Can I claim rent reduction due to building noise and landlord’s misrepresentation ??

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    Can I claim rent reduction due to building noise and landlord’s misrepresentation ??

    I started renting a ‘studio apartment’ (i.e. a bedsit) in January this year in a three-storey 1930s block – residents are a mix of renters and leaseholders. I am considering asking for rent reduction due to two main issues:
    1. Upon moving in I noticed that there is no way to turn off the radiator, as it is controlled centrally, making for an overly hot room. The landlord and their letting agents did not inform me of this (I would not have agreed to rent it if they had). They said that that ‘may’ install a thermostat before the winter comes and they turn it back on. I was willing to chalk that up to ‘live and learn’, until…
    1. The landlord is now engaged in an extensive external repair programme on the roof, meaning that the entire block will be covered in scaffolding for at least three months - this is preventative rather than urgent as far as I know. The builders are here from 8-4 every day and the noise from drilling, shouting, hammering etc. is incessant... they've been here 3 weeks already and now the landlord informed us that they'll be there another months at least. I work from home and it’s borderline unbearable (my nearest company office is 50 miles away, and as it’s all confidential legal stuff I work on I’m technically not supposed to work in a coffee shop or library). Moreover, the way they have laid out the scaffolding means that I can only open my windows about 1/10 of their full capacity, this in the hottest period of the year. There is also the loss of privacy as the builders are constantly walking past my window (flat is one room, open-plan), plus the loss of natural light due to the scaffolding planks. Though letters/emails were sent warning of the works, I was not informed of the works before I signed the lease and again would not have moved in had I known.

    Given the above, I do not see why I should pay the full rent for the months the works are taking place, given as they are violation of the ‘quit enjoyment’ clause and ability to use the flat as intended upon signing the lease. That said, the landlord will likely push back saying the works are essential (covered in the lease) – I understand there have been recent cases found in favour of the lessee, but that these were extreme cases (e.g. noise so deafening noise plugs were needed).

    As for misrepresentation, I’m not sure about the law on that. The landlord could say I should have known that an older block would have centrally controlled heating (news to me) and that building works could take place at any time. I was happy staying here for a year whilst I save for a deposit but really I feel I’m been completely shafted (£650 a month to live in a tiny bedsit which is a construction site in the summer and a sauna in the winter).

    Any advice here would be helpful - assuming the landlord refuses to discuss compensation, is the legal route worth it? Even if successful any compensation gained would likely be cancelled out by legal fees.

    Thanks,
    A Renter

    #2
    Due to your complaints, you should address these with the LA/LL and see if you can surrender your tenancy. It would be up to them to decide if you can or can't. If you want to still reside there but with a lower rent, that is something you could negotiate. The roof should have been informed either in Jan or when the contractor had been selected about the works being carried out.

    I'm surprised that the heating system doesn't have thermostatic valve, if it doesn't then you can always turn off the valve to your room.

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      #3
      You should insist on a radiator control if you decide to stay. HHSRS requires tenants to be able to control the heating so that the room doesnt get too hot or cold.

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        #4
        It is possible that the works have nothing to do with the landlord - are they the freeholder too. It is also highly possible they did not know it would take place when your tenancy started 6 months ago. Builders can start any time they like and have waiting lists of years. As such it is just one of those things (like owning a house when building works take place next door). You can ask and you might get something - but I doubt you have a "case".

        Who would you claim compensation from if you owned the place?

        Sounds like some very strange roofing work that involves 8 hours of work per day for three months - are you sure that is the case. What could they possibly do for such duration.

        Why is the heating on at all this time of year? Who pays for the heating?

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          #5
          thanks for responses.

          yes it is the landlord/freeholder commissioning the works.

          To clarify the radiator is off - they put it on each winter (Nov-Feb). The issues is that there no valve at all on it - one would need to be fixed.

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            #6
            Not planning to respond further as it is not clear whether the your landlord and the FH are one and the same, or why a small roof is taking 520 hours of work.

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              #7
              1. It is unusual for a radiator not to have a lockshield valve. Can you posts pictures of both ends of the radiator?

              2. Seems very sensible of the landlord to carry out preventative maintenance of the roof rather than letting things deteriorate further until repairs become urgent and tenants and leaseholders have water pouring through their ceilings. 3 months does seem like an awfully long time, how large is this roof?

              Quiet enjoyment is not an absolute right and I am not sure that if you tried to argue it in court the outcome would be in your favour. You pay the full rent because that is what you are contractually obligated to do. You can certainly write to the letting agency/landlord asking for a rent reduction whilst the roof repairs are being carried out but be prepared to be told to jog on.

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                #8
                Is this actually roof repairs or is the FH creating a dormer?

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                  #9
                  I'm not sure specifically... something about removing the old roof and replacing it with a modern one. The entire building is covered in scaffolding which is still not completed after 2+ weeks of the workmen building it. Then once my block is done they'll be taking it down and moving on to the 2nd one next door - more weeks and months of this, which had I know about I would NOT have agreed to move in. Am I supposed to just sit there and take it like a meek little b1tch because we have a housing crisis in this country and landlords can get away with more or else anything?

                  As for the radiator, I've attached pics. I've no idea how one goes about fitting a thermostat and how easy it would be with this model.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You have rights under consumer law if there were things that would have led you (or any reasonable person) to make a different purchasing decision that you were not advised of.
                    It's called a misleading omission.
                    The legislation that covers it is Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Rights Act.

                    The main effect is to allow the contract to be unwound, but there are issues relating to timing.

                    There is nothing to stop you demanding compensation for your loss from the landlord.
                    There's nothing to stop the landlord from trying to evict you at their earliest opportunity (although as you describe it, they might have difficulty replacing you).
                    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).

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                      #11
                      Thanks for these replies... I imagine if I went the legal route any victory would be Pyrrhic, as the meagre damages awarded would be swallowed up in legal fees?

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                        #12
                        The right hand picture looks like the lock sheiks valve but the head/cover is missing. You could get a new head or use a Spencer to turn the radiator off.

                        Damages? If you decided to take a legal route you wouldn’t be awarded damages. You would be attempting to unwind the tenancy which doesn’t mean the court awards you money it means if successful your tenancy would be brought to and end.

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