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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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I have lived in my house which i have rented past

Resolved Question:

I have lived in my house which i have rented for the past 4 years at a very high rent = last year i lapsed with rent for a couple of months but was quickly solved with my family help and all was well. Before this happened i had been requesting that the property should be redecorated, and the landlord rather begrudgingly agreed, (my mistake, i should not have moved in until it was upto standard.) well we live and learn. After the hiccup with the rent, he said that he would cancel the decoration plans (i was shocked at his pettiness) Now back on track, i decided to withhold the rent until he decorated the house which has not been painted for probably 10yr or maybe more. I have just received a letter from the landlord demanding that the rent is paid and decorating the property was not part of the contract. However i have a 19 page tenancy agreement which states all the things i cannot do, but nothing that he has to do! According to this agreement everything has to be in pristine order as when i leave even though he did not even clean the carpets. I probably have no rights and will end up finding a new home, but this house is very depressing now. I would be interested in you views.Maggie
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year 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 prepared a professional inventory when you moved in please - if so have you seen a copy and/or signed it?

Customer:

Yes, i have a copy and signed it. I think it was a rehash from the previous tenants with the first and last pages changed with my name.

Joshua :

Thanks. Are you content it describes the property condition appropriately - i.e. it specifies aging decoration etc?

Customer:

Yes, it is very professional agreement which notes every mark and details of the property which is why i think it was done professionally, but when i took the property it was done word of mouth and not through an agent. He remarked that he would be saving on the agents fee! So the details on the inventory were at least a year old ad i got the property through knowing the former tenant. I have paid nearly £50,000 pounds in rent over the last four years and am most peeved about his attitude over the redecorating..We had excellent quote last year. I fear that the only way is to move, but as i am getting almost too old to keep moving. M

Joshua :

Thanks. Finally did you obtain his agreement in relation to decoration in writing or was this only agreed verbally?

Joshua :

Would you like to continue?

Customer:

yes, i answered your question about the quote, saying it was not in writing, as far as i am aware, but he sent me a copy of the quote

Joshua :

Thanks. You have a wide range of rights in relation to property disrepair regardless of the lack of provision in a tenancy agreement. For example 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 propertyThe Supply of Goods and Services Act provides that appliances the Landlord provides with the property must function adequately. Landlords can also be held liable if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their tenants. You also have rights using the HHSRS system introduced under the Housing Act and ask the environmental department at the local council 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. However statutory legislation does not provide for decorative condition of a property on its own. Rather what is provided for is in relation to property disrepair.

Customer:

he now says that unless i pay the back rent he will put it into the hands of a lawyer, so he obviously has no intention of decorating.

Joshua :

There is also a raft of legislation and regulations to protect tenants in respect of landlords repair obligations. The landlord provides for duties under statutory legislation. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides that the Landlord has a duty of care to provide adequate and safe conditions in their properties and the Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which shifted assessment towards health and safety impact. Each council is responsible for developing its own policy but most have a substantive list of requirements that address mould, damp structure and so on. There is a useful guide to the same here:

Joshua :

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9425/150940.pdf

Joshua :

If you can identify failings of the landlord under the above, then you have a basis for action. However if the property is only in a poor decorative condition but is not otherwise breaching any disrepair obligations referred to above or in the above guide, this would be a pure contractual issue between you and the landlord and you would need to evidence his agreement to decorate on the balance of probability.

Joshua :

If the landlord denies his confirmation that he would redecorate, and you have nothing in writing to show that he did agree, in the absence of a breach of one or more of his repairing obligations provided for in statute in the above guide or referred to above, the landlord would not be compelled to redecorate.

Customer:

Yes i thought that might be the case. Most of the equipment has been in good working order during this time, except a cooker hood which he replaced. In the agreement he has to agree to any decoration, so i just feel that he is just an old fashioned landlord, which i think are becoming in the minority, as a lot these days are happy to have well decorated homes to rent;

Customer:

So maybe i have to pay up and shut up or move.

Joshua :

It is worth reading the HHSRS guide. You will see it is very comprehensive but as above it is limited to disrepair issues rather than purely decorative issues. However you may be able to identify issues, such as damp or inadequate shower etc that may give you leverage.

Joshua :

in terms of the rent,failure to pay rent is a breach of contract and means that the landlord can seek eviction. if you are more than eight weeks behind in rent, he can seek eviction prior to the expiry of any fixed term tenancy using a section 8 notice. If you are less than eight weeks behind, he can still do this under part 8 but it is up to the discretion of the court as to whether to grant eviction which discretion is used relatively sparingly on a "first offence".

Joshua :

If your initial fixed term tenancy has expired and you occupy the property on a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord can serve a section 21 notice giving you two months notice to leave irrespective of whether rent is behind or not. if you have paid a deposit, the landlord is required to protect the deposit in one of the government approved tenancy protection deposit schemes. If he has failed to do so, he cannot serve a valid two month notice under s21, and you have a right to up to 3 times the amount of your deposit and compensation as well as the return your deposit.

Joshua :

If the tenancy fixed term has expired you can also give the landlord notice to leave - you are only required to give one month notice though the notice must end the day before rent is payable.

Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** been a relief to chat it over with someone - not family. I'm not sure it has helped too much as i just want a clean and fresh environment to live in. I wonder if asking him to allow me to paint it at my expense is an option, but i know he will want to choose the colours. Not a massive problem probably just an irritant. Given my food for thought. Many thanks, ***** ***** back to you if i hit a stumbling block. Maggie

Joshua :

Painting at your expense is certainly an option but remember that the landlord will benefit from your hard work and he may still seek eviction after the end of any fixed term.

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

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

Customer:

Yes I agree on the option of my painting it, and i am sure he would not renew the lease. So that is one option out. I either have to move or live with it, but i will read the form you suggested.

Joshua :

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance in relation to the above.

Customer:

Thanks and goodbye. How do i get through to you if i want to speak to you again. Will i automatically be connected to you

Joshua :

You can reach me through the following link or just by asking for me in the first line of any question:

Joshua :

http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-joshua/

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.

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