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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6290
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We have had no heating and hot water for 10 days. The agent

Resolved Question:

We have had no heating and hot water for 10 days. The agent did not have an engineer available to resolve the problem so we instructed our own engineer. The problem was finally resolved but then a further fault code showed on the boiler. This time we used the agent's engineer and they are now saying our engineer may have caused the problem therefore we must pay. We wish to hold back rent for the 10 days we were without heating and water, for the charges of our engineer and for the time taken out of our working day making endless phone calls. Can we legally do this and who can we raise the dispute with? We are also concerned that any monies withheld by us will be deducted from the deposit monies when the tenany ends. We want to stay in the house and let it role on to a periodic tenancy but the agent is saying we must pay a renewal fee. Any advice would be appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Did you inform the agent immediately when the heating stopped?

Did you tell them that if they did not attend to it that you woudl instruct your own engineer?

How many days after informing the agent did you instruct your own engineer?

When does the fixed term of the tenancy end and has the agent served a s21 notice on you yet?

Tom
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


It was on Sunday 2 December when we returned from holiday. We left a message on the answerphone and then telephoned first thing on Monday 3rd December.


 


They gave as a number for their engineer but they had not been paid from last time and so did not want to come out. They said the only other engineer was busy for the next few days so when we suggested we use one of our own contacts they agreed.


 


Our engineer was contact later on Monday 3rd December and attended on Tuesday 4th December. He had to order the parts which took a while to come in. The parts were fitted on Monday 10th December but after he left later on another fault code appeared.


 


We had already contacted the agent on 8th December to get them back involved so we contacted them again on the 11th and their engineer came on the Thursday. He said our engineer may have caused more problems. He also had to wait for a part and came to fix the problem on Friday 14th December.


 


The fixed term ends on 20th January 2013. No notice has been served but they have been chasing us regarding what we are doing. We wish to stay in the property but we feel aggreaved by the agent and that we should be able to hold back rent for the time it took to solve the problem, for our time spent dealing with matters and for the costs of our engineer.


 


Your comments would be appreciated.


 


Claudia

Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi Claudia,

Who paid for the work carried out by your engineer?

I've a quick ten minute meetting now btw..

Tom
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


We have paid for the parts so far £270, we are waiting for the invoice for the labour but he attended 3 times.


 


Ok.


 


Claudia

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


We have paid for parts in the sum of £270. We are still awaiting an invoice for labour. We were then going to claim it back from the agent by deducting it from the rent.


 


They are obtaining a report as to the cause of the problems with the boiler. They are saying our engineer may have been negligent and therefore they will not pay.


 


Claudia

Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thanks for your patience.

Basically, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to repair it. This is under s11 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

If the landlord was not able to make the repair or was unresponsive then I would usually advise making them aware that if he does not then you would carry out the repair and bill him for the cost.

If the landlord consented to you arranging the repair via an engineer you selected then effectively you had his authorisation to arrange the works. Unless he said “at your cost” or “if they can’t fix it then costs are payable by you” prior to the works being carried out then my view is that the cost of the works are claimable from the landlord.

My advice would be to enter in to negotiation in writing with them as to the costs that you have paid, he may say that the works were faulty and that you should pay, but you would argue that you had his authority to select such engineers that you considered appropriate and that this was not limit as to costs by him.

If they refuse to negotiate then I would pay the remaining rent so that you do not unwittingly entitle them to evict you for rent arrears and issue a claim for the sum via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

If they have not served you a s21 notice giving you two months notice for possession at the end of the fixed term then they cannot evict you when the fixed term expires. Instead they must serve the s21 notice (two months notice to expire at the end of a monthly rent period) and wait till the notice expires.

There is nothing which requires you to sign a new tenancy, you can attempt to rely on the landlord being happy with a periodic one but you do risk them deciding not too and serving you with the s21 notice,.


.Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE or above if you are satisfied that you have received the correct legal advice (even if it is not the answer you wanted to hear), otherwise I do not receive any credit for answering your question.

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Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Where do we stand with claiming back the deposit money at the end of the term if the dispute is ongoing and we have held back rent?

Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi Claudia,

It will make it a bit more complicated basically, but you should still be able to claim back the deposit under the usual processes. They may try and fold the non-payment of rent in to the deposit dispute but you shoudl resist stating that it's a separate issue to the wear and tear of the house and the deposit.

PLease remember to rate my answer.

Tom
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6290
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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