PDA

View Full Version : Landlord not fulfilling obligations .. can tenant leave?



justaboutsane
25-02-2008, 10:16 AM
Sorry ... need a bit of assistance for my friend. She is renting a house in Bolton. When she moved in the doors were very drafty. Landlord came out and has refused to do anything about the fact that the doors do not fit the frames. The house is open plan downstairs so drafts come right through! At Christmas she had a boiler leak and the Landlords workmen REFUSED to come out as the LL does not pay them! So she paid them and deducted it from the rent.

Several weeks ago the roof developed a hole.. not sure of circumstances but its causing water to flood down through the front bedroom wall and down into the lounge whenever it rains. The wallpaper is peeling in both rooms now and the damp is affecting my friends health. She is already disabled and as she is home pretty much all day its affecting her big style. She now wants to move in with her partner but her contract does not end until August.

She has called EHO's in but they are as much use as a chocolate tea pot!

Question is.. If she gives her Months notice to move what happens, under normal circumstances the LL would have an obligation to re-let? But how can they when they are refusing to carry out the work on the property? She cannot with hold rent as HB pays it direct!

We really fear for her health if this goes on much longer.

Colincbayley
25-02-2008, 10:20 AM
EHO has got to be the way forward - Can't you make enough noise so that they will take action?

justaboutsane
25-02-2008, 10:25 AM
Yes we could.. BUT the decision has been made to move in with Partner anyway who is down south. (Partner was up for promotion possibly up North so friend signed another 12 month AST but promotion happened down south!)

The issue now is that my friend could moved out .. and would be willing to pay until replacement is found but the fact remains that the work will not be carried out... even if she were to stay she could not trust the LL to carry out any other works. The boiler is STILL not working 100% and he refuses to sort it unless it fully breaks down.

Colincbayley
25-02-2008, 10:30 AM
All I can see is she may be able to force the LL to complete the works to make the property habitable. Although it seems that the LL's version of habitable may differ from the tenants.

If the property is up to a standard to live in, then she is stuck with her contract. The only way out would be if the property is not fit to live in and the LL refuses to do the works.

That's all I can think of, sorry.

Grange
25-02-2008, 11:12 AM
A contract is a contract. You want to use some excuse to void your contract. Bad luck.

If the EHO won't do anything, your excuse is a poor one and you need to wait until the end of your contract. Why should the landlord lose out because your circumstances have changed?

justaboutsane
25-02-2008, 11:16 AM
Thing is Grange it has been one thing after another with this LL, had he been a decent LL and looked after the tenant she would be happy to sit out her time and move at the end of the contract.. HOWEVER he has not looked after the property and its issue after issue that my friend has to resolve herself. If the rent were being paid by the tenant she would withhold it and get the roof done herself and get the boiler sorted and the doors sorted. But she does not have that option to force his hand.

She is getting ill and sicker by the day because of the issues in this house. Its not about finding an excuse its about finding a way forward.

Whats to say that more things won't go wrong and again she is left having to deal with it all herself.

Would you sit by and watch your friends health decline or would you try and do something about it?

pcwilkins
25-02-2008, 11:19 AM
If she gives her Months notice to move what happens, under normal circumstances the LL would have an obligation to re-let?

No, they'd have an obligation to make a reasonable effort to re-let --- and I thought I read somewhere that they don't even have to do that anymore?


the decision has been made to move in with Partner anyway who is down south. (Partner was up for promotion possibly up North so friend signed another 12 month AST but promotion happened down south!)

It sounds like T is trying to weasel out of agreement, if you ask me.


The issue now is that my friend could moved out .. and would be willing to pay until replacement is found

Not just "willing" --- legally bound!


but the fact remains that the work will not be carried out... even if she were to stay she could not trust the LL to carry out any other works. The boiler is STILL not working 100% and he refuses to sort it unless it fully breaks down.

If property is not fit for habitation, EHO would have said so, I expect.


the Landlords workmen REFUSED to come out as the LL does not pay them! So she paid them and deducted it from the rent.


She cannot with hold rent as HB pays it direct!

I can't reconcile those two statements!

Peter

Grange
25-02-2008, 11:47 AM
Whats to say that more things won't go wrong and again she is left having to deal with it all herself.

What to say that nothing more will go wrong.

A T cannot escape a contractual obligation just because he thinks that something might go wrong in the future.

Either the house is leaking and the EHO is not doing his job; or somebody's not telling the whole truth.

Surrey
25-02-2008, 12:39 PM
The concept I think JAS is looking for is "frustration".

If the tenancy CANNOT continue because the house is not habitable (through no fault of the tenant) then it could be argued that the tenancy has been frustrated, and so there can BE no tenancy.

EHO really is the only way to go on this as they are the ones who will define whether the place is habitable or not, so your friend must pursue this option if she is to be allowed out of the agreement she has signed with the landlord.

justaboutsane
25-02-2008, 12:45 PM
Tenant is NOT trying to weasle out of the contract. PC.. The top ups were sufficient to cover the boiler issue.. but not the few hundred pounds its going to cost to get the roof sorted.. sorry did not explain myself.

The Tenant is ILL through this LL lack of action.. the property is leaking severely when it rains. The stress of all these issues are also making her ill.

I know from PERSONAL experience what EHOs can be like, i had one who waited 4 months to take action against my LL before I moved to Stoke.

It really annoys me that you are jumping to the conclusion that something is wrong here with the Tenant. She is someone that takes her contractual obligations VERY seriously hence the question. Her decision to move back down south is BECAUSE of these issues. She would be happy to stay if the property was ok. I have stayed in this house prior to the roof situation and the heating has to be on 24/7 just to keep the house warm. Once it goes off all heat vanishes.

Thank you Surrey for your input.. finally someone speaking sense! Would a Drs letter also assist alongside the EHO action??

Bel
25-02-2008, 13:57 PM
If your friends health is suffering, suggest she visits the doctor and get doc to write letter to whom it may concern regarding her health. If the doctor supports her, this will be helpful.

Try and get environmental health involved again.

Write a letter to LL concerning repairs that must be done, copy of GP letter, and timescale. Put if you do not hear anything within x days, she will be forced to surrender the tenancy without liability to the LL. Say if he persues her for rent through courts she will counter claim for compensation of breach of contract etc.

This is not a risk free plan, but if it is a health risk, she should leave.

See protocol for repair cases:
http://www.justice.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/contents/protocols/prot_hou.htm