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squashynose
05-12-2011, 14:03 PM
Bear with me, this is quite a long one, and I would really appreciate any advice...

We started the tenancy on 3rd Dec 2010, paid the year in full up front (another problem, I'll come to that later), and have had nothing but trouble since. For the first 10 days, there was no hot water, so we stayed at and had to pay rent on our previous property up until Jan. This was due to a fire that occurred when we turned the boiler timer on. It literally melted down the wall. We contacted the letting agent, who in turn contacted the landlord, but he refused to allow their maintenance department to deal with it. After a week with no hot water, and the landlord asking us to fit a new timer ourselves, we finally said we would just move out, so the landlord eventually came and fitted a new timer. Himself. Which is against the terms of the contract. Any electrical work has to be carried out by a qualified electrician.

We are in our 13th month here now, on a statutory periodic tenancy. The day we moved in, we reported many repairs that needed doing, and really bad mould. We had Enviro Health in about the mould in April because we'd been sleeping on the lounge floor for 8 weeks, because my partner has asthma. 3 weeks later, the landlord came and cleaned it. Other basic repairs have not been carried out. They are all listed on the amended inventory, but nothing was ever done.

Also I've been reading on here that there is a penalty for landlord's who provide furniture without a fire label. There are a number of items here, an arm chair, a bed, 2 office chairs... All of which have no fire label, and it even states on the inventory that there are no labels. Who do we take this up with?

We have since had another fire, and my partner has had quite a nasty electric shock from a light switch. We've given up replacing bulbs, because they blow after a few weeks. One even exploded. The latest bulb to blow wasn't even the bulb, the whole light fitting doesn't work any more. We called Enviro Health in, he came last Thursday, contacted the landlord on Friday asking for a full electrical inspection, and the same day we were served a s21 notice, ending 02/02/12.

According to the contract, he hasn't given enough notice. Our rent is due on 3rd of each month, but because the letter was dated 2nd, hand delivered on the 3rd (Saturday) and the contract states that hand delivered notices are classed as being received on the next working day, which is today, it wasn't served in time for us to be out by Feb.

Am I right? Does the notice still stand, but for us to be out by March instead, or does a completely new one need to be served?

With regard to paying up front... We have an invoice for rent covering 3/12/10-2/12/11, signed and dated by the manager, stating that the rent was paid in full. Now it seems that they made a mistake, and we only paid 11 months worth. Is that they're mistake and therefore their loss? They said rent was due on 3rd Nov, so we paid it to save trouble, but the way I see it, we have proof that we paid a lump of money to cover the full 12 months. We've not paid the rent due 3rd Dec 'cos I now believe we've already paid it. Would that stand up if it went to court?

[B][My main questions are:-/B]

Are we now in rent arrears?

Are we entitled to 10 days rent back for the 10 days we couldn't stay at the property?

If we've been served a 2 (possibly 3) month notice, do we still have to give notice if we want to leave earlier?

Is the landlord is in breach of contract, for not carrying out his repairs? Or for doing the electrical work himself? If so, do we even need to give notice?

Thanks in advance :)

Paul_f
05-12-2011, 14:26 PM
Quite a lot of issues here!

1. The landlord has breached S.11 L & T Act 1985 so you are entitles to claim for loss of the facilities.
2. Paying rent for the full fixed term means you could not have withheld rent if L failed to undertake maintenance/repair, but now you possibly can.
3. The S.21 Notice might look to be invalid but if it was hand delivered before 4.30 p.m. Mon-Fri then it is deemed served on the day. See CPR Part 6. Service on a Saturday looks to be invalid until today 5th, which is too late but in any event the Notice must be served allowing 2 months clear which means it should have been served no later than 4.30 p.m. on 2nd December. It depends on the wording of the Notice because it could be valid after 2 March 2012. You don't have to move unless the landlord obtains a court order.
4. Don't worry about "arrears" as you can write to your landlord giving a list of repairs stating that if he doesn't rectify them within 7 days then you will not pay any rent until he does.
5. If the agent has given you a receipt for 12 months rent then that is what you have paid, unless they can prove that there has been an error. You need to prove absolutely nothing.

Hope this helps a little but other might want to contribute.

Interlaken
05-12-2011, 14:29 PM
What did environmental health say about the state of the wiring etc?
Was the S21 notice served by hand the only S21 you have had? Write and tell LL he has got S21 wrong or do nothing and make him work it out.
If you were unsure of the work the LL did then ask your electricity supplier to do a test - they usually do this for free.
As for the furniture - this is a bit late in the day to be complaining.......

