im ahead with my rent? as i aid the first payment the day i moved in ( ?) - ive never had a landlord where ive had to be looking at the legal side of things before, have never been a pain in the bum tenant ( well not till i demanded the gas saftey thing for 3 long months- but i had a moral obligation as a mother to do that for my childrens sake)

really worried obviously :( many thanks in advance

s xx

Moderator1
23-02-2010, 11:22 AM
Three separate threads by same member have been merged here. Do not cause problems by starting continuation threads; use the same one.

sr2010
24-02-2010, 16:31 PM
when i came back from taking the children to school today, i had missed the postman who had a letter that needed signing for- which i assume is the letter giving me notice,( wont be availible for collection for 24hrs)
im sorry but quite desperate for help now and have no idea where else to turn
many thanks in advance

Preston
24-02-2010, 23:04 PM
i clain HB for myself and my children and this is currently how my rent book looks ( ill explain dates etc as i go) :

moved in ( 18th march 2009)
19/3/09 - rent due-£700- date 18/3/09 -cash received £700- arrears- Nill
18/4/09 - rent due £700- date 18/4/09 - cash received £700-arrears-Nill
18/5/09 - rent due £700 - date18/5/09 - cash recieved £700-arrears-Nill
16/6/09 - rent due £700 - date 18/6/09 - cash revecied £700- arrears- nill
17/7/09 - rent due £700 - date 17/7/09 - cash received £700- arrears - nill
19/8/09 -rent due £700 - date 17/8/09 - cash received £700 - arrears- nill
18/9/09 - rent due £700 - date 18/9/09 - cash received £700 - arrears- nill
21/10/09 - rent due £700 - date 21/10/09 - cash received £700 - arrears nill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
this next part is when i withold rent to "forced" him to have the gas appliances serviced and a cert provided , payment was made up within the week as you can see
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
19/01/10 -rent due £700-date 19/01/10-cash received £700-arrears,nill
22/01/10-rent due £700-date 22/01/10- cash received £700- arrears,nill
27/01/10-rent due £700-date 27/01/10-cash recevied £700-arrears £800
22/2/10 rent due £800-date 22/2/10-cash receieved £700-arrears £900

the part that tells me that my rent would be incresed is simply scribbled on the tenancy, and the landlord never ever mentioned it till last month


Are you saying that the landlord has written "arrears, nil" in your rent book each time you have paid £700? If this is the case, this seems to be good evidence that the rent was not in fact increased in line with the "scribbled" amendment on the tenancy agreement. Unfortunately I doubt whether anyone reading this could be sure what the outcome would be if the matter were to be decided by a court, but in my mind the balance of evidence has probably swung back in your favour. As I have mentioned before, neither a landlord nor a tenant will usually be "bound" by a simple accounting or clerical error. So, a single mistake or even a number of mistakes may very well be ignored by a court. In your case, though, there appear to be eight consecutive entries each indicating a rent of £700 (and nil arrears). I think this may well be read as a clear intention on the landlord's part.

To set your mind at rest though, you really need to take all the relevant documents to a local solicitor or advice agency so that they can review all the information in context.

sr2010
25-02-2010, 14:14 PM
Thankyou again Preston :)
especially that I now don't feel quite so nurotic lol
I haven't done a great job of explaining so I thought it would be better all round if I simply copied the entries from the rent book,
I hear what you're saying and although breathed a sigh of relief I will as soon as I can, make an appt with a lawyer or CAB to see where I go from here,
but honestly, heartfelt thanks from me for the time you've given my problems
xx