Thanks for your reply.
Rent and repair are, unfortunately, separate issues.
If your son pays rent on a monthly basis and is two months in arrears then the landlord is entitled to serve a s8 Housing Act 1988 notice requiring possession. The notice period for this is only two weeks. If he does not leave after the notice expires then the landlord shall be entitled to apply to Court for an order for possession. If your son does not leave following the order then the landlord shall be permitted to apply for a warrant for execution so that the bailiffs will then come and evict him.
You son does have a right to a property in repair but generally, as I say, this is separate to rent. He could have written to the landlord asking for repairs to be made within a specified time (eg. 7 or 14 days) after which he could say that he will pay for the repairs himself and seek to claim the expense from the landlord separately from the rent.
Rent can only be withheld in very specific circumstances, and I never advise clients to do this because it can, as is the case here, allow the landlord to serve a s8 notice to gain possession. This site explains the procedure for withholding rent, but it is still not advisable in my opinion:-
If your son is evicted the landlord will sue him for the rent he would have received for the remaining term of the tenancy. Depending on the length of unexpired term he probably would not get all of it because he is under a duty to mitigate his loss by finding another tenant.
If the state of disrepair is such that the property is unfit for human habitation then it would entitle your son to have terminated the agreement because this breach is so serious it deprives him of substantially the whole of the benefit of the contract. If he suspects it is this bad then I would advise that he contacts the local authority's environmental health department to see if they can visit and declare it as such. This will help him.
This book is pretty good for Landlord and Tenant issues but I doubt it will help your son to any significant extent because the situation has already developed:-
Sorry it could not be better news.
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