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can we take landlord to court

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558 views 5 replies latest reply: 05 February 2014
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Tenant

Our problems with our landlord started last August. During a heavy rain storm we found the down stairs shower room roof to leaking quite badly, it came in through the light fittings and blew the main fuse. The landlord was coming round the following morning ( a Saturday ) so we informed him directly ( normally report problems to agents but been part of the council they dint open on a saturday ) we didnt here anything for a few weeks to spoke to agents directly who said they would get on with sorting it. A few months past with phone calls backwards and forward. We got to early November and we warned the agents that we may not be available to over see any work due to the fact my wife was due to give birth any day. Our little girl was born on 21st November. The roof was still leaking baddly and the light unusable which with with no window made the room unseable.
Things got worse on the 4th December when during the annually gas safety test we were told the 25 +year old boiler was very unsafe and was been condemned right away. Leaving us with no heating or hot water with a baby and four other young children in the house. At the time we didnt worry too much as we qualify for the free boiler upgread due to getting some benfits. It quickly became clear that the landlord was going to mess us about. Christmas wasnt nice with a frezzing kitchen making cooking uncomfortable. The landlord had sent about four people round to assess for a new boiler but never booked anyone due to cost of fitting for the boiler ( one company wanted £375 or rent is £650 a month ), the agents have been very helpful and admitted they felt very frustrated by not been able to get him to do the work needed. On Monday the agent called round to do a planned inspection, when she came in she informed us the landlord had asked them to server us with a section21 notice so that he could move in here himself so no one can make him do the work! I am currently 30 weeks pregnant as I am acting a surrgoate for friends. I have all so recently diagnosed with a slip disk that presses in my satic nerve leaving me with poor moblity, I was only let out of hospital on the grounds we have a down stairs bathroom! The condition of the house and the stress hasnt helpped my health and now we have to move weeks before my due date with poor mobility. Can we sue the landlord for the stress and the extra cost of running ( and buying electric heaters) ?

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Tenant

Hi there, Kate.

First of all, congratulations on the new baby. I’m so sorry this is happening to you.

In terms of living without heating for over a month then being served a section 21 notice, that is disgraceful.
You are entitled by law to live in quiet enjoyment of the property. This includes the landlord not leaving you without gas, electricity or water.

A section 21 notice is NOT a judge-appointed order of possession (and the therefore you are NOT forced to leave just yet). If you refuse to leave the property, the landlord will not be able to MAKE you leave without an order of possession. He can only get the order of possession from a judge. This will costs him legal fees. It will also cost him if there is even a SINGLE error in the section 21 notice he handed you. Most landlords don’t know what a correct section 21 notice must contain, and most judges scrutinize cases like this because they see it as making someone homeless. They go through every detail and if they find a problem, they throw the case out. This would then force the landlord to serve you ANOTHER section 21 notice (which he would probably have to pay for), then pay court fees to get the order of possession again. This would give you quite a bit of time to find somewhere new and you need do nothing at all except refuse to leave.

Quick question though: When is your tenancy due to end? Is it a 6 / 12 month contract?

Also, if the council are your ‘agents’ this means they are FORCED to re-home you provided you show them the section 21. The explanation I gave about going to court, is much more likely in your case because, as the council are finding less and less places to house people, they tend to fight to keep people where they are.

If you need any more help, just let me know.

Best of luck.

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Tenant

Oh, DO NOT withhold rent by the way. Two months of missed rent will land you being forcibly removed from the property with no rights.

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Other

You can issue court proceediings against your landlord as a last ditched attempt, but you will need all documentation from official bodies to show all attempts have been made to rectify the situation: You need to contact local authority and get report from environmental health, they will then contact landlord and give him 28days to carry out the repairs, if not they can appoint contractors to do work, and Invoice landlord for repairs… If this fails, then send a letter of Intention to your Landlord that you intend to pay a contractor to carry out repairs and you will take costs from rent, (makesure you forward all copies of Invoices and balances of any monies left onto the Landlord).. Again if this fails you can go down the county court route, under the clause in your contract that says the ‘Landlord obligations’ and he will carry out regular maintenance and insure the premises are inhabitable, in return for his obligation you pay your rent to him.. If he has not carried out his obligation, but you have done yours, in effect he is in ‘Breach of Contract’ So that would be grounds for Court action against him

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Other

Even if you don’t pay the rent, because there are grounds to stop paying, NO one can be forceably removed from a property or enter your property without an order for possession being granted from the court.. You have 2 months and addiditional 5-6weeks to get the possession order from the court.

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Other

The Only problem, especially in Brighton and down this way (This has actually happened to me, and indeed everyday), Once you are homeless you turn up at council office at 9am, but if you are single with no dependents they are only giving you suggestions of how to find somewhere, not recommending anywhere or anyone, they are not rehoming you as they have not got the places or resources apparantly, hence they are allowing people to be on the street.

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