I currently live in a one bed flat with hubby and 3 children sharing the 1 bedroom. We had to take it as the house we had paid a deposit on fell through, the landlord doing a runner. Our new landlord offered to let us stay in the flat for a while until something new came up. Two days after moving in, he made us sign a tenancy agreement for 6 month. The flat is freezing cold the whole time and (no joke) it's often warmer outside than in. The heating supplied didn't work for the first two weeks, then when the new wall heaters came (NOT night storage) , they cost us £2.80 an hour to keep on low. A one bed, and we are going out to friends all day and spending about £60 a week to heat at night, because I have a daughter with serious asthma. The only bathroom is an ensuite in the bedroom with no ventilation and the only window in the flat is at the back, in the lounge room. The flat is under a shop (underground). We've told the landlord many times that we can't afford to pay to keep warm and he doesn't care and says the previous tenant never complained. We know this ex tenant and she only used the flat to work in, in the summer for a couple of hours a week (office), so she never noticed. We are claiming HB and are still awaiting payment to the landlord. The landlord is now making abusive phone calls to us to chase the council, which we have done several times. All week he has harassed us, but we have not hasseled the council this week because we've been in and out of hospital with our asthmatic daughter. Our boiler is the size of a showbox and the kitchen is 2 cupboards and a cooker in a cupboard. We can't get enough hot water to fill the sink to do dishes.
Sorry to drone, but really need advice. We have been looking for somewhere else to live. We nearly lost our daughter to this problem once before, and it scares the life out of me, that we are putting her in this situation. Our landlord knows all of this and still only cares about the HB and wants it now. We have all been so ill since moving in 2 months ago. I'm desperate to move out now, but the Council don't see these things as extreme (typical )
a) Can we terminate the (conned into) tenancy agreement on the grounds of lack of natural light, overcrowding or no heating/not enough hot water ?
Do we have adequate grounds to counterclaim if he takes us to court for the remainder of the rent ?