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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69900
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello, We have rented a furnished flat however after moving

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Hello, We have rented a furnished flat however after moving in we noticed that most of the furniture within the house are either broken and unusable or need repair. I have notified the landlord several times either by email or in person however after about two months they have not contacted me to carry out the repair jobs. I was wondering if you could help me with this issue and if there is any way to force them to carry out the repairs. In our contract it is stated that the landlord is responsible for the repairs.
Many thanks

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

Is this just stuff like armchairs?

Are any of the white goods failing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The microwave and heater not working, Sofa legs are broken so is almost unusable, blinds are ripped apart and also can not be closed/opened, but my main concern is that the toilet is leaking and I am sure is from the sewage pipe (because of the smell that is causing) which would affect our health.


You can certainly take action of the toilet. Just report it to Environmental Health at the local council. They will inspect and if they find it as you say they will issue him with an improvement notice and if he doesn't act do the work themselves and recover from him.

The heating would probably offend as well.

The other matters are more of an issue for the civil courts but, in principle, you do have a right to furniture that can be used.

You can either do the work yourself and sue for the cost or withhold from rent. You do need to serve notice upon him of your intention to do so before acting though to protect yourself.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX somewhere that unless it is stated in the contract it is illegal to withhold from rent. If I decided to do the repair myself do I need to contact a lawyer and do it through them or can I just notify them in writing and do the repairs myself?


Oh yes, you cannot normally withhold rent to punish a landlord.

Its not something I would normally suggest anyway. Normally its better to sue for the cost but obviously not everybody can afford to do that.

In a situation like this its generally justified on the basis that since the landlord owes you money for conducting the repairs, his claim against you for rent arrears would be cancelled out by the time it got to court.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. Just to be clear, in this case and because I can not afford to sue the landlord I can withheld rent until the repairs are done and if he takes the matter to court I will be able to prove that my action is justified?

No, you can't do that. It doesn't work that like. That is just holding the landlord to ransom which is unlawful.

What you can do though is do the repairs yourself and then withhold that exact sum to compensate yourself.

He could try to sue for rent arrears but then you would have a disrepair claim.

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