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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69252
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Assured shorthold tenancy year and on continuous since

Customer Question

Assured shorthold tenancy for 1 year and on continuous since jan 2015. 9months without heating and hot water. withheld 2 months rent till repairs done. Landlord issued section 21 and 8 and due commence proceedings in 1 day. has not admitted liability but offered reductions over 8 month period. Bulk of reductions over last 2 months. intends renovate property and wants tenant till start works. property is substandard- no double glazing. when moved in electrics did not work for 10 days and electricians found multiple faults and advised rewiring.
landlord also wanted me to take responsibility for maintenance. just last night electrics to kitchen hall and reception failed. Have not spoken. Will ask friend help to see if tripped switch. Am disabled, elderly and cannot do myself. Also possibly dangerous.
Landlord wants rent and no involvement with repairs. Now electrics are problem- what can I do? He wanted me to sign agreement re reductions but if electrics problematic again, how can I get reductions paid immediately or allocated from rent due. what can I do re 21 and 8? Should I bring in local authority? Would that cause more probs? Have nowhere to go. thankyou for your kind considerations.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
You can bring in the local authority. That would secure the repairs are done.
It would not make things substantially worse in relation to the S21 and S8 notice. If he has served them then he can act upon them whatever the state of repairs. You might well have a claim for a reduction in rent but you don't for withholding in full.
He cannot rely on a stand alone S21 if you are 8 months into a 12 month contract.
If you are in arrears though then he can rely on S8. If you are more than two months in arrears then a court must make an order in his favour.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69252
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Have been living there 18 months-original lease 12 months but understand is 'continuous'.

If electrics were corrected, what could I do re agreement? Could pay rent due providing an agreement witnessed. would that stand legally should he still pursue s 21.

If pursues s 21 what can I do to stop or prolong period before move. Is difficult to find housing in London-short supply.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
If you are on a periodic agreement now then he can rely on S21.
Ultimately he can use S21. He has to give no less than two months notice but thereafter can get access to the property.
He will need a court order to actually put you out of the house which would cause delay but there is no other way of achieving that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

If pay rent, would ask him to withdraw s 21 and 8.

He does not want to admit liability but offered rent reductions over period of time till works start in house. But most of reduction is in last 2 months of 8 month period. he could go for s 21 and then I would not have received most of reduction.

If an agreement is written and signed by my witness and his , is it legally binding?

Think he might be using it as empty promise just to get back rent . he could then pursue s 21. I would want agreement from him to withdraw s 21 upon payment of rent.

What is best way to term agreement for it to stand legally? thankyou for kind assistance

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
1 He may agree to that.
2 Yes, that is the risk.
3 Not necessarily. It depends on many factors.
4 Yes, that might be his game. But the problem is that even if he does agree to withdraw he can still ignore that. An undertaken not to do something does not amount to a contract.
5 I'm not sure what you mean by a term agreement? You are liable for the rent. Nothing you can do or say changes that. He is liable for repairs but that is nothing to do with non payment of rent.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thankyou. By term agreements I should have written 'terms' used to validate agreement as legal. Think the continuous periodic tenancy agreement would stand. Am referring to legal terminology, eg 'without prejudice' or other more appropriate term to ensure any agreement re reduced rent would stand in court. Or should there be a new agreement with reductions stipulated?

As background-Only withheld rent to finally have heating repaired- landlord insisted he had insurance and it would cover repairs. But there was an installation problem re electrics which were dangerous.

Waited patiently each month and total of 8 engineers came from insurance company. incompetency and neglect. had to have plumber repair since insurance did not cover installation problems-the main problems.Still need electric certificate. landlord gave one for 2014 and said not need renew for one year.

waiting outstanding gas certificate for this year- appointment due.

The rent reductions he proposed are more or less equal to compensation I asked for lack of facilities i.e. heating and hot water over 9 months. He is trying to hook it into reductions if continue to live there. Not want to admit liability.

He also said wants to spend no more on house. wants me to be responsible for decor and maintenance! no thanks!

Just got electrics on- but was timely reminder.

What is best way to protect myself?

Think he is not declaring income from this- will only accept cheque not direct debit. Also large tax allowance for repairs much larger than any costs paid so far. He has other flats -people sometimes use allowances for receipts from other properties.

How can I check if he is declaring income?

Another point is deposit scheme . There was a deposit scheme. but only covered 1 year original tenancy-not sure.

It is possible that the last six months have not been covered for periodic tenancy--- is it possible I can claim back rent if deposit not covered?

Thankyou for your help. This is stressful and parent just died. Sorry for any unclear considerations.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Im not sure what you mean by protect yourself? You are liable for the rent.
You will not be able to check whether he is declaring income or not. Nobody will reveal that information to you as it is protected.
If the deposit is not covered then you would have a claim for up to three times the sum of the deposit although in practice realistically it would only be the sum of the deposit.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Re protect self -is if pay rent will landlord adhere to agreement re subsequent reductions and withdraw s.21.

Protect also re terms of agreement re reductions as in para 1 of last reply. terminology to affirm there is adjustment to rent per month i.e. reduction in lieu of compensation deducted outright from rent.

Also it is better to have new tenancy agreement?

Landlord said would give me receipt saying rent paid in full even though reduction made. No benefit to me. Think he needs agreement to use against remortgage to fund renovation. thankyou

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Not really.
Either way, he could still evict. Come what may, you are liable for the rent. Whether you pay in advance of not, he will get a compensation order if you don't.
If he gives you a new AST then that cannot be broken unless you are in breach but rent arrears would be sufficient.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


What compensation is appropriate for lack of heating and hot water for 9 months.?

There were some times when heating worked 1 hour approx and stopped because pump damaged. To achieve this had to try to turn on every day manually because ignition was not working properly. Also period when heating not working at all. Basically never knew if heating and hot water available. Had to boil kettle to wash body, dishes etc. Have witnesses.and engineer reports.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
A reduction in rent.
Probably between 25-50% of the rent for the affected times.

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