If you have not paid 12 months rent upfront then you are in arrears. All this sounds very befuddled.
You only have to give 4 weeks notice.

Mrs Mug
05-12-2011, 15:20 PM
You only have to give 4 weeks notice.

That's wrong. As your rent is due monthly, you have to give at least one months notice to end 02/mm/yy.

Snorkerz
05-12-2011, 15:47 PM
The s21 is invalid. Full stop. The landlord would need to issue a brand new one, wouldn't it be a shame if he didn't discover until you defended his claim for possession? He'd have a whole new 2 month + notice period and the cost of fiing a new claim.

A section 21 does not remove your obligation to give due notice.

mariner
05-12-2011, 16:44 PM
"The s21 is invalid. Full stop. The landlord would need to issue a brand new one,"

Please explain, S.

Provided s21 is valid & correctly worded, I thought it can be served at any time, in case of Periodic T s21 cannot expire before 2 clear T periods have elapsed ie 3 Mar as OP says, or 2 Feb if LL can show it was served by hand before 4.30pm on 2 Dec.
Was OP handed the s21 by delivery person on the Sat?
Proof of Service is LLs resp.

squashynose
05-12-2011, 17:04 PM
Thanks for the replies


Quite a lot of issues here!

1. The landlord has breached S.11 L & T Act 1985 so you are entitles to claim for loss of the facilities.
How would we do that? Through courts? We can't afford that.


3. The S.21 Notice might look to be invalid but if it was hand delivered before 4.30 p.m. Mon-Fri then it is deemed served on the day. See CPR Part 6. Service on a Saturday looks to be invalid until today 5th, which is too late but in any event the Notice must be served allowing 2 months clear which means it should have been served no later than 4.30 p.m. on 2nd December. It depends on the wording of the Notice because it could be valid after 2 March 2012. You don't have to move unless the landlord obtains a court order.
To be honest, we need to move sooner rather than later. The rent is £695 a month, which we could easily afford when we took the property, but since we have both lost our jobs (I have a heart condition and OH was in a car crash) and our monthly income has dropped from £2000 to £880.
That's why I was hoping that him breaching the contract would allow us out without notice. We're due to get a house sometime in the next few weeks, and don't have the money to be paying rent on two properties.


5. If the agent has given you a receipt for 12 months rent then that is what you have paid, unless they can prove that there has been an error. You need to prove absolutely nothing.
There has been an error, they charged us 11 months, but wrote that it covered 12. They're so incompetent, it's unbelievable. After paying £8000+ on 3rd December, they then took £350 by DD on 23rd November. Then again on 3rd January.
They sent us a standing order mandate to fill in for the periodic tenancy, saying amount: £695, frequency: yearly, first payment date: 3/12/2010...

squashynose
05-12-2011, 17:05 PM
What did environmental health say about the state of the wiring etc?

He said he'd ask for a complete electrical survey, but we rang him today to ask what and when had to be done, and he said that the landlord told him we were leaving anyway, so he doesn't need to do it!!

That was before we were served notice.

squashynose
05-12-2011, 17:07 PM
A section 21 does not remove your obligation to give due notice.

Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't think it changed anything, but OH did, and I couldn't find anything online one way or the other.

I guess now we're stuck paying rent on the property until 2nd Feb? We simply cannot afford to hand over another £1400, for living here for 2 weeks. Really need to find a way around it. I feel like we've been cheated basically, we entered into this contract in good faith, and kept to our end of the bargain, yet he has failed to do pretty much everything he signed up to, and yet we're the ones stuck.

Snorkerz
05-12-2011, 18:04 PM
In law, yes. However, you may want a conversation that goes something like this....

"You know this section 21, you obviously want us out, yes? And you know that we don't have to go when it expires, you have to get a court order and possibly pay for bailiffs - that is going to cost big time? Might have to tell the EHO that we're not going anywhere too - well, you'll have to get those electrics fixed for the next tenant.

We could do you a favour and leave before Xmas if you're willing to surrender the contract on that day, otherwise we'll be stuck here until the bailiffs evict us."

I have to say, it's not a paricularly nice way of handling things, but I'm sure if your landlord was decent to you, you'd be decent to him.

Out of interest, does the receipt show an amount plus the words '12 months rent' or just '12 months rent'. If the former, I think a court would look at your contract and acknowledge it was an admin error.

squashynose
05-12-2011, 18:39 PM
In law, yes. However, you may want a conversation that goes something like this....

