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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My daughter her partner and 2 children now aged 2 1/2 and 5

Resolved Question:

My daughter her partner and 2 children now aged 2 1/2 and 5 rented a property for 2 years. They had no hot water for 5 weeks over the first winter period they wer there and not heating for 5 weeks the second winter the plumber that came said that the boiler was dreadful. The property on reflection was not in a good state to begin with. My daughter gave 1 months notice on 17th March after being told he was selling the property and they had found another place to rent (which is is in a much better state of repair) The property sold in a week then fell through so the landlord wanted them to stay as rolling tennets which they did not want and moved out. We held back the last months rent as we felt he would not return any of the deposit. My daughter and I were at the inspection last wednesday were it was all negative (we could not clean the property as we would have liked because the boiler had packed up again). My daughter has now had an email saying that the landlord wants the full deposit and rent arrears includinding £200 for the period from last rent (that we did not pay) til the inspection and that the landlord is taking them to court for rent arrears.
Advice PLEASE thankyou.
Jenny [email protected]
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.

Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

May I ask if the landlord carried out a professional invenotry on check in and again at check out please?

Joshua :

Do you know if the landlord protected their deposit in a protection scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit?

Customer:

No it was someone from lettings at the estate agents and they had had good inspections throughout the tennancy

Joshua :

Thanks. Do you know if the landlord protected their deposit in a protection scheme within 30 days of receipt of the deposit?

Customer:

don't know he has asked if advise if they canrelease the deposit

Joshua :

Thanks. If you are uncertain whether it is protected, you can check online with one of the four schemes that it could be registered with - they all have online search facilities (the Capita scheme is new and as yet has a small share of the market):
http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/get-started/check-your-deposit
https://www.depositprotection.com/is-my-deposit-protected
https://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/is-my-deposit-registered.html
https://www.capita-tdp.co.uk/

Joshua :

If it was not protected within 30 days of receipt then they can issue a claim in the county court for the return of the deposit and a claim for up to three times the amount in compensation (judge has discretion as to whether to award between 1 and 3 times compensation depending upon landlord's conduct) under the provisions of the Housing Act as amended by the Localism Act. The deposit must be returned to them ou in full without deduction if the landlord has not protected it within time and they must receive at least the amount of the deposit in compensation (up to three times at the judges discretion as above).

Customer:

will check in a bit with daughter or one of the above

Joshua :

If the deposit was protected in time then the matter will turn on the cirumstances. may I ask a few questions on the facts?

Customer:

yes

Joshua :

You mention your daughter gave notice that she was going to leave. Was this given in writing or failng which accepted in writing by the landlord/agent?

Joshua :

When did she actually leave?

Joshua :

Do you know on what date each month rent was due?

Customer:

she emailed the lettings

Customer:

around the 18th April although there were a couple of things removed of theirs a couple of weeks ago

Customer:

around the 10th

Joshua :

Thanks For what period is the landlord seeking rent arrears?

Joshua :

Did your daughter complain about the lack of heating or hot water in writing or just verbally?

Customer:

march to april

Customer:

march to aprils rent sorry

Customer:

verbally over the phone

Joshua :

Thank you. Is there any evidence she has regarding the lack of hot water/heating were this to be denied?

Customer:

Possibly from the plumber

Joshua :

Thanks.

Joshua :

If the deposit has been protected then the matter will proceed on the basis of 1) how much rent the landlord can claim, 2) the damage the landlord can claim by reference to the inventories prepared at check in and check out and 3) any disrepair claims your daughter can make.

Joshua :

To take each of these in turn:

Joshua :

1) Regarding the amount of rent the landlord can claim, your daughter must (assuming the initial fixed term of the tenancy had expired) give one clearl months notice to end the tenancy which notice can only expire the day before rent is payable. Accordingly if rent is paid on 10th of each month and she gave notice on 17th march to expire 18 April the soonest she can legally stop paying rent would be 9th May being the next date that fits the above rules. Accordingly the landlord could claim rent up to 9th May.

Joshua :

2) The buden of proof is upon the landlord to prove any damage he is claiming for. Without a professinoally prepared inventory he will struggle to make any claims from the depoit. If he has such an inventory then you should have been given a copy of it and if not your daughter should ask for one asap and comment on it in writing in respect of any issues she disagrees with. The court will determine any damage claims in accordance with the evidence the landlord can produce and your daughters comments on the same and any contrary evidence she can produce.

Joshua :

3) Based on what you say your daughter suffered some significant disrepair issues whilst she was living in the property for which she can claim a signficant reductino in rent for loss of amenity as a breach of contract on the landlords part. There are in fact some significant protections for tenants in the form of HHSRS protections under the Housing Act whereby the local authority have the power to inspect and serve notice on the landord for any issues that fail to come up to their requirements which are extensive. Lack of heating and whot water ot fundamental breaches of the HHSRS regulations.

Joshua :

The issue your daugher may have at this stage is evidencing the issues in the event that the landlord denies them though given the involvement of agents, one would hope that they would acknowledge the issues if your daughter for example emails them and asks them to respond on the point.

Joshua :

If your daughter can show on the balance of probability that they did not have heating or hot water for an extended period she can claim a significant reduction in rent for the period in question to set against any claims on the part of the landlord.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

As this was their first time of renting and neither myself nor my husband have rented we feel a bit lost and that the landlord has changed goalposts along the way. There are other issues such as windows not fitting properly thus needing the heating working and, on a lot of the time due to small children one of whom suffers with recurrant tonsillitis and is due to have her tonsils out.

Customer:

The fact that we can look into the fact that the landlord may have failed to keep his side of the tennenacy agreement helps

Joshua :

Yes absolutely.

Joshua :

The landlord has contractual obligations under the tenancy to provide accomodation that is satisfactory. You can fin a list of the requirements under HHSRS here which you will see are extensive.

Joshua :

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15810/142631.pdf

Joshua :

The only difficulty your daughter may find at this stage having move out is evidencing the disrepair issues if the landlord denies them so it would be helpful if your daughter can obtain acknowledgement in one form or another from the agents as to the issues they experienced by exchange of emails for example

Joshua :

If she can show on the balance of probability that she did experience the issues she did then she can claim damages for the relevant period to set against any claims the landlord makes against her.

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Joshua :

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 please reply back to me though

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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