What are my rights as a tenant?

Hello

Just looking for some advice on my rights as a tenant, would appreciate some help please :)

Me and a friend moved into a house together, to date we have had a number of problems, which are listed below:

We moved in at the end of September, paid a deposit and one months rent in advance when we moved in and signed a six month contract. To date we have still not received confirmation of where the deposit is being held, which I know is breaking one of the landlord rules. We did not receive a 'gas safety certificate for the boiler' when we moved in either - and still haven't.

When we moved in the house was disgusting, the previous tenants and the landlord had not cleaned it (even though the landlord said he'd have the carpets cleaned, which he didn't) and it took nine people and the whole weekend to get it to a suitable cleanliness to be lived in, we took photos of the state of it.

The gas and electric meters were left in debt, we got the gas money back but not the electric.

There were no smoke alarms in the house, we had to fit them ourselves.

The walls had liquid marks and chunks missing all over them and the landlord said we could decorate it without giving any money towards the paint....we did get this back eventually but took a lot of hours of filling and painting!

A week after moving in the electric went, I called the landlord who advised me to climb onto a ladder and fiddle around with the main trip switch as it can be temperamental! (in the pitch black)

Two weeks later, the boiler stopped working. We managed to reset it following the instructions but it keeps happening, we've informed the landlord and requested it be serviced, he said he'd get someone round to look at it, we have not had anyone round yet.

After the bad rain, we began to have damp develop upstairs on the walls on the other side of the guttering, I informed the landlord who said the guttering probably needed clearing, which he did pretty quickly.

The boiler is not reliable and is not working to its full capacity, meaning when the heating is on we still sit there in blankets and hot water bottles and can see our breath and the timer does not work meaning we have to get up in the morning in the freezing cold, surely the landlord should make sure that we are living in suitable conditions?

The damp upstairs has got worse, even though we air the house regularly, but no word from the landlord.

One final thing is last Thursday evening (23rd December) we came back to the house with some friends after a night out, to no heating. We tried to put it on but the boiler had gone again, it was so cold we could all see our breath and as you can imagine this is extremely embarrassing when you have guests. We informed the landlord who has not even acknowledged our message, it is now the 27th December. I know he will be expecting his rent on the 31st but I do not want to hand it over until the boiler and damp has been sorted. Both of us have had to stay at respective parents houses as it is too cold to stay at our home without any heating or hot water which has put a huge dampener over christmas, not being able to go home.

I have my second cold in two months of living in the cold temperature at the house and my housemate has been to the hospital today and diagnosed with trachiaitus and bronchitis, which I can only imagine has developed from the bad conditions we have been living in for the past few months.

What are our rights with regards to withholding the rent? Are we entitled to any form of compensation for this? And where can we go from here if we are having no luck with the landlord?

I would appreciate any help you could give :) Thanks.

Update:

Useful link about the deposit scheme as requested:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Priva...

Also, I know it seems niaive to take a house in that state, its not cheap, we had the undertaking from the landlord he would sort it....after looking into the law in the UK he is breaking a load of rules as a landlord and will be contacting the CAB.

6 Answers

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  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    This page will tell you what to do about your deposit - and how to check f it IS protected: http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/my_deposit_is...

    With regard to the gas safety certificate, see here & report to the Health & Safety Executive (max fine £20k) http://www.hse.gov.uk/GAS/domestic/faqtenant.htm

    With regard to lack of heating etc, contact the environmental health officer at your local council.

    In general, this link may help: http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_a...

    With regard to withholding rent, you are almost certainly prohibited from doing this by the agreement you signed. However, you could sue the landlord http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk for any financial loss you have incurred as a result of his (in)actions. For example, if you are paying £700 per month but the place is only worth £350 without heating (invented figures) then you have suffered a loss of £350 per month.

  • 9 years ago

    Actually Edward Fox, a landlord cannot do *what he pleases* with a tenant's deposit.

    It is now against the law to keep the deposit in your own bank or in your own pocket. The asker provided a link and I suggest you read it.

    A landlord MUST by law put a tenant's deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme!!!! No ifs and or buts! It is not *their* money to do as they please with!

    To the asker, wow you have a few issues here.

    First a few notes to point, a landlord does not have to have a boiler that has a perfectly working timer, just a boiler that provides heat, hot water and works and is safe to use. It doesn't mean it has to work 100 per cent with bells and whistles. I think getting the boiler working is the first priority and a landlord doesn't have to legally replace an working boiler with a few issues such as lack of timer.

    So long as you also get a gas safety check every year, a basic working boiler is all you need.

    Second, Although the CAB are good, they are very busy and hard to get hold of. I would contact Shelter over the CAB as Shelter specialise in housing issues only.

    Thirdly do NOT ever withhold rent without contact Shelter and seeking legal help. This is breach of contract (no matter what the landlord has done) and you can be evicted for it.

    Be very careful with this!

    The boiler not providing heat is your first thing to deal with, the next is the deposit!

    Contact shelter as soon as you can to get some help on this! I found them a great help with my landlord problems! Your on the right road, I know it's hard to not to think about mistakes but don't beat yourself up! Mistakes can be made and it's a minefield!

    Hope you get your problems sorted! :)) See if Shelter can help and see if you can move lol

    Source(s): Oh and one last thing, the debt on the metres as far as I am aware are nothing to do with the landlord. if a tenant ups and leaves without paying, it's not the landlord's problem. Now, neither is it yours but it's down to you to set up a new account with the gas and elec company for the utility company to chase the debts from the old tenants. So there is nothing your landlord should legally do here for that one. It was not down to you to pay the debt and it's something you shouldn't have done. You need to get back into the company and get them to give you the money back! You always read the metres the day you move in and set up a NEW account with a different company or transfer your old account to your new address!
  • Ed Fox
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Please give us a link to the site where we can see the law that tells a landlord what he may or may not do with the deposit paid to him.

    You are entitled to a formal written receipt for the deposit. Once you have received that, the landlord is free to deposit the money where he pleases - or keep it under his mattress if he so wishes.

    It seems rather naive of you to accept the tenancy of a place that is not in an acceptable condition. I would not do so myself and the gas/electricity meters are one of the first things I would check.

    Perhaps the accommodation was unusually cheap and that is what influenced you to take the accommodation despite its condition.

    If you withhold the rent, the landlord is entitled to sue you.

  • Sandra
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Rights depend on the state your in, but usually landlord must give 24hrs notice (often written) before entering. The landlord does have a right to show the unit while still occupied in order to his cash flow from being interrupted.

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  • 9 years ago

    Edward Fox - you wanted a link:

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Priva...

    Regarding the issues see your local CAB office who can point you in the right direction.

    As for the boiler this is illegal.

  • 9 years ago

    im sorry i didnt read it all all i read was the gas safety certificate that is illegal i suggest you go to citizen advice or get a lawyer take pictures of the damages and they can be used in evidence against them dont hand over the rent and refuse to pay it till the repairs are made (you can do this and itll be illegal for them to evict you )

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