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I'm so grateful to the community here for the help and guidance I've received.
I've returned to get a little more as I have once again come across a terrible landlord and I'm trying to give the best advice I can to a friend of mine who is renting from him.
Jo has been in her flat for 26 years. The tenancy was last renewed for six months in 2014 so assuming she is now an a rolling periodic tenancy.
The flat has single skin walls and old windows and is an ice box in the cold weather.
I'm pretty sure it would score extremely poorly on an EPC. I have no idea when one was last done (if ever).
There are old 2 pin plug sockets in the walls and the wiring hasn't been looked at in decades.
Jo has no memory of a gas safety inspection EVER having taken place. (The boiler was changed a couple of years ago but no inspections have ever been done or certificates provided).
The landlord is really not interested in doing anything to make her home more energy efficient (bearable in cold weather) or taking any steps to ensure gas and electrical safety (I know electrical testing is not mandatory).
She's worried that if she makes a fuss she will just be asked to leave, but this property is in such a poor state, the landlord would have to spend a fortune on it to be able to rent it out (and would likely have to do all the things I think he should do now.)
Any advice on what I can suggest to Jo? If she requests a new tenancy agreement, the landlord would have to achieve an EPC of E or better under the 2018 regulations right?
Many thanks as always!
Just curious why Jo doesn't vote with her wallet and leave?With regards to making a fuss, she is perfectly entitled to ask for repairs and upgrades and cannot be evicted under the 2015 "retaliatory eviction" legislation.If the landlord will not oblige with repairs, Jo should contact her local authority and ask them to come out and inspect the property. They will then force the landlord to undertake the necessary repairs and up-grades.
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
I too think it would be best to just find a new home. Certainly doesn't sound like a very compliant landlord, to say the least.
I am more than saddened when crap landlords can bring misery to good people who feel and are in reality poweress and bring the whole of our setor into disrepute
The tests, power and gas are absolutelly mandatory and cannot the council initiate action as a general policy rather than being a tenants complaint?
Your friend should complain to the local authority under the HHSRS.If they serve a formal action notice then the landlord cannot serve an s21 notice on her for 6 months.If she complains first to the landlord in writing before going to the council then any s21 the landlord serves will be invalidated if the council serves a formal action notice
EPC is easily checked via EPC Register online via postcode/property number.
Why has this "comfort" issue only become an issue now - rather than ?? decades ago?
Is the current rent way below market rent for the location - easily checked on Rightmove etc?
Does Jo have the funds to move elsewhere eg 1 month's rent plus say extra 5 weeks rent as security deposit?
Did she pay a deposit at outset - she should get this refunded within a month of cessation of current tenancy - but would of course need to pay upfront for next tenancy?
That's what I was going to say LandyLordy!
Also, it sounds like these upgrades will be very costly and if the LL does do them, he will need to increase the rent significantly to try to recoup some of the outlay - could Jo afford the increased rent? (Or is the rent very low because the LL is aware that it is not up to a good spec?) Depending on the LL and their relationship, they could try to come up with a plan to implement improvements over a period of time (prioritising the most vital ones) and with a commensurate increase in rent in stages. This way they can both end up with a win-win - she keeps her home, he keeps his tenant and costs/increases are spread over a reasonable time. It may be that the LL is absentee/accidental and not very involved in his asset and may not even be aware of all the changes/regs.
re the epc no requirement to have one until property is advertised so would only impact on the landlord if the tenant moves out and he tries to let or sell. Re the other issues of gas record, poor wiring then she needs to write outlining her complaints to the landlord and give him a reasonable time to respond with a plan - say 14 days. If he chooses to serve notice then she could then choose to either move out or contact environmental health and the housing department at local council under HHSRS (Housing health and safety rating system) once the process is started and if the local authority starts action against the landlord, she is protected and cannot be evicted. Citizens advice will be able to advise on procedure.
Out of interest, as this is a tenancy of some 26 years, there's probably a good chance that the landlord isn't as on-the-ball as they once were, and there have been so many regulations that have come in particularly since Oct 2015, which they may not even be aware of.
That's not to excuse him or her but, by the same token, your friend is equally in the dark, hence, why you're trying to help them by getting the information in this place, which, presumably, neither the landlord or the tenant know about.
So, whilst I can see why you want to help your friend, there's a possibility that you're not giving due leeway to the person who's provided them a place to call home over a quarter of a century.
Before I load my gun ready to take aim at the landlord in this PT firing squad, I'd need to know quite a bit more background in this scenario because there's a good chance that both landlord and tenant could do with our help in equal measure in order to get the best outcome here.
Thank you all for these well considered replies.
I'm always blown away by the wisdom and decency on show in this community.
Jo has lived in her place for 26 years. She's part of the community in the building. She tends to the garden, looks after people's pets in the building and this is really her home.
She's also in her 60s and the thought of having to move and resettle somewhere else is very scary for her.
Anotherjohn, you make a very good point. This might just be ignorance on LL's part. Although I could never let any of my tenants endure the conditions in that place. It's pretty appalling.
I'm really grateful for all the suggestions. I will try to synthesise this into something I can offer Jo so she can work out a well informed plan for engaging (hopefully constructively) with her LL.