Landlord hasn’t fixed door after break-in: Can we withhold rent?

A few weeks before my move-in date, the tenant informed me that the fire department had forced open the front door of the shop below due to a fire.

The real estate agent assured us that the matter would be resolved before our relocation. We discovered a piece of plywood over the opening and two padlocks on the day of move-in.

The proprietor states that he is awaiting a decision regarding insurance payment or action from the block management team.

We have been forced to make do with a tremendous shortage in the interim, as the situation is currently uncertain. I feel exceedingly unsafe, and our entire home insurance policy is voided as a result.

It is exhausting that the real estate agent and landlord are delaying their feet.

Even though I’ve only been in my new accommodation for a month, I already adore it and have no intention of leaving. What are my rights? May I refuse to pay rent?

Shared Responsibility and Inaction

This conduct is entirely unacceptable and endangers not only your safety but also your possessions.

All individuals with a vested interest in repairing the door are performing the exact contrary.

The proprietor is assuming no liability in the expectation that the block management will resolve the matter.

The letting agent needs to assume accountability by refraining from compelling the proprietor to undertake prompt remedial measures.

The responsibility ultimately rests with the proprietor. Priority should be given to repairing the door. They can subsequently attend to the insurance claim.

What are their rights?

What a dreadful and anxious circumstance! The good news is that a repair option for the door is readily available.

This requires contacting the private housing staff of your local council; their contact information can be found on the website of your council.

Inadequately secured front doors that allow unauthorized individuals to enter a property are likely to constitute a hazard for which the council may take enforcement action, compelling the proprietor to make the necessary repairs.

In the event that the council resorts to enforcement measures, they will impose time constraints on the landlord to address the matter.

There is a procedure that allows you to pay for repairs and deduct the cost from future rent if the local government is unable to assist.

However, it is a highly complex series of steps that must be followed precisely; failure to do so may result in you paying for both the cost of repairs and any remedial works that the landlord deems necessary if they disapprove of the repairs’ execution.

Navigating Legal and Administrative Channels

In light of this, I recommend you to contact your local government first, and if that fails, to seek assistance from Shelter or Citizens Advice regarding the practice of ‘deducting’ from your rent due to the state of disrepair.

Further information may be necessary to ascertain your options and position moving forward, for instance, whether you had the opportunity to inspect the property prior to entering into the tenancy agreement.

If both the landlord and agents were aware of the fire incident before your scheduled move-in date, and the agents provided assurance that it would be resolved in time for your arrival, this could be deemed deceptive. The agents’ confidence in the matter’s ability to be resolved before your move-in date must be substantiated.

Moreover, it might be prudent to examine the tenancy agreement thoroughly.

Frequently, rental agreements contain provisions that state the cessation of rent. This occurs if the property becomes uninhabitable or sustains damage from fire, among other things..

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act of 2018 must also be considered when assessing a property’s prescribed hazards.

There are 29 potential causes for the property becoming uninhabitable. ‘Entry by intruders’ (such as a front door that is not secured) is an item on the list.

Consequently, this is an obvious problem and a potential danger that requires remediation.

Additionally, you may choose to communicate with the environmental health division of your local council.

Since they have authority, they can check the property and request that the landlord fix the issue.

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