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View Full Version : Fridge saga! Please help



JJL
07-10-2011, 13:49 PM
Hello

Apologies in advance for the long post and thanks in advance for any replies, much appreciated.

Myself and my flat mate currently rent a property. We initially signed a six month contract which has now expired (been in the property ten months) and are on a rolling contract. We are happy with this arrangement as neither us is sure where we will be work wise after xmas.

During summer our fridge's freezer (provided by the property) stopped working, our food defrosted and we were left with just the fridge before that packed up a few days later. We contacted the letting agent who works on behalf of the landlord to replace. She insisted she would arrange for someone to come and fix it.

Six weeks went by and we heard nothing, we chased her on it and she seemed bemused it was still broken and claims there was a misunderstanding with who was arranging a repair person to come out - there was no misunderstanding, it was for her to arrange and she clearly didn't do it. Given this, we asked whether we could reduce rent that month because the cost of living was more expensive and the level of service we recieved from her was poor. She claims she checked with the landlord about our request and they said no. She then quickly arranged for a technician from a thirdy party to come out and check the fridge.

I took the day off work, let the technician in and he told me within a few minutes the refridgerum (sp)has gone and the whole unit needs replacing. He wrote a report saying as such and left it with me to pass to the letting agent. I asked if this was our (tennants) fault. He said no, these things happen, the fridge is 3 years old and it can occur.

I informed the landlady of his findings. She asked what the report said - I told her over the telephone. She was frustrated it didn't explain how it broke. She said this is a common problem with these fridges from other tennants who have used knives to hack at it to defrost(we rent a flat - we assumed she has more of these fridge freezers in the same block as they are new builds). We told her we hadn't done this and the repair guy didn't point it out. She asked for the report so we allowed her to go into the flat to pick it up as we were at work(I know...I know...stupid). She clearly opened the fridge freezer and inspected it as the shelves were left out when we returned from work. She then called the technician's company to ask them to write another report that explained it had a puncture which the technician did and only gave it to her without a re-inspection. She then asked us to pay for a replacement fridge!

After this we made sure she issued the inventory at this time as our trust in her was diminished - at the point of moving in, she never provided despite us asking. Clearly one wasn't prepared for us. We received a hastily produced doc via email with the small print on the doc that its the tennants responsibility to request and sign and if it isn't done within 7 days of issue (dated on when we moved in despite never seeing the doc) then this document is as good as signed.

We had a stand off for a short period (continued paying rent) whilst we sought advice from Shelter (couldn't get through to CAB). They stated although we could fight this it's possible, and legal, a 'retaliation eviction' maybe issued. We really like the property and the cost of moving outweighed paying the circa £700 between us for a new integrated fridge freezer.

We emailed the landlady stating that the new fridge freezer she picked out (similar value) can be purchased. We were specific to leave out the method of payement - just that she could order. Shelter advised us that we shouldn't pay for a new fridge freezer now, but have it come out of the bond at the end of the tennancy. We assumed this would be her understanding too.

Four weeks later, she emails a scanned invoice (addressed to her letting agency) asking how we will pay for this. We replied politely but firmly that Shelter have advised us and common practice is that this would be withdrawn from the bond at the end of the tennancy. She replied with the following:

"This information would be correct if it was for simple expenses like touch up painting or cleaning etc, but the cost of the new fridge freezer is nearly as much as the bond, and it wouldn't leave any funds available if god forbid you decided to vacate the property without paying a final rent or leaving lots of outstanding bills, obviously I don't expect that to happen with the both of you but it has been known in the past, which then creates large legal fees.... Also it means Mint Move Property would have to foot this bill which is not possible.



Had you informed of us this when Sean asked us to order the replacement we would have made sure the invoice was addressed to yourselves.



My understanding is you would be paying this.



Kind regards"


I know we are most likely going to have to pay for the fridge freezer - we accept that. But we were assuming this would be at the end of the tennancy out of the bond as Shelter advised and therefore not budgeted to pay now. Also, given her current approach to this, I am reluctant to give her more money to create what would be a top up to the bond.

Do we pay now? Or do we pay at the end of the tennacny via the bond?

tacpot
07-10-2011, 14:13 PM
Unfortunately Shelter are incorrect. If a tenant causes damage to the property, the landlord can require the tenant to pay to repair the damage part-way through the tenancy. This condition is usually present in your tenancy agreement.

Indeed this is the normal approach to damage that the tenant has caused, and that the tenants wants fixing before they move out. If the tenant does not want to pay for the repair part-way through the tenancy, it is the tenant who suffers in that they will not have a working fridge (or whatever).

The situation is slightly different if the damage is to the fabric property where the landlord has a statutory duty to repair, but the landlord will still normally be able to claim the cost of the tenant immediate, if the tennant caused the damage.

jjlandlord
07-10-2011, 14:23 PM
Unless otherwise agreed, tenant is responsible to repair things such a provided fridge/freezer.

But should the appliance die with no fault of the tenant, then the landlord is responsible to replace it as it was provided as part of the tenancy.
So here unless it can be shown that T destroyed the freezer, T is not liable for any replacement cost.

In the interest of both parties it could be a good idea to negotiate to split the cost, though.