Rent reduction claim after breakdown in communication between tenant and landlord

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    Rent reduction claim after breakdown in communication between tenant and landlord

    Sole tenant half way through 6 month rent agreement paid monthly in England .
    Tenant emailed to say boiler was faulty. We rang tenant couple times but got no answer. We did not "chase" the tenant as perhaps we should have. Rather we left it to them to contact us back to make an appointment. Tenant did not contact us at all. After three weeks we tried making contact again simply thinking boiler must be working again but we need to cancel job. Tenant admits he remembers recieving some calls but was too busy at work. After four weeks we tried tenant again and he answered call .
    His response to this first verbal contact was "Its not up to me to remind or chase you, my boiler has not worked for a month so I want 50% rent reduction or I will go to court. "

    No doubt (in hindsight) we could have emailed him posted a note through the door etc etc.

    Has the tenants not some responsibilty to contact us if we fail to respond (for whatever reason) to their initial report of a fault within the property.

    Personally, I'd get the boiler repaired and suggest that the tenant go to court if that's what they want to do.
    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).


      IMHO, a failure to communicate works both ways, so the tenant is being unreasonable in assuming that he only needs to send one email and then he can drop off the radar.
      I don't believe a tenant can withhold rent/demand a reduction, I think the most he can do is organise the repair himself and then deduct the engineers invoice from his next rent payment.

      Suggest you
      1) fix the boiler ASAP.
      2) tell him to pay his rent.
      3) issue a section 21 to let him know you want him to leave at the end of his 6 months (if he doesn't know this already)


        In this weather id be more concerned in how they have lived a month with no boiler!

        Are they even living there?. He may well argue it's not up to him to chase you but by the same token if you tried contacting them to arrange repair and they were busy and forgot, then you cannot be responsible.

        What if you arranged for a repair and the date/time wasn't suitable for the tenant? You can't let yourself in and interfere with their "quiet enjoyment" else they would threaten to sue you for that too!.

        Personally I would write to them and advise that although you are aware the boiler wasn't fixed as quick as you would like, the tenant was partly responsible in not returning your calls. That you were unable to arrange the repair without their authority.

        I would advise them there will be no reduction in rent and you will respond to any threatened court action appropriately.

        Issue section 21 on end of month 4 giving notice to leave when tenancy expires. You will always have trouble with a tenant who throws these kinds of threats and they aren't worth keeping.


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