This is a question to the blog clinic from Mandy who is a tenant.
Hi, I have been in a property for 9 year’s private rental through an agency. I have not signed a tendency for 6 year’s now.
I have paid for all repairs to property after asking time after time to the agency to do them and been given a reply you go ahead and do them we refund you but this never happened.
I have 1500 arrears but that’s my top up money. Rent is paid every month. I am owed about £6,500 in repair over the years.I been given notice of possession. How do I stand? I have nowhere to go at present. Please help
As you have not signed a tenancy agreement you will have a ‘periodic tenancy’ probably running from month to month.
You say you have been given notice of possession. You don’t say what kind of notice. I suspect this will be a section 21 notice. So my first advice is to get some legal advice and check whether the notice is correct as landlords and agents often get them wrong.
If the notice that has been served is based on rent arrears, this is good news for you as you have a defence to this claim – the money due to you for the repair works you have done.
You say that you have paid for some £6,500 worth of repairs. Do you have proof of this? Hopefully, you have kept all the receipts for the work done and any other expenses. You may also be able to show letters and emails with the agents which support what you say.
I would suggest that you sit down and prepare a schedule showing everything that you have done. Something like this:
|January 2011||Repairs to boiler||Receipt from the plumber. Email correspondence with the agents|
Sort out all the invoices and other proof of the repair work so it is all in order and keep it all together in a folder. Do not let this out of your possession as if you go to court you will need it. Keep it safe.
You can then say to the agents that you are looking for payment for this.
You won’t be able to claim the cost of any repair work through the courts for any work done more than six years ago, as they will be statute barred (find out more about this here) but you will be able to offset it against your rent arrears.
If the landlord believes that you will be suing for the repair money you may be able to negotiate more time in the property.
Alternatively, you should be entitled to withhold rent to offset against the repair works you have done, which you can use to save up for a deposit and first month’s rent for a new property.
However, it is important that you get some legal advice before doing anything.
Check to see if there is a Shelter Officer near you or a Law Centre. If not you should be able to obtain advice via the local Citizens Advice Bureau – make sure you tell them that in advance you have a housing problem so they can arrange for you to see an advisor who has housing experience (as not all their advisers can give housing advice).
You will find more details of organisations which you can contact for help here.
Make sure you take along to the appointment the notice that you have been served, any old tenancy agreements that you have and your schedule of repair work you have prepared and your proof.