Condensation claim and prescribed information question

by Readers Question

18:29 PM, 15th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Condensation claim and prescribed information question

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Condensation claim and prescribed information question

Condensation claim and prescribed informationA tenant sneaked out 2 months into a 6 month tenancy without paying for the rent. At the start I took a deposit, emailed them the certificate but didn’t send the prescribed information as I couldn’t find it and then forgot about it later.

The tenant complained about damp which I had previously stated was condensation due to drying clothes on radiators without good ventilation. I had bought a dehumidifier – that they didn’t use.

The second conversation I again told them “it’s condensation stop drying clothes – use the drier and ventilate better” but again they ignored me. I was concerned about the black mould and said I’d wallpaper the key areas to thermally insulate the cold walls from the warm damp air.

When they left they had not paid the 2 months rent – for all sorts of excuses… I wrote to them asking for the 2 months rent plus utilities or I’d claim the whole lot via the small claims court. After some abusive texts and phone calls I applied to small claims court. They are fighting the claim in full.

My first question is because I didn’t send them the prescribed info could this impact the case?. I’m pretty sure everything else is fine. Also I’m wanting to re-rent the property – so do I have to Section 21/ Section 8 the tenant even if they’ve already left?

Grateful for your help

Carol Wilson



Comments

Rob

19:15 PM, 15th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Sounds familiar Carol, I have a post on here called taking a tenant to court over condensation, there are quite a few comments on it so it would be worth your while reading it, my tenant did settle with me 1 week before court (10 days ago) Does it say in your AST damage caused by condensation is the responsibility of the tenant? Do you have an inventory? Do you have photos of the damage? Do you have quotes to prove how much the damage will be to repair? Can you prove you educated them on the causes of condensation and mold and what not to do ie.. copies of emails texts or letters or witnesses? I am lucky my tenant settled because the whole process from start to finish took about 9 months and a lot of man hour on my part, my tenant owed me 3k so I stuck with it but to be honest if was 1k or les I don't think I could be bothered to do it all again in the future!

3:20 AM, 16th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Crikey that is a eye opener.
I normally issue a S 21 about 3 months into a 6 month AST.
I think I will now do it as soon as the tenant has signed the DPC and PI etc.
It doesn't look good for you if the PI wasn't given to the tenant.
Yes you do need to seek possession.
These tenants UNLESS they have surrendered the tenancy by handing keys back to you and signing a surrender document; means these tenants could return and state you have illegally evicted them.
When asked where they have been and paid no rent; they say not our problem, we went on a long holiday and are not going to pay rent so you will have to evict us.
The LL; YOU are well and truly stitched up.
NO PI; means 4 times the deposit and the deposit most probably; though apparently judges are not give full 4 times deposit in a case such as yours.
Your non-rent paying tenants are legally entitled to stay in the property until evicted and they don't have to pay rent.
You can try and pursue them after evicted; chances of..................................NOT good.
Unless perhaps you get Mark's debt recovery people on the case.
You are in dodgy territory.
You could take a risk and relet but you should still pursue a court action for possession; just incase your dodgy tenants try to reoccupy.
Not that I am any paragon of virtue over past BIG mistakes I have made; but are you saying you did not take at least 1 month rent in advance!
Did you NOT put utilities in their name or were you charging an inclusive rent.
If not inclusive you aren't liable for utility bills; but you must have advised of the tenant's names to the utilities!
I would issue a S21 and S8.
You could on a S8 only have to wait 14 days before you apply for a PO.
Make sure you take a witness and photo of you putting the S 8 and S21 in the rental property letterbox or some would suggest send 2 copies of each from different Post Offices with receipts of posting.
I reckon you are in for a costly experience and think you should get Landlord Action to do all this for you.
Yours is NOT a simple case!

Mark Alexander

7:08 AM, 16th April 2013
About 6 years ago

I agree, Paul Shamplina from Landlord Action is your man for this job

Gareth Thomas

7:53 AM, 16th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Just a quick note but the penalty is up to 3 times the deposit, not 4 (as well as the return of the deposit). See below.

Most tenancies will be assured shorthold tenancies. If so deposits must be protected under a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days or penalties apply. Tenants can claim the return of the deposit plus a 'fine' of between one and three time the deposit sum, and you will not be able to use the section 21 procedure to evict.

