Landlord unhappy with me for reporting snags | The Tenants' Voice
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Landlord unhappy with me for reporting snags

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674 views 1 replies latest reply: 01 September 2015


I moved into a renovated flat in June, I was the first person to occupy the property since the renovation work had been completed and moving in presented snags right from the start of my tenancy. Problems with kitchen installation allowing me to actually install a Washing machine too several calls to resolve. The Gas and Electric meters were heavily in debt which required calls to chase up. I had to chase 6 weeks to get the sealant replaced on my bath because water was escaping behind the bath when I showered. Then I started getting letters from a utility company about unpaid debt prior to my moving in which the Landlord did nothing about. I had issues with my bathroom, the Shower, whilst I appreciate some places do not have great water pressure, was impractical so I had to install a shower extension to the bath taps because I simply gave up after the 3rd call of trying to speak to my landlord about whether he’d consider having a pump fitted to improve the shower. This has all be in the first two months since I moved in. 

So all of this leads me into what happened this weekend. First my one of radiators didn’t work which I needed looking at and I had leaking pipe under my bath. I rang my landlord to have it fixed. I received a call a short while later from his partner who is actual owner of the property and landlady. Considering this was the first time I had spoken to her, she suggested if I was unhappy I should renegotiate terms and leave as other people would be happy to live where I am now. She informed me she had spent a lot of money renovating the flats and had no intention of calling out a plumber as I requested and that I was stressing out her partner with my maintenance requests. I duly informed her I was concerned at the inference in the conversation that It wasn’t in my best interests to complain about anything. 

When I mentioned that the letting agent had told me to expect snags and they would be addressed, her response was to be critical of me during my tenancy despite them being genuine snags that needed addressing. I’ve checked my tenancy agreement and I believe she’s actually broken a clause in the agreement that states “Not to interrupt or interfere with the tenants lawful occupation, enjoyment or use of the premises other than in an emergency”.

So the quesiton is, what do I do? I’m only on a six month contract, I’m only two months in and now my landlady has effectively told me to ‘know my place and say nothing’. The letting agent is feeble and won’t do anything. It would only be my word against hers anyhow.

So what now? 

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Hi Si

You’re not alone – the lettings market is so swollen with tenants right now that poor landlords like this one are able to get away with saying things like this.

Firstly, you might want to point out that maintenance is part of the landlord’s legal obligations under the tenancy agreement and providing a property in good working condition is what you are paying rent for. It might also be worth highlighting to her that the quickest way to stop ‘stressing out’ her partner would be for him to fulfill his part of this business relationship and deal with the maintenance issues that are causing the requests. Otherwise you can ‘stress him out’ even more by suing him for breach of contract, reporting him to Shelter’s list of Rogue Landlords and seeking compensation for the distress caused by being pursued for unpaid utility debts that have nothing to do with you.

I’m not a lawyer so I’m not sure whether you’d have a good chance of succeeding with the above if you decided to take action but you should know that you do have rights – you’re not just staying in someone’s house, you’ve entered into a contract for a service to be provided (a property with certain features) and you’re probably paying quite a lot for that. What the landlord feels or doesn’t feel about the situation is, frankly, irrelevant – this is a business transaction and if it’s not as offered then they need to do something about it.

I’m hoping you had a check in inventory when you moved in. If so, you could start sending emails entitled ‘update to check in inventory’ to record all these fresh issues. It’s key to get them in writing even if the landlord doesn’t respond and it will show the landlord that you’re serious. Send an email that records the timeline of all the issues that you’ve had, as well as the contents of this recent conversation and how it made you feel. It might be worth mentioning that the Deregulation Act, which was passed in March of this year, makes ‘revenge evictions’ illegal as of October 2015 – this prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who complain about conditions in their homes. So, the landlord’s threat to you is borderline illegal.

The clause you mention is usually called the ‘Quiet enjoyment’ clause. This is normally more appropriate where a landlord has been letting themselves in without notice etc. However, if you want to look into taking action for a breaach of any of the clauses in your tenancy then it might be worth speaking to a solicitor – try someone at a law centre or Citizens Advice.


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