Jump to content

Advice Please


Recommended Posts

We have a top (sixth)floor flat in a purpose built block, with an inaccessible roof every time it rains water gets into the property, the management company have dragged their heals so much that the property is now becomming damp.

The tenant is now refusing to pay rent and is threatening to call enviromental health, i have offered to let him leave the property and have offered him another property. He says that he likes the flat and is witholding rent to force me to get the roof fixed, despite me assuring him i have no control over this and it is down to the management company.

How do I force the mangement company to get the roof fixed before the tenant calls the enviromental health officer and i end up seriously out of pocket?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Tenant cannot withhold rent money for repairs pending especially as you have offered another place for him to rent.

Solicitors letter to management compsny after you have contacted them and explained the problem and say due to the emergency nature of the repair a reply within 7 days is required.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your tenant is trying it on to get out of paying the full rent. You have done the right thing in offering him an alternative so have nothing to fear.

The trouble with blocks of flats is that those on the lower floors seem to object to paying towards the roof repairs but they have to. Have other top floor flats got leaks? If so all get together and lobby the management company to get some urgent repairs underway and if there is a residents/owners AGM make sure this lack of response is brought up.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


If I understand the situation correctly, there are two main courses of action your tenant could take:

a) he could use the common law "right of set off" i.e. use some of your rent money to carry out the repair. To do this, he would need to follow a set procedure, which would include writing to you and giving you the chance to carry out the repair and only if you failed to do so, carry out the repair himself and then deduct the money from his rent. It seems unlikely he would be able to do this, not least because the need for repair may not be in your flat but actually somewhere else in the building

B) if you take action against him for rent arrears either during or after the end of the tenancy he could "counter claim" for disrepair. In one fairly recent Court of Appeal case the judge said that "rent is correctly regarded as consideration not merely for possession but for undertaking obligations to the tenant". In the case in question the tenant succeeded in having their "debt" reduced from £3860 to £1860 because of a long standing repair of which the landlord was aware. The amount of the offset will depend on the seriousness of the disrepair, how long it had been going on, the actions of the landlord to deal with it, etc

So, I think you are right to focus on how you can get the management company to get the work carried out and it does sound like you need to get quite firm with them. So, some ideas (assuming the reasonable negotiation stuff hasnt worked):

a) make sure everything with the management company is in writing and explain to them each time that you will hold them responsible for any losses that you suffer because of the continuing disrepair

B) if you are a shareholder or member of the company, find out how you can call a special meeting to raise the issue

c) some local authorities have staff - often in their environmental health departments - who can take enforcement action against the freehold owners of blocks of flats, so they might be worth speaking to

d) threaten the management company that you will apply for a court order (an "order for specific performance") compelling them to carry out the repair

e) threaten that if their mismanagement persists you will make an application to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to have your own service charge offset by the losses you have suffered and/or to have a competent manager appointed.

f) contact the building insurers and attempt to make a claim for your losses through them, (including any damage in your flat caused by the leak). Although some will be very reluctant to speak to you, these days you should be listed as an interested party on the policy so they should be willing to listen.

If you know anyone on the management company, maybe try to have a friendly chat with them, explain why your position is so difficult and tell them that you dont want to go down any of these routes but that you will be forced to do so if nothing happens.

My own view is that the management of leasehold accommodation is in a mess in this country. I have four leasehold properties and I have one issue or another with each of the management companies. If you are lucky they are run by very honest and well meaning people, but even if this is the case, they are often very ill informed about their responsibilities and slow to act. I'm sorry to say that the only tactic I have found that works is to push and keep pushing.

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...