Guidance about compensation

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  • Guidance about compensation

    Hello,

    I want to ask my landlord for a compensation and I need some orientation. I’ll make it short and I’ll skip the tedious struggle with the landlord for him to get things repaired (letters, calls, e-mails, etc).

    (Context: I hold an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for 6 months/6 months rent already paid in advance/Building insured by landlord).

    I’m renting a one bedroom flat and it’s taken 3 months for the landlord to repair a leak in my bedroom. So, during all this time I have been putting up with: black mould all over the bedroom ceiling and walls, water dripping 24/7, vermin, damp, bad smells, etc. Also I had to move the bed into a corner of the room to minimize the exposure to the mould, etc. and I moved my workstation out of the room and squeezed into the living room.

    I consider I should be compensated for all the inconvenience suffered as well as for loss of utility of the bedroom but I don’t know what would be a fair amount. In the Tenancy Agreement there is this clause: “In the event that a part of the Premises becomes unfit for normal use and habitation, then a fair proportion of the rent shall cease to be payable until such time as the Premises is in a fit state for habitation and use”. I would say that I have not been able to use approx. 1/3 of the room, so my questions are: what would be a fair proportion of the rent in this case? And also, could the landlord decide to evict me because all of this?

    I hope you can guide me. Thanks very much in advance.

    Sarah

  • #2
    Originally posted by buzz View Post
    Hello,

    I want to ask my landlord for a compensation and I need some orientation. I’ll make it short and I’ll skip the tedious struggle with the landlord for him to get things repaired (letters, calls, e-mails, etc).

    (Context: I hold an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for 6 months/6 months rent already paid in advance/Building insured by landlord).

    I’m renting a one bedroom flat and it’s taken 3 months for the landlord to repair a leak in my bedroom. So, during all this time I have been putting up with: black mould all over the bedroom ceiling and walls, water dripping 24/7, vermin, damp, bad smells, etc. Also I had to move the bed into a corner of the room to minimize the exposure to the mould, etc. and I moved my workstation out of the room and squeezed into the living room.

    I consider I should be compensated for all the inconvenience suffered as well as for loss of utility of the bedroom but I don’t know what would be a fair amount. In the Tenancy Agreement there is this clause: “In the event that a part of the Premises becomes unfit for normal use and habitation, then a fair proportion of the rent shall cease to be payable until such time as the Premises is in a fit state for habitation and use”. I would say that I have not been able to use approx. 1/3 of the room, so my questions are: what would be a fair proportion of the rent in this case? And also, could the landlord decide to evict me because all of this?

    I hope you can guide me. Thanks very much in advance.

    Sarah
    One third of the rent as compensation sounds reasonable, and no, he cannot use this as a reason to evict you. You could use his failure to do the repairs as a reason to get out before the end of your tenancy, however!

    If he continues to avoid getting the problem sorted you are within your rights to get quotes yourself for the work, and then get it done and withold equivalent amount from rent (on top of the third of the rent you will be deducting for the period in whcih you had reduced facilities). Inform him in writing that you intend to do this and give him a deadline - it might spur him on a bit.

    Don't let him bully you - you are in the right here; he is in breach of contract.

    Good luck.

    Has he protected your deposit in a protection scheme and supplied you with the details of it?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
      You could use his failure to do the repairs as a reason to get out before the end of your tenancy, however!
      Not an option. A tenant's remedy is damages or a court order requiring the landlord to carry out the work.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
        Not an option. A tenant's remedy is damages or a court order requiring the landlord to carry out the work.
        I think that in practice, some tenants give the LL the option : do the repairs or we will leave, and some LLs to avoid grief, let them go. When I said 'you could use it' I suppose I was thinking along those lines, rather than in the strict legal sense, but thanks for pointing it out. I stand corrected!
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks a lot for your input guys. Now I have an idea where I stand.

