a long and complicated one

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  • a long and complicated one

    Bear with me, this is quite a long one, and I would really appreciate any advice...

    We started the tenancy on 3rd Dec 2010, paid the year in full up front (another problem, I'll come to that later), and have had nothing but trouble since. For the first 10 days, there was no hot water, so we stayed at and had to pay rent on our previous property up until Jan. This was due to a fire that occurred when we turned the boiler timer on. It literally melted down the wall. We contacted the letting agent, who in turn contacted the landlord, but he refused to allow their maintenance department to deal with it. After a week with no hot water, and the landlord asking us to fit a new timer ourselves, we finally said we would just move out, so the landlord eventually came and fitted a new timer. Himself. Which is against the terms of the contract. Any electrical work has to be carried out by a qualified electrician.

    We are in our 13th month here now, on a statutory periodic tenancy. The day we moved in, we reported many repairs that needed doing, and really bad mould. We had Enviro Health in about the mould in April because we'd been sleeping on the lounge floor for 8 weeks, because my partner has asthma. 3 weeks later, the landlord came and cleaned it. Other basic repairs have not been carried out. They are all listed on the amended inventory, but nothing was ever done.

    Also I've been reading on here that there is a penalty for landlord's who provide furniture without a fire label. There are a number of items here, an arm chair, a bed, 2 office chairs... All of which have no fire label, and it even states on the inventory that there are no labels. Who do we take this up with?

    We have since had another fire, and my partner has had quite a nasty electric shock from a light switch. We've given up replacing bulbs, because they blow after a few weeks. One even exploded. The latest bulb to blow wasn't even the bulb, the whole light fitting doesn't work any more. We called Enviro Health in, he came last Thursday, contacted the landlord on Friday asking for a full electrical inspection, and the same day we were served a s21 notice, ending 02/02/12.

    According to the contract, he hasn't given enough notice. Our rent is due on 3rd of each month, but because the letter was dated 2nd, hand delivered on the 3rd (Saturday) and the contract states that hand delivered notices are classed as being received on the next working day, which is today, it wasn't served in time for us to be out by Feb.

    Am I right? Does the notice still stand, but for us to be out by March instead, or does a completely new one need to be served?

    With regard to paying up front... We have an invoice for rent covering 3/12/10-2/12/11, signed and dated by the manager, stating that the rent was paid in full. Now it seems that they made a mistake, and we only paid 11 months worth. Is that they're mistake and therefore their loss? They said rent was due on 3rd Nov, so we paid it to save trouble, but the way I see it, we have proof that we paid a lump of money to cover the full 12 months. We've not paid the rent due 3rd Dec 'cos I now believe we've already paid it. Would that stand up if it went to court?

    [B][My main questions are:-/B]

    Are we now in rent arrears?

    Are we entitled to 10 days rent back for the 10 days we couldn't stay at the property?

    If we've been served a 2 (possibly 3) month notice, do we still have to give notice if we want to leave earlier?

    Is the landlord is in breach of contract, for not carrying out his repairs? Or for doing the electrical work himself? If so, do we even need to give notice?

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Quite a lot of issues here!

    1. The landlord has breached S.11 L & T Act 1985 so you are entitles to claim for loss of the facilities.
    2. Paying rent for the full fixed term means you could not have withheld rent if L failed to undertake maintenance/repair, but now you possibly can.
    3. The S.21 Notice might look to be invalid but if it was hand delivered before 4.30 p.m. Mon-Fri then it is deemed served on the day. See CPR Part 6. Service on a Saturday looks to be invalid until today 5th, which is too late but in any event the Notice must be served allowing 2 months clear which means it should have been served no later than 4.30 p.m. on 2nd December. It depends on the wording of the Notice because it could be valid after 2 March 2012. You don't have to move unless the landlord obtains a court order.
    4. Don't worry about "arrears" as you can write to your landlord giving a list of repairs stating that if he doesn't rectify them within 7 days then you will not pay any rent until he does.
    5. If the agent has given you a receipt for 12 months rent then that is what you have paid, unless they can prove that there has been an error. You need to prove absolutely nothing.

