Disputes with Landlord

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  • Disputes with Landlord

    Hi everyone.

    I would like to ask your opinions of what i should do about some outstanding problems with our landlord. We live in a privately rented flat above a shop.

    My first main problem is that we have lived in the property for nearly 2 years now, but we have never had a Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate. When I demanded that he gets one done (My father is a Registered Gas Installer so i know the importance of the certificate), he looked at me blank, obviously totally unaware of what one was. He has now asked that i ask my father to complete one for him. He has had many previous tenants in the property and quite obviously never had a Safety Certificate in the past either.

    Should i just arrange for my father to complete the Safety Certificate, or should i also report him for it not being completed previously?

    The same landlord also owns and rents out one of the other flats above one of the other shops on the same row. I think it is a fair assumption that he also will not have a safety certificate for this property either. I doubt he will have one done either, as i believe he is only getting one done for this property because we have complained about it.

    Should i therefore report this to the Health and Safety Executive as their website advises?

    Another question is does the landlord have any legal responsibilty to provide any form of fire safety devices such as a smoke detector, fire extinguisher or fire blanket? We are a family, renting the flat privately and not sharing with others.

    The oven recently broke down with one of the heating elements no longer working. He is complaining about having to repair it, moaning that it needs to be kept clean to prevent it breaking. It is not absolutely perfectly clean, but is certainly kept as clean if not cleaner than most ovens i've ever seen, being cleaned out on average every couple of weeks. When we moved in the oven was also in a terrible state, with us having to use 2 bottles of Mr Muscle oven cleaner, just to get it to a state in which we felt we could use it.

    My thoughts are also that the landlord probably has not informed his mortgage provider that the property is rented. I am guessing this because i would have thought a mortgage provider would issue certain advice and require certain documentation such as safety certificates at the time of purchase (i may be totally wrong about this, but its just an impression i get from him). Can i carry out some kind of search with Land Registry to find this out and inform his mortgage provider if necessary?

    I know some of this sounds very sinical, but we are sick to the teeth with his attitude towards us. His latest statement has been that he wants us to find somewhere new to live as he no longer thinks this property is appropriate for us. I know this is because we have asked for several items repairing such as the boiler, gas hob, electric oven which aren't working correctly combined with the fact that we were a week late in paying him his rent.

    Would we also be within our right to withold future rental payments until these issues that are his resposibility are resolved?

    All advice would be much appreciated and i thank you all in advance.

    I know that some of these issues could cause quite an inflammatory situation with the landlord, but we are not too concerned about this as we are moving fairly soon anyway, into a proprty my brother is purchasing and renting out to us.

  • #2
    By all means report him to the HSE, but I would advise against arranging for a certificate to be provided by a relative because if there are things wrong your relative may be accused of lack of impartiality which could muddy the waters should you need to pursue things further. Tell the landlord that it is his responsibility to have the installation tested, not yours. If he doesn't do at the the HSE will soon make him.

    If he won't carry out repairs let your local Environmental Health Officer know, that way you don't have to debate the issue with the landlord.

    You cannot check what his mortgage provider knows by checking the land registry, it will only show any charge against the property. In any event this is really none of your business. Contacting his lender, if you know who it is, would be possible, but malicious since it does you no good and may well may it look as though you are looking for ways to harrass your landlord. Just no merit in it at all.
    NOTE: Steven Palmer BSc (Hons) MRICS MBEng is an official LandlordZONE Topic Expert and a Director of Davisons Palmer Lim Any advice given by Steven in this Forum is of a general nature only and should not be acted upon without first obtaining advice specific to your problem/situation from a professional.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think it matters at all if a GSC is carried out by your father as he still has the same duty of care as does any CORGI registered installer. What worries me is that if the installation or appliances are sub-standard, as they will need rectification immediately, and it would be your problem if you have carbon monoxide poisoning!

      However, as Steve says it is primarily the landlord's problem.

      I would also check your AST, as if I suspect, it is not written in plain English, then it probably is not within the Unfair Contract Term guidelines. (If you want more info on this just put UTCCR in the search facility).

      The landlord at the moment has committed a criminal offence by not giving a you a valid GSC before you moved in. The Environmental Health Officer might be quite interested to hear from you!
      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.

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