Last months rent damp and dubious oil bill?

by Readers Question

10:56 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Last months rent damp and dubious oil bill?

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Last months rent damp and dubious oil bill?

I would like some advice on what to do regarding the last months rent of my tenancy. I have rented a cottage for 17 months and for the entire tenancy I have had penetrating damp (confirmed by the Environmental health) in one of the bedrooms. oil tank

I requested the landlord to address the issue repeatedly but he never addressed the problem or got a builder in to look at the situation. My landlords did not take a deposit from me but oddly enough they asked me for the exact same amount (£1200) as the deposit would have been for the oil in my tank, but I never received a receipt for the oil or proof of amount, content or value.

I am now leaving on the 10th of March and I feel that as I have been so disadvantaged by my landlord that I do not wish to pay him another penny. My landlord says I have to pay him up until the 31st of March as per the terms in my tenancy agreement.

What would happen should I refuse to pay it? I will be taking him to small claims court for the 17 months of rent I paid on the damp room so would this all come out in court ?

My landlord is very hostile at times so I am also slightly fearful of what he might try and do i.e. change the locks etc.

Sarah



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:00 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Sarah,

Have you paid the oil bill and does it sound about the right sort of amount for how long and how much you have used it?

Damp is an often contentious issue on Property118 with some cases being an intrinsic problem with the property and sometimes tenants not ventilating rooms, hanging wet washing up to dry etc.

Sarah H

11:25 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "29/02/2016 - 11:00":

Hi Neil, hard to say as he added another £840 to the bill with oil he added a month later and again I got no receipt or proof of oil amount. I have had confirmation from the environmental health that the damp is categorically penetrating damp caused by a raised concrete floor on the other side of the wall.

Sarah H

11:26 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "29/02/2016 - 11:00":

I've paid all monies owing for said oil

Paul Franklin

11:34 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Yes this would all come out in court. A court claim for rent arrears can be counter claimed by LL's breach of repairing obligations - if there has been a breach. You can add a claim for being ripped off on oil if you feel you have been - but with no receipts of invoice this could be difficult.

The oil situation seems a strange set up - tenant's are usually required to get their own oil.

LL changing the locks would be unlawful.

Andrew Holmes

11:51 AM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi sarah,

Sounds like you have problems with current Landlord.

Where you stand legally is probably best discussed between yourself and Citizens advice and/or local housing officer. You have a few issues: ie, Finishing your tenancy early, possible rent arrears if you do not pay, landlords lack of care towards his property and tenant, lack of receipts for payment of fuel. I assume it states in your tenancy agreement that "The Landlord will maintain and repair the property to a good standard", or something similar ?

Take any documentation to appropriate parties, if a landlord harasses or threatens a tenant they can be subject to a big fine so they need to be responsible in their approach and dealings with you.

Andrew

Sarah H

12:41 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andrew Holmes" at "29/02/2016 - 11:51":

Thank you Andrew I am going to pay them £400 for the rent up until the 10th march when I leave and let them take me to court for the other £800 by which time I will have put in my claim for 17 months rent on the bedroom I was unable to use 🙂

S.E. Landlord

12:52 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sarah H" at "29/02/2016 - 12:41":

If you decide to let this go to court and the court finds that you owe money ensure that it is paid promptly so that the CCJ does not affect your credit rating. For more details ask the court or Google how long you have to pay a CCJ for it not to be shown on your credit file.

Sarah H

14:13 PM, 29th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Of course if a judge decides I owe it to them I will of course pay it straight away

Wendi Whittle

9:25 AM, 1st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Oil has never been as cheap as it is at the moment. What size of oil tank have you got? Most domestic boilers run off Kerosene and last time we ordered it was 35p per litre, had been 55p per litre at times last year. You are either using a hell of a lot of oil or he is stiffing you on the oil. How does he know how much you are using, does he have a flowmeter on your oil line? Sounds like hes ripping you off big style to me.

Sarah H

10:12 AM, 1st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Okay I have spent the morning working this out. The tank I have is a Harlequin 600 Beehive which holds 2800 litres. At 49p which was the rate back when I moved in (Nov 2014) it would take £1372.00 to fill the tank.

My landlord told me he had dipped the tank with a stick as he said the gauge didn't work and It was half full so he told me it would be £1200.00 @ 49p a litre which I took as the correct amount. I had to borrow the money to pay him from my parents which I was upset at as there was no mention of having to purchase the oil in the tank when I moved in or on the tenancy agreement.

I was just out of an abusive marriage and had never used oil heating before so I trusted that he was correct. £1200 would mean there was 2449 litres in the tank which would have meant it was full not half full.

One month later he said he was topping up the other tanks on the Estate so told me he had filled up my tank and it would be another £840 which at 49p would have been another 1714 litres ! which does not make sense, in the space of 4 weeks there would have had to have been 4163 litres in the tank (minus 1 months usage).

I then didn't top up the tank again until May 2015 and in the spring it was warm so the heating wasn't on. This means I used 4163 litres of oil in 6 months, and I know that I usually go through on average 500 litres in 2 months.

Is this fraud ?

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