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Us:

Please note that the place was not habitable - no heating, no gas - until a few weeks after tenancy started and initially there were multiple fixes / repairs - as we were the very first tenants. Due to these circumstances we believe it is reasonable to extend the period of rent free of charge.

Landlord:

I am afraid no extra period can be allowed as all the initial gas etc was attended to asap.

Facts: I do not remember exactly what was the timeline. I admit the landlord acted in a timely manner but:

  • subcontractors were sloppy,
  • didn't deliver,
  • didn't have parts,
  • need to reorder,
  • need to wait

All in all it was at least 2 weeks with no gas, no heating, no hot water.

Who is right?

  • Did you know these issues before you moved in? – Jon Aug 13 '17 at 15:43
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    Nope. Letting agent used some low-ball high-pressure sales techniques and we paid the rent and fees upfront. – Michael Freeman Aug 13 '17 at 17:13
1

Ultimately, only a court can decide that.

If the landlord had not done these repairs, then you could have taken him to court in order to force him to do them - but even then, you would still have been required to pay your rent.

Obviously it was not ideal for the property to made available before it was ready. However, given that everything was done within about two weeks, it comes down to whether the landlord's actions were "reasonable". He thinks they were, and so I'm afraid only a court could decide otherwise.

In the meantime, you must continue to pay your rent in full.

UPDATE: In response to OP's comment below: according to this parliamentary briefing paper:

Although there is no general obligation on landlords to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’..., local authorities have powers to compel landlords to tackle serious health and safety hazards.

Again, since the repairs have been done, it seems unlikely that there is anything the local council could do.

The briefing paper also points out that:

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out implied terms in a tenancy agreement that require landlords to let properties which are ‘fit for human habitation’ at commencement of and throughout a tenancy.

However:

these implied terms only apply to homes under a certain level of rent, the amount of which has not been uprated from the level set out in the Rent Act 1957. As a result, the provisions in the 1985 Act only apply to those paying less than £80 annual rent in London, or less than £52 annual rent elsewhere, and are therefore effectively obsolete.

It continues:

There are also some longstanding common law provisions in place regarding fitness for human habitation in furnished or newly constructed rental properties.

  • 1
    Maybe I should rephrase the question: is it legal to rent property with no gas, no heating, no hot water? – Michael Freeman Aug 13 '17 at 17:14
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    I would start another thread asking that exact question and stating the reasoning why you want to question the legality of the contract. – Michael McGovern Aug 13 '17 at 21:22
  • @MichalStefanow: I've attempted to address that above. The short answer appears to be yes, subject to a couple of possible exceptions. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 13 '17 at 21:35
  • @SteveMelnikoff beautiful answer. I'm such a trouble maker - law.stackexchange.com/questions/15136/… - that was the last time... From now on enforcing "pirate agreements" - 1 page max - I much prefer trust, honesty, integrity... – Michael Freeman Aug 14 '17 at 0:49

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