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No Safety Checks, No Amenities

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717 views 1 replies latest reply: 20 February 2015

I and two friends recently moved into a 3 bed privately rented property. 

We had been told the property was ready to be lived in but when we arrived we discovered no heating, no hot water, faulty electrics, oven not working and washing machine not working. 

We complained to the agents who after some chasing have been putting right the faults and carrying out repairs. In the meantime we have been without hot water for a number of days, and had to get takeaways everynight due to their being to cooking facilities. The repairs have caused us inconvenience and a lot of stress!

The property does not have an up to date gas safety certificate (I don’t think it has been checked for years). We have been told a check is being done soon… We know it is illegal to let a property without one but don’t know what the best course of action is. Should we just wait for the new one to be done or report the lack of one now?

We are considering asking for a rent abatement for the days we were without hot water, cooking equipment or electric power outlets. 

We are also considering asking for a partial refund of the £450 agents fees we paid, as evidently they did not carry out even basic checks on the property, and encouraged us to move into a property that was unfit for tenancy and unlivable. 

Are we within our rights to request these financial reimbursements? Is this likely to be successful?

If so, what would be the best way to go about acheiving them? We love the property it has just been poorly maintained. We know we can make it a lovely home and are worried that pursuing reimbursement might put us at risk of losing the property.

Any advice or information would be really welcomed!

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Hi Ruby

That sounds pretty appalling. It might be worth making direct contact with the landlord as a first step – he or she is paying the agents to prepare the property and manage it and if they’re not doing their job properly then a good landlord will want to know- there should be contact details in your tenancy agreement.

The Gas Safety check is a big issue – landlords who don’t do this (or landlords who are employing agents who don’t do it for them) are opening themselves up to big issues. There’s info on this here – they basically have 28 days from when you move in to provide you with a certificate demonstrating the check has been carried out or they’re breaking the law. Again, if the agent is being slack on this the landlord should want to know. The average penalty for landlords is £6,000 and/or six months in prison but the fine can be up to five figures so it’s really stupid for landlords not to do gas certificate checks. 

You’re well within your rights to ask for a rent reduction for the days when you didn’t have access to all the elements of the property that you’re paying for with your rent. Whether it will be successful depends on the landlord and whether they recognise that as reasonable (they should but some don’t). As long as you request this in a reasonable manner then they shouldn’t have any reason to not keep you on as tenants but if you’re concerned then you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth the risk.

£450 in agents fees seems incredibly high. Yes it’s certainly worth a try to get a refund – you can also report the agents to any professional bodies they are members of, such as the Property Ombudsman and ARLA – you can also make a complaint about them to these bodies. Although sometimes just mentioning that you’re about to do this is enough to get them to pull their finger out.

Making contact with the landlord is probably the best start here – they are the ones who have sway with the agents and might be best placed to get the agents to start acting.

Does that help?


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