Repair Nightmares.

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    Repair Nightmares.

    Hi All,

    Please can someone help us.
    We moved into a property in June 2009.
    These are the problems we are having.

    On moving in, we found that the front door had been jimmied and now has a 1/2 inch gap at the bottom of door.
    This has been reported to the letting agent but to this date nothing has been done.

    In August 2009, a leak developed under the sink.
    This has been reported and yet nothing has been done.

    In December 2009 (18th), we woke to find water dripping from the ceiling light in our bedroom. This happens everytime the snow melts or when it snows.
    We have no lighting in this room.
    We reported this and still nothing has been done.

    Do I have ANY rights what so ever?

    The letting agents keeps telling me that the landlord is dealing with these problems but 6 months from the first problem and nothing has been done and now with the leaking room and 4 weeks nearly up, we are worried.

    Please can someone advise us.

    Thank you.

    You need to aim at L, not L's agent, and take L to court for disrepair. First, contact CAB or your Council's Tenancy Advice Officer.
    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
    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).



      There are a few remedies but first you need to think about your landlords reaction if you take any action. If you are not in fixed term agreement then he could just serve you with a section 21 notice, giving you 2 months to leave, although you have a legal right to occupy the property until a possession order is obtained from the court. If you are in a fixed term then the only legal way he can gain possession is by serving you with a section 8 notice citing grounds, such as 2 months arrears , ASB etc. If you do not owe arrears and all is okay then you should be fine.

      I would suggest that you seek some advice from a local housing advice centre, CAB etc. They could write to your landlord which might make him sit up and take notice.

      Okay as for remedies. You could pay for the repair yourself and withhold rent to cover the costs. However, unless you follow the correct procedure you could open yourself up for future problems.

      This is the correct way to do it;

      If a landlord has clearly breached a repairing obligation, tenants have the right under common law to do the repair themselves and deduct the costs and expenses of doing so from future rent payments. However, the correct procedure must be followed and adequate notice and estimates of costs must be submitted to the landlord in advance of the work being done so that s/he has the opportunity to do the works her/himself.

      The case of Lee-Parker v Izzet established that if the correct procedure is followed, the tenant will have a complete defence to any possession action taken for rent arrears resulting from the deduction of repair costs from rent. The procedure that must be adhered to is as follows:

      1) The tenant should inform the landlord of the repairs needed (preferably in writing) and allow a reasonable time for the necessary works to be completed
      2) If the landlord fails to act, the tenant should inform the landlord (preferably in writing) that s/he will do the repair her/himself unless the landlord complies with her/his obligations
      3) S/he should then allow a further reasonable period for the landlord to do the work
      4) The tenant should obtain three estimates
      5) Copies of the estimates should be sent to the landlord, giving her/him the opportunity to comment and a final chance to do the work her/himself
      6) The contractor who supplied the lowest estimate should be employed to carry out the work
      7) The tenant must send the invoice to the landlord and request reimbursement for the cost
      8) If the landlord does not pay, then the tenant may deduct the cost of the repair work from future rent.

      Court action

      If the repair is severe enough you could take court action. You can sue the landlord in the county court for breach of contract if s/he has not met her/his repairing obligations, or for failure to meet her/his liabilities. The outcome will usually be damages to compensate for the disrepair and/or injunctions and/or orders to compel the landlord to do the necessary work. Court action should generally only be considered as a last resort because it can be costly and time consuming.

      HHSRS (environmental health)

      You could also contact your local Environmental health officer for help. EH have powers to take enforcement action against landlord is they are failing to meet their repairing obligations. The Housing health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS) is a new system for assessing housing conditions. It is given statutory effect by Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004. It replaces the previous test of fitness for human habitation in section 604 Housing Act 1985 with a new system by which a local authority:

      • carries out inspections of rented housing (ask EH to carry out an inspection, depending on where you live it could take a while though)
      • identifies whether any specified hazards are present
      • categorises those hazards according to objective criteria

      Good luck and i hope this info helps.


        Some general info on dealing with disrepair

        And landlord's statutory repairing obligations

        Start with writing to the landlord (always keep copy letters and get proof of postage such as a free certificate of posting).


          Thank you so much for your prompt replies.
          I will make a appointment with the CAB office and go from there.


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