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leanne-jones, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 183
Experience:  Barrister
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Unlawful conduct by landlord against ASTA based tenants. On

Customer Question

Unlawful conduct by landlord against ASTA based tenants. On 19 May, Tenants reported a fault with washing machine that trip-fused out the electrical socket circuits at the property that was discovered after external power went back on following a power failure. As of today, all laundry has had to be done off-site because (i) the landlord refused to repair or replace the machine, except if we contributed financially to repairs; (ii) is refusing to compensate the tenants for the distress, inconvenience, and wasted tenant time; and (iii) is now proposing to install a new machine on thursday, insisting that he will (a) not remove the old machine, (b) not acknowledge that replacement is admission that the existing fault is through fair wear and tear, not damage by tenants and (c) is warning us not to deny access of his cntractors to install. What are the tenants legal rights here please? Thank you, Tom.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello - my name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you today.

Is the washing machine the landlords or tenants but it? On what basis is he refusing - just because he says that it is your fault?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The washing machine belongs to the Landlord. He's not been specific, agent states:

On behalf of the Landlord we do not accept your conditions of delivery apart from those detailed above [not any of 3 conditions listed by tenants].

On behalf of the Landlord we do not accept your comments (or their implications) relating to the history of this dispute. Our position is detailed in the email thread, and remains unchanged.

Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
What is it you want to all achieve? I assume you will allow the new one to be installed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi again, Leanne,
(1) I believe by law that, no matter how badly treated, Tenants must not deny access to install a new washing machine, principally because that allows the Landlord (i) to mitigate the mounting costs against him and (ii) to exercise his statutory access rights with which to do that, which cannot be unreasonably denied by a Tenant. ERGO, access cannot be denied by Tenants simpply because Lanlord will not agree to their terms.

(2)Tenants need to legitimately recover their costs from all this. Direct laundry costs (a mobile laundry lady who collects and delivers back to the premises)amount to about £240 (£48x5 weeks: that's 4 loads for a family of 3 at £12 per load) PLUS scale damages for all the distress, inconvenience, and wasted time by tenants (the agent has engaged in a harassing 65+ email exchanges with Tenants on this matter whilst the Landlord was away on a 4-week vacation) over 28 days = £203.42 (£2750 x 28/365), together amounting to £443.42. The court scale rate is based on a supreme court ruling that is apparently applied to these types of damages(I will have to check the case ref, not to hand), set on a range £1000 through to £2750, with the defendant to show why the rate claimed at the top end should be lower or not at all.
(3) Are Tenants correct in their approach at (1) above?
(4) what do you believe/sense the recoverable quantum of costs plus damages? See (2) above.
(5) How do you advise we recover our costs?

Many thanks for your time and assistance on this matter. If there are other issues (and we have them in spades with this Landlord, such that we want an early termination of the 24-month ASTA expiring 31 January 2014 and currently with NO break clause, which Landlord has also refused to give, is it possible to instruct you directly as I will find this medium difficult for the more complex issues? Best wishes, Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, I appaer to have lost connection with you on my last 5 point reply. Did you get it? Many thanks and regards, Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have now found the reference to damages here:

“12. In a review of the authorities relating to the award of damages for distress, inconvenience and loss of amenity in cases of disrepair under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Court of Appeal hinted at an unofficial “tariff” of damages of £2,750 per annum at the top to £1,000 per annum at the bottom.”

That may be found in the full piece on this quick link here:

Look forward to hearing back from you when convenient.
With many thanks and regards,
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
I got this. When did you notify the Landlord the m/c was not working?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
19 May typo!!!
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
Ok. When did Landlord refuse to do anything until really nagged?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Landlord went on a 4-week caravan vacation in France (read: not contactable: 69 year-old) on/around 26 May 2013.

By then he had had an NIC EIC electrician in to check the socket circuits, which were pronounced OK. But, the electrician is not an appliance specialist, so he never RAN the w/m to check if it worked on the socket circuits at the property, being the fault originally reported.

On 25 May, Tenants in reliance of electrician'c prior check ran the w/m and found it to repeat the same problem.

At that point, it all totally disintegrated - landlord away, allegedly uncontactable by agent, same electrician sent in again who also again was unable to test-run w/m because apparently not qualified to do so, agent harrasses Tenant for money to repair before he will authorise anyone else to visit, tenant agrees to call out charge but only on condition agent uses Tenant's independently checkatrade-checked appliance specialist...all dealt abusively by agent in 50+ email exchange circles with tenant UNTIL Landlord returns from vacation on 20 june when he directs...

