rent arrears and repairs | The Tenants' Voice
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rent arrears and repairs

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446 views 1 replies latest reply: 10 January 2017

I’m not sure how to begin but I have been renting a property for the past 5 years . I have never had a rent book and have no idea what happened to my deposit. I have always done minor repairs myself. I have improved the property a lot including having a large decked area built. New flooring in kithcen , bathroom and I have tasefully redecorated the whole house having it painted inside including all woodwork and walls. I have put up nice curtains and curtain poles in replace of the horrible old ones that were here when I moved in. Also, I have had new more modern light fittings put in as well as replacing almost all of the plug sockets as the ones he fitted have broken as they are so cheap that they stop working.. In fact, I keep the house as good as I can with the resourses I have as if it was my own. My friends and neighbours say the house would look terrible if it wasnt for my decorating and furniture etc.

The property has no double glazing at front of house and my sons room is damp and mouldy. The front door is almost all glass and not very safe as well as letting in lots of draft. The electrics worry me as many of the light switches buzz and they are the really old ‘dolly switch light switches ! There is a leak in garage roof which is more anoying than anything as it means with heavy rain there is a huge wet puddle so I keep a bucket there permanently. The kithcen is very old fashioned and made up of different style units one is even a painted bedroom drawer set used as a cupboard. The bathroom is very basic and now I’ve been here so long the carpets are actually threadbare as he put down such cheap ones. The oven broke at Christmas so I bought a new one as this happened a year ago and he got such a cheap rubbish one that it only lasted a year before the element broke. I have had to remind him to get the heating serviced as it wasnt working properly but the engineer said my gas hob is offically elligal as the gas goes on without the spark. I told him this and he didnt seem to care. The wall ajoinging my neighbours driveway is crumbly and falling down I gave my neighbours his details …they said he wasn’t interested in repairing it and din’t reply to their requests. its a small wall so doesn’t cause any problems really to me.

The reason I rented it was because its in a really nice area so my children can go to a good school and my landlord takes housing benefit tenants which is rare.

Over the last year I have underpaid some months as we had a verbal agreement that I could deduct for decorating , i am guilty of being around 2/3 months in arrears in total over the past year but only now has my landlord rang me to say that I am well behind and he thinks I should find somewhere else. I’m worried as to whats going to happen now. Now I am in regular work at the local council I will be able to pay the full amount each month but he has said he wants the arrears as well. I said that I have decorated etc and he claimed that that was just for me.

The past year has been very difficult for me and although I work part time I also claim housing benefit (I am a single mum with 3 children under 18).

I just wanted to know what if any rights I have and how to approach the situation.

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I think your problem will go away if you manage to pay off the rent arrears. Your landlord probably just wants their rent paid. Try to negotiate to spread out the arrears over the next 2 – 3 months. You will both make up the lost rent and not over-burdain your budget. 

IT’s great that you’ve decorated and put effort to claim the place as home and be a good tenant. We need more like you ! However, it does you no good against the rent arrears. You could have negotiated rent discounts for the decoration and painting, but this had to be negotiated with the landlord prior to you doing the work. As you don’t have a rent book, I’d assume you also don’t save receipts for the things you bought to improve the property. This kills every chance to claim something in return.

As you say you don’t know where the deposit is, could it be that your landlord did not protect it at the beginning of the tenancy ? There is a legal time frame of 30 days, after paying the deposit, in which the landlord has to protect the money with a government-authorised scheme, to keep a hold of until the tenancy ends, and the help to resolve disputes and govern the return of the deposit. 

Tenants normally receive formal notice of this procedure by the scheme and have to receive prescribed information from the landlord, that includes all the details. IF you have not received any of this, it’s likely the deposit is not protected. 

In this case, your landlord ignored the law and you’re eligible to receive a compensation. 

Try to check with each of the three schemes about your deposit:

If you can’t find your address anywhere, it means your deposit is not protected. Please download our guide on deposit protection –

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