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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71136
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Tenants in a property I own are £3000 in arrears with their

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Tenants in a property I own are £3000 in arrears with their rent. They have left the property at the end of the tenancy and are claiming they are not obliged to pay the rent as they claim there were defects in the property. Their claims are not true and it is just an attempt to avoid payment. What is the legal situation with reference to the legislation.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking how you recover?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I am aware of the process, I want to be able to quote the legal reason why they cannot withold the rent by claiming there were problems with the property.

Well, there isn't a specific legal reason. It just has no basis.
They are trying to argue effectively that there should be a reduction in the rent to recognise disrepair issues which is a valid claim of itself.
However, there need to be clear disrepair issues and they need to cause actual ascertainable loss of amenities. It is very unlikely that this would result in a 100% reduction in any event unless the property were literally uninhabitable by something like flooding.
The short answer is that there is no response that you can deliver that will mean that they cannot pursue this claim. It is just a case of asking for the basis of their argument and challenging it in the normal way.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Somewhere in my memory I am sure I was advised that under the terms of the rental agreement and in accordance with Landlord and Tenant Act the rent must be paid and any claimed defects are to be treated as a separate issue. If this were not the case tenants would easily be able to avoid paying their rent by claiming defects. Is this not the case?

It depends what you mean.
They shouldn't withhold from rent to deal with disrepair issues but that isn't in legislation. That is just a general principle of law.
Tenants do though regularly take that action. You have to go to court to sort it out and then the disrepair issues are considered which will not be sufficient to justify a 100% reduction.
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