Tenant's water running orange

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    #16
    I assume the cold water is just that Jeffrey i.e. clean and potable!

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      #17
      Ruthless, you are just picking at certain words to argue over.

      A tenancy agreement created between landlord and tenant makes the rent lawfully due to the landlord. Any reduction of that due to "circumstances" including the OP's trouble is a matter for negotiation between landlord and tenant. What I disagree with is the tenant effectively saying "I am awarding myself three weeks rent for not having a supply of hot water for that time" I am saying from a personal point of view that if a tenant of mine said this, I would not negotiate a discount because I would be in the position of having NO rent at all and still having to foot the repair bill and incur additional time and costs of trying to recover LAWFULLY DUE rent.

      If however, a tenant of mine approached me and said "Look, this repair has taken a little too long - how about a reduction in rent for the period I was without water" - then I would offer about 20% - after all, they still have the rest of the house and still have a cold water supply from which water could be heated by alternative means.

      Ultimately it is a matter for a court to decide what, if any, compensation is due for a delay in repairs or a defect not put right - it is not for the tenant to arbitarily award themselves compensation. Ultimately it can be neither mine or the tenant's decision, but that of a court should it go that far. I would hope that a tenant of mine would approach and discuss with me before taking that step and as I say, I have never encountered a situation where one of my tenants has withheld rent because of repairs.

      Lets look at a situation where the OP academically did take the landlord to court for compensation. Do you think the judge would award more than 20 to 25% - if so, remember that the tenant has already withheld 100%. The landlord would counterclaim for the full amount of rent and the case would hinge on what was a reasonable time for a boiler to be replaced. Say the judge said that a week was ample - the tenant would then be entitled to 20 to 25% rent reduction for two weeks (you cannot claim compensation from day 1 - there has to be a reasonable allowance). Suppose the judge said, on hearing the landlord, of the problems encountered - i.e. checking with the water authority - waiting for reply regarding water works - getting the plumber out - checking, reporting to the landlord - giving authority, obtaining relevant fitment, coming back and installing it - that 3 weeks was not excessive - then the tenant is entitled to nothing - but remember has still held back 3 weeks rent UNLAWFULLY!!!!!

      Apart from this - the landlord is possibly now going to be prejudiced against the OP and maybe will not renew the tenancy - who loses out in the end? - the tenant.

      You said in your last paragraph Ruthless "In saying you will not *allow* you make it sound like the payment or not of compensation is your decision solely at your discretion not a right that the tenant can pursue. I am objecting to this as I do not think ultimately the decision to compensate or not is yours as landlord." Who then in your opinion has the right of decision to compensate other than the landlord???? (apart from a court I mean)

      Jeffrey - the law imposed duties on landlords to repair because some landlords don't bother doing repairs. But the criminal liability does not arise 1 minute after the repair becomes necessary - it arises after a period of time within which the repair should have been done - its not like speeding!!!!!!!

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
        Who then in your opinion has the right of decision to compensate other than the landlord???? (apart from a court I mean)
        I think we all agree compensation is due.
        So if the LL says no to any compensation, he is obviously wrong. Therefore LL does not have total right of the decision.

        The decision for compensation should be a negotiation between the LL and the tenant. A joint agreement. Court is a last resort if no agreement can be made.


        We all agree tenant was not wise to withold rent.

        I think the sticking point here is what is a reasonable response. The T did inform the agency from day one. I assume the agency has a mangement contract? They are the LL's representative and hence should realise the LL's obligations and do their best to solve the problem from day one. That is their role. They have been ineffective and possibly unwilling to understand the needs of a new mother, at the same time using the LL's absence as an excuse not to worry. If a LL is on holiday, he still has obligations and should have all events covered whilst he is away. He is still liable. Life does not stop because of holidays.

        I agree with davidjohnbutton that the LL is not liable from day1 for fixing fault; unless the system has been shown to be in a bad state of repair before tenacy commenced.

        Looking at housing association tenants handbooks, I believe that things should have been on the road to being fixed within 3 working days.
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          #19
          Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
          Say the judge said that a week was ample - the tenant would then be entitled to 20 to 25% rent reduction for two weeks (you cannot claim compensation from day 1 - there has to be a reasonable allowance). Suppose the judge said, on hearing the landlord, of the problems encountered - i.e. checking with the water authority - waiting for reply regarding water works - getting the plumber out - checking, reporting to the landlord - giving authority, obtaining relevant fitment, coming back and installing it - that 3 weeks was not excessive - then the tenant is entitled to nothing
          Here is the fundamental misunderstanding we are having. The problems encountered by the landlord in fixing the fault are not the tenant's problem and so the compensation should be for all days without hot water (although if it was fixed within two or three days it wouldn't be worth arguing over IMO). So I would expect the 25% discount for the whole three weeks regardless of the reasons, even those outside the landlord's control, why it actually took three weeks.

          This is why I mentioned the hotel analogy, to see it from the other point of view. If you were the hotel guest two weeks without hot water would you be happy to receive no compensation as the fault could not be diagnosed and plumber be booked within the two weeks or your holiday? OR would you want compensation for all days without hot water as the hotels problems in sourcing a plumber and effecting repairs are nothing to do with you? Which way do you think a court would find?

          Surely, compensation for ALL days in both cases?

          Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
          Who then in your opinion has the right of decision to compensate other than the landlord???? (apart from a court I mean)
          Ultimately the court.

          As for the rest we do not know how much discussion, if any, has gone on between the OP and the agent. I would expect there was at least some before the rent was withheld and the OP has indicated she will pay it back when the issue is settled. Not the best way to do things but after three weeks of no hot water and getting the runaround I can see why it was done.
          ~~~~~

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by sheehan879 View Post

            On advice I have with held rent for the 3 weeks untill the matter is resolved and informed them of this.

            WE seem to agree Ruthless that a good level of compensation would be 20/25% of the weekly rent. I repeat that the tenant has withheld 100% of the rent - that is what I argue with. Now I would be interested as to whether or not she has placed that in a teapot, bank or other safe place for immediate production on resolving the matter - she doesn't say but it obviously has not been paid now that the matter is resolved - so it's still withheld????????

            Whoever gave here the advice to withhold rent like this is giving her duff advice. I again repeat there is a protocol for dealing with repairs that are not done before rent can be legally withheld.

            A hotel guest would simply be moved to another room!

            I too can see why she did it - but that does not make it right. My advice would be to suggest to the landlord/agent that she will forthwith pay the 3 weeks less an agreed sum to cover compensation and if agreement on that fails, for her to pay the withheld rent and then sue the landlord and have her day in court.

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
              Now I would be interested as to whether or not she has placed that in a teapot, bank or other safe place for immediate production on resolving the matter - she doesn't say but it obviously has not been paid now that the matter is resolved - so it's still withheld????????
              If you quote that in context it refers to the matter of the compensation being resolved, not the repair works which were already finished:

              Originally posted by sheehan879 View Post
              When the work is done I tell them I want rent back (not travelling expenses etc..)for the period I was without hot water as it is in their contract that they will provide me with this. They tell me the landlord does not agree and they see 3 weeks as reasonable time to diagnose and sort the problem.

              On advice I have with held rent for the 3 weeks untill the matter is resolved and informed them of this. They are now sending letters demanding the arears and are charging me for each letter. They also say they will deduct this from the bond.
              It also reads to me like the rent was withheld after the work was done and after compensation was refused.

              Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
              Whoever gave here the advice to withhold rent like this is giving her duff advice. I again repeat there is a protocol for dealing with repairs that are not done before rent can be legally withheld.
              Well the rent wasn't withheld to do the repair, but if it was for a hot water repair we differ as I agree with Paul's post on that one as already linked to:

              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...78&postcount=3

              Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
              A hotel guest would simply be moved to another room!
              I was meaning there wasn't an alternative room as I said the guest was without hot water for the two weeks, let's say all rooms were affected as the hotel's boiler was broken and the rooms don't have electric showers.
              ~~~~~

              Comment


                #22
                Ruthless - I would hate to play football with you - you move the goalposts too often!!!!!!!

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
                  Ruthless - I would hate to play football with you - you move the goalposts too often!!!!!!!

                  I think you are not reading the information in the thread accurately.

                  I made it clear in the analogy that the hotel guest was without hot water for two weeks and you ignored this twice.

                  You have claimed the OP didn't negotiate yet clearly there was at least some discussion as compensation was asked for and then refused.

                  You think the rent was withheld for repairs when it was withheld for compensation after the repairs were done and compensation had been asked for and refused.

                  You think the matter was resolved but in that quote you gave the OP was talking about compensation not repairs and this is why the rent was and is still withheld.

                  You think a court would not award compensation for all affected days when clearly they would as the fix is the landlord's problem not the tenant's.

                  You made it sound like the landlord had the sole choice in allowing compensation when it's negotiation and ultimately the courts decision.

                  I could go on. If I raise new points it's because you keep posting more I disagree with and there are too many to cover them all.
                  ~~~~~

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Whatever you say, its still unlawful to withold rent without agreement. The entitlement of a tenant to compo is an entirely separate matter -any court of law will tell you that. It does not matter whether its a temporary or permanent withholding - its still unlawful.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      I think the landlord was a bit slow, but not criminally so. It is not as though it took him three weeks to send a man out.

                      OP on the other hand has assumed that failure of the hot water system equates to entitlement to provision of alternative accommodation.

                      You can bath a baby in a washing up bowl; two kettles full of water is adequate. OP didn't need to move out. Shower at the local gym.

                      If I were the LL I should consider 20% very generous. It's not as though the orange colour of the water was dangerous.

                      With the benefit of hindsight, L should have replaced the boiler on day 1. We do not have hindsight. It was the belief of the plumber and letting agent that the problem had been resolved after the first visit. If it had been, then I doubt OP would be worrying.
                      The contents of this note are neither advice nor a definitive answer. If you plan to rely on this, you should pay somebody for proper advice.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
                        Whatever you say, its still unlawful to withold rent without agreement. The entitlement of a tenant to compo is an entirely separate matter -any court of law will tell you that. It does not matter whether its a temporary or permanent withholding - its still unlawful.
                        I've been watching this thread with great interest. Could anyone tell me which law says it is unlawful to withhold rent without agreement?

                        Thanks

                        Comment


                          #27
                          It's not a breach of statutory law, as such, just a breach of contractual obligation; "unlawful" can cover both.
                          EXCEPT that, in some cases, it might also be a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 or the Fraud Act 2006.
                          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).

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