Problems with rodent infestation: mouse/mice/rats/etc.

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    #61
    The conditions you have described sound atrocious and I am surprised that the council guy was not more help to you. Telling you that his house has mice too, is unhelpful. The LL can be prosecuted for failure to provide heating and to keep the property in good repair.

    Although normally you cannot use disrepair as a reason to end a tenancy early, I would have thought this is an extreme situation calling for desperate remedies. You could just pack up and leave, return the keys and refuse to pay any more rent. If you do this, two things may happen:

    LL may just do nothing and you will 'get away' with it.

    LL/agent will initiate court action against you and/or your guarantor for breach of contract. You would have to counterclaim showing that you had no option but to leave this health-trap of a property.

    From what you have said, you sound to have a very strong case, not least because the LL cannot refuse to repair on the grounds that you owe rent. However, for your counterclaim to succeed, I think the court would expect you to show that you contacted the LL [B]several times [/B over a period of time, requesting repairs to be done, so keep a record of all correspondence.

    Your other option (although you probably don't want to) is to give the required notice (presumably one month), then move out. However, you would be liable for the rent for that period whether you moved out before the end of it or not and if you need the rent money for alternative, habitable accommodation (which yours does not seem to be), I can understand why you would prefer to cut loose now.

    Incidentally, did you pay a deposit and did your LL protect it in a scheme, or not?

    Whichever option you take, good luck. It sounds horrible.
    '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


      #62
      Originally posted by Shelly24 View Post
      hi, i beleive the landlady has a share in the freeehold (or at least that is what the agency told me).
      i do not have any contact details atall for the landlasy, i must deal through my agency so should i write a letter again? sorry what is LTA 1985?
      Landlord and
      Tenant
      Act
      1985.

      Do an LZ search for section 11 of the Act. This sets out what L must do, in addition to what the AST says.
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


        #63
        thanks for your help.

        I have given my notice to leave and am doing so on 19th Dec this month although im am aparently obliged to this flat untill 27th Dec.

        I did pay a deposit when i moved in. I am of the understanding you are not allowed to use this as your last months rent as it is in a government scheme, however my agency did suggest they would use my deposit money when i last saw them which leads me to believe maybe it is not in a scheme.

        I know it would be better to have the moral high ground incase it goes to court and pay my rent but i have now used that months rent to put a deposit on a new flat.
        At the moment i am at my friends because its so cold in my flat my feet were hurting. I have an electric heater and have that on full about 5 hrs a day, it has cost me £20 in the last 5 days in electric!!

        my last letter was 5 weeks ago detailing all the problems, i have a copy of this. I have now been told by my agency that if i do not pay them they will take me to court which i dont mind but they will bother my guarantours who happen to be my parents and at christmas thats not fair on them. i dont want to worry or stress them out.

        shall i write them one final letter saying that i do not beleive i should have to pay my last months rent because of XXXXX ? (in the x's i need some legal jargon!) lol

        Get this though for a laugh, they rang me yesterday and left a voicemail saying 'we have a ldy that would like to come and view the flat. could you call us back to let us know when you will be in'!!!!! THE NERVE OF IT!! They havnt been in the flat themselves for 10 months and they have recently been notified of a leaking roof, no heating, mice and damp AND THEY WANT TO SEND A POOR LADY ROUND TO VIEW??!!!! THE CHEEK!

        Comment


          #64
          To help you determine when your rent liability ends, please tell us:
          • the commencement date of your tenancy agreement
          • the date you gave notice to vacate

          Interesting that they want to show prospective tenants round. The landlord/agent must obtain your prior consent to each viewing. Do you intend to be in for the viewings?

          Take a witness and a camera on the last day of your occupation. Is your landlord/agent coming to the property on that day to collect the keys, read meters and check for damage or missing items?

          Have you ever been notified that your deposit has been protected?

          Comment


            #65
            In my contract it does say it will be held in a government scheme but im not too sure myself.

            I moved in on 27th March and I gave notice to leave on 11 November.

            I havnt called them back yet about the viewings, to be honest i doubt i will be there as i work during the day and im not taking a day off work at short notice.

            I have taken pics of the property with my boyfriend there just incase they take us to court. Environmental health did too.

            Comment


              #66
              If your landlord/agent wishes to be strict, then you are liable to pay rent up to and including 26 December.

