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  • FIRST POST
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 11:46 AM
    • 183Posts
    • 192Thanks
    teamshepherd
    Urgent advice needed
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 11:46 AM
    Urgent advice needed 30th Nov 17 at 11:46 AM
    Hello,

    I have been renting a studio apt. since January. The flat was above a restaurant and there were 4 other flats there. At the moment of m y moving in only 1 other flat was occupied.
    It was supposed to have been freshly refurb where 3 new flats were made on my floor etc but shortly after moving in all sort of problems came to light such as shoddy workmanship, windows which don't shut properly and have terrible drafts, holes in walls, random cut wiring and so on and so on.
    I let the lettings agent know but didn't bother them and tried not to be a nuisance.
    Around first week of March (coincides with when another tenant moved in) my electric started acting funny. My telly and fridge would switch on/off for a few seconds. This went on, escalated to getting sparks out of sockets, getting electric shocks on stove and zaps in shower (electric stove and electric shower)
    Things went on with me complaining via email them saying they will do something and not doing anything)
    Fast forward to this month we FINALLY got them to start the repairs.
    Now I've gone from being pretty much ignored to the situation where my flat is not livable in.

    I have been offered to stay in flat next door for a couple of weeks until they fix electric in mines as mine is not safe to be in.
    I said ok on the 15th (Wednesday) and told them as of next day they are free to go in and work. They made it out as its urgent and will be urgently started. At this point I also let them know I would not be renewing my contract in January.

    I was told not to move all my things as id have access to stuff like clothes in my old flat so no need, i could just pop in n grab what i needed.
    The flat I went into was so disgusting and not cleaned from previous tenants (didn't realize it wasn't cleaned til my stuff was already in) that even after me cleaning it i felt too disgusted to use it.

    After a few days I messaged the lettings agent to ask how the work was going, only to be told that the electrician won't start until Wednesday (22nd) and that it will take him a week. I didn't kick up a fuss.
    Last Friday (24th) I messaged again saying I wanted to check in before the weekend and see how the works are progressing.
    I got an answer saying that the electrician is coming on Monday... To which I replied that's fine but I assume he was working there since the 22nd and that I am expecting to move back on 29th or 30th. They avoided the question and beat around the bush.

    I also received a letter which announced that the council tax for property was changed and the property was listed as a single dwelling when it had multiple flats.
    So I don't think the landlord was paying council tax for us (we paid her rent and bills, council tax was meant to be included)

    I scheduled a meeting at the office for 27th, I told them I want to get out of there as soon as possible and where do I stand with leaving early.
    I have paid the bills and rent up until 10th of Dec. Can I leave then.
    They said she might hold back the deposit as its not 4 weeks notice so to meet halfway and put the notice in for 20th.
    Then we agreed that I shouldn't pay the bills as I would be leaving by the 10th and giving the keys back.
    I was told that they would email me the next day letting me know what the landlord said and how much I would have to pay for the 10 days.

    By the time 4pm rolled on next day I've not heard a peep out of them. I went to the flats (I only spent one night in either one of them since the 15th and been staying elsewhere) after work to get some stuff.
    There was no power on in the kitchen (basically the one room where I was meant to stay temporarily that had my bed fridge n washing machine). My fridge/freezer was off.
    I saw the electricians truck outside so I knocked on my flat which needed repairs in first place, no answer. Went in he wasn't in (didn't even turn lights on as no idea what he'd been doing with wiring etc.). But I could hear him working in 3rd flat. Kept knocking on door to let him know about the lack of power in the flat that shouldn't have been affected. No answer.
    I haven't been able to get an answer out of the electrician that day nor anyone at lettings agents until today.
    And today I am told that the electrician is working on the restaurant as that needs updating, that there is no electric in my flat or in the flat that I have been moved to temporarily and that its not safe to go in there.
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I have a fridge/freezer full of food that is now gone off and will sit there til I get ok to go in.
    Since March I have spent 1/3-1/2 of all my time elsewhere out of that flat due to fear of getting electrocuted properly.
    Spent one night there since 15th. Meanwhile I am dealing with rude landlord, paying rent and bills which I am not using.
    I have been living out of a bag for weeks now. And I am meant to pay rent until the 20th now even though neither flat is habitable.
    And not to mention my deposit, who knows what the state of the flat will be and will i be responsible for it after the works been done!?