          Regarding the deposit, in the tenancy agreement says that it's "held by the Landlord's Agent as Stakeholder and any interest earned on the deposit will belong to the Agent who is a member of the TDS Scheme." So I guess it's ok, although I'm going to ask him for the tenacy UID code just to be sure.

          I'll let you know how it goes.

          Many thanks.

          Sarah

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
            Not an option. A tenant's remedy is damages or a court order requiring the landlord to carry out the work.
            Not necessarily, if the problems are serious enough, the LL might be in repudiatory breach; see Hussein v. Mehlman.

            To forestall your next argument "but it's only a first intance decision". The case appears and is cited with approval in most major texts and commentaries on L&T, so I think it would be followed.

            OP - your LL might be in repudiatory breach of tenancy by allowing such serious disrepair that the tenancy can be considered to have come to an end. You may be able to accept his repudiatory breach by leaving without further liability; however, I am wary of advising that you can do so without warning you that the doctrine of repudiatory breach is quite new and relatively untested in landlord and tenant law, and so the upper and lower limits of the seriousness of the LL's breach have not been established.
            Health Warning


            I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

            All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by agent46 View Post
              Hussein v. Mehlman
              I cannot seem to find the case or an adequate summary. Such observations as I can find on Googling are inconclusive.

              I hope it is not another deplorable case of the law of contract making incursions into the sacred grounds of the doctine of estates and creating uncertainty where none previously existed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                I cannot seem to find the case or an adequate summary. ..
                That might be because I mispelled the claimant's name as the "Saddam" rather than the "Nasser" variant.

                Here's the citation: Hussain v. Mehlman [1992] 32 EGLR 87

                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                I hope it is not another deplorable case of the law of contract making incursions into the sacred grounds of the doctine of estates and creating uncertainty where none previously existed.
                Although it pains me to offend against your sense of theology and geometry*, I'm afraid it is.


                * I wonder if anyone on LLZ will "get" that literary reference?
                Health Warning


                I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have found the following summary:

                  (County Court) The defendant landlord granted the plaintiff a three year assured shorthold tenancy. He now appealed a finding that he was in breach of an implied covenant to maintain the space heating, and otherwise. The tenant had returned the keys. The court was asked whether the landlord by his breach had committed a repudiatory breach of the lease. Held: Normal contractual principles can be applied to leases, since a lease is only a contract which creates an interest in land. A lease could be brought to an end by the tenant's acceptance of a repudiatory breach by the landlord: "the defendant's conduct, in the classic language, evinced an intention not to be bound by the implied covenant to repair. The breach, in my judgment, vitiated the central purpose of the contract of letting. "

                  It is worse than I could have imagined. The words in red are the exact opposite of what is the case. A tenancy is an interest in land which incidentally has contractual obligations attached to it. It is, at least in theory, quite possible to have a tenancy without any obligations attached to it. Bound to overruled.

                  Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                  I wonder if anyone on LLZ will "get" that literary reference?
                  Doesn't ring any bells.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                    Although it pains me to offend against your sense of theology and geometry*, I'm afraid it is.


                    * I wonder if anyone on LLZ will "get" that literary reference?
                    Ha! Confederacy of Dunces?

                    agent46, You are Ignatius J Reilly and I claim my £5.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                    • #11
                      Hello again,

                      I've just check with TDS, DPS and mydeposits and they say that my deposit is not registered with them. So, what should I do next? Shall I get a solicitor?

                      Many thanks.

                      Sarah

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        Ha! Confederacy of Dunces?
                        Ha ha!! I thought you might get it.

                        I've just noticed that you posted your reply in the morning - I must have missed your post whilst I was out buying a string for my lute or pushing my hot dog cart around the French Quarter.

                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        agent46, You are Ignatius J Reilly and I claim my £5.
                        Actually, I re-read the book earlier this year and I realised that his rhetorical style and worldview can be uncannily like my own (obviously, without the unfortunate Collie dog incident, and hopefully there is no physical resemblence). In fact, one of my friends sometimes calls me "Ignatius" if I'm being especially scathing about someone in particular or the post-enlightenment world in general.

