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I Don`t Wont Repairs To Be Done Until I Leave


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Hello,

I hope you can help me with below (legal points would be appreciated):

I moved into the property in November 2011. The property was meant to be painted beforehand (but as I was aware of tight deadline between previous tenant vacating and myself moving in, said I will take property anyway, even if non painted).

A month after I moved in, there was a leak from flat upstairs. This lasted maybe an hour and damage was minimal. There is literally 5*5cm brown mark and nothing else. It is cosmetic only.

I notified the agent who sent around surveyor from building insurance. I should mention that this is large block of flats and building itself is covered by the same building insurance company throughout.

The surveyor agreed that this was not my fault and stated that the insurance will pay for replastering and repainting.

The property is a studio flat and the damage is in living room / bedroom. I have asthma and am also pregnant and therefore have asked to postpone the works until I move out. This would be May at the earliest (I have 6 months break in contract).

The agents have just got back to me and stated that the insurance company will not wait that long to have the works done and I will be liable for repainting costs if I don`t let them carry out works soon.

They haven`t offered any rent reduction, alternative accommodation or anything else.

I should also mention that property came unfurnished, so it would be my furniture getting damaged.

Given that the room where the work is to be carried out is the sleeping/ living area and there is only kitchen and bathroom (no other bedrooms), what are my options?

Thanks,

Maria

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You would need to check your T&Cs really. I would be surprised if this is covered in which case I would be inclined to tell them to get stuffed as it's not an emergency (therefore there is no right of entry without permission), it won't deteriorate and it will cost the same to fix in 12 months, 6 months or 1month.

I can't see there being a claim against you logically as there would be no additional cost to them.

YMMV.

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apparently, the insurance company is insisting on repairs done soon, rather than wait, otherwise LL policy will be invalidated.. or something to that effect.

I'd guess that the insurer wants te repairs done now as if it is left there is no proving that the repairs done are not additional to what had been caused by the insured event. And I'd also guess that if you make them wait and the insurers wont pay then you can be held liable for thier loss.

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Where a landlord has an obligation to repair there is an implied obligation on the part of the tenant to allow entry so that the repair can be carried out. "...in the absence of evidence which excluded it, there is no term which could be more easily and necessarily implied by law in a tenancy of this kind [it was of a house] than a right in the landlord to enter, or to re-enter, to examine the premises and do necessary repairs." [Mint v Good ] See also in the case of assured tenancies section 16 of the Housing Act 1988.

The only possible argument the OP has is that the repair is unnecessary. The question is whether the OP is competent to decide that. If a professional (the insurer's surveyor) recommends repair it is going to be difficult to argue against it. There is, as pointed out, the danger that if a failure to repair leads to further deterioration the OP may be held liable.

So, whilst the OP may feel she has good reasons for declining access, I think the law will disagree with her.

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Where a landlord has an obligation to repair there is an implied obligation on the part of the tenant to allow entry so that the repair can be carried out. "...in the absence of evidence which excluded it, there is no term which could be more easily and necessarily implied by law in a tenancy of this kind [it was of a house] than a right in the landlord to enter, or to re-enter, to examine the premises and do necessary repairs." [Mint v Good ] See also in the case of assured tenancies section 16 of the Housing Act 1988.

The only possible argument the OP has is that the repair is unnecessary. The question is whether the OP is competent to decide that. If a professional (the insurer's surveyor) recommends repair it is going to be difficult to argue against it. There is, as pointed out, the danger that if a failure to repair leads to further deterioration the OP may be held liable.

So, whilst the OP may feel she has good reasons for declining access, I think the law will disagree with her.

Agree. Would be best if you took before and after photos to protect your belongings and go and stay with friends or family for a night. Or try contacting the insurer to check the facts.

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Where a landlord has an obligation to repair there is an implied obligation on the part of the tenant to allow entry so that the repair can be carried out. "...in the absence of evidence which excluded it, there is no term which could be more easily and necessarily implied by law in a tenancy of this kind [it was of a house] than a right in the landlord to enter, or to re-enter, to examine the premises and do necessary repairs." [Mint v Good ] See also in the case of assured tenancies section 16 of the Housing Act 1988.

The only possible argument the OP has is that the repair is unnecessary. The question is whether the OP is competent to decide that. If a professional (the insurer's surveyor) recommends repair it is going to be difficult to argue against it. There is, as pointed out, the danger that if a failure to repair leads to further deterioration the OP may be held liable.

So, whilst the OP may feel she has good reasons for declining access, I think the law will disagree with her.

And in this case it isn't just a case of whether it is "technically" necessary. This is a fix which is being paid for by the (block) insurance company which if it isn't carried out to their timetable wont be paid for by them, so the LL is perfectly entitled to say that it is "necessary" now on costs grounds.

tim

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Not a legal opinion here, but if the property is rendered unfit for habitation you might have a claim against the landlord for the cost of alternative accommodation until it's fixed. No idea if that might be worth pursuing.

(and if the landlord isn't insured against any such cost, that's not your problem).

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The landlord also has an interest in making the repair whilst the existing tenant is in there - saves any delay in sticking a new tenant in there. Also means that any viewings that take place before the tenant moves out don't suffer from the stain.

I'd take the 'uninhabitable' line and get him to pay for a night or two in a hotel

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It is going to be difficult to argue that the premises are uninhabitable when the surveyor says the repair is not urgent and the OP agrees saying that the damage is no more than cosmetic.

Perhaps the OP could explain why she is unwilling to allow an apparently non-urgent repair to be carried out. Unless the landlord or agent has previously behaved unreasonably, I confess I find it all a bit odd. Forums such as this are filled with complaints by tenants that landlords will not carry out repairs. It is rather unusual for a tenant to be looking to prevent repairs being carried out.

Edited by Damocles
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It is going to be difficult to argue that the premises are uninhabitable when the surveyor says the repair is not urgent and the OP agrees saying that the damage is no more than cosmetic.

Reading the OP, the unfit for habitation would (possibly) apply while disruptive works were taking place. Not before.

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If a room is painted, and the tenant has asthma of the type which is triggered by paint fumes, I would say it is unhabitable until the paint is completely dried

Edited by wherebee
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  • 434 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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