Landlords responsibilities and repercussions

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    Landlords responsibilities and repercussions

    So this might catch a few of you off guard being a Landlord focused forum rather than a Tenant one, but what the hell.

    As the title says I'm just curious what the potential pitfalls are for taking a Landlord to court. Without writing a huge long story, we've rented a property for 10 years and it's been in a constant state of disrepair since not too long after we moved in. The kitchen roof for instance has been leaking for the best part of 8 years, windows not sealed properly leading to the window sill rotting off, amongst various other things.

    Everything has been reported several times over the years to the letting agent, during periodic inspection the letting agency has expressed disgust in the lack of dealing with issues, they've even suggested to us that they won't let any more properties for our landlord until he remedies the issues in our property, though I suspect there is little truth in it.

    We went to the council about 3 or 4 years ago and asked them to inspect the property and try and get the landlord to fix the problems. A few weeks ago I did a freedom of information request with the council to get correspondence related to it. They sent me 2 letters back, the first was a letter instructing the landlord to fix the issues within a reasonable period, the 2nd was another letter dated some 6-8 months later stating that the work had not been done and it needed to be done.

    The council basically ignored us after the initial inspection, most of the work still hasn't been done, the roof still leaks for instance, but the door casing that had rotted off was replaced, but not painted etc, plaster on the walls is still falling off from where the water has gotten behind through the leaking roof.

    Anyway we have a letter from the council confirming the issues, a letter confirming that the work hadn't been done within 6-8 months. We've got tonnes of our own pictures and videos, and I think I'm going to do a freedom of information request with the letting agent to produce evidence of all the times we've reported the issues and the inspection reports.

    We're moving out this year and buying our own house having saved a substantial deposit over the last 4 years. But I want the Landlord to pay, it isn't right that I basically paid his mortgage for him and he left the property in such a squalid state. It's not even about compensation, I just want it to be a parting **** you to a piece of **** landlord.

    If anyone is wondering why we didn't move out earlier, the rent is reasonable for the size of property and we felt it better to put the money saved against renting something more expensive into savings to buy our own house in the future, which is where we are at now.

    Anyway the question is does the landlord have a leg to stand on, from my perspective it would seem not, but I'm not an expert on these matters, any feedback would be appreciated.

    First of all, I would have moved out years ago rather than suffer, especially since the LL and the LA didn't do anything. I'm surprised that the Council enforcement didn't do much either.

    You have rights,
    • You can tell your local authority, especially if you think that it is a risk to your health and safety
    • If your home is not ‘fit for human habitation’, you can take your landlord to court under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. The court can make the landlord carry out repairs or put right health and safety problems. The court can also make the landlord pay compensation to you, if appropriate.
    • If you have suffered loss and experienced inconvenience because your landlord is in breach of their repairing obligations, you can also consider taking action in the county court. The county court can order the landlord to do the necessary works and to pay you compensation.
    • If the state of your home is a ‘statutory nuisance’ because your health is affected, you can consider taking action in the magistrates’ court under section 82 Environmental Health Act 1990. The magistrates can order the landlord to do the necessary works and to pay you compensation.
    • Before considering taking court action, you should seek independent advice on your rights and responsibilities.


      You could have requested a HHSRS survey by council. (Did you??) See...

      Shelter - the experts in these matters - have this advice on both reporting and further action if not fixed...

      You can sue for you actual financial loss ..

      But, in future, move out promptly and stop encouraging landlord by paying him all that lovely rent money.

      Such a shame incoming tenants don't require references from previous tenants of the landlord or indeed agents. (Entirely legal, just as landlords requiring references for incoming tenants is legal)

      Tenants, solicitors, students, housing advisers, landlords, agents, whoever are all welcome. And, in my experience usually (or at least often) get reasonable responses. (It's got better over the years).

      I've never understood landlords who don't fix leaks: Apart from tenant p***-offing, they are damaging their own investment!

      Hope the new place is better.
      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...


        We did look at moving a few times, but didn't want to end up in the same boat in a different property. The only way to avoid that would have been to rent a far more expensive property, but we always intended to buy at some point and paying a bigger rent would have just delayed that further. We never intended to stay as long as we have, but life happens things get in the way and here we are.

        I think attempting to prove the issues are dangerous to health might be a stretch, they probably are, but how would one prove that? Can the landlord not be ordered to pay compensation just for failing to carry out repairs, regardless of any health concerns?

        As I say, I wouldn't be doing it for the compensation, that would just be a bonus to add to our savings, but by the same token if he isn't ordered to pay compensation enough to sting, then it's pointless, If he wants to re-let the property after we move, he'll have to carry out repairs anyway, so the effort of taking legal action would be redundant.


          Compo?? Well, yes, it's possible - here's an old list I had of such findings over disrepair ... But you should have pursued the matter during those 10 years..

