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How much to claim for private nuisance

(9 Posts)
januaryprincess Sat 21-Jan-17 11:10:07

In brief - taking landlord to small claims court for disrepair. We've had no hot water for 5 days, Wednesday someone came out but wasn't qualified to diagnose the fault so rearranged for someone to come yesterday (Friday) but they didn't turn up as were held on another job so rearranged for next Wednesday. This is unacceptable so hiring private plumber and making claim for the cost of the repair. Also including each days rent that we've gone without water, the cost for each minute spent arguing on the phone for someone to come out and also loss of earnings for the 2 days dh has taken off work (Wednesday and Friday). But we can also claim for private nuisance for disrepair but not sure what value to put on that? What is the going rate to claim? Thank you

specialsubject Sat 21-Jan-17 12:36:15

This is presumably the latest in a long line of issues? If so, and assuming you want to continue to rent a dump, then get environmental health involved.

If it is the first problem then I'm afraid you are probably wasting your time. It is january and very hard to get competent repairmen.

My rental has two sources of hot water for bathing and two of heat so the tenant doesn't get this issue.

ComtesseDeSpair Sat 21-Jan-17 13:33:53

If you've found an engineer who can come out immediately, why not communicate this to your landlord and ask them to authorise this engineer to carry out the works rather than the one who has limited availability?

Have you sought legal advice on your claim? This is really the best place to start, check your contents insurance policy or car insurance policy, they sometimes include legal cover. If not, Citizens Advice Bureau can help.

You won't necessarily be entitled to compensation for all the things you want to claim for. The landlord has "a reasonable period of time" to take action on a repair, which they have done if somebody came out on Wednesday, even if they were unable to fix it. A 5-day delay because boiler engineers are unable to come out immediately in a busy January will fall into "reasonable period of time." The landlord is not ignoring or refusing to carry out repairs, and 5 days does not qualify as disrepair.

You can ask for a percentage of your rent refunded for each day you've been without hot water (15% - 20% is usually considered reasonable) but no court is going to decide you are entitled to deduct your whole rent, so you need to be a bit more realistic about what you've actually suffered. Likewise time spent on the phone or what you call "private nuisance", you really just won't be compensated for this over short-term loss of hot water. You may be able to claim loss of earnings for the Friday when nobody showed up, but not the Wednesday when they did.

Is specialsubject correct that this is one of a long line of issues with your landlord? If so, as they advise, Environmental Health are your guys.

ComtesseDeSpair Sat 21-Jan-17 13:42:35

Ps. I'd hold off arranging the repair yourself until you've taken advice: unless you follow the correct procedure of notifying the landlord that you will get it done yourself, providing them with quotes and then notifying them again, you'll struggle to justify your position and have them refund you.

AuntiePenguin Sat 21-Jan-17 13:49:21

You have no chance of living rent free for the period without hot water - a 20 percent reduction would usually be considered fair.

I also don't think 5 days (bearing in mind the time of year) is that bad a disrepair - sounds like landlord is trying to fix the problem, but couldn't do it straightaway. You won't get much sympathy (or cash!) from a court relating to this.

Loss of earnings is possible, as technically the landlord should have been the one to go to your home to let the engineer in (assuming you consented to him being in your home?).

catkind Sat 21-Jan-17 14:03:16

Just in case - have you checked there isn't an immersion heater you could use for hot water? It took us a lot longer to get someone to replace our boiler, at a less busy time of year, so don't think your landlord is being unreasonable necessarily - but hot water we could still get once we realised the immersion heater was there. Probably obvious, but it didn't occur to us.

januaryprincess Sat 21-Jan-17 14:42:01

Thank you for the advice, I will certainly do 20% reduction instead. This is the first major problem, we rent from a housing association who are generally brilliant however they have an outside contract with a gas and water repair company who we are meant to go through but are utterly useless. Our tenancy agreement states that lack of hot water will be classed as an emergency repair and will at least be assessed within 24hrs and repaired as soon as possible so the fact this has not happened is breaking the tenancy agreement on their part. I have spoken to them and they are fab in trying to kick the plumbers up the backside but still we shouldn't be phoning and arguing to get this sorted

januaryprincess Sat 21-Jan-17 14:44:24

According to our local council, 3 working days is the acceptable time period for repairing partial loss of water and we should deemed as high priority for having under 5's at the property

Reality16 Sat 21-Jan-17 14:51:15

You are hilarious. Claim for nuisance!!

I'm a homeowner and when our boiler broke we were 2 weeks without water or heating. That's life. Your landlord has actually tried to get someone in to sort this. Most people looking to claim against their landlords have had weeks of not months of issues and the landlord has made no effort to send anyone round to assess or fix.

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