withholding rent and claim for damages

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    withholding rent and claim for damages


    any help greatfully appreciated

    tenant moved in 20/4/12
    she emailed 11/5/12 saying she had issues regard damp in the house and she thought central heating system was ineffective as radiators were tepid
    I visited the property and having had a leak from the roof with previous tenants had carried out fascia repairs which we hoped had sorted the issue in the upstairs bedrooms and the patches that had appeared seemed to be smaller than previous and i assumed were from repainting the wall before it had dried out. I asked the tenant to let me know if they got worse. She recontacted two weeks later to say the patches had grown so I arranged for damp report which loacted the issue as flashing on the roof which was repaired 17/7/12 . She is now claimimg for a £500 ltd edition art work which she says was hung on the wall and is now damaged beyond repair. I have told her to look to claim on her contents insurance but she refuses and says it was damaged due to delay in works.

    regard heating system she has had hot water and heating throughout tenancy and i had 2 plumbers to look at various solutions to improve the system and had instructed for a new combi to be fitted. Tenant has now witheld rent saying her patience has run out and on contacting she feels she has been paying too much for a substandard property

    sorry for long story just trying to put as much info in to help

    just wondered legally can she withhold rent and is there a definitive timeframe to work too to get works sorted ? plus regard the artwork am I liable to replace this item ?


    Tell her to claim off of her own insurance for damage to the art work. Landlords do not insure personal possessions of tenants - probably says that somewhere in the tenancy agreement. If this artwork is so precious she surely has it insured?

    Legally she has no right to withhold rent. You have done your best to remedy repair.

    Personally I always repair quickly - goodwill and I can't stand tenants being grumpy - also the old adage 'a stitch in time saves nine' is true I find.

    I would think a repairs done in 4 weeks 'reasonable'. Your tenant is not being 'reasonable' by with holding rent I would argue.

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


      She has no statutory entitlement to withhold rent.

      I would serve her a section 21 notice to evict at the end of her fixed term.

      The money decisions can only definitively be decided by a court, I suspect a court would agree that some damages are due, but nothing like a months rent and her 'supposed' £500 artwork. Who hangs a masterpiece on a wall that they know has the potential to be damp - duh! Can't see a judge entertaining that.

      There are no timescales for repairs, though for section 11 repairs it tends to be felt that it is okay to take the same length of time that a private householder would take to complete repairs.

      One of 2 things could happen:

      1) At the end of the tenancy, you claim on the deposit or sue for any missing rent and she defends/counterclaims for damp or artwork.
      2) She sues you for damp or artwork and you counterclaim for missing rent.

      In your shouse, I'd go back to the tenant with:

      You agreed to pay £x per month, therefore £x per month rent is due.
      I have taken advice and do not feel that I am liable for the damage to the artwork that you chose to put on a potantially damp wall.
      I do, however, recognise that the repairs we have done to your home have caused a certain amount of disturbance and are willing to deduct (1 week rent) from your outstanding rent balance as an ex-gratia payment.


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