Help!! Tenants witholding rent.

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  • Help!! Tenants witholding rent.

    I have a brother and sister as tenants in a 2 bed ground floor flat.

    They are on a weekly agreement of £160 due every Friday payable in cash. I gave them a rent book, they do not use.

    They originally complained around 4 weeks ago of damp in one of the bedrooms, I immediately contacted the surveyor who came out within the week, he said he was unsure what the cause was, and would come back and drill the outside wall and insert camera. He was then away for 2 weeks. He came back to me a few days ago and explained the cause, and will be doing some new brickwork next week when hopfully it is warmer. I have left a message on tenants answerphone (they never answer the phone or call back) explaining this.

    I have had a letter this morning, saying there is mould everywhere in cupboards walls, mattress etc.

    They said they will not be paying rent until it is sorted out. They should have paid Friday 15th, they did not, so tomorrow (22nd) they will be 14 days behind.

    Obviously I am in the process of sorting it out.

    The main problem is they do not tell me of any problems until they have got really bad. They told me about the damp(via letter), and then said it had been like it for weeks!!

    I do not want to fall out with them and want to fix the problem. What do people advise?

  • #2
    >>They said they will not be paying rent until it is sorted out.

    They do not have that right.

    Buy them a dehumidifier and ask them to open their windows and turn the heating on. I bet they're drying their clothes in that room with the window shut. I bet the damp is coming from inside not from outside. Are you sure you need the brickwork doing?
    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.


    • #3
      Hi Grange,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Thats what I am incilned to think, have bought them a dehumidifier already.

      As to the brickwork, apparantly there are some water droplets in the cavity wall, not too much of an issue as the cost is covered in the buildings insurance of the block.

      What are my rights with respect to issuing notices to quit etc?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Drowning in debt View Post
        I have had a letter this morning, saying there is mould everywhere in cupboards walls, mattress etc.
        You can be 99.99% sure that this is condensation, and not a damp problem.

        If you visit a number of properties and wear spectacles, in some houses you can hardly get in the front door before your lenses are completely steamed up with condensation.

        Doing work on the walls will not cure this problem. Full stop.

        This is because they wrote saying "there is mould everywhere in cupboards walls, mattress etc."

        If there is mould on the mattress and other soft furnishings, then it is moisture in the air, not penetrating or rising damp.

        We had tenants that to save money would have the heating off from Monday to Friday as they were often working away. They would come back for a day or two at the weekend and put the heating on full blast (like Bermuda Shorts heat level) until they left again. Obviously, there is moisture from them, plus cooking and bathing. When they left the temperature in the flat would drop and the moisture laden air would no longer be able to hold the wetness. Their whole wardrobe of clothes were ruined, plus bedding. The walls and ceiling were black, and when they vacated we had to get the walls treated before re-painting to stop the mould re-appearing.

        It's their fault. You just have to prove it!
        On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.


        • #5
          we were called out to a similar case, we ended up fitting an extractor fan in bathroom and kitchen problem solved! be very careful with damp & dpc companies also some builders a good excuse to earn some good money for nothing.


          • #6
            You will find this article helpful to determine if it's a defect that you are responsible for resolving or caused by the tenant's lifestyle.


            Make clear to them that you expect them to pay the rent in the mean time and that it is their obligation to do so. Put this in writing and keep a record.

            Last edited by Beeber; 21-02-2008, 19:47 PM. Reason: add extra link


            • #7
              Just to add the braces to the belt, write to them with a rental summary, and mention that you are doing so as although you provided a rent book they do not seem to be using it.

              It is actually in their interests to have a written record of what rent they have paid if their landlord (you) were ever to take legal action against them.


              • #8
                Hi everyone,

                Many thanks for all the posts, very helpful.


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