Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you were supplied with an energy performance certificate for the property please?
No EPC either
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places an implied term in every tenancy that the landlord must keep in repair the structure, sanitary installations and exterior of the property. This would include the water and heating provision in the property. The landlord is responsible for repair costs in respect of the same.
Furthermore a landlord can be held liable if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their tenants. You can use or threaten to use HHSRS which is the housing health and safety rating system implemented by the Housing Act, and ask the environmental department to carry out a health and safety assessment of the property. They have the power to serve improvement notices on the landlord to remedy any areas which do not come up to standard.
An HHSRS inspection can be useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly because such inspections can result in legally enforceable notice to the landlord to improve his property to minimum standards if they have failed to comply with their obligations under the Housing act which are substantial and also because the outcome of the inspection can give extremely useful evidence you can present in court if you decide to proceed to court at a later stage.
There is a link to the HHSRS requirements below.
You will note there are extensive requirements in respect of minimum insulation and heating requirements and a host of other requirements in relation to minimum standards in the property which can be enforced by the council.
The conditions you describe on the face of it would appear to breach the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Housing Act as above and there would if this is the case be grounds to claim a reduction in rent for the period you have suffered the issues for loss of amenity in the property. In addition to your above rights if you wish to leave the property you can leave early if a) the property is declared uninhabitable or b) if you ask the landlord to remarket the property. The landlord must do so as he is under a common law obligation to mitigate his costs. You are required to pay his reasonable remarketing expenses in these circumstances.
The first step is therefore likely to be requesting an HHSRS inspection so that the council can take action in respect of issues that are unacceptable and in addition this will give you a report you can potentially use in respect of any claim for compensation.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
Brilliant thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it. Sorry I had to go out of my office when you replied.
Not at all. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
Could I clarify the law on the fitting of a carbon monoxide monitor?
Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are identified as hazards in the HHSRS requirements and a lack of effective smoke, heat or CO alarms is cited as a potential matter that can be enforced by the council - see page 31 of the above link.
Accordingly it is a matter the council can enforce against
thanks Joshua, I have read through the document link you sent through and it is very helpful.
I will ask for an EPC from the Estate Agents first and go from there. I will leave you good feedback. I don't really want to go down the legal route, but I am at my wits end as it has taken so long to get anything done.
In my experience an uncooperative agent is unlikely to be swayed a great deal by general persuasion. Typically involving the council will force the landlords hand and can be required to make reluctant landlords attend to their obligations. Failure to provide an EPC can lead to a fine but rarely does in practice.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.
One last question - is it law to provide an EPC for a rental property? I will of course leave positive feedback for you, thank you very much.
Oh I see - it could result in a fine. Thank you I will leave feedback now