    WHAT DO I DO??????

    Sorry for long post, bad grammar and the like. Really appreciate any help I can get.
Page 1
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 30th Nov 17, 12:00 PM
    • 1,227 Posts
    • 1,011 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:00 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:00 PM
    is your deposit protected?


    Have you made notes/ have written evidence of you reporting the issues?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 30th Nov 17, 12:06 PM
    • 10,114 Posts
    • 5,787 Thanks
    CIS
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:06 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:06 PM
    I also received a letter which announced that the council tax for property was changed and the property was listed as a single dwelling when it had multiple flats.
    So I don't think the landlord was paying council tax for us (we paid her rent and bills, council tax was meant to be included)
    If and when it comes to light that property should have been banded individually then you can expect a backdated council tax demand - it sounds unlikely that the landlord would provide the council with your details for the period of occupancy.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 30th Nov 17, 12:09 PM
    • 5,554 Posts
    • 4,933 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:09 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:09 PM
    what outcome are you after?
    - financial compensation but remain living there after repairs done?
    - financial compensation and the ability to move out asap?
    - no compensation but the ability to move out asap?

    there is a concept called "contractual frustration" wherein through no fault of either party the purpose of the contract can no longer be delivered and both parties simply walk away from it as though it had ended. Perhaps that will be your ultimate fall back given you reject the "quality" of the alternative accommodation provided.
    • aneary
    • By aneary 30th Nov 17, 12:17 PM
    • 799 Posts
    • 699 Thanks
    aneary
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:17 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:17 PM
    you reject the "quality" of the alternative accommodation provided.
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    Surely no electricity in the alternative means that isn't habitable either?
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 30th Nov 17, 12:29 PM
    • 5,554 Posts
    • 4,933 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:29 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:29 PM
    Surely no electricity in the alternative means that isn't habitable either?
    Originally posted by aneary
    patently, hence ""
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 2:27 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    teamshepherd
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:27 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:27 PM
    what outcome are you after?
    - financial compensation but remain living there after repairs done?
    - financial compensation and the ability to move out asap?
    - no compensation but the ability to move out asap?

    there is a concept called "contractual frustration" wherein through no fault of either party the purpose of the contract can no longer be delivered and both parties simply walk away from it as though it had ended. Perhaps that will be your ultimate fall back given you reject the "quality" of the alternative accommodation provided.
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    Ideally at this point I am after financial compensation and the ability to move out asap. I don't think that is too unreasonable all things considered?
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 2:32 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    teamshepherd
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:32 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:32 PM
    is your deposit protected?


    Have you made notes/ have written evidence of you reporting the issues?
    Originally posted by Comms69
    I have made sure that 90% of my correspondence with lettings agents is via email (and now some via WhatsApp as per managers request) rather than verbal.
    So yes I can show emails dating back to March reporting various problems.
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 2:34 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    teamshepherd
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:34 PM
    • #9
    • 30th Nov 17, 2:34 PM
    If and when it comes to light that property should have been banded individually then you can expect a backdated council tax demand - it sounds unlikely that the landlord would provide the council with your details for the period of occupancy.
    Originally posted by CIS
    In my agreement it says I pay a sum towards rent and then a sum towards bills and that the council tax is included in these. So am I safe to assume that I am not responsible for council tax as I have been giving money towards it to the landlord? Would the blame be completely on her then?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 30th Nov 17, 2:47 PM
    • 10,031 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    In my agreement it says I pay a sum towards rent and then a sum towards bills and that the council tax is included in these. So am I safe to assume that I am not responsible for council tax as I have been giving money towards it to the landlord? Would the blame be completely on her then?
    Originally posted by teamshepherd
    If you have a self contained studio, i.e. own washing, toilet and cooking facilities, then the studio should have its own CT band and you would be responsible for paying the CT and your liability can be backdated till the date you moved in.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 30th Nov 17, 2:58 PM
    • 14,193 Posts
    • 38,495 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    If you have a self contained studio, i.e. own washing, toilet and cooking facilities, then the studio should have its own CT band and you would be responsible for paying the CT and your liability can be backdated till the date you moved in.
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    But OP says they have it in writing that CT is included. So, whether it is or isnt separately registered with the Council (which it probably is) - tough luck on the landlady. Reason being because it is down there in writing that she pays it.

