Tenant wanting to withhold part of rent due to heating issues

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    Tenant wanting to withhold part of rent due to heating issues

    Hi,

    First time posting here

    I have a property I rent out and have a current issue with the tenant wanting to pay a reduced amount for last month.

    In late November he contacted us about the downstairs heating not working, he had already called British Gas, with who we have cover and they came and rectified it, however, there continued to be issues with the heating and required further visits and parts.

    For several of these visits he was not at home as he had arranged, so the engineers left the property (as you would expect)
    He then rearranged for them to come back, but 3-4 days later, as HE wanted an evening appointment.

    Overall he missed 3 of 4 visits before they finally managed to get in to fix it.

    We made many calls to BG about it and had also raised a complaint with them about issues right at the start with them not being able to tell us what was happening with spare parts and why they hadn't been ordered initially

    We feel we have done everything in our power to sort his heating ASAP, we pay for cover and have intervened with BG, when he has "given up". We asked for BG to provide him with electric heaters.

    However, he is now saying he was without heating for 3 weeks, which is not actually true, and as I said, many of these delays are caused by himself.

    He wasn't actually in the house for most of this time, as he stayed with his girlfriend

    He is asking us to reduce his rent for that month, does this seem a fair request? We were already going to pass on any compensation we got from BG, but are frankly annoyed by his attitude.

    He has been with us for several years and we've not had any issues before, we leave him to it, do not interfere at all with him.

    Is there any legal or recommended actions/advice in regards to this.

    Thanks in advance

    #2
    Sounds like a chancer to me... You've clearly done everything you can to rectify the problem and he hasn't played ball.

    Is he looking for 3 weeks rent reduction? I definitely wouldn't agree to that. However, given that he's been with you for several years and you've not had any problems, I might consider a small rent reduction (1 week) just to keep things amicable. Others certainly won't agree with me!

    Comment


      #3
      I wouldn't give him a reduction - it's his own fault.

      Comment


        #4
        This situation has come up again and again on this board.

        I've never been in this situation in over 20 years as I arrange the repair* and attend the property to provide access. Asking the tenant to arrange repair and be in attendance is a recipe for trouble IMHO. Either the landlord makes himself available or pays for a comprehensive management program through an agent or property manager.

        *Where there are delays (e.g. parts), the tenant is constantly updated on progress. This nips any frustration on their part in the bud.

        Comment


          #5
          Suggest that you will waive January's rent increase.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by John Duff View Post
            This situation has come up again and again on this board.

            I've never been in this situation in over 20 years as I arrange the repair* and attend the property to provide access. Asking the tenant to arrange repair and be in attendance is a recipe for trouble IMHO. Either the landlord makes himself available or pays for a comprehensive management program through an agent or property manager.

            *Where there are delays (e.g. parts), the tenant is constantly updated on progress. This nips any frustration on their part in the bud.
            +1 ....

            Never understood landlords expecting tenants to do their work for nothing. Yes, offer tenant option of arranging and attending workman visit if they wish to, but it's landlord responsibility, ultimately.

            Others will hold alternative views.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              thanks all, appreciate the differing views, John & dodger, we're not asking him to do our work, but likewise we don't like to intrude on him, or really be there without him also there. We try to treat it as HIS home.

              just out of interest, if he hadn't caused the delays (as I'm sure he won't see it that way), would opinions/requirements for a reduction change. As I said we were already expecting to pass on BG's compensation, but more of a gesture than thinking it was a requirement.

              thanks again all!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                +1 ....

                Never understood landlords expecting tenants to do their work for nothing. Yes, offer tenant option of arranging and attending workman visit if they wish to, but it's landlord responsibility, ultimately.

                Others will hold alternative views.
                Yep. I often try to arrange appointments for small repairs at a convenient time for T so that I do not need to attend. But it is not always possible or could result in delay to the repair, in which case I attend.

                But - if T made arrangements and then failed to be there, or inexplicably refused access - as I have experienced recently - it really is their problem.
                Assume I know nothing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                  +1 ....

                  Never understood landlords expecting tenants to do their work for nothing. Yes, offer tenant option of arranging and attending workman visit if they wish to, but it's landlord responsibility, ultimately.

                  Others will hold alternative views.
                  Absolutely agree Artful!

                  There are landlords who think that tenants should expect the same as an owner occupier regarding repair timescales. I argue they are NOT owner occupiers but are clients who are PAYING for a service. Repair process should be started IMMEDIATELY upon notification and the tenant updated on any delays. This allows the landlord to demonstrate that he has made every effort.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by BillDoor View Post
                    thanks all, appreciate the differing views, John & dodger, we're not asking him to do our work, but likewise we don't like to intrude on him, or really be there without him also there. We try to treat it as HIS home.

                    just out of interest, if he hadn't caused the delays (as I'm sure he won't see it that way), would opinions/requirements for a reduction change. As I said we were already expecting to pass on BG's compensation, but more of a gesture than thinking it was a requirement.

                    thanks again all!
                    BillDoor, Never had an issue with entering a property for repair when the tenant was out* Tenants are pleased to return from work to find normal service resumed!.

                    *One instance of tenant hiding clear breach of TA.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by BillDoor View Post
                      thanks all, appreciate the differing views, John & dodger, we're not asking him to do our work, but likewise we don't like to intrude on him, or really be there without him also there. We try to treat it as HIS home.
                      If T has expressed a desire for you or a workman not to be there without him, then absolutely fair enough. But I would never assume that unless they specified it. If it was likely to cause delays I would inform them.

                      I have passed on compensation to T before, as you intend to do. The only problem is that if L thinks compensation is due to T, or even just a goodwill payment, it should probably not be conditional on what the gas company decides.
                      Assume I know nothing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My own view is that if LL deals with problem as quick as they possibly can, then I would never offer compensation or rather a rent reduction.

                        However, if you have a Valid claim with British had then it implies there was a problem in which the tenant had no control.

                        It isn't his fault then it is not his problem that the service from British Gas was inept or that you chose them. He would just expect the problem to be fixed.

                        In this case I think you are being fair in offering any compensation you receive to the tenant.

                        In your claim to British Gas you should request that your losses are refunded and breakdown any refund you agree with the tenant.

                        Advise the tenant that a refund will be given if British Gas agree their service was not sufficient.

                        If they reply that any delays were due to the tenant then I would pay them nothing at all.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          thanks again all
                          Just to clarify - does he have a "right" to a reduction due to lack of heating in winter?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            He has no automatic right to compensation by statute. He might pursue a civil case against you but that's highly unlikely IMHO. However, unless you can calm the waters with him (suggest a meeting in person) expect relationship to deteriorate going forwards.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Pretty confident that they can't withhold rent.

                              http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/hou...-of-disrepair/

                              They could theoretically sue you for any loss they have experienced.

                              If they have been a good no hassle tenant four years you really should try to keep them sweet. I'm not having a cheap pop, but I think you need to be honest with yourself about what is intruding and what is good management.
                              Assume I know nothing.

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