Disrepair -v- Rent arrears

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    Disrepair -v- Rent arrears

    Good evening all ,

    I have a tenant who is now in 2 months rent arrears but is claiming there is disrepair at the flat. She has instructed solicitors.
    As she is 2 months behind with the rent, can I start proceedings? Or must I sort out the disrepair first? What will happen at Court if the disrepair is still present when the case is heard?
    She seems to be attempting to off-set the rent arrears against the disrepair. I had a phone call from her solicitor saying she is seeking compensation for disrepair and is claiming that disrepair has existed, unrepaired, for 12 months. I live in Australia and the flat is in Bromley, SE London so I am trying to get the agent to visit. It does seem that she did report a water leak to me in 2018 and it took until July 2019 to get it properly sorted, but I did not see her letter in January 2019 in which she asked for the water damage to the hallway wall to be repaired and redecorated. Would it be best just to kick her out and not pay any compensation? I have a feeling she is on benefits as well and has been abusive to some of the neighbours.


    #2
    S21 asap IIWY.

    Comment


      #3
      Issue S21 and request UC/HB be sent direct to you. Issue a section 8.
      Request proof of the letter she sent (e.g copies of the 2 certificates of postage from different post offices, that it was signed for by you, or whatever).
      I'd also write to the local council's housing department, saying you are evicting her for rent arrears and being abusive to neighbours (get proof), and asking them if they could possibly rehouse her. Make it sound like you're doing her a favour. She's actually making herself homeless.
      In your letter to her, along with the S21 and S8 inform her that you've asked the council for help in rehousing her.

      Has she really instructed solicitors? How can she afford it? I wonder just how much compensation can she get for water damage and redecoration? Is it a big area? Could you get it sorted soon?

      Comment


        #4
        I would not contact the council. They can scupper a possession order even after s21 issued.

        Comment


          #5
          It sounds like there is genuine disrepair. The use of section 21 to avoid the legal "penalties" for failing to deal with disrepair is one of the reasons why the government wants to repeal section 21. Morally you should deal with the disrepair, first even if s21 currently provides a loophole.

          Living in Australia is not a valid reason for failing to run your business properly. You should not run a a UK property business unless you are able to handle issues promptly.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JK0 View Post
            I would not contact the council. They can scupper a possession order even after s21 issued.
            How can they do that?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by GivemylovetoJudy View Post
              I have a tenant who is now in 2 months rent arrears but is claiming there is disrepair at the flat. She has instructed solicitors.
              As she is 2 months behind with the rent, can I start proceedings? Or must I sort out the disrepair first? What will happen at Court if the disrepair is still present when the case is heard?
              Is the tenant asserting that there is currently disrepair, or that there was disrepair, and that they are due compensation which is why the rent is being withheld?

              If you attempt to evict using s8 for the missing rent, any current disrepair is likely to end your repossession attempt. If it is historic, the court would make up its mind (and would probably decline to repossess).
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post

                How can they do that?
                https://www.ashfords.co.uk/news-and-...ld-for-tenants


                • Any s21 notice served by a landlord will be invalid if:

                - before the landlord served the notice, the tenant had made a written complaint to the landlord (or the landlord's agent) about the condition of the dwelling-house;

                - the landlord did not provide a response to the complaint within 14 days or provided an inadequate response (by not describing the remedial action to be taken nor setting out a reasonable timescale for such action);

                - the landlord served a s21 notice following the tenant's complaint;

                - the tenant then complained to their local housing authority about the matter; and

                - the local housing authority then served a Housing Act 2004 improvement/emergency remedial notice on the landlord.
                • If proceedings have been commenced by a landlord based on a s21 notice, the courts must strike out possession proceedings based on that s21 notice if, before the order for possession is made, the s21 notice is deemed invalid by virtue of the existence of the circumstances listed above.

                Comment


                  #9
                  JKO - Oh yes, of course. My brain wasn't in gear. However, the OP says he didn't get the letter of complaint. I'm wondering just how much damage there is. It must be a lot if the solicitor is taking it on and presumably is working on a no win no fee basis as it appears the T has no money to pay the rent.

                  That being said there are rent arrears.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The tenant would be writing to an address in England/Wales presumably, rather than Australia.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Imdeed:. And has formally been given an address for Landlord on England or Wales or no rent is due so no arrears
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        OP says that T did inform OP about the problem. It's not stated whether this was direct to Australia,.

                        Comment

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