tenant deducting from rent without prior agreement

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Whilst we are indeed all using the word "uninhabitable" I do not think that in this case we need to define it precisely. Whilst the owner-occupier test is not infallible, I think it is a good guide. A short term interruption in a service or facility which is normally available does not make a property uninhabitable. If a property has a power cut between 11 and 3 o'clock that does not justify a tenant going out and buying a meal in a restaurant and charging it to the landlord. A short term loss of hot water is in the same category. It is no more than an inconvenience. Having a shower or bath every day is not a necessity. You can boil a kettle to have a wash or do the washing up. It will do no harm if the washing is left for a day or two.

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  • Trawler
    replied
    Where does this 'uninhabitable' that you are all referring to come from? Is it a legal term from somewhere?
    I think if you were to get an EHO or surveyors opinion they would carry out a HHSRS survey which would probably find a lack of hot water to constitute a Category 1 hazard under the HHSRS. This would not necessarily mean that its uninhabitable.

    Anyway - from what I see - the bottom line - do you want to evict the tenant because of this? If not, you'll just have to soak up the expense. It probably worked out less that if the tenant had chosen to pay a plumber to repair the boiler (or did he choose a 5* gourmet hotel?).

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I have had a cold shower in the winter on a couple of occasions and it was not pleasant.
    Nonsense! It's character-forming, like eating burnt porridge and wearing a hair shirt.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    I think a dwelling may be classed as uninhabitable if a person cannot reasonably be expected to live in it. A short-term absence of hot water, cooking facilities or central heating does not render a property uninhabitable. They are not the sort of inconveniences which drive owner-occupiers to move out of their homes.

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  • choccychomp
    replied
    I would never leave a tenant without hot water for a prolonged period. As I understand it the problem arose at the weekend and the tenant decided to go to the hotel having failed to reach the letting agent. I would contend that the tenant was being unreasonable as I have always fixed issues instantly and therefore set a precedent that in this case it would have been resolved as quickly as possible. Surely a matter of 2 days is acceptable? There's also a leisure centre close to the flat yet he chose to book in to a hotel for his shower...

    The tenant is in breach of contract already as he's stuck blue-tac to the walls in every room with hundreds of photos. I think it very likely that he'll with hold the 2 months rent in order to ensure his deposit is intact.

    It's one thing to have the law on your side but quite another to enforce it - he's Italian and therefore not registered on the electoral register etc over here.


    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I think an environmental housing officer would state that a house without provision for water heating would be considered uninhabitable. I am sure that you can find much information in relation to this. I still would contend that a house without Reasonable provision for hot water, is not habitable. When I submitted recent reports accepted by my local authority (I'm a surveyor) in relation to an exemption request for council tax was the lack of hot water heating, along with other slightly lesser (but still significant defects). It was accepted in this instance that the property was uninhabitable.

    I do not think that you can say definitively what is uninhabitable and what is habitable because it depends upon the individual and the specifics of the property. What one may reasonably live in another may consider completely unreasonable.

    I at no point, however, said that this was the case in this example.


    I believe a blocked gutter may fall onto the tenant along with cleaning windows. A broken gutter that leads to damp is a different story. There are a couple of landmark cases in relation to damp and tenant health. Where tenants health is at risk it maybe uninhabitable.

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  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I believe a blocked gutter may fall onto the tenant along with cleaning windows. A broken gutter that leads to damp is a different story. There are a couple of landmark cases in relation to damp and tenant health. Where tenants health is at risk it maybe uninhabitable.
    You said that landlords have a legal requirement to repair because it would be uninhabitable(without the repoair).
    Let's say a gutter was broken, and it led to damp, would it be uninhabitable? After all, the landlord has a legal obligation to repair it.

    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I disagree... lack of Hot water does make a property uninhabitable which is why Landlords have a legal requirement to repair.

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  • MrJohnnyB
    replied
    Originally posted by oaktree View Post
    Uninhabitable means that no one could live in the property in its present condition. Not having hot water on tap would hardly do that; it would be uncomfortable, impractical and no doubt very annoying but it wouldn't render a property uninhabitable.

