Here is a question to the blog clinic from Wilf (not his real name) who is a tenant:
There was a water leak in the front room of the house we were renting which we reported in December.
The water was caused by rain which was leaking through the living room roof. Despite reminding our estate agents of this numerous times the leak was not fixed and we ended up moving out in May the following year.
Every time it rained we had to put small basins down (there wasn’t enough room for a large bucket) and keep an eye on them to empty when full. We also cleaned the area numerous times when dry.
This was a major inconvenience and very frustrating for me as I work from home so the noise and effort of managing the leak was very distracting.
I was wondering if we could seek compensation for this – even though we have now moved out?
Initially we weren’t going to do anything and we didn’t for the 5 months we were living there with the leak but the estate agent/landlord is trying to take money out of our deposit before refunding it due to a list of ‘damages’, most of which we think are bogus or grossly exaggerated so it’s only now we are thinking of bringing this up as a way to mitigate.
Failure to repair the roof is a breach of the landlord’s statutory repairing covenants and so you should be entitled to compensation. The landlord has a duty to keep ‘the structure and exterior’ of the property in good repair – which obviously did not happen here.
Your main issue however is the threat to make deductions from your deposit.
You can certainly counter this by a claim for compensation, but if you do this you cannot use the scheme’s adjudication service, as dealing with claims by tenants is outside their jurisdiction.
So if you wanted to do this, you would need to bring proceedings to challenge the deductions in the County Court.
This might be more bother than you want. Although it does not debar you from bringing the claim, there may be problems in obtaining evidence to prove the condition of the property now you have moved out – although your own evidence may well be accepted by the Court without (say) a surveyors report – if you are just claiming for the inconvenience aspect.
Particularly if you have any photos showing the bowls being used to catch the drips.
I suspect your landlords will not want to be taken to Court, so they may be willing to be sensible about things if a County Court claim is threatened.
But certainly you should challenge the deductions if you don’t agree with them.
If you think they are exaggerated or wrong you can use the schemes adjudication service, but as I said this will only deal with the proposed deductions and the adjudicator does not have power to consider any claims you may have relating to the property.