    I hope OP is keeping full records - diary/photos/you name it. In particular keeping a record of all incidents that might have caused personal injury to them (a sort of "home" record for "Accidents at Work" - in order to have the proof of the landlady's "date of knowledge" that they were putting at risk the health/life of the tenant). That is what happens with a work compensation claim - ie establishing the "date of knowledge" - at which one has proof the person/firm concerned know they are risking the health of their employee.

    Must be something similar for tenants I would have thought?

    Maybe Shelter might have some ideas on this?
    #MeToo

    Ain't neva gonna learn to be a good "woman"
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 30th Nov 17, 2:59 PM
    • 5,554 Posts
    • 4,933 Thanks
    00ec25
    In my agreement it says I pay a sum towards rent and then a sum towards bills and that the council tax is included in these. So am I safe to assume that I am not responsible for council tax as I have been giving money towards it to the landlord? Would the blame be completely on her then?
    Originally posted by teamshepherd
    no it is not as simple as that

    if as Lincroft's post says, the proeprty is assessed to have its onw band in its own right then the person liable to pay council tax is absolutely rigid in law, it is called the Hierarchy of Liability and means that a resident tenant occupant ranks higher than the non resident owner.

    therefore the council would legally have to a) bill you for the entire period you lived there and b) refund any "council tax" previously paid by the LL back to the LL. You would then need to sue the LL for breach of contract in that he collected money he was not entitled to, you may or may not win that case, but the council won't care, they'll be chasing you.


    how safe you are is therefore not as clear cut as you think, but at the same time the scenario above is rare - although councils have done it that way as shown by posts on here from CIS back in the days when he was council tax staff and personally did so himself
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 30th Nov 17, 3:05 PM
    • 10,031 Posts
    • 8,087 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    But OP says they have it in writing that CT is included. So, whether it is or isnt separately registered with the Council (which it probably is) - tough luck on the landlady. Reason being because it is down there in writing that she pays it.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Actually, tough luck on the tenant! It doesn't matter what the landlord has said to the tenant, in law the occupier (tenant) is liable for paying the CT where a self contained unit is occupied. In the event of non payment a council would chase the tenant not the landlord.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 30th Nov 17, 3:37 PM
    • 10,114 Posts
    • 5,787 Thanks
    CIS
    how safe you are is therefore not as clear cut as you think, but at the same time the scenario above is rare - although councils have done it that way as shown by posts on here from CIS back in the days when he was council tax staff and personally did so himself
    To the tune of about £3k in one case.

    Ultimately it should always be remembered that any agreement over council tax payment is purely between the landlord and the tenant and doesn't interest the council in the slightest.
    Last edited by CIS; 30-11-2017 at 3:42 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 3:45 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    teamshepherd
    Wow... So even more screwed than I thought... Thanks guys
    • CIS
    • By CIS 30th Nov 17, 3:58 PM
    • 10,114 Posts
    • 5,787 Thanks
    CIS
    Wow... So even more screwed than I thought... Thanks guys
    Originally posted by teamshepherd
    Ultimately - the worst case is that they band the property, create a new account for you and send the bill but the landlord doesn't pass the monies you've already paid them on to the council. You'd be left with a bill to pay and have to chase the landlord yourself for the monies you paid to them under the contract.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 30th Nov 17, 5:56 PM
    • 989 Posts
    • 670 Thanks
    saajan_12
    Hello,

    I have been renting a studio apt. since January. The flat was above a restaurant and there were 4 other flats there. At the moment of m y moving in only 1 other flat was occupied.
    It was supposed to have been freshly refurb where 3 new flats were made on my floor etc but shortly after moving in all sort of problems came to light such as shoddy workmanship, windows which don't shut properly and have terrible drafts, holes in walls, random cut wiring and so on and so on.
    I let the lettings agent know but didn't bother them and tried not to be a nuisance. - was this in writing to the 'address for serving notices'?
    Around first week of March (coincides with when another tenant moved in) my electric started acting funny. My telly and fridge would switch on/off for a few seconds. This went on, escalated to getting sparks out of sockets, getting electric shocks on stove and zaps in shower (electric stove and electric shower)
    Things went on with me complaining via email them saying they will do something and not doing anything) -
    you should report in writing, using the Shelter process.