"You know this section 21, you obviously want us out, yes? And you know that we don't have to go when it expires, you have to get a court order and possibly pay for bailiffs - that is going to cost big time? Might have to tell the EHO that we're not going anywhere too - well, you'll have to get those electrics fixed for the next tenant.

We could do you a favour and leave before Xmas if you're willing to surrender the contract on that day, otherwise we'll be stuck here until the bailiffs evict us."

I have to say, it's not a paricularly nice way of handling things, but I'm sure if your landlord was decent to you, you'd be decent to him.

Out of interest, does the receipt show an amount plus the words '12 months rent' or just '12 months rent'. If the former, I think a court would look at your contract and acknowledge it was an admin error.

Yeah I figured that's probably the best way to go about it. Ask him to let us out, or we take action for our losses due to mould, plus claim for the electric shock.

The invoice says


Rent from 03/12/2010 - 02/12/2011 Amount £7645
Deposit £795
Admin fee £200
VAT £35
Less £235 (we had no references done so got that off)
Total amount payable £8440

Paid in full 3/12/10
(Manager's signature)

Snorkerz
05-12-2011, 18:45 PM
I suspect a judge would say "how can you say you've paid a years rent when your contract says a years rent is £8340 and the receipt only shows £7645."

Paul_f
05-12-2011, 23:43 PM
Yeah I figured that's probably the best way to go about it. Ask him to let us out, or we take action for our losses due to mould, plus claim for the electric shock.I thought you couldn't afford to go to court? It might be well worth your while because courts do not like landlords who treat tenants badly, and recently a court ordered a landlord to return ALL the rent the tenants had paid over 12 months, plus a fine and damages that amounted to £12,500. Try a no win no fee solicitor, but make sure they know what they are doing and have experience in this field.

msec
06-12-2011, 02:52 AM
If you were unsure of the work the LL did then ask your electricity supplier to do a test - they usually do this for free.


Not sure where you get this from Interlaken, your electricity supplier will not be interested in anything that is the consumers side of the meter.

The 'electrical survey' you require is a periodic inspection report or electrical installation condition report, both essentially the same thing. Legally, it can only be carried out by a competent person ie a qualified electrician who holds the city and guilds 2391 certificate. They also must have public indemnity insurance. Landlords hate these as they always end up with a long list of remedial work a bit like an MOT for your wiring!

Make sure whoever (if anyone) he uses they are a proper pegistered electrical contractor. Landlords NEVER want to pay for these reports because there is no legal requirement, yet on an existing installation they are the only way to prove due dilligance.

If you are going to make a claim for the electric shock, do it now as this report could be vital and your solicitor will (should) either make sure one is carried out appropriately or highlight the fact one hasn't been carried out.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

squashynose
06-12-2011, 10:00 AM
Just spoke to the LA, and informed them that the s21 wasn't served in time. She said that if it came to it, a solicitor wouldn't see it that way, and it would stand. God, I really hate them, they're so rude and patronising, when we KNOW they're wrong. Part of me wishes we could stay here long enough to see them try to defend it in court.

Anyway, asked if, seeing as they expected theirs to be valid, could we give notice now to be out by 2nd Jan, and they said yes. I'm just gonna make sure I get it in writing when we deliver it this afternoon.

******* main office is gonna get a very long and angry letter once we're out if this Place, because the staff in our ******* office are useless

theartfullodger
06-12-2011, 10:53 AM
Suggest you edit out agency name - see forum rules....

elmo_22
06-12-2011, 12:35 PM
Just a suggestion but it may be worth contacting Citizen's Advice. From what I understand, if rental is paid in advance then the notice term is altered from the statutory 2 month's rent to equal the rental term paid in advance. i.e. if 6 month's rent was paid in advance then 6 months notice needs to be given. However, if 12 month's rent is paid then the notice reverts to 6 months.

jta
06-12-2011, 13:36 PM
Just a suggestion but it may be worth contacting Citizen's Advice. From what I understand, if rental is paid in advance then the notice term is altered from the statutory 2 month's rent to equal the rental term paid in advance. i.e. if 6 month's rent was paid in advance then 6 months notice needs to be given. However, if 12 month's rent is paid then the notice reverts to 6 months.

Not quite. It depends on how the contract says the rent is reserved (paid). If it's reserved calendar monthly in advance then you could pay as long as you like in advance but it would still be a monthly rent.

