Possible court case?

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    Possible court case?


    I was referred to these forums by a family member because of the situation I'm in. There is a lot I'll be typing regarding the landlord and the agency we pay the money to each month.

    It started in October when my partner and myself were looking for a place to rent within Nottingham and because we're both students, no one would really take on two students who also have a child. So in the end, we stopped by the last student housing place we could try within the city centre and they had one property left which had no interest from other students. I am twenty-nine and so is my partner, so we're not a bunch of eighteen year olds straight out of college looking for just a roof over our heads and be happy about existing damage in the house, we have our daughter to take into consideration too, which the agency knew about too.

    So we're shown around a house which from the outside didn't look that good to begin with, but you never judge a book by its cover, right? We finally get inside and have a walk around and at first glance, it looked really nice. Sure, there were paint jobs that needed to happened, (which we were told would be done by January by the agency and the landlord at a further date). The house was furnished and everything was placed in such a way that it looked pretty much new and kept in a good condition to a point you wouldn't believe students lived there before.

    Now we finally sign the contract, pay a £800 deposit, around £200 in admin costs and the first months rent of £700, we get the keys and move in that evening. The first night we go to bed and notice the bed dents inwards in the centre, so we decided to look underneath to find the bar is bent in the middle. The landlord came round and instead of replacing the bar, he decided to stomp on the bar to attempt to bend it back into its original place, which didn't work at all. Instead, he stacked a few blocks underneath the bar and placed the bar on top, so every time we lay down in bed it makes a loud bang as it 'slots' back into place.

    So by the end of November, the landlord comes round, temporarily 'fixes' the bed and puts a new sealant around the bath so no water leaks down the sides when we take showers. In December, his brother comes around to fix the broken down wall at the front of the house as the house was and still is up for sale, (He needs to make it look nice for potential buyers of course.)

    Now, there is a whole list of safety issues and repairs that need to be done as we've contacted environmental health twice regarding the property. The second visit from environmental health, the gentleman was a little angry and disgusted that the landlord would rent a property in such conditions and even said, and I quote; "I'm not sure how he was given a permit to say his house was fit to live in. If you were average students and not a normal household, we would of closed this house off until the repairs were done, but because you're a normal household, it doesn't quite slip into the emergency category."

    I'll place a list of repairs that were known about in October that the landlord knew about and that we were promised he would repair before March with a * beside those that he has repaired.
    • Seal around the bath. *
    • No light cord in the bathroom. *
    • Broken white goods, washing machine with no door handle, need to use a wire to open the door every time.
    • Doors that have no fittings to make them actually close and keep in the warmth, leaving them constantly open.
    • Paint work in the kitchen needed due to water damage before we moved in. (There were mushrooms on the ceiling.)
    • Back garden fence broken and folding over into the garden along with glass in the grass, broken plant pots, old wood, rubbish and bricks. All would be fixed and cleaned up before March.
    • Clearing out the basement so nPower can repair the existing energy meter (The back plate is hanging from the wall, and not a few cm's, a few inches.) nPower said it was a "safety hazard, though not a fire hazard right now" (In November) "but a few months from then it could be." The landlord has told me I need to clean out all his piles of wood, old shoes, electrical items, etc etc so nPower can repair the meter.

    That's just a few of what we were promised, what environmental health have found out since their visits are what are left from the above along with these:
    • Windows rotting, gaps in windows, holes in the window frames big enough to put your fingers through.
    • Faulty electrical sockets that often trip off the whole electricity on the front side of the house. (One socket even fried my fiances iPhone as it tripped off the electricity and now the battery has swollen up (which we are keeping for evidence.) The landlord also denies any faults with the electricity.
    • Our daughter almost fell down the stairs due to a loose spindle on the banister upstairs. Thankfully I was there to catch her, but upon closer inspection you can see a failed repair attempt on the landlords behalf as a single screw protrudes through the spindle into the banister by possibly.. 3 or 5mm and was glued at the bottom.
    • Fire alarms that are not linked (which is required in 'student' housing). And those that are battery powered, some are missing batteries.
    • If a fire was to occur in the basement, due to the landlords left over D.I.Y. materials etc, it could be explosive and due to the garden being in the state it is it, the gate at the back is not accessible. Not just because of the rubbish but you cannot even see the gate from the garden. Trees, vines and wood block the way. The front door is not a fire safety door, along with the living room and kitchen doors, they're just some random wooden doors the landlord installed.
    • After visiting citizens advice and bringing them the information of our contract, which also mentions our deposit etc, the lady could find no evidence on the government systems that suggests our deposit is government protected. Has the landlord and/or the agency committed fraud here?
    • The landlord, since the environmental health visits has become passive-aggressive in his messages on WhatsApp, which we have as evidence. If we ask a simple question about repairs and/or if he has been contacted by the agency regarding the issues. He proceeded to send a message stating that every time he wanted to come by to do repairs, we called it off at the very last minute (we have in black in white evidence he's lying) as we cancelled ONE time due to food poisoning and the work he had to do was in the bathroom. We also mentioned about the winter being extremely cold, having the central heating on and even the log burner in the living room and it would not reach higher than 19C whilst the neighbours were sat all warm and comfy at 23C+. (We know as my fiance spoke to the neighbours who are also students about their temperatures in the house etc.)