                        A truly brilliant, brilliant book, which still makes me laugh out loud just thinking about it.
                        Health Warning


                        I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                        All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by buzz View Post
                          Hello again,

                          I've just check with TDS, DPS and mydeposits and they say that my deposit is not registered with them. So, what should I do next? Shall I get a solicitor?

                          Many thanks.

                          Sarah
                          Your landlord has lied to you, in that case, but it may add grist to your mill.

                          My advice would be to write to him advising him that he is in breach of contract by not arranging for repairs to be carrried out witihin a reasonable length of time from when you first reported the problem (remind him of the dates). Tell him that you intend:

                          (a) to arrange three quotations for the work and to have the repairs carried out by the best value tradesman, unless you hear from him within 7 days. If he is still abroad and you know his email address, it would be logical to email him the letter as well, but to cover yourself, you should post it to his England/Wales address in the first instance.

                          (b) to withold one third of the rent for the period during which you only had use of two thirds of the property

                          It is up to you whether you choose at this point to remind him that he is also breaking the law by not protecting your deposit. In theory you could sue him for 3x the deposit. (This is newish legislation and it hasn't been tried out very often yet. Some landlords seeme to have escaped the penalty by rushing to protect deposits in a scheme before a claim comes to court). But its worth keeping that threat as a bargaining point, as it is a serious failing on his part. Even if it's the letting agent who has messed up, it's not your problem - it's the LL's responsibility in the end to ensure deposits are protected. If the agent has lied to him about it, tough. That's for them to sort out; you can still sue the LL.

                          At this stage I cannot see any reason to employ a solicitor, but if you end having to take him to court (to force him to do the repairs, or over the deposit), you would be advised to consult one, tpo ensure everything is in order, advise on how best to present your case, represent you if you wish, and ensure you don't lose it all on a technicality. Costs are usually recoverable.

                          Good luck - let us know how you get on.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                            Ha ha!! I thought you might get it.

                            I've just noticed that you posted your reply in the morning - I must have missed your post whilst I was out buying a string for my lute or pushing my hot dog cart around the French Quarter.



                            Actually, I re-read the book earlier this year and I realised that his rhetorical style and worldview can be uncannily like my own (obviously, without the unfortunate Collie dog incident, and hopefully there is no physical resemblence). In fact, one of my friends sometimes calls me "Ignatius" if I'm being especially scathing about someone in particular or the post-enlightenment world in general.

                            A truly brilliant, brilliant book, which still makes me laugh out loud just thinking about it.
                            Hi, agent/Ignatius. I'm never quite sure how to interpret the tone of your 'Ha ha', however, in this case I'm going for 'postmodern whoop of delight'. Hope that's about right.

                            I agree with you, it is a brilliant and very funny book, (though not to everyone's taste. Their loss!) I have a hunch it will resonate even more powerfully in years to come. As Swift did/does, of course. He still makes more sense than most modern writers, it seems to me. I think I was born in the wrong century - but then I would have missed out on Hardy, Beckett, Paul Scott, Salinger, Ishiguro, Naipaul...and being visualized (by Rodent, in your TAB thread) as Bet Lynch. Now there's a post-enlightenment nightmare, if you ever needed one.

                            OK, back to your hot-dogs!
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              I think I was born in the wrong century - but then I would have missed out on Hardy, Beckett, Paul Scott, Salinger, Ishiguro, Naipaul...
                              Quite.

                              To quote Ignatius, "Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment - that is mostly dangerous propoganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians too. For the contemporary period, you should study some collected comic books. I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman"

                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              and being visualized (by Rodent, in your TAB thread) as Bet Lynch.
                              That mongoloid must be lashed 'til he drops!


                              PS: BBC 1 9pm tonight - Stephen Fry in America ; he's visiting New Orleans, and a little bird told me he does a bit on Confederacy of Dunces
                              Health Warning


                              I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                              All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                              Comment

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