I have been renting a property since the 06/07/2016 and in the advert for the property it mentioned that WiFi is included in the rent, I've been waiting for a month now and they keep either ignoring my emails or promising to call back which they don't, there are other tenants who dont speak English and they are telling me this has been the case for 7 months, I don't want to pay when the description doesn't match what i've been "sold". I'm out of pocket £50 buying mobile internet to tether... Do i have any rights on this?

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    Does the signed contract state that WiFi is included in the rent? – mikeazo Jul 28 '16 at 17:10
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    From a practical (but not necessarily legal point of view) you could arguably withhold the 50 pounds for mobile Internet to tether - and advising - in writing - why you are withholding this - but you would be on very shaky ground if you did not pay any rent. – davidgo Jul 30 '16 at 0:43

No you do not have the right to not pay the rent. You could only do this if the property was unusable - lack of wi-fi, even in 2016, doesn't make a property unliveable.

Take the matter to the governmental complaints department that handles residential leases - an official letter from HMG should get you wi-fi toot sweet.

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  • If the contract does not state anything about WiFi, there may be a false advertising avenue. I am not familiar with UK laws in that regard (or any laws in general, just being honest here). – mikeazo Jul 29 '16 at 18:45
  • @mikeazo I'm sure the OP has a cause of action but the question was "can I not pay my rent" – Dale M Jul 30 '16 at 2:15
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    Landlord and tenant issues tend to be the responsibility of local councils, not the government. – Steve Melnikoff Jul 30 '16 at 18:48

I am a landlord and not an attorney. For that reason, my answer is based upon that perspective.

You can only hold rent for reasons of livability or habitability. In other words, the apartment was unlivable or uninhabitable. This does not include a short-term issue where the problem was remedied within a reasonable period. It also does not apply to something such as with a faucet when another is available, for example a bathroom sink faucet versus a kitchen sink faucet. It only applies when the landlord has failed in his/her responsibility to remedy a situation of livability or habitability within a reasonable amount of time as defined by your state laws.

WiFi being unavailable, is not covered by such laws. However, it is covered by contract law and possibly landlord tenant law though extremely unlikely. You will likely have to file a complaint in civil court to obtain a remedy if the landlord does not comply with the contract within a reasonable amount of time or taking reasonable steps to remedy the problem within a reasonable amount of time. I advise reading your lease carefully. It is unlikely that WiFi will be covered by the contract.

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Short answer: no, you must pay the rent.

Firstly, assuming you have an assured shorthold tenancy, and live in England or Wales, then the circumstances under which you are allowed to withhold rent are extremely limited, and are generally restricted to when the property needs urgent repairs and the landlord refuses to do them:

You don't have the right to withhold rent because of your landlord's failure to do repairs. If you withhold rent your landlord may start possession proceedings against you and put you at risk of eviction.

How this is relevant to this question? Well, if it's risky to withhold rent if the property is in disrepair, you can imagine how much riskier it is to withhold rent for a less critical reason, e.g. lack of wi-fi.

Secondly, was wi-fi mentioned in the tenancy agreement that you signed? If not, then you have no redress, as it is your responsibility to read the agreement before you sign it.

If it was mentioned in the agreement, and the landlord is not responding to queries, then you may be out of options. Threatening your landlord with legal action could result in you being served with a section 21 notice, requiring you to leave or face legal action yourself.

So the question is: is it worth taking this risk over a problem that you appear to have already solved yourself?

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  • [In reply to a now-deleted comment:] Interesting stuff. From a quick search for that case, most of the references that I could find (e.g. this one) seem to imply that this is limited to matters of disrepair, and so is similar to the process suggested by CAB (linked to in my answer) and Shelter. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 2 '16 at 16:06

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