You found your perfect property to let. You feel excited. Every other thought in your head says this is the ideal flat for you – every little detail matters. You sign on the dotted line and move in. Few months down the line, little did you know that your dream will turn into your worst nightmare!
We have all had to deal with damaged pipes, leaks or other problems in our homes at one time or another. Not all landlords are helpful when it comes to repairs. Some want to maintain its value which guarantees they can continue to rent the property when you leave while others will refuse to carry out vital repairs that can affect your quality of life or even cause health issues.
As an example, a boiler malfunction or even a broken window that causes a draught by allowing unwanted cold air in, which is even worse in winter. Unfortunately, this situation is likely to affect you and other people in your life.
The landlord is responsible for significant repairs which can include fixing a broken toilet or repairing faulty pipes. Bearing in mind that the landlord is not obliged to make any improvement in the property if you were initially happy with the state of the property when you signed the contract.
Notify the landlord in writing
Inform your landlord of the exact repairs that are needed and how it’s affecting your quality of life. If a letting agent manages the property, then write to them. They will inform your landlord. Send photos of the damage and keep copies of all correspondence, including texts, emails or letters. If the situation is making you ill, keep a note of all GP appointments too. Usually, complaining verbally to your landlord should be enough, but it’s advisable to put all correspondence in writing. You may need it for evidence.
Send a second notification
It is essential to give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to get the repairs done – which is usually 21 days. Write to your landlord again and provide them with a warning that if the work is not carried out, then you will take further action. If the repairs are not carried out, then you can contact a landlord and tenant solicitor on Qredible.co.uk.
Deduct costs of repairs from the rent
If your landlord has breached a repairing obligation, unless stated in your contract, you have the right to do the repair and deduct the costs from the future rent payment. You have to ask your landlord if you can do the repairs yourself or pay someone to do it. However, the correct procedure must be followed, such as giving your landlord adequate notice to do the repairs and the estimated costs of the work. Please note that withholding rent payment is illegal; if the landlord does not carry out repairs. Doing so can jeopardise your right to remain in the property.
Usually, the landlord has the right to enter the property to carry out maintenance work with 24 hours’ notice in writing. How quickly a landlord will attend depends on the severity of the problem. If it is a mould that is affecting you, then it depends on whether you are responsible for causing it in the first place. Inform your landlord that you will be contacting the council if they still refuse to carry out the repairs. The local council will, in turn, look for other problems that you haven’t noticed – which should encourage the landlord to carry out the repairs and making sure your home is safe for occupation.
A procedure may be put in place to attempt to resolve the dispute by sending a letter of formal notice by registered mail. If the landlord fails to take any action, you can then proceed further and take legal action.
Take legal action
After all avenues have been explored, you could take legal action to force them to carry out repairs. It is obviously preferable to see the situation resolved without having to take legal action, but the owner will not want to be faced with the court, so this is an excellent last resort. You may be instructed by the court to carry out the repairs, and the court will pay you compensation in damages and may even pay you part or all of your legal expenses.
The judge will be able to terminate the rental agreement between you and the landlord and offer you compensation; depending on circumstances. You may also claim for damages to your health. It can also be a contributing factor rather than the cause of your illness; if you were diagnosed with one.
Finally, if part or all of the house was uninhabitable because of disrepair, then you‘ll be able to claim compensation for the inconvenience.
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