No heating- L's duty under s.11; effect on rent?

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    No heating- L's duty under s.11; effect on rent?

    Hi, my tenant wants compensation for not having heating for 3 weeks even though we had a brand new heating system installed after that. Tenant was aware of the broken heating system even before signing contract. So now he did pay the full rental for the month of december saying that he needs compensation.

    Is there anything that we could do? We are planning to give him notice to leave after his 4th month so that he leaves after the 6th month minimum period. In case he doesn't leave, will the Sect8 or Sect 21 apply(since he paid partially the rent)?

    #2
    Originally posted by kenG View Post
    Hi, my tenant wants compensation for not having heating for 3 weeks even though we had a brand new heating system installed after that. Tenant was aware of the broken heating system even before signing contract. So now he did pay the full rental for the month of december saying that he needs compensation.

    Is there anything that we could do? We are planning to give him notice to leave after his 4th month so that he leaves after the 6th month minimum period. In case he doesn't leave, will the Sect8 or Sect 21 apply(since he paid partially the rent)?
    The problem is s.11 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. You as L have inescapable duties re mains sevices, so T is presumably complaining at your three-week failure; his knowledge of defects before tenancy commencement date does not affect your duties, and non-compliance is a criminal offence.
    I'd consider offering him a reasonable compensation (e.g. a 33% rent discount for the three weeks?) This ought to be payable only:
    a. when he leaves; and
    b. if his rent is then up-to-date and the property is handed-back in a reasonable state!
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Tenant withholds rent because of heating problem

      Hi, I have a very difficult tenant who has held back the rent and claiming compensation. do we really owe him any compensation?

      On the
      05th september - the tenant viewed the property & gave an offer to the agent.
      06th september - he suggested to move in on 14sep and confirmed his offer.
      07th september - we agreed to his offer and requested the agent to start tenancy on the 11th september so that we can take it OFF the market from the other agents.
      10th september - gas safety check was booked in, but unfortunately the warm air heating part was found spoilt , but there was still hot water in the house. Just that the warm air heating was spoilt, as the heat exchanger was broken and the needed to be changed.
      11th september - the inventory was prepared

      14th september - the tenant signed the tenancy agreement , henceforth starting the tenancy from 14sep. ( well knowing that the warm air heating is not working and needs to be fixed.)
      21st september - the tenant emailed regarding the progress of warm air heating
      21st september - the tenant was told about the appointment we had booked with the engineer to fix the system on 01oct 3pm, that being the earliest.
      27th september - we chased after the tenant again, to confirm that he can keep the appointment booked with the engineer to go in the property on 01oct 3pm
      28th september - the tenant said, it was difficult for him to make it on 01oct and wanted to rebook the appointment on 02oct
      29th september - due to the short notice of cancellation of the appointment, the engineer rebooked it for 11oct
      05th october - we managed to get another engineer to see the problem on 06th and 07 oct
      05th-07th october - we tried to get in touch with the tenant, thru email, textmessage, voicemail to sort the heating out on 06/07oct but he didnt respond
      08th october - we managed to get access to the property, and the engineer inspected the system, but the tenant now posed the issue of asbestos flu in the system and threatened to sue us, and bring us to the court, if we didnt get professional people to fix it. He stressed on seeing the certificate of professional asbestos handling people. Even though we kept convincing him that the part / system change will not need the flu to be changed.
      10th october - we brought in 4 oil filled radiators, to provide in the property but are not able to get in as the tenant is not 'IN'. We left voicemails for him.
      11th october - the heaters were provided, while we brought yet another engineer to the property to fix the problem.
      12th october onwards - We called counsel etc to get information about Asbestos, made several calls to Johnston and Starley to address tenant's asbestos concerns. At this point even the 18yrs experienced, Johnston and Starley certified engineer wanted to back off from the job, but we really requested him to try and sort this out for us.
      22nd october - after getting a final clearance about the asbestos issue, and calling and begging the tenant several times, we finally managed to fix a brand new ram air heating unit in the property.

      18th december - the tenant only paid half the rent saying the he has withheld the rest until we reach a compromise about the compensation that he wants for the 5 weeks that he did not have heating.

