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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi. I rent my studio flat to a tenant that was introduced through

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Hi. I rent my studio flat to a tenant that was introduced through a 'moving on' scheme through the council. His rent is paid directly from the council from his benefits and I have a deposit certificate from the scheme but the tenancy agreement is with him. (Assured shorthold tenancy agreement from 20th July 2010 to 19th July 2011).

I haven't heard anything from him for years but he's suddenly just started texting me (in the past week) saying that the flat is completely over run with damp and mould and he's been in hospital with breathing problems because of it and claimed it's affected him so badly that he took an overdose. He claims he has lost £1000's of pounds worth of stuff (furniture, a flat screen TV) because of the damp and then just this evening he has texted me 6 times saying that he's taking legal action against me and that it's going to cost me a fortune in court so I may as well just replace all his stuff. He's also saying that I was aware the flat was damp before he moved in and asking why I've had so many previous tenants (I haven't). The flat is very small and does have a condensation problem which is completely manageable by lifestyle and use of a dehumidifier (which I provide) and was managed both by me when I lived there and the few tenants that lived there before he moved in.

When I first heard from him last week saying that there was lots of damp (but not accusing me of anything) I replied that I would send someone to have a look at the damp asap (I contacted a company who were meant to be phoning him tomorrow but I've now postponed them)... he also reported that the washing machine had broken about 6 weeks ago which was the first I'd heard about it but I arranged for someone to go round the next day to fix it.

Im not sure what to do next? I was more than happy to have the problem looked at but now I feel he is threatening me and I don't feel comfortable arranging to visit the flat or having any further conversations with him. I don't think I've done anything wrong as the flat was in good condition, just with condensation which needed to be managed which he clearly hasn't done and im worried about the state he's let my flat get into.

Should I reply to him in any way...? He has my phone number as a contact but wouldn't have my address to pass on to a solicitor and im a bit concerned about giving it to him as he did turn up at my previous address one night when he first moved in and locked himself out.

Sorry for the essay. Thank you!
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I hadn't really considered that I would be liable as I've only just been told about the problems... might I be...?! I've just suddenly been accused of intentionally causing him all these health problems and threatened with court action if I don't pay for damaged items that I had no idea about and im not sure how to reply. Should it be through a solicitor writing to him to let him know that I wouldn't be liable...? How do I go about letting him know that he's liable for fixing the damage which he has caused by not managing the condensation properly (and not telling me about it)...? Im just very concerned given the threatening nature of his texts by how he will respond.


Thank you

Is he still living in this flat?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



In short, yes you could be.

He is making general allegations of disrepair, personal injury and neglience.

Damp may or may not be down to you. Damp can be caused by structural issues within the property or it can be caused by the manner of occupation. If it is caused by the manner of occupation then he has no claim against you and, in fact, you have a claim against him.

Proceeding for the moment upon the basis that he has established that the damp is down to you, you can only act when he reports it. If he has not reported before then thats nothing you can act upon. If he has reported before then there may be a disrepair argument. He will have to prove damage to his health and his property most of which will be impossible probably usually because these people are often just seeking compensation.

Whatever has happened, you are not responsible for him taking an overdose. He could have reacted in the manner of a normal sensible person and just left. If he chooses to have a hysterical reaction to what is ulimately a very minor issue then thats down to him.

You do need to reply really. Just ignore his rantings and behave as though he is sensible.

Have the problem looked at and put it right. Probably that will be the end of it.

If the property were that bad then he should have complained to Environmental Health who would have acted.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo


Thank you, ***** ***** hugely.


If it turns out to be structural obviously I'll get it fixed straight away. If it turns out to be his manner of occupation, yet he continues to make threats of legal action against me, what should be my course of action...?

Would it be appropriate for me to write to him now stating that 'further to your text last week notifying me of the excessive damp and mould in the flat, I have asked a specialist company to contact you to arrange to inspect the flat to confirm whether the damp has been caused by structural issues within the property or caused by the manner of occupation. Obviously, should the report show that it is down to structural issues, I will have this rectified under my obligations as a landlord'

Thank you again!


If its his manner of occupation then just send him the report and arrange to get the work done and ignore him.

I wouldn't comment on the purpose of the visit. He will only disallow them entry or be abusive. Just tell him that you have asked a speicaliast company to examine the problem and make an appointment at his convenience.
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