Tenant withholding rent

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Hi. I'd appreciate your help and comments on this please:

My tenant has been withholding rent since 5th March. She requested on the phone that I compensate her for the house boiler breakdown but I said I did not feel that was reasonable as she had informed me of the problem on Sunday evening and I had made an appointment for British Gas to fix it first thing Monday morning (9.15). The problem was that she did not want to take time off work waiting for British Gas to arrive, and did not want me nor anyone else to wait for them and let them in (she keeps a dog locked up in the property every day, and later said she was concerned about theft is stranger/s were in her home). The first time she could be in the house to let them in was Wednesday, so at her request I made another appointment for Wednesday (first thing in the morning, which she later asked me to change to the afternoon, which I did). She says I owe her compensation as the house was cold during that time, and she had no hot water either. She says I owe her compensation as she had to sit in the cold house waiting for British Gas (I had asked them to call 30 mins ahead to inform her of their arrival, so she didn't have to wait there). I did offer several times to let British Gas in myself.

As she says she is fed up with the property and me, she sent me quite an aggressive letter of complaint in which she handed her notice in to leave 28th March (she's been in the property about 9 months, so 1 month notice is fine). I have written back to her accepting her notice, summarising the sequence of events of when she asked me to book Brtish Gas, when appointments were made, etc; asking her what compensation she thinks is reasonable so I may reconsider; reminding her that by the terms of her lease she cannot withhold rent and late payment could be charged interest; and that her deposit is held for reasons which include non payment of rent. She should have received my letter almost a week ago, but I've heard nothing more.

What do you think I should do to ensure I receive March's rent and this goes no further? Do you think I should send a notice demanding the rent, or would it be safe to recoup the lost months rent out of the deposit? I don't want to wait to try to get the rent from the deposit if I'm not going to be able to, or if there's something I need to do now to ensure that that will be possible.

I'd appreciate your help please?

thanks in anticipation!

13/03/2008 00:00

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