UK Property Law
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Has the agent confirmed the cost of the quote they have obtained please?
Do you have written confirmation from the agent that the same needs replacing?
Hi. The agent hasn't given me the cost but tells me that the quote is with the landlord. I have an email saying that it needs to be replaced.
Thanks. The position in law is that as a tenant you are entitled to no better treatment that that which an owner of the property could expect. What this means is that a tenant cannot expect a landlord to perform better than that which one could achieve as an owner, nor can a tenant demand compensation automatically as a result of a breakdown of an appliance providing the landlord does all they reasonably can to remedy the matter.
So for example if the landlord had immediately contacted an emergency plumber to attend to the matter and the plumber subsequently advised he would have to order a part and it would be 2-3 days the tenant has no legal complaint because this is the best that can be done.
Where you as a tenant do have a complaint is where the landlord fails to act promptly.
You cannot unilaterally deduct rent however this by no means there is nothing you can do.
It's been more than 30 days since the fault was noted. The email from the letting agent stating that the engineer says that the machine is beyond repair is from 24 June
that's almost 30 days to the day since the letting agent tells me that the machine is beyond repair
There are two principal approaches: the first is to seek damages through the county court and then subsequently arrange for the machine to be replaced. However the downside here is that you will be forced to wait another 2 months or more for the matter to be heard. A more direct approach is to contact the agent and advise that you cannot wait any longer and must therefore take action yourself and acquire a new machine and provide a proposed machine you are happy with which is of similar spec to that presently installed and/or appropriate for the property and ask them to confirm if this is comparable to the quote and spec they have provided to their client. You can further advise that if you do not hear from them within 48 hours you will treat the proposed machine as being reasonable in the circumstances and will be acquiring the same and looking to the landlord for the cost
You will wish to retain a copy of the invoice or receipt to forward to the agents to claim repayment within 10 working days. If the landlord refuses to pay then you have the basis of a relatively straightforward action against the landlord for recoveryy of the sum. Ensure you retain the email correspondence you refer to above by way of evidence in respect of such a claim if it is necessary.
so how would I go about reclaiming the cost from the landlord?
The simples way to make a claim is by using the courts online issuing service:
and the courts would support this since it's been more than 30 days? and how would this play out in terms of the landlord cancelling the lease on me
Yes it is a breach of contract on the part of the landlord to not act reasonably and with appropriate speed in replacing appliances that do not work. There is a raft of legislation that underwrites the landlords responsibilities in this respect:The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 requires the landlord to ensure that the appliances are of satisfactory quality; The Electrical Safety Regulations 1994 provide that the landlord is responsible for ensuring the electrical safety of the electrics and any appliances they supply; Finally the Housing Health and Safety Rating System introduced under the Housing Act provides that the landlord is responsible for the electrical safety of appliances they supply
You could in addition or as an alternative consider using or threatening to use the HHSRS inspection system and ask the environmental department at the local council to carry out a health and safety assessment of the property. They have the power to serve improvement notices on the landlord to remedy any areas which do not come up to standard. Landlord
(Please disregard the final word of the above sentence)
And what about the landlord cancelling the lease as a result (or refusing to new the lease)? I've been in this flat for just over 7 months and I'd rather not have to find a new place over this
He cannot cancel the tenancy during the fixed term unless there is a break clause in the tenancy. He can refuse to renew it however if you meekly put up with issues because out of concern about the landlord not renewing the tenancy this would be grounds to overlook any number of issues. If you are concerned about this you can make a claim in the county court for up to 6 years and providing you lay the above ground work you could if you wished make a claim after the tenancy has been renewed if the landlord refuses to pay. It is quite reasonable for a tenant to demand that a landlord maintains his appliances. It is unlikely a landlord will take sufficient umbridge at such a request to reject a new tenancy but there are of course all sort of people out there.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Ok. I suppose this would also mean that I could use this issue if the landlord makes any effort to withhold some of my deposit, correct?
Could you kindly clarify - do you mean if you delayed taking action until the end of the tenancy?
I mean that if I go this route (buy the machine and then reclaim the costs). My concern is that the landlord would then hold back some of the deposit to cover that cost
My assumption is that I could use this information to get all of my deposit back (assuming that I have not damaged the flat in any way)
I see thanks. The landlord would have no grounds to do so. In fact you could claim a small sum to account for the loss of amenity of the machine - this would not likely be enough to justify a claim on its own but if you were to make a claim for the cost of the machine you may consider a small additional sum to account for the minor loss of amenity for the period in question
Great. Thank you for your help.
A pleasure. I hope you get it resoved swiftly.
It's incredibly frustrating how much of a block the letting agent has been and they pretty much suggest that I have no legal option
Letting agents come in all shapes. Some are excellent whilst others can be little better than criminals. You have a plenty of rights as a tenant however and the landlord has substantial repairing obligations.
Thank you for your help