UKC

Landlord....owner...tennant....issue advice..

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 abr1966 08 Jan 2022

Any advice on this one appreciated....

Student goes back to uni after Xmas and the rented house has a rat infestation. The rental agency get a company out who say it's not inhabitable and is a big problem that needs serious work to resolve...stating 6-8 weeks.

The agency say they have no other houses for them to move in to but will get air b&b accommodation for them. He comes back to the students and says the house owner will not pay for the air b&b and the students should move back in.

Who is liable here? In my thinking the contract is between the agency and the students so therefore the agent has the liability?

Any guidance...? 

 SouthernSteve 08 Jan 2022
In reply to abr1966:

The wording of the contract will be everything here. How is AirB&B going to work? Are there good working facilities? I would be speaking to the university accommodation office, they are usually experienced with different landlords and agencies and are student focused. They may also have students that have dropped out recently - more than a few have over the last term, who are just looking for replacement tenants.

 mik82 08 Jan 2022
In reply to abr1966:

You need to check the rental contact. 

If it's not the landlord's fault (i.e they didn't act earlier on any reports or keep the property in good repair) then they have no obligation to pay for alternative accommodation. 

1
 itsThere 08 Jan 2022
 gethin_allen 08 Jan 2022
In reply to mik82:

I've no idea what's written in my tenants contract but part of my liability insurance covers providing alternative accommodation for tenants if for some reason the property becomes uninhabitable.

So it must be the case in some contracts the liability falls on the landlord.

 Ian W 08 Jan 2022
In reply to abr1966:

> I've no idea what's written in my tenants contract but part of my liability insurance covers providing alternative accommodation for tenants if for some reason the property becomes uninhabitable.

> So it must be the case in some contracts the liability falls on the landlord.

^this.

my landlords insurance covers alternative accomodation where the house becomes uninhabitable due to certain events (flooding, fire etc.....), in a similar fashion to the policy for my primary residence, but you would need to check the individual policy, and i have no idea what other policies say. however as the landlord has denied liabibity, i would bet the insurance doesnt cover it.

The agency will be just that, and i suspect the contract is between the landlord and the tenant, so expect nothing other than slopey shoulders from them, bearing in mind the landlord pays their fees.

Good luck!

 Matt Hill 08 Jan 2022
In reply to abr1966:

Under criminal law the owner and anyone in receipt of rent will have legal responsibilities.

The house must really be in a very sorry state if its uninhabitable and require 6-8 weeks to get into a liveable condition. I presume it was liveable before the xmas period, for it to have fallen into such a condition so quickly seems a bit odd. Pest proofing works are not usually that onerous. The agent or owner should have employed a pest control contractor and I'd be wanting to see the report. Whilst this may not be what they want, the students have every right to live in the house and the owner/agent should ensure the house is fit for human habitation.

Consider contacting the Environmental Health team at the local council. They can carry out a survey of the house to look for hazards and have a number of powers they can use to require the owner sorts out any defects that are causing hazards. The council may also employ officers who can give advice on tenancies and the rights of the students.

Landlords and letting agents have an increasing number of legal obligations: right to rent checks, security of deposits, electrical safety etc. There are a number of options for applying some pressure if needs be. Is the house a house in multiple occupation? Should it have a licence? Occupiers can claim rent back if they lived in a house that needed a licence but didn't have one.

https://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/legal/housing_conditions/private_sector_enforcement/rent_repayment_orders 

I'd expect the agent and owner to compensate the students for the condition of the house. If not the students could also apply to get compensation if the house is not fit for human habitation:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-tenants-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018 

1
 mik82 08 Jan 2022
In reply to gethin_allen:

The typical AST contract doesn't normally include providing alternative accommodation, even if responsible landlords will have insurance polices that do.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/model-agreement-for-a-shorthold-assured-tenancy

I looked into this when part of my roof fell in. If you look in the Shelter guidance then it also says that the landlord doesn't have to rehouse you

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/moving_out_during_repairs

Of course there may be a clause in the contract but all most agencies seem to do is use a standard AST template and then charge a large sum for printing it off and getting signatures.

1
 Mr Lopez 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Matt Hill:

Mmmm.. . Just  checked and the place i rented for 12 years until last month is unlicensed despite being an HMO. How much rent back can you claim and do you have to still live there to do so? Asking for a friend 

 Matt Hill 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Mr Lopez:

The HMO will need to have 5 or more unrelated occupiers and be in England or 3 or more unrelated occupiers and be in an area where the local council licences all HMOs.

Only up to 12 months rent can be claimed. 

You don't still have to live there to apply. 

 Mr Lopez 09 Jan 2022
In reply to Matt Hill:

Thanks. I did a check om the council's website and it definitely should be/have been licensed (6 to 10 tenants depending on occupancy and all sharing a bathroom)

Pondering whether to report him just for the sake of it but dont want to cause issues to the people still living there. Will give it a thought as he was a bit more like he just couldn't care rather than doing it out of bad intentions but the estate agent representing him is a dodgy total ashole

 duchessofmalfi 09 Jan 2022
In reply to abr1966:

Advice as appropriate:

The student: go straight to the SU and get advice.  They'll have seen it all before and they will put you onto the path to solve it.  Don't delay. Document everything.  Build a dossier and keep a diary of every interaction.

Landlord: My advice is to pay up and make sure it's a proper job.  That includes trying to remove the dead rats _before_ they rot (because then you've got the mother of all fly problems that will just extend the misery). Rats don't appear with proper maintenance: I'll grant you you may not find the problem before it occurs but it is still a maintenance issue and I'll grant you it might not be your maintenance that is at fault but you cannot let somewhere unfit for habitation.

Post edited at 19:16

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