Here is a question to the blog clinic from Simon (not his real name) who is a tenant:
We are three tenants renting a house and we have been having all manner of difficulties with our landlord and agent.
Basically we had no heating or hot water for a month, we reported it to the agent but they said they couldn’t do anything without the landlord’s permission.
In the end we called out own plumber and paid for him to do the repair, which was not cheap. The agent now says they need the landlord’s permission to reimburse us for the costs, we keep chasing but nothing is happening.
Our question is this: could the agent have done something rather than putting the blame on the landlord? Also, what are implications if we deduct the costs from our rent? We are planning to leave anyway but don’t want arrears to effect our deposit.
Your landlord is in breach of his statutory repairing obligations under s11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985.
So far as the agents are concerned though , although in some cases agents are entitled to get this done, this is not always the case and it may well be that the agents were not entitled to authorise repair work under the terms of their agency agreement.
Even if they had been authorised, it is not the agents who are liable to you – it is the landlord. So any claim is against the landlord and not the agents.
Generally tenants are entitled to recover their costs if they have to get repair work done themselves after the landlord has failed to take action after having been given notice of the disrepair. There is a procedure for this which includes getting three estimates first and passing these on to the landlord, which I don’t think you have followed.
However were you to go to court over this I am pretty sure the Judge would be on your side as being without heating or hot water for a month is no joke.
I would suggest however that you deduct the cost of this and the deposit from your last rent payment. If the agents were to deduct the money from your deposit, I don’t think your claim for the repair work is something that adjudicators can deal with so you would probably have to go to the small claims court to get your money back.