Can I withhold a portion of my rent.

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  • Can I withhold a portion of my rent.

    I hope I have put this in the correct place this time
    I will try and keep this short,
    Live in a converted house (2x2bed flats + 1 studio) Shared hallway/entrance
    I live on the ground floor, rest of properties on 1st floor.
    Have lived here a year by the 1st of march.
    Shortly after moving in I found out that I was paying for the lighting and electricity in the hall, landing and front porch. No mention of this when moving in by the letting agent. Now I dont mind paying for my share of this usage, but feel that I shouldnt have to be burden with having to pay for it all. I wouldnt mind so much if the other occupants turned off the lights when not in use but the top light which I do not need to use is left on and I am constantly turning it off thus with all the lights. I have spoken to the agency a few times about this but its like talking to some one who hasnt got their lights totally turned on! All I get is.. yes we know and we will get back to you.
    What I want to do is to withhold £15.00 from my next months rent for the whole year of electricity that I have been paying for the lights and for 2 of them I dont even use.
    Can any one tell me where I stand on this.
    It may sound trivial I know, but I live off benefits as I am disabled and am also having to pay out for extra heating because a wall in my nieces room (she lives with me 16yrs old) has a damp problem which the land lord/agency has been made aware of and still awaiting to be repaired after them knowing about it since October. Also having to fork out for mould repellents/cleaners which has been detrimental to not only my health but now my niece is starting to suffer with chest complaints. I have been on to the EHS but they have just said if the agency is sending some one round to look at it then there is nothing much more they can do. But that is all they do is look, I have had to replace a bed because of the damp and mould and also a wardrobe where mildew got in and started to rot the fabric.
    Any suggestion would be greatly received.
    Edit/Delete Message

  • #2
    Sounds fair enough providing you write a note explaining about this. Are you sure £15 for the whole year will cover it?

    Comment


    • #3
      Please disregard the advice above, as witholding rent without permission from your LL puts you in breach of contract and can give him a reason to serve you notice. It is something which should only be contemplated as a last resort.

      I suggest that first of all, you take a good look at your tenancy agreement. What exactly does it say about liability for utility bills?

      If you can quote the relevant section, we can advise as to the best course of action. I agree that it seems unfair that you should have to pay for other people's electricity, but you have to go about it the right way!

      The mould, etc., is a separate matter - please do a 'search' for this on the forum as there are endless amounts of advice and info as to how to deal with it.
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
        Please disregard the advice above, as witholding rent without permission from your LL puts you in breach of contract and can give him a reason to serve you notice. It is something which should only be contemplated as a last resort.

        I suggest that first of all, you take a good look at your tenancy agreement. What exactly does it say about liability for utility bills?

        If you can quote the relevant section, we can advise as to the best course of action. I agree that it seems unfair that you should have to pay for other people's electricity, but you have to go about it the right way!

        The mould, etc., is a separate matter - please do a 'search' for this on the forum as there are endless amounts of advice and info as to how to deal with it.
        Mind the Gap is annoyed with me at present because I told her to get a life earlier tonight.

        Disregard her advice regarding electricity.

        Comment


        • #5
          now, now children!!!

          Mind the gap is right, you need to be very careful before you go witholding rent, do you want to jeopardise your tenancy for the sake of £15.
          I think some sort of comprimise between you,your LL and the upstairs tenant is what is needed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jamesknight0 View Post
            Disregard her advice regarding electricity.
            Oh dear. We've a got a right one here (as they say).

            [Patiently] Perhaps you would like to explain why OP should do that?
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jamesknight0 View Post
              Mind the Gap is annoyed with me at present because I told her to get a life earlier tonight.

              Disregard her advice regarding electricity.
              Why? The advise is correct. Steps need to be taken first. Maybe we should disregard your advise.
              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Oh dear. We've a got a right one here (as they say).

                [Patiently] Perhaps you would like to explain why OP should do that?
                Patiently MTG, exactly what do you expect to find in the o/p's tenancy agreement regarding paying for electricity not consumed by her?

                She has already tried to discuss this with her landlord without success. If she explains the reason for her deduction there is not a court in the land that would allow her to be kicked out for it.

                As I said to you earlier: Get a life.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My contract does not state any where that I am responsible for paying for the electricity in the communal hallway, I have asked the agency countless times whether I will be reimbursed for the electricity used. Its hopeless, What IS my alternative? OK Im only asking for £15 towards the cost, it dosnt seem like a lot for the whole year, in fact it could be far more. I have left notes by the light switches politely asking that the lights be turned off as I pay for it, and have spoken to both the other tenants but still the lights are left on and the electric is used via a socket when they rarely hoover the stairs, and once I caught some one from the studio flat using the socket for a power tool to fix his own door!! Im not saying Im going to withhold all of my rent for the sake of £15.00 but am deducting £15.00 from my next months rent for the whole years electricity that I have been paying for others to use. I just wanted to know what my rights would be if I did this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jamesknight0 View Post
                    exactly what do you expect to find in the o/p's tenancy agreement regarding paying for electricity not consumed by her?
                    The tenancy agreement is the obvious place to begin when trying to establish liability for utility bills. It is possible (although unlikely) that OP is actually responsible for the payment of all electricity charges for her 'floor' and any other electricity consumed on 'her' circuit/system. When houses are made into flats and extra meters installed, it often causes problems of this kind. What she has signed up to in her TA will determine the advice we should give her about negotiating a reduction.
                    Originally posted by jamesknight0 View Post
                    She has already tried to discuss this with her landlord without success. If she explains the reason for her deduction there is not a court in the land that would allow her to be kicked out for it.
                    No, she has not. She has discussed it with the letting agent, who clearly is not very interested. And it is far too early to be talking about going to court over it. If she approaches her LL directly, armed with the correct information about her liability, then she has a much greater chance of settling it sensibly without having to withold rent or risk being asked to leave.

