3

The background of the dispute is below. To be clear, this is not really about the money, but about the principle. I believe the landlord is attempting to take advantage, and many tenants more timid than myself would simply knuckle under and pay. I want to make the landlord understand she won't get away with treating people this way.

The DPS provides a dispute resolution service which the landlord is proposing to use, if I do not pay up the £150 she wants to replace the hob. The only circumstances I would pay up, rather than go to the dispute resolution, is if I were exposing myself to some significant risk by choosing the latter.

IOW: is it plausible that the dispute resolution service would hand me a significantly bigger bill than this landlord is demanding? Is it likely that they could turn around and say 'she only asked for £150, but actually you have to pay her £2000', or something like that? (for reference, the deposit is £1200)

**Edit: A user asked why I would think that a bill of (say) £2000 is a possibility. As it happens, I don't think that such a big bill is a possible consequence of going through the DPS resolution process. I am asking because my partner wants to just pay up and be done with it, because she is afraid of unforeseen consequences. I want to be able to reassure my partner that those fears are unfounded.

The point is, it commonplace for the DPS to look at the evidence and decide the landlord deserves more than the landlord asked for?**

The background

I have recently moved out of rented accommodation. I am having a dispute with my landlord over the deposit, which is lodged with the DPS (I checked, it is).

The dispute is over a gas hob. The hob is controlled by plastic nobs, one of which I broke while cleaning.

My ex-landlord believes that this means the hob is now unsafe and unusable. She wants to replace the whole hob with a new one, and charge us for it.

I think this is absurd, because: 1) The hob was not new when I moved in two years ago, let alone now. Buying a new hob is not mitigating her losses.

edit: clarification regarding above -- I'm no lawyer. But it's my understanding that if the hob is indeed broken, I only have to pay what it was worth at the moment before it was broken. If it was only as good as a second hand hob going for e.g. £40, then £40 is what I have to pay. As I said I'm no lawyer, so please advise me if I am mistaken. I also believe, per number 2) below, that the hob can be economically repaired in any case

2) I do not accept that there is anything wrong with the hob apart from the absence of one plastic knob which could be easily replaced.

The landlord is also contending that one of the taps is 'jammed down' and can't be turned. I don't know what she means by that, except that I was able to turn them. One of them was stiffer than the others, but I do not think that is as a result of me removing and replacing the knobs to clean the hob.

I asked the landlady who says the hob is unsafe, and she said 'the gas inspector'. She gave me his mobile number, but not his name or credentials.

I strongly suspect she is getting advice from people who stand to benefit from fitting a new gas hob instead of repairing it. She says that cooker companies have advised her that no-one fixes gas hobs because it's too dangerous, which again I believe is ridiculous. A google search in my local area reveals a dozen companies who do this.

One other thing: the landlady has known for months that the knob was broken because this 'gas inspector' came round and looked at the hob. If it was indeed damaged by my act and unsafe, he would have known that then, and reported it to the landlady. In that case the landlady would have known that I was living with an unsafe appliance, and would have been breaking the law in a pretty serious way by not addressing that problem... right?

  • Re: mitigating her losses, is it your contention that, instead of demanding a new one, mitigating losses would be to repair the existing one (for example by using a company you mentioned in the last paragraph?) – A.fm. Aug 7 '17 at 17:46
  • Re: 150 but actually pay 2000, on what basis do you think this could be possible? Is there somewhere else you believe you may be liable or she may claim that you owe on? I ask because I do not know what would make you think that any judge or arbitration panel would randomly assess you more unless through the course of the case something is discovered and you're assessed the extra amount in the name of fairness or something. – A.fm. Aug 7 '17 at 17:47
  • comment 1) I'm no lawyer. But it's my understanding that if the hob is indeed broken, I only have to pay what it was worth before I broke it. If it was only as good as a second hand hob going for £40, that is what I have to pay. As I said I'm no lawyer, so please advise me if I am mistaken. I also believe, as I said, that the hob can be economically repaired in any case and doesn't have to be replaced. – Ne Mo Aug 7 '17 at 18:17
  • comment 2) I have no reason to think that they will do that. My point is, is it common that they will look at the evidence and decide the landlord deserves more than the landlord asked for? .......I am asking because my partner wants to knuckle under, because she is afraid of unforeseen consequences. I want to be able to reassure my partner that those fears are unfounded – Ne Mo Aug 7 '17 at 18:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.