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Failing to report a fault and withholding rent


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I have been renting my flat out for 5 years, privately, no probs.

New tenant moved into newly decorated and maintained flat in april. few weeks in, he sent text message saying leak from water tank. said it had happened on day one but had no time to tell me.

within few days i arranged plumber to replace boiler. week later i went round and checked the boiler. all fine.

tenant had withhold rent 1st May because of this and paid a small fraction of the rent end of may. Tenant was very aggressive throughout this period and accused me of not fixing the boiler. i told him how could i as he only told me 3 weeks into the tenancy.

I sent him letter showing fixed boiler and voicemail message left etc. and to let us know if any further problems.

asked him to set standing order up as agreed for June.

this is the last i heard from the tenant. I have sent letters each fortnight asking if there any reason why he cant pay and let me know, happy to negoiate (thinking he may be struggleing ). Nothing.

August 15th - 3 months in arrears, managed to get hold of him on the phone after 3 months of worry but not wanting to harrass. He was rude and hung up. we called back and he said it was the boiler ( although not as polite as that) and ordered us to fix the flat. wouldnt talk to us or mention rent. simply shouting.

we were shocked. 2 days and a nother plumber went there, could see there was tiny leek but said it must have been going on some time to cause damage , as now flat smells musty and tenant taken up all carpets!!!

whilst there, tenant threatened us and had some big men with him. no mention of rent.

all he says is that we have given him a dogdy flat and havent fixed it. !

I fixed the problem in May when it happened straight away. and sent follow up letters. how can he say i havent bothered. he is the one surely that needed to make me aware of this. i have tried contacting him for three months, even to the point of speaking to his mother (the emergency number he gave me)

we have since heard on the grapevine he is involved in drugs and know for being dodgy!!!

I am so much out of picket inc the £800 for the boiler. He has loved there for free and i am paying for him.

i have sought advise and finally spoke to a solicitor. she said his defense would be we havent fixed the flat.

does any one have any experience of this? the tenant knows what he is doing to get out of paying and now im scared to access the property due his aggressive nature. ive got a third plumber checking i next week. all of this is documented in letters etc. but i need to lay carlet down and his furtiture is in the fornt room. letter asks him to contact me to arrange.

im at a loss. the tenant wont contact us or coopertate and never has done. we are done in with this.

anyone any advice? what are the chances of us getting him out and getting money back?

he has got no records to show any calls he has made to us, or letters written apart form one text back in april telling us of the intial problem.

anything would be appreciated, the solcitor will be serviing a section 8. hope he just goes : (

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I have plenty of experience of certain types giving weak and feeble excuses. Your repair obligation and his rent payment obligation are not dependant clauses. In short, he is giving a load of clap-trap to justify his response and it is usually a smoke and mirror strategy to avoid paying rent. Absolutely no point trying to reason with him any further. Pursue the Section 8 route and don't try and predict his response/defence. That would be something for the court to assess if necessary, just make sure you keep evidence of your efforts to rectify the problem. I like Simon's idea of involving debt collectors. Be impersonal and avoid getting involved in the nonsense of his argument. Further to this, further damage caused between his noticing it and advising you is his liability. Stand your ground.

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Hi Bev

Do a search on this forum for many detailed threads on use of Debt Collectors along with timing and how to use their services to best effect - take control of situation quickly and firmly - as GPEL says- tolerate no nonsense whatsoever and in future please, please, please do not give benefit of doubt or wait - as people dig themselves a financial hole they cannot get out of - set up your sytems to deal with this problem in a swift and effective manner immediately ( all details will be found on other threads - posted mainly by me !)

As Gpel has already stated "witholding rent "is not allowed - it is a completely seperate issue from repair problems and should not be tolerated at any time - Over the years i have had a few "nutters" as tenants, who shout a good deal - but have all turned out to be "all mouth and no trousers" when it came down to it ....Stand your ground and keep us up dated for more regular "advice"...! None of us are "experts" on here but there is a wealth of generous experience, support and honest opinion which you can draw on ....!


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