    Fast forward to this month we FINALLY got them to start the repairs.
    Now I've gone from being pretty much ignored to the situation where my flat is not livable in. - IF (and only if)
    you follow the Shelter process, you can enforce repairs, eventually getting them done yourself and deducting the cost,
    but be VERY CAREFUL to follow the reporting process fully.
    If its really uninhabitable, the contract may be frustrated and both parties can go their separate ways. Please fully explain the dangers.


    I have been offered to stay in flat next door for a couple of weeks until they fix electric in mines as mine is not safe to be in.
    I said ok on the 15th (Wednesday) and told them as of next day they are free to go in and work. - good, so they're rehousing you.They made it out as its urgent and will be urgently started. At this point I also let them know I would not be renewing my contract in January.

    I was told not to move all my things as id have access to stuff like clothes in my old flat so no need, i could just pop in n grab what i needed.
    The flat I went into was so disgusting and not cleaned from previous tenants (didn't realize it wasn't cleaned til my stuff was already in) - how, did you not see the dirt when moving in? Ultimately if it wasn't clean you may be able to leave it in the same condition without deduction from your deposit, but you accepted it in that state so can't enforce a clean at the LL's cost. that even after me cleaning it i felt too disgusted to use it.

    After a few days I messaged the lettings agent to ask how the work was going, only to be told that the electrician won't start until Wednesday (22nd) and that it will take him a week. I didn't kick up a fuss. - okay, annoying but if you were rehoused for that period, not ridiculously long.
    Last Friday (24th) I messaged again saying I wanted to check in before the weekend and see how the works are progressing.
    I got an answer saying that the electrician is coming on Monday... To which I replied that's fine but I assume he was working there since the 22nd and that I am expecting to move back on 29th or 30th. They avoided the question and beat around the bush.
    - continue to follow the Shelter process ot enforce repairs, or offer to consider the contract frustrated.
    I also received a letter which announced that the council tax for property was changed and the property was listed as a single dwelling when it had multiple flats. - changed FROM a single dwelling or TO a single dwelling? If you were living there the council can back track and bill you for the flat council tax. They wouldn't consider any agreement with your LL, it would be up to you to sue your LL for council tax overpayments. However the council may never find out the real setup.
    So I don't think the landlord was paying council tax for us (we paid her rent and bills, council tax was meant to be included)

    I scheduled a meeting at the office for 27th, I told them I want to get out of there as soon as possible and where do I stand with leaving early.
    I have paid the bills and rent up until 10th of Dec. Can I leave then. - you can't automatically, but it may be in the interests of both parties to come to a mutual agreement.
    They said she might hold back the deposit as its not 4 weeks notice so to meet halfway and put the notice in for 20th.
    Then we agreed that I shouldn't pay the bills as I would be leaving by the 10th and giving the keys back.
    I was told that they would email me the next day letting me know what the landlord said and how much I would have to pay for the 10 days. - whatever you agree, make sure you get it in writing, covering
    - when you have to move out by
    - what is due for rent/bills/damages
    - what happens to deposit


    By the time 4pm rolled on next day I've not heard a peep out of them. I went to the flats (I only spent one night in either one of them since the 15th and been staying elsewhere) after work to get some stuff.
    There was no power on in the kitchen (basically the one room where I was meant to stay temporarily that had my bed fridge n washing machine). My fridge/freezer was off.
    I saw the electricians truck outside so I knocked on my flat which needed repairs in first place, no answer. Went in he wasn't in (didn't even turn lights on as no idea what he'd been doing with wiring etc.). But I could hear him working in 3rd flat. Kept knocking on door to let him know about the lack of power in the flat that shouldn't have been affected. No answer.
    I haven't been able to get an answer out of the electrician that day nor anyone at lettings agents until today.
    And today I am told that the electrician is working on the restaurant as that needs updating, that there is no electric in my flat or in the flat that I have been moved to temporarily and that its not safe to go in there. - do you know what the time is and an reasonable timeframe for the repair? Irrelevant whether the electrician was also working on other places, what matters is whether your job is done in time.
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I have a fridge/freezer full of food that is now gone off and will sit there til I get ok to go in. - As you knew they'd be working on electrics and for long enough that you had to move out, I think would be reasonable to expect you'd make another arrangements for the food so no comeback on that
    Since March I have spent 1/3-1/2 of all my time elsewhere out of that flat due to fear of getting electrocuted properly.
    Spent one night there since 15th. Meanwhile I am dealing with rude landlord, paying rent and bills which I am not using. - you need to follow the Shelter process to get repairs done in a reasonable timeframe, or agree with theLL to terminate early. They don't have to guarantee you a perfect house, just have to do the repairs reasonably.
    I have been living out of a bag for weeks now. And I am meant to pay rent until the 20th now even though neither flat is habitable. - you need to make an agreement to terminate
    And not to mention my deposit, who knows what the state of the flat will be and will i be responsible for it after the works been done!? - include what happens to the deposit in the agreement with the LL. And document any damages caused by the repair men so you're not charged for them.

