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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26215
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am living in a rented flat. Have been living here for

Customer Question

Hi
I am living in a rented flat. Have been living here for almost 2 years. During the last 6 months the main sliding door in the communal area had broken and was unable to be opened. It actually first became unusable at the end of january 18. The door has finally been fixed on the 09/08/18. We have continued to pay rent until August 18 where we paid a reduced amount due to the door not being fixed for 6 months along with other issue ( new hob needed , dishwasher not fixed etc). Within 2 -3 weeks of not paying full amount everything has been fixed. Including the door that they couldn't fix for 6 months. This has really disrupted me and my flat mate during the last 6 months of living here and it has not made it enjoyable. Is there any compensation we can get from the tenancy agency due to their lack of care and compassion for not wanting to carry out services and repairs which is part of the contract and agreement.Thanks
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

  1. I am sorry to read of the above. Could you clarify how you gained access to the flat if the main door could not be opened?
  2. Does the landlord own the whole block or just one (or two) flats in the block?
  3. Do you have documentary evidence that the door was broken for the period you refer to? e.g. email trails
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
1. sorry not the main door to the flat, the main sliding door in the living room onto the balcony - this is the only window or door in the entire communal space apart from the main entrance
2. no just this apartment i think - we only deal with the tenancy agency
3. yes we have a paper trail of emails and the landlord has given his documententaion of when the requests have been sent and many of them are incorrect
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
i would prefer to type thank you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for the clarification. Approximately what percentage of the floor area of the flat does the balcony constitute? e.g. does it represent about 10% of the floor area of the flat?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I have estimated the flat square footage and it is around 10-11% of the total flat
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. a tenancy agreement is at its essence a contract, albeit a specialised one. as part of the contract, the landlord agrees to provide you with sole occupation of a defined property which in this case includes the balcony. From what you say, the landlord has by failure to maintain an exterior door failed to provide you with access to the balcony area for an extended period of your tenancy.

Under the landlord and tenant act, the landlord is responsible for maintaining among other things the doors of the property. he does so in a reasonable manner and within a reasonable amount of time, as a tenant, you cannot hold him liable for things that break on a short-term basis as in law, a tenant cannot expect better treatment than he could expect if he was the owner of the property himself. However, taking more than six months to fix a door is clearly not reasonable by any standard and as such, amounts to a breach of contract on the landlord's part. As such, in principle you are entitled to claim damages.

As regards ***** ***** much you might be entitled to, this was the reason I asked you how big the balcony was. There are various methods of calculating the extent of damages you are entitled to in such a situation however one of the most common is simply to calculate a reduction by reference to the overall floor area affected. So in this case, if the balcony represents approximately 10% of the overall floor area of the latter, an appropriate reduction might be 10% for the duration of the period in question. It is possible to seek a higher amount as a reduction if you can demonstrate that the area in question is particularly essential. This is common for example where an affected room is a bathroom and it is the only bathroom in the property. It may be small, but if you were denied use of it, it would have a disproportionate effect on your quality of life. In the case of a balcony, it is not straightforward to make such an argument though the main reasons you can think of is to what may justify higher level of damages.

The same applies in respect of appliances if the landlord provided them as part of the tenancy although of course damages in the case of appliances cannot be calculated in reference to floor area but rather by reference to the impact upon your tenancy. For example, the lack of use of the hob is likely to be regarded as more significant than the lack of use of the dishwasher because one has to be able to cook whereas however tedious, one can still wash up by hand.

Initially, you can broach the subject with the agents and put forward a proposed figure explaining the reasons for your methodology and the reasons why you are seeking damages - i.e. for breach of contract as above. If you are unable to reach agreement, you can consider issuing proceedings in the County Court for breach of contract. You can do so either now or within six years and so the option is available to you to wait until the end of your tenancy if you are concerned that issuing proceedings may cause issues with regards ***** ***** relationship with the landlord which you would prefer to avoid.

If you decide to issue proceedings in the County Court, you can do so online using the courts online issuing service moneyclaim.gov.uk.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for 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

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

I'm just following up on our above conversation. I hope the above was of some assistance. Please let me know if you have any further queries. If you have a moment I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service or alternatively just provide some brief feedback so I know if I was able to help. I'd be most grateful. All the best