Landlord in breach of his maintenance and repair obligations

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  • Landlord in breach of his maintenance and repair obligations

    The shower in my flat stopped working completely about 3 weeks ago due to faulty wiring. I notified the landlord immidiately and he said he would send an electrician some time soon. The electrician came in two days when I was at work and left a note that he could not get into the property. The Landlord blamed me for not granting access to the property (which I believe is unreasonable as I was not informed of the time when the electrician was coming).

    The landlord then did not take my calls for a week and I had to right a letter to the estate agents, who chased him and he finally responded to my calls. He complained that he was ill and had no capacity to contact anyone to arrange the repairs.

    Finally this week (ie around 3 weeks after the notice) he arranged for the plumber to come to the property, who, after two days of work, established that the problem was an electrical one (although I did specify that to the landlord initially). Now the electrician is coming tomorrow and hopefully it will be fixed then.

    As far as I am aware, the landlord was in breach of the implied terms into the AST as he has to maintain the property in the conditions suitable for habitation, which surely implies having a working shower. We were left without a shower for around 3 weeks and had to shower at the gym. We think we should be entitled to withhold a portion of our rent, but we do not want the landlord to withhold our deposit when we leave. We are also considering a possibility to terminate the lease earlier as this is not the first breach on his part.

    Could someone please advise if it is possible to withhold rent in this situation and how we can justify it and if early termination is a possibility.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    There is a set procedure you need to follow before you can withhold rent where repairs are outstanding. Since it seems that the electrician will fix the shower tomorrow it is not necessary to set them out. The justification for withholding rent is that it encourages the landlord to do the repair. Once the repair is done, that justification is no longer there.

    It is doubtful that you have a right to offset against rent any compensation, particularly if it has not been quantified. I suspect that any compensation is in any event going to be minimal.

    A tenant's right to repudiate a tenancy for the landlord's failure to comply with his obligations is very limited.


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