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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Our Landlord has invoked her 6 month break clause in a fixed

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Our Landlord has invoked her 6 month break clause in a fixed term 1 year contract, to ask us to leave giving 2 months notice prior to the 6th month date. To be out of her property dead on 6 months. This she claims is because she wants to move back in - but the reality is we have fought her for the first 4 months over the state of the property and the repairs it needs. All documented, photographed, reported and chased in emails and regular contact through her letting agent whom we pay the rent to. We reached an impass which after electrical faults, water leaks and numerous endangerment to ourselves ended up with the section 21 being served. In the last 2 months we have tried hard to find an alternative dwelling that fits our budget, remains in the area for schools, bus route for work etc and come up blank. As of monday I believe the landlord will go for a possession order, after deny to reply to our letters and or do any of the outstanding repairs. Can you offer any advice ? Phil
Submitted: 1 year ago via Tenancy Agreement Service.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Are you hoping to stay in the property?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, we have no issue moving if we can find somewhere and somehow miracle up the £4k it will take for deposit/rent and moving costs (the average 3 bed house £1,400 per month with deposit of 6 wks = £3,500 to start with thats without agent fees) - but to be honest we moved here with the intention of starting a new life (my partner and I are from different pasts) making a fresh start with her children 12 & 19. We expected to be here for atleast a year if not many more... So right now we have no choice but to battle it out. We tried to negotiate and ask for compensation after all we have been put through (water in electrics twice, leak from loft, dining room ceiling with open hole where the bathroom leaks and has rotted away the floor above).

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure what you are hoping to achieve?

Certainly, if there is a break clause in the AST and she has served a S21 notice that complied in accordance with it then she will get a possession order against you unfortunately. The fact of disrepair is not a defence.

I suppose that you could get a few extra weeks/months in the property while she applies to court for accelerated possession but then you would be liable for her costs although they would not be onerous.

You can counter claim for disrepair but I'm afraid you are not describing disrepair issues that would attract a huge sum in compensation I'm afraid.

Its always possible to defend on the basis that you will suffer exceptional hardship but, unfortunately, you are not describing the best case although it is a factual test in the end.

I'm very sorry but thats your position.

Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Jo


 


Even though from day one - the list of repairs have been :


 


Doors that dont fit propery,


Patio doors so rotten that they are falling apart - glass held in by putty alone in places where the wood has long gone,


Heating system that doesn't work properly


No way to heat hot water without heating the whole house.


Dining room wall crumbling and unable to decorate because the wall is soft in places and decaying at the ceiling


Dining room ceiling - hole the size of a golf ball where ceiling is crumbling.


Bathroom beneath the bath the floor is rotten - so bad that the bath has slighlty sank in to the floor (Ubend is actually embedded in the wood floor bay about 6mm)


2 13amp sockets in the living room wired through a light switch on a 6 amp circuit


Building has loose brickwork at roof level - needs repointing


Building has sever decay in the cement between the brickwork visible everywhere outside


Kitchen windows do not fit properly - out of alighnment and catch runners missing.


Front porch had a leak over the electrics, after 2 months of chasing she actually sent out 4 different firms to look at - eventually the repair was bodged and blocked the drain down pipe which ended up with a major flood over the consumer unit (mains electric fuse box)


Washing machine mains feed drown the electric socket behind, landlord stopped the repair from being done which then ended up with us having to use an extension to use the washing machine - which unfortunately went up with a bang and frightened the life out of us.


Found a wired plug in the saturated socket behind the washing machine leading outside to bare wires in the grass of the garden.


The list goes on and on.


 


And your saying we don't really have anything to gain standing up against the section 21 that was clearly issues to avoid her doing the nessersary repairs. That's appauling to think she can do this and we have no leg to stand on ?


 


Phil

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Its not that you don't have a leg to stand on.

You do not have a defence to the S21 notice and consequent possession order on this basis.

You may well have a claim for disrepair but that only attracts money compensation rather than a longer term in the property.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Ok I get that, but the landlord has already refused to negotiate any compensation claim, and also refused to answer no only to us but also the letting agent. Which I find appauling especially as I have since found out the the land lord is actually a barrister in commercial property and has worked in commerial property for several years. So I expect a battle on this one - I only hope when the possession order is actually given (sometime from monday onwards) as I will still be paying in my rent on time regardless - that I can take this to the courts to get a judge to either over rule and make her prove she needs to move back in to the property, gives us extra time to find somewhere or makes her back down and finish our year out with her doing the required repairs.


 


It looks like a case of no hope - but what can I do ?


 


Rgds


 


Phil

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Sometimes people won't negotiate. That doesn't necessarily mean that they will not lose in court.

All you can really do is counter claim.

I'm really sorry but you do not have the best claim in compensation. The best point that you have is the heating issue and thats not all that good because there is heating - it just cannot be required to heat only water or only the house.

Some of the structural issues might interest Environmental Health. Its free to make a report.

The electrical issues really just come down to risk. I do understand entirely why you find that unacceptable but you cannot claim compensation for placing you at risk generally in law. Unless there was injury as a result there is no claim for compensation on that particular head.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


So where does that leave us, as the landlord has failed to maintain the property in violation of Landlord & Tennant Act 1985 chapter 70 point 11 a,b and c ? Surely that has some standing against her ? Not to mention that the letting agent withheld the EPC certificate from us for over 2 months after repeated requests for it. I actually thought we had some of these things on our side - but from our answer it seems clear its almost a hopeless battle.


 


Rgds


 


Phil

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I am very sorry but it is not likely that you will win this particular application.

These are not points that you can use to defeat an application for possession unfortunately.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 64693
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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