                    I am unconvinced by your conviction about every court in the land. You cannot know that.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tenant44a View Post
                      My contract does not state any where that I am responsible for paying for the electricity in the communal hallway, I have asked the agency countless times whether I will be reimbursed for the electricity used. Its hopeless, What IS my alternative? OK Im only asking for £15 towards the cost, it dosnt seem like a lot for the whole year, in fact it could be far more. I have left notes by the light switches politely asking that the lights be turned off as I pay for it, and have spoken to both the other tenants but still the lights are left on and the electric is used via a socket when they rarely hoover the stairs, and once I caught some one from the studio flat using the socket for a power tool to fix his own door!! Im not saying Im going to withhold all of my rent for the sake of £15.00 but am deducting £15.00 from my next months rent for the whole years electricity that I have been paying for others to use. I just wanted to know what my rights would be if I did this.
                      I appreciate your frustration and I do sympathise - as I have said, I do not think it is fair. However, that is not the same as advising you to withold rent, which carries its own risks. You do not have a 'right' to do so in these circumstances.

                      For the sake of £15, you would be better advised to write a polite letter directly to your LL, explaining that his letting agent is being unhelpful (he should want to know this), and asking whether he would allow you to keep back the £15 p.a. as you believe you are paying for other tenants' electricity usage and are unhappy about that. (He may not even know about it). If you have been good tenants I am sure he will realise it is in his interests to agree to your request. If he hears from the agent that you have unilaterally held back rent, he may feel very differently towards you, don't you think?

                      However it would still be helpful if you could post exactly what it does say about your liability for electricity charges.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        The tenancy agreement is the obvious place to begin when trying to establish liability for utility bills. It is possible (although unlikely) that OP is actually responsible for the payment of all electricity charges for her 'floor' and any other electricity consumed on 'her' circuit/system. When houses are made into flats and extra meters installed, it often causes problems of this kind. What she has signed up to in her TA will determine the advice we should give her about negotiating a reduction.
                        No, she has not. She has discussed it with the letting agent, who clearly is not very interested. And it is far too early to be talking about going to court over it. If she approaches her LL directly, armed with the correct information about her liability, then she has a much greater chance of settling it sensibly without having to withold rent or risk being asked to leave.

                        I am unconvinced by your conviction about every court in the land. You cannot know that.
                        Would the o/p be complaining and posting on here if her tenancy agreement said that she had to pay for communal electricity? How stupid do you think she is?

                        My letting agent passes on all complaints to me, so I am sure the o/p's landlord knows all about it. He has just chosen to ignore it.

                        Landlord cannot kick her out over withheld rent without going to court.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe I should also add that most people that have lived in these flats dont usually stay for more than the 6 months because of the lack of maintenance to the property. Both flats were empty for a period of about 6 weeks, i was on a prepayment meter at the time and during the six weeks no lights were left on at all, it worked out that i had put £4.00 less in that 6 weeks than when the flats were occupied, Sorry to say that I am a bit of an environmentalist and hate to see any electricity wasted, but out of principle I shouldnt have to pay this. I even suggested putting in a timer on the switches so they go out after a few minutes, but I was told that this would be too costly and could also be dangerous.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tenant44a View Post
                            Maybe I should also add that most people that have lived in these flats dont usually stay for more than the 6 months because of the lack of maintenance to the property. Both flats were empty for a period of about 6 weeks, i was on a prepayment meter at the time and during the six weeks no lights were left on at all, it worked out that i had put £4.00 less in that 6 weeks than when the flats were occupied, Sorry to say that I am a bit of an environmentalist and hate to see any electricity wasted, but out of principle I shouldnt have to pay this. I even suggested putting in a timer on the switches so they go out after a few minutes, but I was told that this would be too costly and could also be dangerous.
                            Don't apologise for being environmentally friendly - it's good!

                            Your suggestion about a timer seems perfectly sensible. Who thinks it woulod be dangerous and why?

                            I do urge you to approach your LL directly. Your request is very reasonable and you may find he agrees readily. If he does not, then you will need to weigh up the financial benefit of saving £15 with the risks of aggravating him to the point where he may consider serving you notice. If you are good tenants he would be mad not to agree.
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              For the sake of £15, you would be better advised to write a polite letter directly to your LL, explaining that his letting agent is being unhelpful (he should want to know this), and asking whether he would allow you to keep back the £15 p.a. as you believe you are paying for other tenants' electricity usage and are unhappy about that. (He may not even know about it). If you have been good tenants I am sure he will realise it is in his interests to agree to your request. If he hears from the agent that you have unilaterally held back rent, he may feel very differently towards you, don't you think?

                              However it would still be helpful if you could post exactly what it does say about your liability for electricity charges.
                              All it states is that I am responsible for paying for my own utilities, and as for trying to get a letter to the owner of the property, is quite an impossibility unless i addressed it through the agency which I highly doubt they would send on, or unless he has allowed the agency to let his details be know to his tenants I was under the understanding that his personal details are covered by the data protection act. Also by going by the other situation I am going through at the moment with the problems with the work that needs doing to the bedroom with regards to the wet damp walls that were reported in October , from what I have been told by the agents the LL still has not got back to them for the go ahead for the work to be done.
                              After reading the replies I have got here I will write to the agents stating that Aprils rent will have a deduction of £15.00 to cover this last years electricity for the hallway/stairs and porch, and they should contact me if they have a problem with this. Thank you for your advice.

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