          P11.3 Brent LBC v Carmel (sued as Murphy) CoA £50,004.00 Housing Law casebook
          Permission to appeal award of damages refused; award not manifestly excessive
          P11.5 Chiodi v De Marney CoA £11000+ Housing Law casebook
          General damages of £30 pw (where rent was £8 pw) not disturbed on appeal
          P11.7 Earle v Charalambous (2006) CoA £23,500.00 Housing Law casebook
          Assessment of damages based on reduction in notional rental value appropriate
          P11.11 Lubren v Lambeth LBC (!988) CoA £5,000.00 Housing Law casebook
          Offers of alternative accommodation did not affect damages
          P11.12 Marshall v Rubypoint Ltd (1997) CoA Housing Law casebook
          Landlord liable for burglary resulting from failure to repair communal front door
          P11.16 Niazi Services Ltd v Van der Loo CoA £9,050.00 Housing Law casebook
          Judge entitled to assess damages on basis of notional reduction of high rent
          P11.17 Shine v English Churches Housing Group CoA £8,000.00 Housing Law casebook
          Basic rule of thumb that damages should not exceed rent payable
          P11.20 Wallace v Manchester CC (1998) CoA £3,500.00 Housing Law casebook
          fact rent paid by housing benefit irrelevant; unofficial tariff for disrepair
          P11.23A Arabhalvaei v Rezaeipoor (2008,2007) CC £188,000.00 Housing Law casebook
          £188,000 damages for harassment and disrepair
          P11.25 Bird v Hackney LBC (2001) CC £6,000+ Housing Law casebook
          disruption caused by works including loss of heating and personal injury (respiratory problems) to children
          P11.26 Brongard Limited v Sowerby (2007) CC £18,900.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages of £2,700 pa for over 7 years’ disrepair awarded on counterclaim (apporx 2x rent)
          P11.27 Brydon v Islington LBC (1997) CC £4,009.56 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for leak in corner of kitchen
          P11.28 Clark v Wandsworth LBC (1994) CC £3,500.00 Housing Law casebook
          Effect of cockroach infestation considered worse than damp; £3,500 for the physical,mental and emotional effects on family for a period of a year and a half
          P11.29 Conroy v Hire Token Ltd (2002) CC £1,300.00 Housing Law casebook
          2 x Children awarded £650 for general coughs and colds over six-month period
          P11.30 Cook v Horford Investment Ltd and Mohammed Taj (1993) CC £13,200.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for disrepair including exemplary damages and amount for works to be done.
          P11.36 Hyde Southbank Homes v Oronsaye and Obadiara (2005) CC £900.00 Housing Law casebook
          £900 for 4–5 months damage to plaster caused by leak from neighbour’s flat
          P11.41 Lambeth LBC v Martin (1999) CC £10,021.44 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for damp and flooding
          P11.46 McGuigan v Southwark LBC CC £28,650.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for cockroach infestation
          P11.47 Mzae v Abigo November 2004 CC £14,000.00 Housing Law casebook
          £4kpa, damp, mice, plaster..
          P11.51 Sarmad v Okello November 2004 CC £14,250.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for deficiency in heating and hot water and rat infestation
          P11.53 Shefford v Nofax Enterprises (Acton) Ltd December 2006 CC £2,750.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages of 50% of rent for extensive damp
          P11.55 Stone and Stone (minor) v Redair Mersey Agencies May 1997 CC £12,000.00 Housing Law casebook
          £500 pa for child who suffered chest infections and asthma
          P11.56 Switzer v Law 1998 CC £5,500.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages for condensation exacerbated by water penetration; order for extractor fans
          P11.59 Ujima Housing Association v Aboasu July 2001 CC £3,250.00 Housing Law casebook
          Damages assessed on basis of number of rooms affected by damp; damages for period in temporary accommodation without garden
          P11.63 Yates v Elaby November 2004 CC £2,250.00 Housing Law casebook
          General damages of £1,125 pa for mid range disrepair
          P12.7 Televantos v McCulloch 1991 CA £2,700.00 Housing Law casebook
          Tenant entitled to set off damages on counterclaim against arrears, resulting in complete defence to possession claim
          P12.10 Lee-Parker v Izzet 1971 ChD, HC Housing Law casebook
          Tenant’s expenses in carrying out repairs in default can be set off against rent
          P12.11 Cody v Philps December 2005 CC £1,500.00 Housing Law casebook
          Anti-set-off clause struck out under Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999
          Camden Council V BP Ass, Blix Ltd & Alexander Begum, Sept 2009 £32,400.00

          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...


            theartfullodger It was a long time ago, but I think that is probably what we did, the council's health and safety guys came out and did a report, they followed up with the landlord several weeks later and eventually just ignored it.

            This is on the bottom of the letter I got back from the FOI request, so yeas it is what we did.

            Following a recent re-inspection of the above property, I advise you that there are a number of HHSRS hazards outstanding at the property. The nature of the hazard and the deficiencies that give rise to the hazard are listed below and require your earliest attention –


              Honestly? Just move on and enjoy the new house. You benefitted by virtue of a below market rent for a below market condition place, enabling you to buy your own place. You stayed for a reason, weighing up the pros and cons.

              The landlord couldn't/wouldn't update the property and now either has to, or sell up at a reduced price.

              The best weapon is to vote with your feet and you've now done that, albeit later than I would have


                Lesney Park it wasn't below market value, it was inline when we moved in, but that's besides the point, there should be repercussions.