      We chased after the agent, and she doesnt want to get involved. The agent does for us the rent collection service. We took her advise on giving notice to the tenant in January to leave as since the time he has moved in the house we have had a very tough time.

      19 december - the agent sends us a letter saying that she wants to dis intruct herself and she doesnt want to get involved in this matter.

      We are obviously gutted, as during this festive time, we have made several calls to him asking what settlement and he says he will discuss the issue after new year. But basically he needs compensation for not having heating on what he claims is 5 weeks ??????
      Please help as our christmas and new year is ruined.

      Do we really owe him any compensation ?? As from 14sep onwards we tried our best possible to get stuff sorted, and also the house temprature was not less than 16degrees as I gather from section604 of housing act 1985 that landlord needs to provide temprature above 16degrees, when its -1degrees outside. Also this incident took place in september which was not yet winter time.

      Comment


        #4
        I would stick the tenant in court for the rent and costs after a 7 day warning letter that this is what you will do.

        Let him then counterclaim for the loss of heating at which point you can say you did all you could to get it sorted out and that most of the delay was down to the tenant failing to allow access and that part of the claimed for period of no heating was during the summer period.

        Let he judge then sort it out - you will have a legal decision.

        The tenant will get castigated in court for "awarding himself" compensation by withholding rent. When you get into court, ask the tenant what he did with the money he withheld and ask him to produce evidence he has indeed kept it back as opposed to simply being short of money and using the heating problem as a means of covering a shortgage!!!!!!!

        Comment


          #5
          Thks for your reply ! .. do we really owe him any compensation ? coz we dont really understand what is he asking compensation for.. he keeps saying that he will bring us to court ! starting from 14sep-10oct is the period he was without heating, because he tried to delay the matter. Is this period considered winter ??

          We have already spent so much money for the new heating system in the house, wont the court expenses be another hole in our pocket ?

          Oh this is the worst christmas gift we have ever got..
          What do you guys say ?? What is the best thing to do ??

          Comment


            #6
            At the moment, you have no rent from this guy, plus an inflated account of what he wants for compensation. On the other hand, you will be thinking "What about compensating us for no/late rent payments?"

            If you cannot get this sorted out amicably, then you will have to go to court whether or not it puts another expense on top ofwhat you have paid to get the heating sorted out because unless you do, you wont get any rent!!!

            Also, whilst I accept that the heating may be out of action - there are such things as portable fan heaters, oil heaters and suchlike - and you did try and help him with some portable appliances. Personally, I don't think you owe him any compo and I think he is trying it on to cover a shortfall of rent money.

            This sort of thing is all part and parcel of being a landlord - sorry and all that, but you are going to have to get used to it.

            You need to be firm with this tenant and say that if it cannot be resolved by x date, then the following day, you will sue for the rent and costs - in your shoes, I would suggest offering him 25% off 2 weeks rent for the loss of the heating system on a without prejudice and goodwill basis and see if it works.

            Comment


              #7
              thks for ur reply.. when i did chase the guy for rent when the agent told me.. he only paid half for this month.. i asked him what kind of compensation is he looking for.. and it looks more like he is after something like £500. so here we go.. he is not happy with anything.. he wants things his way..

              But from my understanding..
              he took the property , well knowing that the heating system is condenmed and will take couple of weeks to be fixed, and then delayed the fixing .. and gave a very hard time.. he was provided oil filled radiators on 10oct and new heating system installed on 26oct..
              so y then should i give him compensation??
              cz the problem with this guy is that the minute i give into his demands.. he climbs on my head..
              i am too scared to give into the fact that i owe him something.. n then he goes on giving me a hard time..
              what do you suggest ??
              should we give him break clause notice section21, to leave in january?? so that in march he vacates our property??

              Comment


                #8
                How long for heating repairs?

                Please can any experienced landlords help me?

                I have been living in my current rented property for 16 months, and had no problems until recently. During a very cold spell in November my boiler stopped working, which resulted in no hot water either as the property has a hot water storage tank with no back-up facility.

                I instructed my landlord by phone on Thursday lunchtime and told him a friend was going to come and have a look in case it was something simple like to pilot light going out.

