Oven washer and toilet not functioning from start of the contract. | The Tenants' Voice
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Oven washer and toilet not functioning from start of the contract.

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615 views 3 replies latest reply: 04 January 2017
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Tenant

Hello,

My girlfriend and I moved into our flat mid-December. We went through an agency as we thought it would be “safer” and as they claim “better and quick service”.

From day one we noticed that the toilet doesn’t flush (takes hours before the water fills up). The oven does not work at all, the washing machine does not work.

Those are our main concerns, in addition to:

3 lightbulbs were off. That may see as a small thing but given that we received the wrong keys to start with and we need to pay a fee of about 160 pounds when we move out for them to clean and make sure the flat is up a given standard, we were expecting the flat to be ready.

We moved on the 15th of December and notified them 1 day after. Considering it’s been over 2 weeks (almost a month between today and when the previous tenant moved out) I believe this is not acceptable.

Both my girlfriend and I do not have much experience when it comes to our rights as tenants in London.

In our contract it states the following as an obligation for the landlord “To comply with the obligations to repair the Property as set out in Sections 11 to 16 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended by the Housing Act 1988). These sections require the Landlord to repair and keep in good order.”

I have reviewed the Act of 1985 and found this

“To keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity)”

Would truly appreciate of someone could provide some insight as to what our rights are.

Since we moved in and was not informed that the oven, washer, nor toilet was functioning properly I would claim that we should have a reduction in the rent for our last month. But is that something that I can actually claim?

Thank you so much in advance.

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Tenant

As you say, the landord has a legal duty to keep the property in reasonable repair, and to fix any disrepair issues within a reasonable period once notified by you. As you say, the issues you raise (particularly the major ones) and time passing means your landlord has probably fallen below their duty.

So what can you do about it? Well, not as much as you’d like.

Generally in England & Wales you can only sue someone if you can show a specific financial loss to yourself, and discomfort rarely counts. As a tenant the rules are similar, though there is a procedure whereby you can fix the problems yourself and then deduct the cost from your rent. BE CAREFUL THOUGH: unless you follow the procedure perfectly then you cannot deduct the cost from your rent, and generally not paying rent lets your landlord evict you through the courts quickly (and in a way which will look terrible on a background check for another property).

There are other things you can do to pressure your landlord though, for starters report them to your local council (borough, in London) housing office. They might intervene (the problems are pretty serious in your case), but even if they don’t it protects you. Some landlords evicted people for complaining about problems, so I think a revenge eviction law was brought in which stops evictions if the tenant has reported issues with the council.

Final thought: Who exactly have you told? The agent or the landlord direct? If only the former then it may be the case that the landlord doesn’t realise how bad their agents are, and would be happy to help. Legally you have the right to a postal address for your landlord (not the agent), so demand it and write them a letter.

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Tenant

Everything Pivot Table mentioned is correct. I just want to add a bit more clarification: 

1. You’re in your rights to request repairs to the property. The landlord is responsible for ALL repairs in the property unless damage was caused by the tenant or their lack of action. The repair procedure starts with you notifying the managing agent or the landlord about due repairs in the property. Make sure to let them know about all problems and be FIRM in your communication. 

2. There is no way to receive rent reduction for the last month unless:

 

  • You’ve arranged and paid for the repairs and have negotiated with the landlord for these to come out of the rent money
  • You’ve been forced out of the property due to very poor conditions which don’t allow normal life in the accommodation
  • You’ve sustained a major financial loss, OR have incurred illness or an injury due to conditions in the property

Of course, all of the above are to be negotiated with the landlord. There is no rule that gives you compensation outright, without a court action. 

3. You should be more confident and firm in your communication, but polite. Nobody likes rude people or threats. However, people are more willing to comply when you sound dedicated and unwavering. 

Being indecisive or using a soft tone often allows agents and landlords to bully tenants just because they can dominate verbally. 

 

We published a post couple of months ago that is a perfect starting point when you want to know your renting rights. Please give it a good reading and explore our website for more information:

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/your_home/renting-at-a-glance-5-tenant-rights-and-5-tenant-responsibilities/

Here is an article about sanitary equipment and repairs to your property:

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/landlord-repairs-basins-sinks-bath-and-other-sanitary-fittings/

Here are articles to help you report repairs and request assistance from your landlord or the council:

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/requesting-repairs-2/

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/contacting-the-environmental-health-department/

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Tenant

Thank you so much for all your help!

I will continue to update this post once I have one to provide.

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