                  Lesney Park?? I remember going to the Lesney factory on some IT sales call years ago, probably 1970s. And the wife worked there, earlier, unrelated.
                  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...


                    Your best course of action is to do something while you're still a tenant.

                    First of all, I'm amazed that the local authority didn't do more.
                    That's about the only thing that makes me think any claim against the landlord is going to be difficult.
                    If the situation wasn't bad enough for a statutory notice of some kind, it's going to be difficult to claim much in compensation.
                    So my first avenue would be to complain to the council or ask the environmental health team to visit again.

                    If you're more interested in a **** you to the landlord than for compensation, getting a statutory notice to improve a property in a pandemic with an uncooperative tenant would be bad news for the landlord.

                    If the property is in a bad way, you might find a solicitor who will take the case on a no win no fee basis.
                    There are firms that specialise in this kind of case, who are mostly concerned wth claiming large fees from landlords (as opposed to actually going to court).

                    If you just regret living in a not very nice property at a lower than otherwise rent, I'd move out and move on.
                    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).


                      Originally posted by BULBASOFUS View Post
                      Lesney Park it wasn't below market value, it was inline when we moved in, but that's besides the point, there should be repercussions.
                      I only say that as you mention to get a nicer rental without the walls falling down would have entailed paying more pcm, so presumed its below market rate? Certainly you wouldn't expect the majority of rental properties to have similar issues, so if they were more expensive....

                      I can't help regarding any action as I would have thought you'd have to demonstrate loss, whereas from where I'm sitting, there is none unless you invested £££ fixing things the landlord should have. But that would have best been dealt with at the time, not up to 10 years later.


                        You may not get any information back from the LA if they have destroyed your data after a set period of time. Without seeing the property and taking your word for the condition, there seems to be negligence all all parties, LL/ LA not fixing the issues, local authority not addressing and following up on the issue, T for not taking the matter further while in the tenancy, either by leaving or suing the LL at the time.

                        I would now just move on, as I can't see you getting anything from the courts, especially if the Local Authority didn't do anything at the time, If you were still in the property you could have had an independent survey done on the condition of the property which would have had more weight to your case. Put it down to life lesson's, T's are in a much more empowering position then any other time of renting.


                          As others have said i am shocked the council did not do more, this could go against you as the landlord could argue that if it WERE that bad then the council would have done something more, and the fact you stayed there for so long would also go against you....... i understand your reasons but its like the employee who constantly complains about how crap their job is and wants more money ....... but does not get another job !!!! It can't be that bad.


                            Hudson01 We contacted the council long after it had all gone on and a lot of the work still hadn't been done, they said the landlord said the work had been completed, they took his word for it and closed the matter. We were under the impression that going to the council was the gold standard, so after that we just gave up.

                            Most recently we complained to the letting agent about the roof again, this was 12 months ago, 2 roofers were sent to look at the job, I spoke to one of them afterwards to see what he'd told the landlord, he told me he quoted 2K to fix the roof, as it needed a new roof and he wouldn't touch it otherwise. The landlord said he'd ok'd the work and was waiting for the roofer to be free to do it (again this was a year ago), we got a call from the letting agent several months later checking the work had been done, because they were under the impression it had been. Of course we said no, that was 8 months ago or something, we've been patient for 8 years as it is, but given the corona virus crap we understood a few months delay, but not another 8 months.

                            jpkeates Fortunately we're in a good position at this moment in time, so I'm not bothered about compensation (although I wouldn't turn it down) but there has to be a penalty, forcing him to do work, that will have to be done when we leave anyway, isn't worth the effort. A fine from the council or any other kind of punitive action is fine by me, I just feel he shouldn't get away with it.

                            Lesney Park The rent was inline when we moved in, but it hasn't gone up either, I suspect the landlord would be hesitant to even suggest an increase. All those years ago we were not in a great position, poor credit, no savings and 3 kids to support (we both work, just wanted to throw that in there). Looking at the other properties in the price bracket we wanted to pay they were all about the same, old properties likely to develop the same issues and who's to say we wouldn't be in the same boat a year down the line, if we were even accepted with poor credit. Compounded by the fact we always expected to be gone next year, then next year.... The only way we would have pursued it would be to rent something much nicer for more money, but we felt we'd rather save the money for when we were ready to buy, next year, then next year...

                            ash72 We are still in the property, we planned to start looking at moving (buying) beginning of last year after we hit our savings goal, but all this Corona stuff kicked off. We've said that we're moving this year regardless, we've got money for a deposit just waiting for the world to straighten out a bit, even if we don't buy straight away, we'll move somewhere nice short term.

                            Hudson01 It's not that bad, as in it's not a squalid hovel ha ha, just there are lots of things that should have been fixed that haven't. We have to put 3 or 4 pans out in the kitchen when it rains heavily, bits of plaster hanging off in places, things that have been fixed have been bodged.


                              Perhaps some pictures would emphasise my point.

                              This is the kitchen wall behind the door, the unpainted door casing is what was replaced as the old one had rotted away, but the wall remains.


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