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to refuse to pay my rent? WARNING - LONG!

(51 Posts)
NotPaying Sat 09-Jul-11 23:32:57

Gas safety certificate ran out in April, water damage to walls/laminate floors caused by various leaks last winter has still not been repaired, together with the carpet that was ripped up when they repaired it.

Back story is that we have been placed in 'temporary' accomodation by the council since our house was repossessed last April. It was a bloody nightmare to sort out and I was 6 months (unplanned) pregnant at the time (with 3 other DCs) as DH was made redundant and I could not find another job after I was made redundant in 2009.

Anyway as the council have no temporary properties of their own to accommodate families, we were given a property managed by a private agency but the tenancy was drawn up by the council (we pay the agency rent not the council). The rent is market rent (LHA maximum of £900 per month) as they expect most families to be claiming full housing benefit I presume. We don't as DH found another job almost as soon as we moved in! We had no choice in the property and we know it would not be worth that amount on the open market.

Now when we moved in, we were told that there was no door fitted between the kitchen and through lounge to aid in ventilation with the gas boiler. I was a bit hmm about this until British Gas came to install a new meter and immediately stopped the gas as they said there was a leak so we had to move out leaving all our furniture there. We later found out the owners of the property and the agency were aware of this that was why there was no door angry. The upside was that a new boiler had to be fitted. The owners had to pay for this and insisted on using their own 'engineers' aka cowboys (relatives) rather than the agency people, who trashed the house by cutting copper piping (all new pipes) INSIDE rather than outside (while we had moved out) so it took me weeks to get rid of all the bloody red dust. They left the boiler and all the pipes (loads of them) exposed with no attempt to clean up. We asked for the gas safety certificate after it had been done and after chasing the agency for a month finally got one. Since then we have all manner of problems - boiler not working, leaks throughout the house, when one cracked pipe is fixed, another bursts somewhere else etc. We have had mould throughout the winter because it was taking the owner weeks to get someone in (same cowboys) to repair them whilst we had a new baby. The owners will not allow the agency to do the repairs as they want to do it on the cheap with people they know. The owners are not listed on our contract at all and the agency is listed as our 'landlord' not them. The owners have also been abusive to us including telling my DH that he should not be complaining as the 'council are paying the rent' not us [angry, angry, angry]. Of course DH put him right on that.

Last month the agency arranged for a new gas certificate to be done. The owners wanted to do it themselves and sent the same 'cowboys' to do the job. I asked for their 'Gas Care' cerfication badges and they said they were not certificated but their boss was (he was not with them) hmm so I told them very nicely to get lost as I understand it is illegal for non certified engineers to do this work and I want to make sure it is properly checked. Then complained to the agency who said they would sort it. A month later we have heard nothing. I am thinking that the owner's know that the 'cowboys' they got to do the job are not certificated and that the boiler may not pass and that is why it has still not been done.

AIBU to refuse to pay any more rent until all this work is done. I have also complained to the council about this and they have done nada!

NotPaying Sat 09-Jul-11 23:40:11

We are also going to be stuck in this house for at least another 2 years as council are saying it will be a minimum of 3 years before we get a council property. We cannot move back into private rented as DH's salary is much lower in the job he's in now and there is no way we can get a deposit together . Our credit rating is also f***ed!.

AlabamaWorley Sat 09-Jul-11 23:45:14

Can't you find somwhere else to rent? If you are paying above the market price for this place, then explain to the council that they have to end the contract and you move out and find somewhere else to live.

It sounds an awful situation. Before you refuse rent which I can fully understand you wanting to do, perhaps you should contact CAB for advice first. So you don't get sued or something.

So, no YADNBU, but just be informed with next steps.

NotPaying Sat 09-Jul-11 23:49:15

There is no way we can get the deposit together and also pay the £200+ in admin fees for private rent Alabama. I have asked the council if they would help us with the 'rent deposit scheme' but the have refused as we have suitable accommodation according to them.

cjbartlett Sat 09-Jul-11 23:49:30

If you have £900 a month to rent can't you do it privately?

NotPaying Sat 09-Jul-11 23:50:06

I will be going to CAB as well. I am just disgusted that the council use this agency to house people when they are their most vulnerable sad.

FabbyChic Sat 09-Jul-11 23:53:31

YOu really need to find another cheaper property that you can rent yourselves without having to be in the house you are in.

All engineers who do gas checks have to be Corgi Registered, it is no good for a Company just to be registered any person working on a gas appliance has to be.

You are well within your rights to refuse to pay rent on the basis that the property is not fit to be habited.

madhattershouse Sat 09-Jul-11 23:53:43

cj 900 pcm means a months deposit plus another for rent in advance..!1800. I don't have that sort of money and neither does the OP!

FabbyChic Sat 09-Jul-11 23:53:57

YOu dont need to pay admin fees if you rent from a private landlord via a newspaper.

madhattershouse Sat 09-Jul-11 23:55:14

fabby you still need the other upfront costs.

NotPaying Sat 09-Jul-11 23:58:05

Believe me Fabby I have looked and still am. All that is advertised in our area privately are rooms in people's houses. All flats/houses are through agencies. I have been hoping that we could find a house with a private landlord that we could negotiate with on the deposit (paying a bit each month) but there is nothing.

AuntiePickleBottom Sat 09-Jul-11 23:59:44

I would use the rent money to pay a deposit on another house, can't believe your rent is £900 I am shocked.

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 00:00:33

I have private rented for seven years, initially private rental and I paid a month in advance and a month upfront. All you need is the deposit as your rent is paid upfront anyways. So the rent you would normally pay will be your one month in advance. YOu can get three bed properties for around £700 a month, so you need £700 quid basically.

