How to money off rent for time spent without shower and washing machine? (UK)
August 25, 2008 4:00 PM Subscribe
Looking for information about how get to get recompense from a landlord for three weeks spent without a working shower or washing machine. (UK)
posted by Urtylug to law & government (6 answers total)
I recently moved into a new rented house. I'm sharing with 3 other people, none of whom I knew before moving in. It's decent enough, but a bit expensive considering its location and condition.
Two weeks after I moved in, I came home from a weekend away to find that the shower had been removed, and the washing machine disconnected. Apparently the takeaway downstairs had complained about water dripping down from our shower, and so the landlord came in and dealt with the problem immediately. After that, three weeks passed where we had access to neither a shower nor a washing machine. We were told that it was drying out. The washing machine was reconnected after two weeks, and the shower was fixed after three, although not very well - the hot/cold handle on the shower is fitted backwards, there's still plastic sheeting all over the place, and the landlord is now saying that he needs to re-seal it because someone used the shower before the sealant was dry. As far as we are aware, no one did.
I have been pressing the landlord for a rent reduction for the three weeks when we didn't have a shower/washing machine, both by email, phone and in person when he visits. I'm asking for a rent reduction of ~25% for all three weeks, although I expect to be haggled down a bit. The landlord's response has been to emphasize how hard he worked on fixing the problem, how he was unwell at the time, how it could have not been done any faster, how worried he was about us, etc. He has also claimed that there's nothing in the contract to say that we should get a discount, which is arguable. The most relevant-looking phrase in the contract reads: "The landlord agrees with the tenant... ...to keep the exterior and structure of the premises in good repair and to keep in good repair and working order the installation for water, gas, electricity and sanitation..."
What do we do here to stop him simply ignoring us? I feel that we have a clear moral case for some money back, and the contract appears to agree. One housemate thinks we should simply withhold a portion of our next month's rent, but that seems like asking for trouble. However, other than that, what power can be exert over the landlord to make him start taking us seriously?
I'm in England.