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Need to ask for repair but worried of retaliation

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586 views 1 replies latest reply: 03 May 2016

I’ve been renting from my landlady for ten years over three different properties. I’ve lived almost four years in current house and it was in quite a bad state when I moved in. Without going over long history – a few years ago there were issues that have left my landlady and I not on the best of terms. She leaves me alone though and we have little contact. Last year the fences and garden gate needed replacing and she wasn’t happy. She made a veiled threat of increasing the rent even though the fences and gate were old and rotten and damaged due to high winds. Six months went by and she did nothing to repair them but also didn’t increase rent as threatened. Rather than trigger her to do that I paid for and fitted the fences and new gate myself. 

Now today I had a visit from Thames water and they said the stopcock valve isn’t working and it’s a legal requirement that my landlady gets a plumber to fix it. Of course I know I need to tell her but  I’m worried it will make her increase the rent unfairly to pay for it and Shelter already told me there’s nothing I can do about forcing her to do repairs without accepting her threats. I can’t pay for a plumber myself … That will prob be £200 or so! And I shouldn’t have to. But what can I do other than take the risk? It seems unfair that legally we have no leg to stand on with asking for necessary work without fear of spiteful retaliation?

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Hi Jolene

A tenancy agreement is there to protect you from exactlty these things. SWithout knowing the exact specfics from both sides it is hard to comment categorically either way.

However, a Tenant’s best friend is a good, clear and fair tenancy agreement. Many Landlords, regardless of personal feelings, would be more than happy to enter in to longer tenancies of 2-5 years (mortgage lender willing). This would set out the rent, and the level and schedule of any rent increases, so you know exactly what you are taking on. A Landlord cannot change the rent during a contract unless it specifically states so (and under what terms).

A Landlord is running a business but fair wear and tear, and the decay of older elements, are their responsibilty. Some Landlords can and do shoulder these expenses whilst others can’t or won’t. Regardless any Landlord must adhere to the terms of the agreement just as much as tenants.

Hope that helps

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