Here is a question to the blog clinic from Andrew (not his real name)
We have been renting a property since February this year. When we moved in, we noticed a damp problem – there are wet patches on the ceiling and wall after rain.
For months the landlord was insisting the problem was due to condensation, and that he would get an extractor fan fitted in the bathroom.
I kept persisting to get the problem checked out properly, because we were sure that the problem was not due to condensation.
To cut a long story short, we have now been informed by a structural engineer that there is a problem with the roof, as well as the house not being ventilated properly, due to the blocked off chimneys with no vents.
The landlord has finally decided to do the repairs, but when we asked the agents to ask him about compensation, he responded by giving us notice, despite the fact that only two weeks ago, we received a letter from the agents stating that he would be happy to renew our tenancy.
I am aware that the landlord is in breach of section 10 and 11 of the LTA 1985. However, he has now finally decided to do the repairs, after 11 months of persistence, but instead of offering us compensation for all of the inconvenience and discomfort from the damp and mould, he has decided to end our tenancy. We do not have a copy of the report.
Please could you advice how we may go about justifying the situation.
I am afraid this is something that happens. Landlords are perfectly entitled to end the tenancy under s21 if they want. And often they want to do this when tenants complain.
Although it is of course always possible that the landlord requires vacant possession in order to get the repair work done properly.
This will not affect your entitlement to compensation.
However the landlord will be probably be unwilling to pay it – from his point of view he has the expense of the repairs (although it may be covered by insurance) plus a period of time when he will be getting no rent while the works are being done. So I suspect he will try to avoid paying if he can.
The only way you will be able to force the issue is by going to court. If you threaten this and are clearly serious, your landlord may decide to make you an offer.
I would strongly advise getting some legal advice from a solicitor on the strength of your claim and the sort of compensation you are entitled to.
In the meantime you need to gather as much evidence as you can before you leave – so take photographs of everything relevant and keep detailed records of your conversations and telephone calls with the agents and landlord. Make sure you write down a detailed note of your conversation with the structural engineer before you forget the detail.
Finally, this sort of problem is not new – it is called retaliatory eviction and the CAB did a report on it back in 2007.
If anything is to be done about it, those campaigning need evidence, so you may want to contact one of the main campaigning bodies, Shelter, and tell them your story.