    We already think we're paying too much rent for a house in this condition with the lack of repairs being done. £700 a month, house in a terrible condition and now the landlord is looking at getting the repairs done and seeing who is "at fault" for the damages, which.. as stated by environmental health, were there a year or two before we would of even moved in, due to the condition it's in at this moment in time. It's not something that could of happened since November.

    The fact that we need to contact the agency first, (requested by them for their records), they message and call him and doesn't even get back to them unless it's something he can get repaired for free or shift the costs to someone else should say enough about the type of landlord we have.

    We signed the contract with the promise that all the repairs currently known by the landlord and the agency would be done before March, which is why we agreed to pay £700 a month rent. It's now June and we're in the same position as we were back then.

    I know it's a lot to read and I apologise for that, but I just wanted to throw in as much information as I could. There are a few things I've left out and of course I won't be mentioning any names of the landlord and the agency.

    Do you think if I was to take my landlord to court I would have enough evidence (along with environmental health) to have a good case against him?

    I wouldn't take the landlord to court (you can always do that later if you wish).
    There are other options.

    If you want to stay, you can write to the landlord (not the agent, use the address in the tenancy agreement - an actual letter in an envelope - with "proof of posting" from a post office) and list all of the items that are not satisfactory.
    The landlord has 14 days to respond in a satisfactory manner.
    If they don't (respond or it isn't satisfactory) talk to the tenancy relations team at the council and point them at the 2015 deregulation act which requires the landlord to respond and, if they don't, the local authority needs to investigate.
    This is new legislation, so bear with them.
    This action prevents the landlord from serving s21 notice on you and may compel the landlord to sort things out.

    If you look at the shelter website, they have a protocol to follow that essentially supports you using your rent to make the repairs if the landlord won't.
    That takes control of the situation, but is likely to hack the landlord off big time.
    It requires that the steps are done in order and properly.

    If you want to leave the property and move somewhere more satisfactory, I'd offer to surrender the tenancy instead of using the rent as above.

    You could simply find somewhere else and move out, but that is a risky strategy.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      Thank you for your response, jpkeates.

      As far as I have know, environmental health have issued him with a letter stating he needs to get some of the repairs done with a certain time period. I'm assuming this is different from a letter I should issue him with? I'll begin writing one today and send it.

      As for staying or leaving, we're looking to leave. We've had tours around several houses in almost perfect condition. We've now started looking at everything during the tours which we didn't do with this property. If we were to leave however, the landlord and agency said that it would be us breaching the one year contract and we would have to continue paying the rent until the 4th of November when our contract ends.

      It just infuriates me that the landlord is neglectful, as mention he has now became passive-aggressive and is looking at the possibilities of us paying for the repairs that should of been done before we actually moved in which he suggested in a message to us.

      I'll take a look at the shelter website too to see protocols we need to follow.

      Again, thank you for your response.


        If the environmental health have told them to make repairs, they'll get in trouble if they don't.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


          Agree with all the above... but these is a certain element of free will here. You entered into a contract on the basis of vague promises, and on the basis in part, of things you should have known about. Some of these things are the Landlord's responsibility to sort - others are not. Nanny state cannot look after every bit of our lives and protect us against every bad or hasty decision. Your landlord sounds rubbish, and you sound as if a hard lesson or two have been learned.


            Please complete & paste http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ll-new-posters


              Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

              Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

              Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

              Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

              Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?
              Per calendar month on the 4th.

              Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

              Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).
              None was sent.

              Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?

              I have also contacted Shelter who gave some great advice. The lady also checked our deposit and again could not find any information to say it was protected or not. She also advised me to visit https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/ and check myself after calling the agency for more information, which I did. Yet, no deposit information could be found and we were never given a deposit certificate/letter to say it was protected, which I was told should of happened within 30days of signing the agreement.


                There are links on the shelter website to the other companies that might have your deposit (there are three companies who might have a record of it).

                If the landlord hasn't protected your deposit, your negotiating position is much stronger.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).



                  I have checked all the links that shelter has provided and not one came back with a response stating it is protected. I messaged my landlord today regarding it, he assured me that it was protected regardless of not receiving a letter/certificate stating it. Though having gone by his word in the past and knowing the position I am in now, I'm not falling for it again. I asked him for his address as I want to put in an official complaint and he refused to give it to me. Now I'm in the process of retrieving the address from the agency who takes ages to respond, as they of course cannot give private information out over the phone.

                  Thank you for all of your information, you've been a big help with helping me take a step further.


                    If you ask the agent for the landlord's address in writing they have 21 days to respond.
                    Failure to do so is a criminal offence (however, no one seems to know what to do to prosecute someone).

                    Your landlord's address is not private information, it is a legal requirement that you know it before rent is payable (you will have to pay everything that you owe when you do have an address, so it's not that helpful).

                    Shelter's website has information about how to claim your deposit back, including some helpful template letters.
                    Failure to supply the Prescribed Information is a failure on its own, even if the landlord did protect the deposit.

                    Bear in mind that if you annoy the landlord enough they'll serve notice and get it right eventually (even if they have to give you your deposit back first).
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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