Here is a question to the blog clinic from Liam who is a tenant.
Recently moved into a new property one month ago. Renting from a landlord through an estate agent.
The flat was coming up to conclusion of renovation so in the tenancy agreement we had it specified that these be completed by set date (light fittings being completed, damp patches and damages to walls repaired, professional cleaning, a working fridge freezer installed and a shower installed) at present none of these items have been completed nor has an inventory check or inspection been carried out. We had to move into property as had no other alternatives.
Our estate agents seem unable to reach the landlord and we’re getting no feedback or communication. We will continue to pay rent etc as required. But what can we do to force landlord to start and complete these items with immediate effect.
First – you may want to get your own inventory check done so you will be able to prove later (if needed) the condition of the property – and that the landlord had failed to carry out his promises made in your tenancy agreement.
I suggest you then withhold your rent until the works have been done. Don’t spend the money – just put it in a separate interest bearing bank account and keep it safe.
Tell the agents / landlord that the money will be paid over once the works have been done, but that you expect to be paid some compensation for the inconvenience you have suffered.
If they threaten to sue you for the money or evict you for non payment of rent, say that you will defend and counterclaim for compensation for breach of contract. Point out also that the money is there – and would have been paid to them already if they had not breached the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Note that strictly speaking you are not entitled to deduct money for compensation unilaterally – this has to be awarded by a court if you are unable to reach a negotiated figure.