Friday, January 25, 2008

What happens if your landlord do not provide the heating and water supply?

What does the law say about provision of water and electricity? In this case, the tenants have just move in.
The landlord need to do the "repair" within "reasonable" time.

How long is reasonable?
It can be days, weeks. It is very difficult to define.

So, what will happen to my friends? Tonight will be particularly cold, and I cannot imagine them living in a house without any heating. They are miles away might need to pop into a B&B/motel if it gets really cold tonight. My friend has health conditions which is particularly intolerable to cold.

Could they get some sort of compensation for the extra expenses incurred? For example, not pay the rental for yesterday and today (the days where they flat is clearly not ready/fit for occupation??) or some sort of compensation for needing to seek alternative accommodation?
No, they law does not have any provision for compensation to tenants (even when repairs are clearly needed). However, the law says that the tenant must continue to pay full rental, and ensure no arrears (even when repairs are not carried out). Otherwise, they are considered defaulting. They can ask the landlord to reduce rental for the period the problems exist, but the landlord have no obligations to fulfill it.

Is there no obligations at all on the landlord's side? Is there no way to claim any compensation? This can be costly if dragged out.
They can try to make a claim a through the small claims court, but will need to seek help from a solicitor. This is no guarantee that they can get something. In addition, they will have to pay fees. May not be worthwhile.

Don't the landlord & management agent have an obligation to ensure that they flat have basic supplies such as water and electricity connected before renting out?

They may claim that they were "not aware" of the situation. It is very difficult to "contest". For example, the water supply might have been cut off because the previous tenant did not pay up, or there is a broken pipe. This will not be considered the landlord's fault.

So, what can the tenants do?
Request the management agent to get it done asap. If they still drag their feet, involve the local council. The local council can act as a "mediator". If all these do not work, and the problem is prolonged, they can speak to the local environment office, who can then look into the matter and have the power to take actions -"ordering" a repair.


?????? Can you believe it??? Gosh, I think i should just get a property and rent it out, since my only obligation seems to be carrying out repair within "reasonable" time whenever my tenants complain. I don't even have an obligation to check that the house is in good condition, with basic things like water and electricity provided!

No comments: