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About rop257

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  1. Hello all I'd be grateful for some advice regarding a tenant who wants to take me to court over repair/maintenance issues. I own a leasehold flat (freehold owned by a local council) and rented it to a solicitor in December 2019. It is fully managed by a local agent. The tenant expressly provided, in an addition to the standard AST contract, that by the commencement date certain repairs would be made, these included remedying a damp issue in one bedroom - a small (roughly 2 inch) area of flaking plaster next to a window. Unfortunately this was not attended to before the tenant moved in. A maintenance firm did subsequently make a repair (damp proofing and sealing the area), but unfortunately the problem has recurred, and worsened. Another maintenance firm has since attended and suspect an external leaking drain/gutter is allowing water to penetrate the brickwork. A repair to this is the responsibility of the freeholder (in this case, the local council), who have been informed, but who have yet to attend (they are notoriously slow in previous dealings with them over maintenance issues). The tenant claims the bedroom is uninhabitable and has been uninhabitable since he first arrived. He states "I am paying for a two-bedroom flat, and your client has effectively provided me with a one bedroom flat." He is demanding a reduction of nearly 30% of the rent, backdated to the start of the tenancy, and continuing until the damp issue is fixed, claiming I am in "material breach of contract". I have already offered him an early termination of contract at a date of his choosing, and explained I have little/no influence over the ability of the freeholder to attend to the repair work. Personally I think he is trying to exaggerate his claim to a significant degree, but I'm unsure as to the best course of action: Do I refuse any rent reduction and let him take me to court? Do I try to agree a smaller amount with him (I can't afford what he is asking for) in recognition of his apparent suffering? Should I try to get the external guttering fixed at my own expense and then claim back from the council? I'm more than willing to supply any further detail to clarify the situation if that helps. Thank you very much for any advice!
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