    Hope this helps a little but other might want to contribute.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


    • #3
      What did environmental health say about the state of the wiring etc?
      Was the S21 notice served by hand the only S21 you have had? Write and tell LL he has got S21 wrong or do nothing and make him work it out.
      If you were unsure of the work the LL did then ask your electricity supplier to do a test - they usually do this for free.
      As for the furniture - this is a bit late in the day to be complaining.......

      If you have not paid 12 months rent upfront then you are in arrears. All this sounds very befuddled.
      You only have to give 4 weeks notice.



      Freedom at the point of zero............

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
        You only have to give 4 weeks notice.
        That's wrong. As your rent is due monthly, you have to give at least one months notice to end 02/mm/yy.

        Comment


        • #5
          The s21 is invalid. Full stop. The landlord would need to issue a brand new one, wouldn't it be a shame if he didn't discover until you defended his claim for possession? He'd have a whole new 2 month + notice period and the cost of fiing a new claim.

          A section 21 does not remove your obligation to give due notice.

          Comment


          • #6
            "The s21 is invalid. Full stop. The landlord would need to issue a brand new one,"

            Please explain, S.

            Provided s21 is valid & correctly worded, I thought it can be served at any time, in case of Periodic T s21 cannot expire before 2 clear T periods have elapsed ie 3 Mar as OP says, or 2 Feb if LL can show it was served by hand before 4.30pm on 2 Dec.
            Was OP handed the s21 by delivery person on the Sat?
            Proof of Service is LLs resp.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies

              Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
              Quite a lot of issues here!

              1. The landlord has breached S.11 L & T Act 1985 so you are entitles to claim for loss of the facilities.
              How would we do that? Through courts? We can't afford that.

              3. The S.21 Notice might look to be invalid but if it was hand delivered before 4.30 p.m. Mon-Fri then it is deemed served on the day. See CPR Part 6. Service on a Saturday looks to be invalid until today 5th, which is too late but in any event the Notice must be served allowing 2 months clear which means it should have been served no later than 4.30 p.m. on 2nd December. It depends on the wording of the Notice because it could be valid after 2 March 2012. You don't have to move unless the landlord obtains a court order.
              To be honest, we need to move sooner rather than later. The rent is £695 a month, which we could easily afford when we took the property, but since we have both lost our jobs (I have a heart condition and OH was in a car crash) and our monthly income has dropped from £2000 to £880.
              That's why I was hoping that him breaching the contract would allow us out without notice. We're due to get a house sometime in the next few weeks, and don't have the money to be paying rent on two properties.

              5. If the agent has given you a receipt for 12 months rent then that is what you have paid, unless they can prove that there has been an error. You need to prove absolutely nothing.
              There has been an error, they charged us 11 months, but wrote that it covered 12. They're so incompetent, it's unbelievable. After paying £8000+ on 3rd December, they then took £350 by DD on 23rd November. Then again on 3rd January.
              They sent us a standing order mandate to fill in for the periodic tenancy, saying amount: £695, frequency: yearly, first payment date: 3/12/2010...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
                What did environmental health say about the state of the wiring etc?
                He said he'd ask for a complete electrical survey, but we rang him today to ask what and when had to be done, and he said that the landlord told him we were leaving anyway, so he doesn't need to do it!!

                That was before we were served notice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                  A section 21 does not remove your obligation to give due notice.
                  Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't think it changed anything, but OH did, and I couldn't find anything online one way or the other.

                  I guess now we're stuck paying rent on the property until 2nd Feb? We simply cannot afford to hand over another £1400, for living here for 2 weeks. Really need to find a way around it. I feel like we've been cheated basically, we entered into this contract in good faith, and kept to our end of the bargain, yet he has failed to do pretty much everything he signed up to, and yet we're the ones stuck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In law, yes. However, you may want a conversation that goes something like this....

