Tenant withholding tenant

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We have tenants in the 2nd month of their tenancy (6 month Fixed term AST) and they are withholding all rent on the below grounds:

The property wasn't clean - It was impeccable we have photographs from the cleaning company and it was inspected before they moved in. There was dust behind the radiator and on some light fittings
The carpet was damp and had a slight smell - The carpet was actually thoroughly cleaned a few days before (We have invoices for the cost) and because of the very warm weather took a little longer to dry. The cleaning was done three days before they moved in.

The boiler had a new part fitted a few days before they moved in but on the day they moved in it broke down again. Within less the 12 hours an emergency plumber was sent out (They didn't tell us it was not working until 830pm in the evening) so it was the next day

Because they had been messing around with the fuse box they turned the electrics off and this triggered the alarm to go off in the middle of the night. An engineer went out within 12 hours and replaced the battery. This caused them inconvenience they claim

They called us a week later to say they were cold and the radiator wasn't working downstairs (despite the fact that this was on a very warm week in May). A British gas engineer went out the next day and stated that the pipes needed flushing out and it was affecting the radiator.
The next day we spoke to the landlord and organised for a new boiler to be put it and all the system flushed (cost £3k). We felt that the age of the boiler meant future issues could arise and be more costly. This was on May 29th. on Thursday 8th June I informed the tenants we had two quotes come back from firms who could get the job done as quick as possible. They claimed the heating wasn't working at all, British Gas stated that it was just the radiator from inspection

British gas were instructed. Wednesday 14th June British Gas called and gave us the earliest appointment they had which was for the following Tuesday the 20th. (they will have this recorded).The warm weather and the age of the tenants didn't put them on the high priority list. They did put us on the waiting list in the event of a cancellation

They also claim they have not had an electrical certificate which I understand isn't required.

They have been difficult tenants from when they moved in asking for unrealistic things (Such as the chopping down of trees on a property bordering the neighbour!)

I believe we have made full and reasonable attempts to ensure that the work on the property was completed as soon as possible and practicable. We have a log of everything and a trail of communication with the tenant to keep them informed of every stage. It has taken them a week after their rent due date to make this claim. this was after we wrote to advise them that their rent was late.

Please advise and what our next steps would be

Many Thanks

30/06/2017 21:12

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