Advice about withholding rent, deposits and gas safety

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    Advice about withholding rent, deposits and gas safety

    Hi there

    I am looking for some advise regarding my landlord.

    I am a South African and moved into my privately let (no agent involved) flat in London in July 2007. Having come from SA, I was not aware that the landlord should put your deposit into a deposit scheme or that the LL should provide a gas safety certificate. The LL has not provided me with evidence of either of these.

    My lease has expired and is a statutory periodic lease. I now want to move out and have given written notice that I will be moving out at the end of April 2008.

    I understand that I can take my LL to court for not having protected my deposit and claim this back + 3 times the deposit.

    However, I am looking for some advice about what can be done about the gas safety certificate at such a late stage:

    1. I know the I can report the LL to the HSE and that she may be fined, but do I have any personal/civil claim against the LL for this?
    2. As my LL has not protected my deposit or given me gas safety certificates, would it be advisable to withhold my final month's rent until my LL a. provides me with evidence that my deposit is protected and b. the gas safety is in order?

    Thanks
    Saffer in London

    #2
    Originally posted by Saffer View Post
    I know the I can report the LL to the HSE and that she may be fined, but do I have any personal/civil claim against the LL for this?
    If you die of carbon monoxide poisoning, then for sure - otherwise I'm pretty sure the answer is no, as you haven't actually suffered as a result of the omission. The environmental health dept at the local council will normally talke a very dim view of the lack of a safety certificate though.[/QUOTE]

    Comment


      #3
      thanks. any advise regarding my second question?

      Would it be advisable to withhold the last month's rent if the LL cannot indicate that the deposit is protected (I have written to the LL given her 7 days to provide me with the information)

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Saffer View Post
        Would it be advisable to withhold the last month's rent if the LL cannot indicate that the deposit is protected (I have written to the LL given her 7 days to provide me with the information).
        Well, if you withhold the last month's rent you would be breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement - do two wrongs make a right? I'm not sure why you want to do this, unless you have strong reasons to suspect your LL may withold the deposit without foundation. If you ended up in front of a judge, I think you'd strengthen your position by looking whiter than white if you don't withhold it.

        I'd say that you are safe in assuming you'll get your deposit back anyway, though; if it's unprotected then your LL wouldn't have a leg to stand on if he withholds it and you challenge this in court - and you should also be awarded the 3X penalty. And especially in the case of a cowboy landlord who doesn't get gas checks done, I'd say 'go for it'.

        But if you just want minimum fuss and aggravation and don't want the risk of having to go through a court case (even though you'd win), and you suspect the LL may withold your deposit without good cause, then maybe withholding the rent is a good idea. Do you think that's the case? Is there any legitimate reason for deductions to be made from your deposit?

        But please wait for other opinions, don't rely on mine - this forum tends to be relatively quiet at the w/end.

        Comment


          #5
          Further to this issue,

          is it possible for the LL to contract out of placing the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Saffer View Post
            Further to this issue,

            is it possible for the LL to contract out of placing the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme?
            One of the schemes is 'insurance based', where the LL, or you, pays a premium and hangs on to the deposit. You still have to be informed about this though.
            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

            Comment


              #7
              Remember that Deposit Protection applies only to ASTs. If rent > £25 000 p.a., not uncommon in London, the letting is outside 1988 Act.
              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).

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