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AIBU to deduct rent?

(24 Posts)
LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:30:38

We have a mice infestation. It's happened due to holes in the walls. He reluctantly allowed the agency to send their guy round to sort the issue but he didn't fill all the holes, just did a few, even though I told him where others were. He said he just did the ones he was advised to do by the agency.

Also due to the house being so old, the floorboards are breaking and bending downwards, or some are tilted on their sides. I have hypermobility (double jointed) which affects my ankles and causes me to roll over on them. I've fallen a bunch of times and gotten bruised and had minor sprained ankles. I've repeatedly asked for these to be seen to.

The issue is the landlord has just bought this place from our previous landlord and doesn't want to do little jobs. He wants to wait until we are due to move out in a months time. He asked us if we would just live with it for 6 weeks when he came to inspect the issues 2 weeks ago. We said no. He also said he would let us leave a month early but it wasn't up to him. The agency said it was fine with them when I asked, but then the LL went back on his word. He's still not fixed the problems though.

AIBU to withhold rent for the time he has neglected the repairs? Or AIBU to just say he can instead keep our deposit?

We're moving out tomorrow anyway as a result of the LL initially saying we could end out tenancy early and also we have a baby who has recently learnt to crawl and we can't deal with them potentially crawling over mice droppings angry

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:32:05

Sorry I meant to initially say the landlord, rather than 'he' . The second 'he' was a handyman the agency sent round after a week of faffing with the LL saying he had his own people. But he didn't follow through.

GetOffTheRoof Fri 12-Apr-19 10:33:35

Why didn't you withhold rent from the previous landlord?

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Fri 12-Apr-19 10:35:49

If you're moving out tomorrow, I don't understand how you can owe rent anyway, unless you're in arrears?

Cherrysoup Fri 12-Apr-19 10:39:02

Don’t withhold rent, that will go massively against you in terms of a reference. You only have to give a month’s notice, regardless of what the agency tell you.

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:39:19

@GetOffTheRoof honestly she was an absolute nightmare and the agency were promising us that we would have a lovely new LL soon who would resolve the issues. He's actually far worse and has caused us and the agency so much grief. They're refusing to work with him anymore once we move out.

The mice issue really started last Monday (1st April) and the house sale completed on Wednesday the 3rd. The previous landlord sent someone round about a month ago to fix the worst floorboard (is had snapped in half under the carpet, they're rotting). And then the guy who came to fix it jumped on the other bad ones to see how bad they were, but made them worse! So I rang the agency immediately to complain and ask for them to be fixed and they said they'd see to it. As per usual hmm

I did say to the agency the other day to get money back off the precious LL but she deflected and said she's been fuming with her and there was no chance cause she's a nightmare. It's all just a big fat mess.

EmeraldShamrock Fri 12-Apr-19 10:39:36

Usually I would advise never to withhold rent, under these circumstances I say definitely hold it. If is as feckless a LL to let tenants live in those conditions, I doubt he would be forthcoming with your deposit.
Treat him as he likes to treat your family.

EmeraldShamrock Fri 12-Apr-19 10:40:54

Have you secured another rental already.

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:42:59

We're moving out tomorrow but our tenancy doesn't technically end until mid May.

And we've already receiced our reference.

Apprently the new LL was asking how much our deposit was cause he's already got plans to try to take it from us for repairs. Even though we've looked after this house well. It's just a really shit old house. We only moved 2 years ago in cause it was cheap and allowed pets. We don't even have our cat anymore. And there's a good reason it was cheap. We've even decorated. It looks better now than when we moved in! He's just being a CF. That's why we want to deduct rent. Just wondering whether it sounds like we're within our rights?

EmeraldShamrock Fri 12-Apr-19 10:43:53

Report her to the private-rent agency GOV.UK for the potential death trap she is renting out.

EmeraldShamrock Fri 12-Apr-19 10:45:06

You'll never get it back, is your reference from the previous LL or agency. She will swindle your deposit. I have been there unfortunately.

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:46:21

@EmeraldShamrock yes we're good to go.

So at this rate we would be paying rent in two places. We secured this new place because he said to our faces when he visited that we could leave early. When I confirmed it over the phone the next day with the agency they said it was fine. So we called our new agency and secured this new home and paid the rent and that. We just wanted to get away from the mice ASAP for the sake of the baby.

