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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have a question with regards tenant's rights against the

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Hi, I have a question with regards tenant's rights against the landlord. It's quite a long story.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Yes, I have loads of email correspondence with the landlord and their letting agent.
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: It's in Aylesbury, Bucks.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: It's about repairs. Just in draft: I didn't have hot water at all for 12 days. Landlord installed something that didn't work properly so didn't have hot water in the kitchen and bathroom tap for another approx 6 weeks. I asked for compensation. They refused. I begged and fought for about 6 weeks. They gave me notice to terminate the tenancy. At last they accepted my claim but just to be paid when I leave the property. I am suspecting a trick here and I think they are unfair.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.

By law, landlords must provide heating and hot running water to the property. They also have to ensure the property is in good repair under Sections 11 to 16 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. No hot water for nearly two weeks would entitle you to compensation, I have no doubt.

If they do not, they face prosecution by the local council and can be fined. It would also be breach of contract on their part and you would be within your rights to terminate the tenancy agreement.

The Local Authority Environmental Health Officers have powers under the Housing Act 2004. They have a duty to ensure that properties in their area are in a habitable condition, and will serve improvement notices on landlords of properties which are assessed, under the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System as having ‘category 1 hazards’.

Similar powers are available to Local Authorities under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if the property is considered a threat to public health.

I would therefore contact your local council (the housing department) in the first instance to report the matter and ask them to intervene.

You can contact yours here: https://eforms.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/ShowForm.asp?fm_fid=322

If the landlord does not pay or if they refuse for whatever reason, you can sue them in the county court for your losses on the money claim site (www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) although I recommend sending the landlord a letter before action to warn them of your intentions first and allow them 14 days to reimburse you. See attached template.

If they do not reimburse, you are free to issue a claim.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up questions at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Jim,
Thank you for your answer, that's brilliant, fast response so I can't express enough how good this service is. I was just about to upload my previous correspondence and evidences for further information and it might still be useful. I have already contacted the council, However, I have sent it to Buckinghamshire County Council as opposed to Aylesbury Vale district council as you suggested. I still hope my email to them will find its way to the relevant department. Please see below my email to them."I have a problem with my Landlord. Not sure what department I should go to so if you could direct this to the relevant department(s) that would be much appreciated. It's about hot water repair, harassment and unfair trading by the landlord for which I would like to make a complaint against them.
I am renting the property since 17th January 2020. On the 2nd of April 2020 my boiler stopped working so I was without any hot water for 12 days. After this, a direct water heater was installed which is insufficient to supply the whole flat. As a result, I still don't have hot water in the kitchen and in the bathroom tap. I have a lengthy email correspondence with the landlord and their letting agent in which I claimed for compensation as I don't think this is fair for them to expect me to pay full rent for a property without sufficient hot water. I am paying £875 a month and I claimed a one off £300 as a compensation.
I was told a new boiler will be installed tomorrow (8th June 2020) so I was without sufficient hot water for over two months.
After a long-long fight during which they never admitted their wrongdoing, in fact their tone was quite intimidating, they served me a notice to terminate the tenancy within 2 months. I think this is a direct result of my complaint. Also, this is completely unlawful. I emailed them and explained that this is illegal so I don't accept that notice. The letting agent's Regional Manager responded and said I am completely right so they will serve me another, lawful notice.
A few days later they served me a notice for three month to terminate the tenancy. The same day, they accepted my claim 'as a gesture of goodwill' but said they will only pay the compensation when I move out of the property. I suspect a trick here and don't think they intend to pay at all so suggested to reduce my next month rent which they didn't accept. I think this is very far from goodwill and that it's a completely unfair behaviour and unfair trading.
When I rented this property back in January, I planned for long term (min 1 year but likely 3 years) which I told to the agency so the landlord must have been aware of. As a result of the landlord's unfair trading I have the following additional costs and damages:
- Additional cost to warm water up for having bath, washing hands, washing up etc for 12 days. During this period I didn't have hot water at all.
- The same sort of cost to warm up water for washing up for another nearly 2 months. This is due to the fact that the installed water heater is not good enough to supply hot water in the kitchen and in the bathroom tap. These costs are very difficult to tell exactly how much as there's no comparison.
- Lack of hot water during Covid-19 situation. During this, I was unable to wash hands according to government guidelines.
- Inconvenience of the whole situation for over 2 months.
- The fact that I am paying the rent for a fully working and operational property which was not the case for over two months so I shouldn't pay full rent.
- I have Talktalk contract, electricity contract which I need to terminate early due to the landlord's early termination.
- I have additional inconvenience and costs of an unplanned house move.
- I will have difficulties paying another approx £1000 for another deposit for another property. Obviously I will receive back the deposit for this house a few weeks after I move out of this one but I will have to pay another deposit before I move in to another property. This is completely unexpected for me to do.
I have been renting properties nearly 10 years ago and I have always been a good tenant and never had any such problems with any of my former landlords before. In fact, some of them I am still close friends with.
I have tried to form a similar good relationship with this landlord as well, even repaired the washing machine upon their request which would have been their obligation. I have always fulfilled all my obligations, paying the rent in full is an obvious thing for me even in this situation. Having been treated such a negative and intimidating way is a huge disappointment for me.
If you could let me know if there's anything I can do in this situation that would be lovely. Or if there's anything you can do to encourage them to act fairly that would be even better."I still have a few questions though.
- I am worried about the costs of the process and legal costs
- What can I claim reasonably?

Hi there, thanks for the feedback, it's nice to know I have helped you - the cost of the legal process is the court issue fee (see page 5 here for the issue fee and 7 for the hearing fee: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789201/ex50-eng.pdf) unless you qualify for a fee exemption if you are on a low income, have low savings, or in receipt of benefits.

The council may tell you whether they feel a breach of contract has occurred - if so, you claim the rent back from the date of the breach, plus deposit, plus a claim for any other out of pocket expenses. If it's simply no hot water for 12 days, you should claim the equivalent rent for those 12 days (as hot water and heating is essential to the contract).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Jim,- Is it worth for me to send you previous correspondence with the landlord and their agent? If this is the case how can I upload it?
- If I start the moneyclaim process would you be here to support me and what would it cost?Thank you again.

Hi, from your description I am confident the answer would still apply. I can answer ongoing questions as your case progresses, yes.

If you have further questions may I ask that you post a new question to the main site. It will not cost extra if you have membership. If you would like me to deal with the new question please mark it “For JIM only” and I will pick it up as soon as I can.

Many thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you for all of your answers, for now I think this is perfect for me. It's a lot of information and kind of give me some confidence to take this further to court. Not for the £300 I originally claimed but for the behaviour of the landlord during the whole process, their ignorance, intimidation and harassment.
I will definitely ask you if I have further questions if you don't mind and thank you again your answers so far.Have a nice evening.Thanks,
Attila
That’s no problem, I’ll be available for any other queries. Have a good evening too. Jim