                    "You know this section 21, you obviously want us out, yes? And you know that we don't have to go when it expires, you have to get a court order and possibly pay for bailiffs - that is going to cost big time? Might have to tell the EHO that we're not going anywhere too - well, you'll have to get those electrics fixed for the next tenant.

                    We could do you a favour and leave before Xmas if you're willing to surrender the contract on that day, otherwise we'll be stuck here until the bailiffs evict us."

                    I have to say, it's not a paricularly nice way of handling things, but I'm sure if your landlord was decent to you, you'd be decent to him.

                    Out of interest, does the receipt show an amount plus the words '12 months rent' or just '12 months rent'. If the former, I think a court would look at your contract and acknowledge it was an admin error.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      In law, yes. However, you may want a conversation that goes something like this....

                      "You know this section 21, you obviously want us out, yes? And you know that we don't have to go when it expires, you have to get a court order and possibly pay for bailiffs - that is going to cost big time? Might have to tell the EHO that we're not going anywhere too - well, you'll have to get those electrics fixed for the next tenant.

                      We could do you a favour and leave before Xmas if you're willing to surrender the contract on that day, otherwise we'll be stuck here until the bailiffs evict us."

                      I have to say, it's not a paricularly nice way of handling things, but I'm sure if your landlord was decent to you, you'd be decent to him.

                      Out of interest, does the receipt show an amount plus the words '12 months rent' or just '12 months rent'. If the former, I think a court would look at your contract and acknowledge it was an admin error.
                      Yeah I figured that's probably the best way to go about it. Ask him to let us out, or we take action for our losses due to mould, plus claim for the electric shock.

                      The invoice says

                      Rent from 03/12/2010 - 02/12/2011 Amount £7645
                      Deposit £795
                      Admin fee £200
                      VAT £35
                      Less £235 (we had no references done so got that off)
                      Total amount payable £8440

                      Paid in full 3/12/10
                      (Manager's signature)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I suspect a judge would say "how can you say you've paid a years rent when your contract says a years rent is £8340 and the receipt only shows £7645."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by squashynose View Post
                          Yeah I figured that's probably the best way to go about it. Ask him to let us out, or we take action for our losses due to mould, plus claim for the electric shock.
                          I thought you couldn't afford to go to court? It might be well worth your while because courts do not like landlords who treat tenants badly, and recently a court ordered a landlord to return ALL the rent the tenants had paid over 12 months, plus a fine and damages that amounted to £12,500. Try a no win no fee solicitor, but make sure they know what they are doing and have experience in this field.
                          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you were unsure of the work the LL did then ask your electricity supplier to do a test - they usually do this for free.
                            Not sure where you get this from Interlaken, your electricity supplier will not be interested in anything that is the consumers side of the meter.

                            The 'electrical survey' you require is a periodic inspection report or electrical installation condition report, both essentially the same thing. Legally, it can only be carried out by a competent person ie a qualified electrician who holds the city and guilds 2391 certificate. They also must have public indemnity insurance. Landlords hate these as they always end up with a long list of remedial work a bit like an MOT for your wiring!

                            Make sure whoever (if anyone) he uses they are a proper pegistered electrical contractor. Landlords NEVER want to pay for these reports because there is no legal requirement, yet on an existing installation they are the only way to prove due dilligance.

                            If you are going to make a claim for the electric shock, do it now as this report could be vital and your solicitor will (should) either make sure one is carried out appropriately or highlight the fact one hasn't been carried out.

                            Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just spoke to the LA, and informed them that the s21 wasn't served in time. She said that if it came to it, a solicitor wouldn't see it that way, and it would stand. God, I really hate them, they're so rude and patronising, when we KNOW they're wrong. Part of me wishes we could stay here long enough to see them try to defend it in court.

                              Anyway, asked if, seeing as they expected theirs to be valid, could we give notice now to be out by 2nd Jan, and they said yes. I'm just gonna make sure I get it in writing when we deliver it this afternoon.

                              ******* main office is gonna get a very long and angry letter once we're out if this Place, because the staff in our ******* office are useless

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