Try torent.co.uk and gumtree.

madhattershouse Sun 10-Jul-11 00:02:55

fabby I rent and get LHA..it took 15 weeks for the first payment to be made and they pay a month in arears so the first months rent is up to the tennant to find.

Lunabelly Sun 10-Jul-11 00:04:27

Have you tried the Private Housing Department of your local council? They will usually send an attack dog an inspector round who will then kick arse if need be. I didn't even know they existed until early last year. Also, try contacting Shelter - they are not just there for homeless street people, and their current campaign is against rogue LLs. Your agents sound bloody complicit in this crappitude as well...

Sounds like the kind of things our old LL used to do - we weren't GSC for 6 years! I was too 'kind' and stupid to open that can of worms with the council and the stress darn near killed me. If I had been then the me I am now, I would have gone to the local rags and kicked his arse from here to Friday.

AFAIK, you are actually allowed by law to withold rent until repairs etc have been done, but DO check with the CAB or private rental sector first.

I am sick and tired of utter utter bastards holding us to ransom with their bastard crap landlord ways. The slumlord needs to go the way of the ark and soon.

Shitbiscuit Slumlords

Good luck

Lunabelly Sun 10-Jul-11 00:05:01

WOW my link worked! grin

LineRunner Sun 10-Jul-11 00:06:17

This is why councils work with the private rented sector, to get tenants into homes when the tenants would otherwise never be able to find the upfront costs.

OP Your council must have this landlord on an accredited list and you can hold the council to account on that. Make a formal complaint to the council, don't just ring up the housing dept. You might also get your local councillor involved - it's what they're there for.

It sounds like a crap situation. Be careful about withholding rent though - it's rarely a good move.

salus1 Sun 10-Jul-11 00:08:04

Up North £900 pm would get you a "safe" detached house,

I can't believe landlords can get away with it, I would get a corgi reg to check the boiler and knock the cost off this months rent.

Go to CAB for advice, it wasn't long ago that a baby was scalded in her cot from faulty pipes.

Lunabelly Sun 10-Jul-11 00:15:24

Corgi is no more, gas people have to be GasSafe approved now.

The private housing sector were far more helpful than the social housing sector, from what I've heard this is a widespread thing, and I've been given the impression that the housing inspectors get quite disgusted with the social housing listy people, for fobbing people off, making them lower bands than they should be etc (the SH dept had us Band C, the PH inspector took one look, and we were moved to Band A straight away, if that makes any sense.)

NearlySpring Sun 10-Jul-11 00:39:41

I have been in your crap situation. I too had been made homeless and was a single parent too. I was given temporary accomodation by the council which I we grateful for and for a month or so I was out if work so on benefits. I then started work and had to pay nearly 900 a month for a shite 1 bedroom flat for over a year!

The problem Op has is that if she movesout and rents privately her name will be taken off the waiting list for permanent council housing!

Op, ride it out! Our flats were eventually torn down, we got given priority and moved up the list and I now have a beautiful, brand new 2 bed 2 bathroom house, lovely area and garden and it's 400 a month! Less than half of what it would be if we rent privately!

If you refuse to pay the rent they will evict you! If you are evicted for non payment of rent they will not help you and you will not be considered for a permanent council house. Yes complain, kick up a stink, ringand write to everyone you possibly can but you must still pay your rent!

Lunabelly Sun 10-Jul-11 00:49:12

OP and NearlySpring - from what I understand from our many years on the list, is that people who are made homeless are supposed to be (in our area at least) put in the emergency band or in band A and housed within 28 days / 6 weeks.

AFAIC, the council MUST be made aware that their emergency landlord is a fecking crook. Have a good look through the link I put up, there is loads of info and a helpline on there as well.

NearlySpring Sun 10-Jul-11 01:09:51

28 days? Well here in SE London we are given temporary council accomodation right away but there is no limit on how long you can be in there and the normal over crowding rules don't apply. The 1 bed flat we had was deemed suitable for up to 3 people so either a couple and 1 child or a single parent and 2 children. We were there about 18mths but would have been much longer if our block wasn't knocked down! We were in band B, band A was only for those with medical problems or at risk such as people escaping domestic violence.

Tiredmumno1 Sun 10-Jul-11 01:16:49

Corgi is no more, you have to be capita registered

First step report the cowboys to health and safety, they cannot do what they did, h and s will take this seriously

Secondly dont withhold rent straightaway pen a letter to the agents and the ll, with a list of work that needs to be done, give them 28 days to rectify anything with workers that are registered

If they dont comply, when the 28 days is up, open a seperate bank account put the rent in it, and refuse to pay until work is done, you would have given them plenty of time to sort it, and by having an account with the rent in, you can prove you have the rent money, which they can have when the situation is resolved

Search online and this info should come up

And fabby you cant say its roughly 7 hundred for a property as it varies all over the country, so you cant really say that

SusanneLinder Sun 10-Jul-11 01:30:39

Phone Shelter(google) or get a solicitor involved. In Scotland you can withold your rent if your property is not up to standard, and I have used this against a rogue landlord BUT I do not know if this applies south of the border, AND you need legal advice before you do this.Never ever withold your rent without taking legal advice. Shelter are good , as is a solicitor versed in Housing Law,google Law Society in your area.TBH Shelter are better cos this is their speciality. Sorry but I know people have said CAB, but I have never rated them. Most are staffed by volunteers, which is great for simple stuff,but this needs good legal advice.

Tiredmumno1 Sun 10-Jul-11 01:45:12

Have a look at england.shelter.org.uk, if you tap in a google search 'can i withhold rent for work to be done on house', they should pop up 1st on list, hopefully it'll give the info you need, as you dont want to risk being evicted, it looks helpful

Hth

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