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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I need some advice about my legal rights as a tenant. I have

Customer Question

I need some advice about my legal rights as a tenant. I have been letting a 5 bedroom property for almost 2 years together with my 4 children. Property has 2 shower rooms/bathrooms. Soon after we moved in we realised that the downstairs shower was not functioning properly and we are unable to change the temperature on the water and it was set as to high temperature. Because we had another shower I was not making to muck fuss about it, but did ask for it to be fixed. After a couple of months the upstairs shower stopped working and it took the landlord 6 weeks to fix this, and only fixed it after I threatened to with old rent. This happened again 3 months later and this time as well it took 6 weeks to fix it and only after I sent a letter informing that after the first 2 weeks I would be deducting £50 a week until the issue was sorted. I did with old £200 of the rent on that occasion but paid It when they threaten to take it off my deposit. The property has been on the market for the last few months as landlord trying to sell. In January of this year the shower again stopped working and a plumber came out and confirmed that the pump for the shower was burned out and had to be replaced. Landlord informed me he had Warranty on the pump and that it would be done. At this point he had someone interested in buying the property and I believe he never intended to fix this. Landlord had to have me as a tenant until house was sold as he could not afford to have it empty. It's now the 8th of May and I still have not got any working showers in the property. I have been paying my rent in full until this month where I have deducted £50 a week since middle of February for the lack of providing the property with a working shower for the last 4 months. My total monthly rent is £1395. Can landlord deduct this from my deposit? As it is a very expensive pump installed I have not been able to use a months rent to try and sort this myself
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Just to clarify, you have not paid for any form of repairs but have deducted money from your monthly rent please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have not paid for any repairs as the quote I have got is more than I can afford to pay if the bill comes in my name even if I withold a months rent. I find it unreasonable to continue to charge me full rent when I have no working showers, as the total rent is worked out based on this as well

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Is this an AST please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

The short answer is that you shouldn't ever withhold from rent. That places you at risk of the landlord saying that you are in breach.

However, you do have a disrepair claim here and it is fairly strong. You are reasonably entitled to a property with a shower and one does not exist. It may be different if there were a bath or some other means of washing like an electric shower but that's not the position here.

What you cannot do though is deduct arbitrary sums from the rent which does appear to be what you're doing here.

You have 2 options. The 1st is just to complain to environmental health at the Council who will issue the landlord with an improvement notice. That is a very effective way of getting the work done quickly. The 2nd is to perform the work yourself and deduct that specific sum from the next month's rent.

Of course, he may deduct that from your deposit. If he does then you would be entitled to complain to the scheme or sue to recover and I would imagine almost certainly that you would succeed on these facts.

You would also have a claim for a reduction in rent to reflect the disrepair. It would not necessarily be substantial but it would be a reasonable sum. For that reason it would be stupid of the landlord to try to deduct from your rent because it would lead to a disrepair claim.

Can I clarify anything for you?