Joe Bloggs

11:38 AM, 19th April 2013
About 6 years ago

condensation is a huge issue and often misdiagnosed. many dpc's are unnecessarily injected. liability for condensation depends on cause. if due to tenants lifestyle then it is tenants liability. if due to landlords default eg ch breakdown then its the landlords. s.11 landlord and tenant act 1985 is crucial and cannot be contracted out of, so you cannot exclude all condensation by the TA wording.

Mary Latham

12:49 PM, 19th April 2013
About 6 years ago

I am sorry to say this...

In this situation you need Possession and your best option might be to write off the rent and utility bills if they email to say that they have left the property.

The fact that you did not send the prescribed information leaves you vulernable to 400% of the deposit (deposit plus 300%) Courts are awarding this and there was a case last year where just one sheet was missed from the PI and the judge awarded the full 400%. By taking them to court you are risking them taking legal advice and going after you.

You cannot use S21 because you did not give them the PI.

Section 8 would be your only option but again you are risking them getting legal advice.

If the tenants email to give you Possession this is the quick and easy answer to re-letting the property BUT the potential for them to go after you for not serving the PI will hang over your for the next 6 years.

I know that this is not fair but it is the law.

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Marie Smyth

23:00 PM, 20th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Carol

If you think the tenants have left you can attend the property with a witness, knock and if unanswered you may enter the property to ascertain if they have vacated? If the property is devoid of All their personal possessions then you can change the locks and take back possession of your property on the basis that they have abandoned the property without notice. Prepare a statement (this must be very accurate, stating day, date and time of entering) and you and your witness should sign this and place in the tenants file. you can if you want to make absolutely sure swear an affidavit for the file but this may only be necessary if the tenants come back seeking possesson. If they have removed any of your items or furniture then call the police as this is a criminal offence. Over the years I have had many incidents of this: one where I inherited a tenancy where the tenants were living somewhere else and sub-letting the property for a profit. Once I discovered this I stopped accepting the rent. My difficulty was trying to find out who was actually in the flat, I called on many ocassions and finally met them, explained the situation and confirmed I would be seeking possession, I advised them not to pay their 'Landlord' the next months rent to ensure they have their deposit and seek alternative accommodation immediately as once possession was given their situation would not be a factor in the possession. They told me when they were vacating and I took back possession on the basis of abandonment. A week later I had a visit from the original tenant seeking possession, i explained that the week before his tenants had abandoned the property and I had taken back possession of the flat. He wasn't a happy bunny he said he would see me in court and I told him I would be delighted to meet him there to seek all the stopped rent and damages he owed but nonetheless possession was recovered because the property was left vacant. I never heard from him again. On the other ocassion I visited to check if tenants had left following an order for possession but prior to getting a bailiff and found they had stolen the furniture, even the boiler etc. Silly folks left a letter with their new address, subsequently the police raided their new flat, the inventory proved some of the items were ours (not too generic) and they were both convicted of theft. She was midwife and subsequently lost her job..... In court they tried to claim disrepair of a window lock was the cause of the theft AFTER they left? Thanks to the Judge and a quick dash to the office for my maintenance records I proved this was incorrect, just goes to show record keeping at all costs.

Mark Alexander

23:48 PM, 20th April 2013
About 6 years ago

Marie, I am certain that what you have described above is an illegal eviction, the consequences of which could have been dire if your tenant had taken you to court. Two wrongs does not make a right. Two wrongs do not make a right. You were lucky to get away with it.

Marie Smyth

1:08 AM, 21st April 2013
About 6 years ago

Maybe so Mark but sometimes you have to go with a gut instinct. I inherited the problem, the only information I had on the 'actual' tenancy was the contract, a name and the rent by standing order. I had stopped accepting the rent as soon as I discovered the sub-letting and had started proceedings and took advice from my solicitor in respect of abandonment. I was advised to change the locks and the outgoing sub-tenant gave me the keys, for all I knew he could have been the tenant. Lucky yes but ultimately the situation had gone on for some years before I took over management and the 'actual' tenant realised the game was up. It wasn't an overnight thing, large arrears had built up, there was a lot of damage and all personal items had been removed. I would never intentionally break the law, had the 'actual' tenant asked for access, on advice I would have given him the keys but he failed to do so, he accepted the situation maybe because it transpired he wasn't even living in England anymore and only returned to organise a 'new' tenant. I imagine he was operating several of these sub-letting arrangements that allowed him to live comfortably abroad, In hindsight I would not have done anything differently on that occasion given the history and knowledge to hand at the time.

Mark Alexander

10:08 AM, 21st April 2013
About 6 years ago

@Marie, it was the advice to Carole which concerned me as it was bad advice

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