    Lawcruncher hit the nail on the head.
    I think an environmental housing officer would state that a house without provision for water heating would be considered uninhabitable. I am sure that you can find much information in relation to this. I still would contend that a house without Reasonable provision for hot water, is not habitable. When I submitted recent reports accepted by my local authority (I'm a surveyor) in relation to an exemption request for council tax was the lack of hot water heating, along with other slightly lesser (but still significant defects). It was accepted in this instance that the property was uninhabitable.

    I do not think that you can say definitively what is uninhabitable and what is habitable because it depends upon the individual and the specifics of the property. What one may reasonably live in another may consider completely unreasonable.

    I at no point, however, said that this was the case in this example.

    Originally posted by thesaint View Post
    So, a blocked gutter would also render the property uninhabitable according to your logic.
    I believe a blocked gutter may fall onto the tenant along with cleaning windows. A broken gutter that leads to damp is a different story. There are a couple of landmark cases in relation to damp and tenant health. Where tenants health is at risk it maybe uninhabitable.

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  • mk1fan
    replied
    I agree. The post was very loosely written and easily interpreted the 'wrong' way.

    An electric shower not working doesn't render a house uninhabitable. I assume the shower was not the only source of hot water in the property.

    Deduct shortfall from deposit at end of tenancy (assuming one was taken and the tenancy agreement allows for this).

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  • oaktree
    replied
    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I disagree... lack of Hot water does make a property uninhabitable which is why Landlords have a legal requirement to repair.
    Uninhabitable means that no one could live in the property in its present condition. Not having hot water on tap would hardly do that; it would be uncomfortable, impractical and no doubt very annoying but it wouldn't render a property uninhabitable.

    Lawcruncher hit the nail on the head.

    Leave a comment:


  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    I disagree... lack of Hot water does make a property uninhabitable which is why Landlords have a legal requirement to repair.
    So, a blocked gutter would also render the property uninhabitable according to your logic.

    Leave a comment:


  • MrJohnnyB
    replied
    Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
    LL is not shirking their legal requirements to repair here. Tenant is taking the P!
    I agree in this instance it could be considered a reasonable time period, but I did not want your comments being taken out of context and some other landlord reading it and thinking hot water wasn't a necessity! I have had a cold shower in the winter on a couple of occasions and it was not pleasant.

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  • theartfullodger
    replied
    a) Fire useless agent..

    b) Give notice to tenant then evict..

    c) re-advertise (when he's gone..) and get new tenant, either managing it yourself or through a new, more competent, agent...

    Cheers!

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  • LesleyAnne
    replied
    LL is not shirking their legal requirements to repair here. Tenant is taking the P!

    Leave a comment:


  • MrJohnnyB
    replied
    You're to have reasonable time to remedy any breaches of repairing covenants. What is reasonable depends upon the nature of the repair. If it is the only source of cleaning ones self then plainly it should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

    Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
    Lack of hot water does not make property uninhabitable - I assume tenant has a kettle/hob to boil a small amount to wash etc.

    I lived in my property whilst renovating it and did not have hot water for 2 months! Showered at parents house and boiled kettle for everything else.
    I disagree... lack of Hot water does make a property uninhabitable which is why Landlords have a legal requirement to repair.

    Leave a comment:


  • LesleyAnne
    replied
    Lack of hot water does not make property uninhabitable - I assume tenant has a kettle/hob to boil a small amount to wash etc.

    I lived in my property whilst renovating it and did not have hot water for 2 months! Showered at parents house and boiled kettle for everything else.

    If the tenant does with-hold the amount of rent, request a copy of the bill for the hotel, start eviction process and with-hold a similar amount from his deposit at the end. If tenant stops paying to recover their deposit, sue them!

    For future reference, if using an agent who does not provide tenant with a 24 hour emergency line, give them your contact details for weekend repairs.

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