                My friend came round and spent over 2 hours diagnosing that it was either the fan or the circuit board that would need repairing so I informed my landlord on the Thursday evening. Within an hour or so a 'friend' of his arrived and agreed that this was the problem and it should be fixed the following day. When I arrived home after work on Friday, the boiler was still not fixed so I called my landlord who said that the new parts were ordered but would not arrive until after the weekend.

                Again, Monday came and no-one had arrived, the same for Tuesday. All I got from my landlord was that he was doing his best and his hands were tied. By Wednesday morning I had had enough. I called the company his friend worked for who said that the boiler would still not be repaired that day as they were busy, so I got the Yellow Pages out, called a firm at 10.00am and the boiler was fixed by 2.30pm the same day - at my expense!!!

                I do admit that I did get the money back for the repairs within a couple of days from my landlord but I feel I should be entitled to some sort of compensation as the house was virtually unhabitable for a period of 6 days. I have a 5 years old daughter and had no heating or hot water for this time. We had to go to friends and family on the really cold nights to sleep and get washed by boiling the kettle.

                Oh yeah - and to round it off, following this my landlord arranged British Gas Boiler Care, and then increased my rent to cover this payment!!

                What I would like to know is:

                1. Is there any law that states how long repairs like this are to be made in, when it is detrimental to the health of the tenant?
                2. Am I entitled to withold any rent as way of compensation?

                I have tried to look through the internet to find my answers and have tried reading the Housing Acts but who can understand these??

                Am I just the ideal tenant for a dodgy landlord who can take me for a fool at my expense??????

                Comment


                  #9
                  To be honest you were not without facilities that long so compensation in my mind is not due. However what concerns me is that the LL has increased your rent without warning. Unless this was done with notice and in the prescribed format you are under no legal obligation to pay the increase. YOu should be given at least one months notice.
                  GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                  Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    To add to JAS's point about there being a clear process for increasing rent, if you have already paid the increased rent you might (possibly) have shot yourself in the foot and agreed to the extra rent. If you have not paid the increased amount but just the original amount, you should be ok. But do bear in mind that in that case your landlord might decide that he'll just issue a Section 21 and ask you to leave so he can get someone in at the higher rent to cover the cost of cover.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      No Heating For Over 2 Weeks

                      Hi
                      we havnt had heating in our rented flat for over two weeks, we have had a corgi boiler man come out 2 weeks ago who informed us that if we still dont have heating in two weeks we can take action.

                      does anyone know what we can do?

                      our landlord isnt answering are calls or telling us what is going on, and the corgi man hasnt been able to get hold of them to quote them a price for the new boiler etc, so who knows how long it will be.

                      also she hasnt given us temp heating.

                      any advice?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        How much is your rent, and have you paid it recently, and can you pay the boiler man out of the rent?

                        Try contacting environmental health; also the tenancy relations officer at the council.
                        The contents of this note are neither advice nor a definitive answer. If you plan to rely on this, you should pay somebody for proper advice.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          we havnt paid march's rent yet as we didnt know what was happening, but the boiler etc will be over £2,000 and are rent is just over £1,000 so can't really do that.
                          ok ill get in contact with them.

                          thanks

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well, it's only two months' rent. Don't pay this month's, pay the boilerman and don't pay next month's either.

                            Or leave. And sue the L for illegal eviction. Might be worth 5k to you. But make sure you have all your documentation in place showing lack of communication from L. Written statements from the boiler man; evidence of telephone calls - do you have itemised billing? copies of emails; receipts from registered post letters.
                            The contents of this note are neither advice nor a definitive answer. If you plan to rely on this, you should pay somebody for proper advice.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The Shelter website gives information on the process for how a tenant, as a last resort, can arrange quotes and undertake the work themselves, deducting it from the rent, but is adamant that the process must be done properly so have a look at the info there.

                              They also recommend that tenants keep good records of all contact with a landlord, including keeping copies of letters sent. Do you have your landlords address?

                              Though I am not recommending that you withold rent per se (unless properly following the tenant repair process which can infuriate a landlord and have them initiate eviction),I bet your evasive landlord would contact you the instant the rent wasn't paid!

                              Comment

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