              Comment


                #67
                Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                If your landlord/agent wishes to be strict, then you are liable to pay rent up to and including 26 December.
                yeah i no, and that wud b fine with me except i dont feel i should pay the last months rent because the problems i notified them of in writing 5 weeks ago have still not been rectified. i had told them of the problems previous to this and was told a repair man for the roof would be in contact but after several more calls to the agency nothing happened.

                i have always paid my rent and am aware that i am liable untill 26th Dec, that is not my issue, its just that i feel i am within my rights to withhold rent being made to live in a property that is freezing, infested with mice, damp and leaking.

                basically what im looking for is something i can put in a final letter to them saying 'since i have given you X weeks to sort out the problems which you are obliged to under XXXXXXX Act of XXXX and you have not made any steps to rectify them, i am therefore withholding rent from the period XXX to XXX. I am within my rights to do this as you have broken the terms of the contract under section XXX' or something to that effect.

                I actually feel a little cheated that I have been paying full whack for a flat with no heating and a hole in the roof for 10 months! I think most people would be trying to see some of that money back, im just trying to use my final months rent as a deposit for another property as i have felt forced out of this one. The agency/LL can keep my deposit, im not bothered about that. Just not sure if they are allowed to use that to cover my rent?

                Comment


                  #68
                  If you have not been informed within 14 days of the deposit holding scheme i believe this is also against the law.

                  Comment


                    #69
                    I wrote a letter to my agency, copy below:

                    Dear Sir/Madam,

                    I write to advise you that since I moved in to Flat 11 of 41 Harold Rd, I have made several attempts to liaise with yourselves regarding urgent repairs on the property, the worst of which are the hole in the roof and the defective heating. I have evidence of the disrepair and all of my communications with you, all of which have not provoked a solution.

                    You should be aware that a member of the Environmental Health Department of Thanet District Council has visited the property and has taken photographic evidence of the faults with the flat and has advised me that they will be applying the pressure to have the problems rectified whether I am in rent arrears or not.

                    You are surely aware that your landlord’s failure to keep installations in proper working order is an offence under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985. You are also in breach of section 4 of the Defective Premises Act of 1972, which states a landlord has a duty of care towards the tenant, and must keep the property in a good state of repair.

                    I have sought legal advice and have been told that as I have given you plenty of time in which to rectify the problems, which you chose not to do I am within my rights to withhold rent in order to secure alternative accommodation. I feel Flat 11 of Harold Rd is a serious health risk due to the current weather conditions and I have personally suffered with signs of cold and flu because of it. Might I also add that had this property of been let to an elderly person, they would certainly be suffering hyperthermia at the very least.
                    I have been advised that in the circumstances and with the evidence I have documented I could present a significant claim against yourselves and the landlord of this property.

                    As you know I have already given notice to surrender the property as of 26th December. Since it does not seem feasible that you will effect repairs before the end of my notice period, could I suggest that you agree to write-off the £800 which is currently in dispute and return my deposit in full. I would also be grateful to receive details on where my deposit is currently being held, as I do not believe I received such information.

                    Until we have agreed on the terms of my leaving the property, I must advise that I do not give my permission for you to enter the flat to conduct viewings whether I am there or not.

                    I hope we can resolve the matter without resort to the courts, however I am more than prepared to do so if necessary.

                    I would be grateful to receive a response in writing within 7 days.

                    Yours sincerely, ......

                    __________________________________________

                    I had a call today from them but didnt answer as I was in the shower, the voicemail said: 'If you would like to come in to the office and clear your rent arrears, we would be happy to arrange repairs on the property' !!!!!!
                    GGRRRRRRRR

                    Where do i go now? This is the second letter Ive sent to them, have copies of both. I am moving out next week but do not want this £800 arrears hanging over me. I have now spent the money on my first months rent on my new flat and I dont want them to bother my guarantours. I dont think i should have to pay it.

                    Comment


                      #70
                      Hi

                      Try googling Lee Parker vs Izzet 1971 for more information on the tenants right of set off against the rent for disrepair.

                      Your letter seems well worded and it strikes me that you have a good case. You may have done this already, but it would be useful for you to produce a full chronology showing all the problems, what you have done to report them and what the agent or landlord has done in response. Its very difficult to say, though, how much a court might award you, if you were successful. If the case was found in your favour, the court would attempt to assess any losses you have suffered, consider any discomfort you have suffered, etc. In other words, it wouldnt simply be a case of disrepair = no rent for the period of the disrepair.