    WHAT DO I DO??????

    Sorry for long post, bad grammar and the like. Really appreciate any help I can get.
    Originally posted by teamshepherd
    Focus on getting an agreement to terminate the contract early in writing, covering explicitly what date you have to be out by, and any further monies due (rent, bill, damages, deposit..).
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 30th Nov 17, 6:25 PM
    • 14,193 Posts
    • 38,495 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Focus on getting an agreement to terminate the contract early in writing, covering explicitly what date you have to be out by, and any further monies due (rent, bill, damages, deposit..).
    Originally posted by saajan_12
    and, by the sound of it, you'd need to include a paragraph in that quoting exactly what it says in your agreement about the landlady being responsible for the CT. Followed by saying you've now been informed how the law/custom is re this and are concerned that the wrong person (ie yourself) might get billed by the Council for CT because of this.

    Sounds like she needs to refund you enough extra (on top of what you've been anticipating for return of deposit) to cover you being the one the Council goes after for CT - and making it plain to her that that means she wouldnt have to pay HER liability (according to the agreement) because you would be doing it for her (to keep in with those Council rules) iyswim.

    Maybe including some, suitably phrased, bit somewhere along the line of "If the Council bills me for YOUR bill (as per our agreement) then I'd be taking you to Court to get back the CT money you'd owe me". That one needs careful phrasing as to how to put that message - calmly and clearly - whilst making it plain you would go after her for it if you had to.
    #MeToo

    Ain't neva gonna learn to be a good "woman"
    • teamshepherd
    • By teamshepherd 30th Nov 17, 7:00 PM
    • 183 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    teamshepherd
    Focus on getting an agreement to terminate the contract early in writing, covering explicitly what date you have to be out by, and any further monies due (rent, bill, damages, deposit..).
    Originally posted by saajan_12
    Thanks for the advice.
    Re. moving in. the flat is across the hall from mines, I was desperate and took it on their word that it is ok. I was working during this time and they moved some of my things for me (Sofa bed, fridge washing machine and telly). So when I came home from work I went into the alternate flat and realized that it hadn't been cleaned.

    Re. food.. the food that has gone of was in the fridge-freezer which has been moved to the alternate flat. This flat was never meant to have any problems, it was never mentioned in any scenario of repairs and I had no prior warning that the electric in it would go out. I came in one day after work and the electric wasn't working. So I did in fact make other arrangements.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 30th Nov 17, 7:26 PM
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    • 8,087 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    you've now been informed how the law/custom is re this

    It is law plain and simple, no "custom" involved

    and are concerned that the wrong person (ie yourself) might get billed by the Council for CT because of this.

    The OP is the right person to be billed, not the wrong person

    (to keep in with those Council rules)

    Not council rules, well established legislation approved by Parliament

    Maybe including some, suitably phrased, bit somewhere along the line of "If the Council bills me for YOUR bill (as per our agreement) then I'd be taking you to Court to get back the CT money you'd owe me".

    "As I am responsible for paying the CT due on this studio, perhaps you would notify the council that I am the the occupier and will be taking over payments. Because of this there will have to be a reduction in the rent to reflect that I am paying the CT element. I would expect you to refund me for any amount you have not paid, but have taken the money for"
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    ...........
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