Granted lease of flat to Local Authority

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    Granted lease of flat to Local Authority

    Been through complaints procedure, back at square one. Considering going to small claims court. Please could you advise whether I would be throwing good money after bad? The Council failed to do the following under the lease:
    (1) to pay me rent on due date.
    (2) to keep flat in good and tenantable repair.
    (3) to keep the garden in good repair.
    (4) to give me notice in writing of (1) stopping my rent and (2) damage to my flat sustained at the hands of the tenant before she absconded.
    (5) to pay Council Tax from January to July 2009 after Council's tenant absconded.
    (6) to give me 6 weeks' "Determination Notice".

    • I received the first instalment of rent in November, a month after the tenant moved in.
    • I received the second, third and fourth instalments of rent in February. (I complained at the time).
    • Broken boiler cover, scorched laminate on drawers, broken shelf, double doors that do not close, woodwork dirty and scuffed, paint over door furniture, chipped tiles, rust marks, blocked drain.
    • Weeds between the slabs. Garden and domestic debris strewn around. Untouched the whole time tenant in my flat.
    • The Council surveyor gave me notice on 11 May 2009 that electrics in my flat had failed an electric test. It did not give me notice that it was stopping my rent beginning June and for how long. June and July payments were stopped.
    • The Council removed my carpet and flooring (laid new a couple of months before I moved out) without notifying me. Relaid unsuitable carpet and flooring without consulting me.
    • The boiler cover broken and could not be repaired.
    • The laminate on the front of the kitchen drawers was scorched and could not be repaired.
    • The Council stopped paying Council Tax from January after the tenant absconded and 'used up' the Class C exemption I intended to use from July onwards, for 6 months from time tenant absconded.
    • The Council said it could not give me the normal 6 weeks' notice but did not explain why.
    • The Council notified me, by letter dated 10 July 2009 that my lease with the Council had come to an end and I would receive a final payment into my account of 4 weeks' rent not 6 in lieu of notice. My keys were returned with the letter. The Council paid a further 2 weeks' rent into my account in 3 months later.

    The Council stopped my rent for June and July. The Council says it is not obliged to pay me rent for any period when the property is unoccupied due to the need for the landlord to carry out repairs (letter of 13 August 2009). I say shame on the Council for not feeling obliged to do right by me.
    • By 11 May 2009 -- the day the Council surveyor wrote me a pro forma letter telling me my flat had failed electric tests -- the Council had done all the renovations to my flat it intended to do.
    • Was the letter a red herring? The Council Surveyor would have known that my flat was not going to be restored to a good and tenantable condition and it was going to be returned to me early.
    • When I entered my flat on 3 June (for the first time since September 2006) I saw from its condition that it was not ready for re-letting. The repairing of the electrics and the issuing of my electrician's report alone was not preventing the Council from re-letting my flat. There was work to be done. The interior was not yet restored to a good and tenantable standard and the garden was a mess.
    • The Council surveyor, in his letter, asked me to remedy the electric repairs as soon as possible and that is what I did, believing the Council would also be doing its bit to restore my flat to a good and tenantable standard ready to re-let. I did not know that the Council had done all the renovations to my flat it intended to do, nor did I know that the Council would be returning my flat to me within 2 months.
    • The Council told the Independent Adjudicator that no rent is due to me for the period between 11 May and 9 July 2009 when the property could not be occupied because of the electrical disrepair. Not correct: the electrics were repaired in June.
    • I believe the Council had no plans to re-let my property.
    • The Council did not repair and restore my flat to a good and tenantable standard after the tenant absconded, ready for re-letting.
    • The Council chose only to replace the carpet and flooring and paint a couple of rooms.
    • The Council dragged its feet. The contractors could have been in and out of my flat, job done, in a week. My electrician could have worked alongside the contractors.
    • My lease was terminating on 8 October 2009 and I was not going to be offered me a new lease, leaving too little time for the Council to settle in a new tenant with furniture.
    • The Council could not offer me a new lease because Council policy towards leasing 1-bedroom flats changed in 2008 (letter of 10 July 2009) and the Council has stopped leasing flats like mine for their tenants.
    Private Sector Leasing have been incompetent managers from the beginning
    • I handed all my keys over to the Council on 29 September 2006.
    • The Council had 5 working days, from the day I handed over all my keys to PSL to the day the tenant moved into my flat, to send me a copy of the lease for signature but it failed to do so.
    • The Council moved the tenant into my flat before I had read and signed the lease. The lease arrived at the beginning of November 2006. A completed copy was returned to me late December 2006.
    • The Council moved an unsuitable tenant into my small 1-bedroom flat on 9 October 2006, i.e., a young girl with a toddler, and a boyfriend in tow. I was told my flat would be for single occupancy because it had no bathroom and was unsuitable for a child.
    • The Council refused to contact my maintenance company on two occasions although it had my permission to do so under the lease (and the Council had given the Independent Adjudicator the impression it would normally do so). (1) In 2006 to repair a pipe under the sink that leaked while the tenant was attempting to plumb-in her washing machine. (2) In 2009 to clear a drain in the back garden blocked with small toys and a piece of my [broken] drain cover.

    A decision to resolve matters through the court depends on the contract you signed with the council and how much you can actually prove to be out of pocket.


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