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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13851
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have rented a bedsit in Brighton for my son who is

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I have rented a bedsit in Brighton for my son who is studying at university there.The bedsit we rented is on the ground floor and has a large bay window. There are net curtains hanging but these are not sufficient to stop people passing in the street seeing in when the lights are on. There is a curtain track fitted but, when we tried to hang curtains upon moving in, we discovered it was badly warped and no longer playable enough to be fixed. It therefore needs replaced and I raised this with the letting agency within 7 days of moving in as part of the inventory process.I have chased several times and, while the letting agency agrees it is broken, the landlord is stubbornly refusing to fix it. The flat was let unfurnished but the curtain rail is screwed into the wall/ window frame and therefore is a fitting. I am therefore pretty sure the landlord is obliged to fix or replace it.Can you confirm this is correct and, assuming this is the case, how can I force him to do so? I would like to be able to send a letter (preferably from a lawyer) advising him of his responsibilities and enclosing the invoice for the cost of the track and fitting and advising it will be deducted from the next month’s rent. That then puts the onus on him to take action against us rather than the other way round.I assume he is thinking we won’t take it further because the value isn’t worth the cost but I feel strongly he shouldn’t get away with it. The letting agent said he was stubborn.Please advise.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

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Good morning. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore maybe delayed in replying.

are you sure the letting agent is even asking the landlord?

what is the approx cost of new track/fitting/curtains?

is this an HMO?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Yes, letting agent has been round to view the issue and said he is in a very difficult place, in the middle of this dispute. He said the landlord was a very stubborn guy.

I am trying to get someone round to quote to fit a new track. My guess is £200

You need to look at the terms of the lease/tenancy agreement because fixtures and fittings which get broken or need repairing are usually the responsibility of the tenant and this would come under that bracket.


My stepdaughter is in a house share and a cupboard door has fallen off and the vacuum cleaner has broken. They have been chasing the landlord to get them fixed without success so I was asked to step in and looking at the agreement, it is all their responsibility.


So you need to check the agreement in minute detail.


If it is the responsibility of the landlord, the quickest way of getting this resolved is to take it down and put a new one up and then pursue the landlord through the Small Claims Court. It would be the tenant (as that you?) That would have to do that and there is a possibility it would be transferred to the landlord’s local court. That may or may not be convenient for you.


If your son is named on the tenancy agreement, and whilst you compete all the paperwork, he would be the one who goes to court.


I don’t know whether your son intends staying after the end of the current year but if the landlord thinks that your son is a “problematical tenant” he may not renew next year so that is another consideration.


A new track may cost 50 quid and fitting it would probably take an hour, the same again so my guess would be GBP100. The problem is going to be actually getting someone who is a “handyman” to do it.


Can I clarify anything else for you?


I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.


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Best wishes.



Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Many thanks but as I said, the rail was broken when my son took possession of the flat. We were given 7 days to confirm everything was in working order through an inventory process and reported that the track was broken then. I therefore cannot see how a tennant could possibly be liable to fix a broken fitting that was already broken!

Does the small claims court require a lawyer?

Thank you. I looked at your original question and you said it was warped rather than broken although we are probably talking about semantics.

I did talk about things which got broken rather than things which were already broken. If it’s already broken, then obviously the landlord knows about it, then regardless of what it says in the tenancy agreement the landlord is liable.



However my answer remains the same.

You do need to give them a deadline in writing for this to be fixed by failing which you will get it done and issue Small Claims Court proceedings.

The nonparticipation of lawyers in the Small Claims Court is encouraged and that is the idea that people deal with it themselves. is quick and easy. You can prepare the proceedings now, and save them online ready to issue them whenever a deadline expires.


I am glad to help. Please don’t forget to use the rating service because it means that can continue to provide affordable and timely legal advice to people with similar problems.

Although it says "rate to finish" it doesn't close the thread and we can still exchange emails.

You may need to login again to use the rating service.

Kind regards

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13851
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Many thanks and will do the rating!