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tenancy rights due to disrepair

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698 views 1 replies latest reply: 01 March 2016

Hi, I’ve not used a forum before but could do with some advice from anyone who may have been in a similar situation.  

Basically, I have just moved out of a property, my landlord had failed to do any safety checks or maintainence on the property in the 7 years I lived there and when he said he wanted to put the rent up I decided to move.  Previously I had tried a number of options to make him do the work including withholding 1.5 months rent (total £900) still he did nothing, the repairs that were needed were:

*hole in kitchen ceiling under bathroom – leaked when the shower/bath was in use, water poured as if out of a tap, shortcircuited the kitchen electrics regularly

*due to the faulty electrics it left half of the kitchen permanently with no electricity, the washer had to be plugged into an extension lead that was fed through to the dining room (hazard with a small child & limited when I could use the washer)

*leak above the back door that damaged the plaster and paintwork soaked the floor on bad days

*damp down the chimney breast in the back room, also across the front bay of the house, including rising damp in the living room

On top of this no gas safety checks have been carried out and I hadn’t signed a tenancy agreement in 5 years (changed my name 3 years ago and still no new agreement)

As he was family I didn’t go to the authorities although I knew I should, on moving out i thought an amicable agreement was best, I paid him £700 and also left him my fridge as he has decided to move in and didn’t have one. He has since turned up at my new house demanding the remaining £200 and threatening court action, I know this story is long winded and I apologise but does anybody know where I would stand legally if this was to go to a small claims court?

Thanks in advance for any advice 🙂

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Hi Rebecca

Unfortunately, no matter how bad the circumstances, tenants don’t really ever have a right to withold rent so if that rent is owed then it’s owed. However, if your landlord was to make a claim for that remaining £200 you might be able to suggest that the fridge you left was payment in lieu of the £200. You could also potentially (counter?)claim for any loss you suffered as a result of his actions, including stress and anxiety.

As your tenancy started after 6 April 2007 your landlord would also legally have been obliged to protect any damage deposit you paid them, regardless of how small that deposit might have been. If there was a deposit and it wasn’t protected then you could make your own small claim for 1-3 times the amount of the deposit.

I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think the courts would look favourably on someone claiming for £200 – especially given that you left the fridge – it might seem malicious and time wasting. Remember, if he starts the claim then he’s going to have to justify why he deserves to be paid – it’s not simply a case of making a claim and the courts being on his side. You could speak to Shelter, Citizens Advice or a law centre to get a legal perspective on where you stand if that would help clarify things and also get your point across to him.

Just a side note, he can’t come to your home and start threatening you – that’s harassment and if that happens again you can call the police.


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