Broken House!

by Readers Question

14:09 PM, 17th October 2018
About a month ago

Broken House!

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Broken House!

After selling my house to a cash buyer who wanted to move quickly, I found myself renting a house to oblige him.

I am paying £2350 for house which is part of a converted mill in Hampshire. It’s in a lovely location but since moving in at the beginning of August, we have had nothing but problems – leaks, fridge and dishwasher faulty, heating system not working properly, towel rails, toilets not working etc etc.

One of the main reasons I think is that the property was empty for around 6 months before we moved in and we are literally paying the price for all the things that have ceased up.

I have spent hours meeting with various trades at the house, British Gas for instance have been out four times already.

The general opinion now is that the whole system needs to be replaced – boiler, radiators and all the pipe work. The landlord has not got back to the letting agent about this yet but on the other hand, this sort of work would be a huge inconvenience to us all. It works in as much as the radiators warm up, but the boiler fluctuates up and down all the time trying to work. The noise is extremely annoying as the boiler is in our kitchen/sitting room and in addition it’s costing us more in bills.

Can we demand a rent reduction or withhold any rent as I believe we should have a house which works properly?!

With thanks for any advice.

Sally



Comments

Anne

10:00 AM, 18th October 2018
About a month ago

There is a something called "tenant's equitable right of offset"

There is a process to follow. Basically let the landlord know in writing all the jobs that need doing and give him a reasonable time to do them. Tell him that if you have to get them done you will offset rent due to cover the costs. Get 2 or 3 quotes so that you can prove the costs were reasonable.

I think there is Case law that applies. Search for Lee-Parker v Izzet [1971]

david porter

14:43 PM, 18th October 2018
About a month ago

Anne

15:04 PM, 18th October 2018
About a month ago

Not sure what you mean David. This is as much as I've been able to find without a subscription to letlink.co.uk

Lee-Parker v Izzet [1971]
If a landlord fails to discharge his repairing obligations, the tenant may follow a strict procedure and do the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent payments.
A landlord was in breach of his repairing obligations. The tenants spent money in carrying out repairs, and then claimed to be able to deduct the cost of the repairs from future rent payments.

Anne

15:14 PM, 18th October 2018
About a month ago

Sally Tattersall

12:17 PM, 19th October 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Anne at 18/10/2018 - 10:00
Hi Anne, thanks for this.

My problem is that we need the whole system replacing - the boiler, the pipe work and the radiators.

It is a huge job and to be honest, we don’t need this sort of upheaval. The landlord still has not come back and I doubt if he will want to spend the money.

We did not know there was a problem before we moved in as the house had been empty for 6 months with no one to report any problems.

If the system was replaced, we would have to move out as floors would have to come up etc.

The system is struggling to work and it’s not even cold yet.

Can we demand a rent reduction because of this because this is a huge fault?

Thanks

Sally

Anne

12:40 PM, 19th October 2018
About a month ago

The short answer, i would suggest, is no but it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. If you are going to withhold rent make sure that it's going to be more than your deposit because it's not worth wrangling over. Keep copies of all your correspondence whether with landlord or agent so that you can argue your case in a court of law if needed

Wyn Burgess

9:20 AM, 20th October 2018
About a month ago

Not convinced about the need to replace the whole sysytem, I suspect the problem is sludge build up in the pipes and rads. It can usually be cured by removing all the radiators and taking them outside to flush them through. Likewise with the boiler heat exchanger. Pipework can be flushed through by attaching to the mains and outside drainage. Then put it all back and refill with corrosion inhibitor, problem is no plumber will do it as far more profitable to install a complete new system.

Martin S

11:01 AM, 21st October 2018
About 4 weeks ago

I agree with the above suggestion, especially as my past experience with British Gas tells me that they are not to be trusted. Ask one or two independent heating people to have a look. Why any Landlord would not wish to sort these water based problems out beats me, as they are not usually difficult to fix, and the consequences of not fixing them can be problematic.


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