...a NEW WASHING MACHINE as if the tenants were not damaged at all by all that.

Seems like he wants to bury the whole matter, not take a claim back from the tenants, and get the evidence (existing w/m) off-line as quick as poss, leaving tenants to store (no room) rather than take it off-site.

Tenants have arranged for their own specialist to inspect tomorrow before the existing "faulty" w/m goes off-line with new w/m
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
Did you inform the Landlord you would need to use a laundrette and seeking repayment?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We informed the Landlord's agent formally at/around Thursday following 26 May.

Be clear here, we used a mobile laundry service, we live 7 miles from the nearest town in the country in Hampshire, launderettes do not have the settings to deal with silks, quality trousers, etc that otherwise would have had to go to the dry cleaners at much extra cost. The mobile laundry service we used is "free" of all collection and delivery costs including labour (driver), depreciation, and fuel (a taxi from the nearest mainline statuion costs £15 plus tip) - so, we have made every reasonable effort to mitigate costs.
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
So it was the cheapest option you used?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was the cheapest option that we could reasonably find. Here is the copy of the email originally sent on 29 may 2013, with much firmer one on 30 May that folows: On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 8:57 AM, Thomas XXXX Dear Mr... Thank you. In the meantime, and through no fault of this family, I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX that this household is unable to process any laundry. That is now a looming problem for us. No laundry was undertaken last weekend on the basis that the matter would be resolved by the relevant engineeer early this week, and our son returns to school next week. In those circumstances, we will be unable to wait beyond tomorrow before alternative arrangements have to be made for our laundry to be processed. If such arrangements have to be implemented, then regrettably your client will be liable for the relevant costs in doing so, including our time, travel, and inconvenience. Thomas XXXX Sent: 30 May 2013 08:40 To: Subject: Re: Ash Lacey: broken electrical socket circuitry - IMPORTANT NOTICE Mr..., I note that we are approaching the expiry of some 24 hours since your last (or any) communication from you and/or your firm on the above matter. In your last communication, you stated that you would investigate the matter and revert to me in due course. As the Managing Agent, you are fully aware that: (i) Even though the problem was first reported to your firm and to your client on 19 May 2013 - some 14 days ago, the restoration of the relevant and essential household electrical amenities to good working order still has not happened. (ii) Your client is responsible for the good and safe working order of the property (including electrical circuitry) and of its essential amenities (washing machines, tumble driers, etc) under the ASTA (cl. 3.2) as well as under the LTA (s.11) as well as for their repair in a timely manner; and (iii) Your client is also liable for any relevant and reasonable costs (including time, travel, and inconvenience) that a tenant must necessarily incur as a result of a Landlord's (or his managing agent's) failure to repair within a timely manner under the ASTA (cl. 3.4), noting in this particular instance that you have estopped the tenants from carrying out their own action to resolve the matter in the way that is specified in your notice to us of 28 May 2013 (5.36pm - ASTA cl.3.5). You are politely reminded, therefore, that if the relevant amenities are not fixed by close of business today or that your firm is unable to provide assurances that such will be fixed by Friday 3pm (tomorrow), then we will have no alternative except to make arrangements for our laundry to be processed off-site. That action will be implemented without further reference to you or to your client following expiry of the 3pm Friday deadline. We simply cannot wait any longer than that to have our laundry processed in time for next week and we believe it would be unreasonable both of your firm and of your clients to expect us to exercise any more patience and forbearance than we already have in this matter. In those circumstances, your client will be billed for the relevant costs and will continue to be billed for the same said reasonable costs on a weekly basis until such time as the relevant amenities are safely restored to good working order. We estimate that reasonable weekly costs are likely to exceed £100 per week whilst a suitable fix continues to remain outstanding by your client and its Managing Agent. In the circumstances, I am also bound to reserve all the legal rights of the tenants in this matter, including as to costs, against your clients and I now do so. Yours sincerely XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  leanne-jones replied 3 years ago.
Right. What you should do is this. Write to the Landlord and ask for a refund of the charges that you have incurred, hopefully you have a receipt. This can include travel at 45p a mile.

You can ask for payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court if he refuses. If he does then you can issue proceedings in the small claims Court which you can do online at:

The Landlord is responsible for white goods he leaves in the house, so it would be including this. As I have said, you cant refuse access as you are not mitigating your loss, but I would expect him to take the faulty one back.

But this is what you can do, you have a right to seek reimbursement of those costs as your rental fee includes a partial fee for the washing machine.

I hope this answers your question and if I can of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

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