                      So, I would give the agents as much detail as possible (including the chronology referred to above) to convince them that you are serious about pursuing the matter, in the hope that they will agree to your suggestion. I also agree with others that it would be worth looking at the deposit protection issues - if they have failed to meet their oblgations and you have the opportunity to sue them for 3 x the monthly rent, clearly your position would be very much stronger.

                      Good luck

                      Preston

                      Comment


                        #71
                        Query whether informing the Local Authority - they can inspect the property and their evidence could assist your case.

                        Another point is if they think it is sufficiently serious then they can serve an abatement notce (forcing the LL to do the work) or even take more extreme steps... It helps your case but also ensures no-one else gets stuck in that place!
                        PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

                        Comment


                          #72
                          Hi everyone, I sent my letter 1 week ago now now and clearly asked that I was replied to within 7 days. I am vacting the flat today and the post has been so they have not replied within the time I gave them.
                          What do I do now? assume they are going to let me off the rent that I withheld? I would of liked something in writing, I am just about to go to my new place and I am not giving them this address so they will now not be able to contact me in writing.
                          What is the next course of action?

                          The Council called me and said the second (follow-up) visit would not be for 6 weeks which would be no good as im moving today, so they have been as much use as a chocolate teapot!

                          Comment


                            #73
                            Originally posted by Shelly24 View Post
                            Hi everyone, I sent my letter 1 week ago now now and clearly asked that I was replied to within 7 days. I am vacting the flat today and the post has been so they have not replied within the time I gave them.
                            What do I do now? assume they are going to let me off the rent that I withheld? I would of liked something in writing, I am just about to go to my new place and I am not giving them this address so they will now not be able to contact me in writing.
                            What is the next course of action?

                            The Council called me and said the second (follow-up) visit would not be for 6 weeks which would be no good as im moving today, so they have been as much use as a chocolate teapot!
                            They were not legally obliged to give you a response in writing within seven days; it was just a request. The postal service is also sluggish at this time of year. Similarly, don't view the EHO's response as useless - at least they are coming back and you should stay in contact with them in case you need their evidence at some point.

                            You should really leave LL, agent and EHO your forwarding address, as you may well need to correspond with them further and it will make your case stronger if you do not appear to be hiding from them; added to which, you are vacating earlier than you said (what arrangements have you made for handing over the keys?)

                            As I see it, you have three choices now:

                            (i) send LL a Letter before Action, asking that they return your deposit in full within a further 14 days, otherwise you will issue a claim for3x the amount on the grounds that they have to protected it and/or given you details of the scheme despite your requests for that information.

                            (ii) not do anything, taking the view that you are happy to write off yor deposit in return for getting out early and not paying rent to end of term...unless LL sues you for unpaid rent (I have a hunch he won't do this, in the circumstances - I think he will be keeping a low profile - but it depends on how good a case he thinks he has). If he does sue, clearly you will want to put in a counterclaim for your deposit (x3), and possibly for a refund of rent for the reduced 'habitability' of the property due to disrepair -LL was in breach of contract).

                            How much would the full amount of unpaid rent be, and how much is your deposit?

                            (iii) throw the book at him - get legal help and sue him for breach of contract and not protecting your deposit.

                            Depends how much emotional energy you have and how much (financially) is at stake here. It's up to you.

                            Whatver you do, keep careful track of all communications with LL and agent.
                            '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


                              #74
                              ok well I am going to hand in the keys on the 27th December, will this i will give them a letter saying i expect my deposit back within 14days. I beleive they have 10 days in which to tell me if they are going to make any deductions?
                              I will also state that if they do not do this I will be putting in a claim for 3x the deposit amount as I was not informed of any deposit protection scheme.

                              They have not contacted my guarantours again so im not sure whether they are going for legal action on the sly or if they know they are in the **** and are just going to leave it. would be nice to know!

                              Comment


                                #75
                                Unfortunately, because you have guarantours, all these problems of who is liable to pay what will fall on them, as the buck stops with them. It makes the situation so much the messier.

                                Hope the agent sees sense and leaves you all alone.
                                All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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