Then I said can we please have it in writing and they said the new LL had changed his mind. Probably because he then knew the property would be soone emtpy anyway and figured he could start his renovations whilst we were still paying the last month's rent angry

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:48:19

We're happy to just let him have the deposit instead of paying the last month's rent. Just want to be done with this place 😭

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 10:51:53

Reference is from the agency. Got the reference before we said we would be deducting rent it or offering the deposit.

jackstini Fri 12-Apr-19 11:03:31

Did you have an inventory/inspection at time of landlord changeover?
If your deposit is in a scheme it should be protected
I would ask the agency to come and have a look and confirm what repairs landlord needs to do

(I'm a landlord and am constantly bemused on MN threads at how some landlords conduct business!) confused

HoustonBess Fri 12-Apr-19 11:07:03

Do you have photos and written evidence of complaints about all the problems? Photograph everything, especially potentially dangerous things like broken floorboards and mouse droppings.

I wouldn't deduct rent (bit late really) but I would protest at any deduction from the deposit and counterclaim if he does so through the deposit protection service. You'll need photos and other evidence to try this though.

There's a new law about fitness for human habitation that covers things like mouse infestations that were previously a grey area www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-tenants-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018

Prob too late for you to do anything under this law but saying you'll inform council about property not being fit might make landlord drop any claim to deduct from your deposit.

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 11:11:28

@jackstini yes they have come to do an inspection and taken pictures recently and put it to the new LL to see to the repairs. He was apprently in a screaming match down the phone with one of the women from our agency. They're appalled with him and keep telling me 'our hands are tied' angry

GabsAlot Fri 12-Apr-19 11:14:35

they have to convince the deposit scheme that you caused damage which u didnt so therefor they cant withold your deposit

ther eis new laws coming out so theyre going to be in shock soon as how much they have to rectify

EmeraldShamrock Fri 12-Apr-19 11:27:18

Yes I'd run too and take the money, even if you godown the legal route for the deposit, it could take years.
The standard some LLs rent property out is awful, Our rents are high in Ireland but they're safety requirements to protect tenants.

Saracen Fri 12-Apr-19 11:35:22

Do you have photos also, or if not could you get copies of the photos the agency recently took? Can you get anything in writing from the agency which backs up the history, for example what condition the house was in when you moved in, what repairs you requested and what was done (or not done)? Sounds like they are so far being reasonable and professional and you may want their help.

I don't know what to advise, but you want to assemble all the evidence you can as it seems likely you will have a dispute with the landlord.

Londonmummy66 Fri 12-Apr-19 11:43:04

I'd report it to the Council's Environmental Health team.

mrsm43s Fri 12-Apr-19 12:30:51

We only moved 2 years ago in cause it was cheap and allowed pets. We don't even have our cat anymore. And there's a good reason it was cheap.

Yes, you paid cheap rent, because it was lower standard of repair/redecoration than other properties. If it has been in better repair/decoration then the rent would be higher. They may well have not allowed pets, either.

The mice issue really started last Monday

So you've had mice for just about a week? So not really a major, ongoing problem.

Neither of these issues are really sufficient to expect to be able to withhold rent or to break a tenancy early.

By all means leave without paying the last month's rent, but they will be perfectly within their rights to deduct rent from your deposit, and will undoubtedly do so.

LettuceLeave Fri 12-Apr-19 13:08:29

We reported the mice two weeks ago but there was evidence they had been there longer, and we heard them last year and found dropping but our cat (which we no longer have) must have scared them off. The dangerous floorboards have been an issue for a while.

I spoke to the agency today and they said they're happy to take the deposit as the last month's rent so we can just go now. Which would leave around £120 left from the deposit for any repairs.. We're happy to just leave it at that.

They (the agency, not LL) have however proposed that we to send over an extra £200 as a safety net incase they find any excessive wear and tear or damages! There aren't any damages at all. They said will let us know with evidence if they need to use any of this money and if there is no issues they'll send it back. However I'd rather put it in writing that we are happy to put aside £200 if they find anything. Not sure I trust them to send the money back otherwise. Does that sound fair?

HoustonBess Fri 12-Apr-19 13:43:21

Deposit and rent are best kept separate. They're for different things. The reason why deposits are held in a trust account is to ensure they don't get muddled.

Don't mess around with pledging extra amounts, if they want to keep money back then they'll have to make their case.

They've done the inspection, ask if they propose to try to deduct from the deposit. Then get it back and use it to pay final rent bill.

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