Brb
06-12-2011, 13:48 PM
As neither of you are currently working have you applied for local housing allowance ? (housing benefit).

You can apply for rent to be paid in respect of two properties when there is an overlap in tenancies.

Good luck.

LAs that don't know what they are doing but arrogant enough to think that they know everything are a PITA to Ts and LLs alike!

squashynose
08-12-2011, 21:45 PM
As neither of you are currently working have you applied for local housing allowance ? (housing benefit).

You can apply for rent to be paid in respect of two properties when there is an overlap in tenancies.

Good luck.

Yes we receive LHA, covers about 60% of our rent. I had no idea that you could claim for two properties!! Thank you for that, that'll save us a bit of cash :)

squashynose
09-12-2011, 12:55 PM
Just drafted this letter to take to LA this afternoon, if anyone has any advice before I take it? Thanks


Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing with regards to the outstanding repair work at ***. As you are aware, there are many outstanding works that you were made aware of at the beginning of the tenancy. It has been over 12 months and the majority of repairs are still outstanding.
As you know, the Landlord has been carrying out electrical repairs on the property himself, not allowed under the contract, and since which there has been another fire, and I myself have received an electric shock. Environmental Health has been informed, and asks for a full electrical survey of the property.
I am requesting that the outstanding repairs be carried out within 7 days of receipt of this letter, and where necessary, by persons qualified to do so. Failure to acknowledge this letter or failure to carry out the work will leave me no choice but to arrange the repairs myself, and deduct the cost from the rent outstanding.
I am also requesting a copy of the Landlord’s insurance policy for this property, which should have been provided at the beginning of the tenancy, as per the contract. This must be provided within 3 working days, an email is acceptable.

For your information, the Landlord has breached several clauses in the contract, as follows;
26.5, by carrying out electrical work himself, Landlord has invalidated his insurance.
26.6, we have not been provided with any proof of Landlord’s insurance.
26.7, many of the items included on the inventory do not work.
26.8, four items on the inventory do not have fire labels.
26.10, we have dangerous electrical installations.
26.11, Landlord carried out electrical work himself.
26.18, we had to remove Landlord’s unwanted furniture at the start of the tenancy, as directed by Elizabeth.
26.19, we had to cut back a large plant that had pulled a fence panel down.

Regards,

mariner
09-12-2011, 16:00 PM
LL, or anyone,can undertake electrical repairs provided it repair is inspected and signed off by qualified electrician, LL may be qual elec.
26.6 T not entitled to copy of LL Ins
26.7 specify which appliances don't work, why and for how long.
26.8 strongest point IMO but quote the rel legislation.
26.10 What makes them dangerous, live wires exposed, broken fitting. Unless OP is qual elec I would suggest referring to as 'potentially dangerous'
26.18 hopefully Elizabeth had LLs permission.
26.19 Could be regarded as 'acting in a T-like manner, esp if garden is inc in T
Just my personal advice. If property is HMO then LL does have additional stat duties.

jta
09-12-2011, 16:05 PM
I agree with Mariner, if you are posting it include a stamped addressed envelope for the S21 they will be sending you.

squashynose
09-12-2011, 21:58 PM
LL, or anyone,can undertake electrical repairs provided it repair is inspected and signed off by qualified electrician, LL may be qual elec.
26.6 T not entitled to copy of LL Ins
26.7 specify which appliances don't work, why and for how long.
26.8 strongest point IMO but quote the rel legislation.
26.10 What makes them dangerous, live wires exposed, broken fitting. Unless OP is qual elec I would suggest referring to as 'potentially dangerous'
26.18 hopefully Elizabeth had LLs permission.
26.19 Could be regarded as 'acting in a T-like manner, esp if garden is inc in T
Just my personal advice. If property is HMO then LL does have additional stat duties.

All the clauses are in the tenancy agreement, under the LL's obligations, including that he'll give us a copy/proof of insurance at the beginning of or as soon as possible to the start of the tenancy. The reason I want this is because I'm pretty sure his insurance will be invalid if an unqualified electrician has done the work.
The LL attempted other electrical work last time he came (end of Sep) and got a shock himself, at which point he backed out, and said he'd get an electrician round, so I'm guessing he isn't one.

Anyway, thanks, I'll change a few bits :)

squashynose
09-12-2011, 21:59 PM
I agree with Mariner, if you are posting it include a stamped addressed envelope for the S21 they will be sending you.

Well if you've read the whole thread, you'd see that we've already been served a s21. Twice.