London tenants have been repaid almost £13,000 in rent following cases of “poor conduct” from their landlord, “substantial risks” from fire and “significant maintenance issues” in their homes – with a tenant’s rights campaigner urging renters to take advantage of free online property safety checks.
Recently published residential property tribunal cases found in favour of renters in three cases, with rent repayment orders passed for £8448, £2768 and £1079.
The tenants of a property in Finsbury Park secured a rent repayment order for £2768 and costs of £200 from landlords they alleged were “slow to respond” to maintenance issues “and did not always carry out repairs”
The tenant contacted their local council to report a rodent infestation and discovered that their landlord had failed to provide them with copies of a Gas Safety Inspection, Electrical test certificates or Energy Performance Certificates – as required by law – and had also failed to comply with duties under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006.
The property also had “inadequate” fire detection and no firefighting apparatus.
The tribunal concluded:
“It is clear that there were no proper systems in place for dealing with repair issues and there was a failure to comply with regulations relating to Gas Safety, electrical safety and means of escape from fire.”
“We find that there is poor conduct on behalf of the landlord who failed to comply with many legal obligations”
Tenants at a property in Arundel Grove near Dalston secured a rent repayment order of £8448 after what was described as “significant maintenance issues” with the tribunal concluding that “the offence is towards the upper end of the seriousness range”.
The ruling states:
“The Tribunal had particular regard to the fire hazards at the Property. There was no fire blanket in the kitchen and, seemingly, no smoke detectors in the bedrooms. The kitchen door does not appear to be a fire door, although it would in any event only prevent fire and smoke spread into the living room. The front and rear doors of the Property had to be locked from the inside, which makes escape harder. Most significantly, the only means of escape from the bedrooms is down the narrow open-sided staircase and through the kitchen/diner. These present obvious and substantial risks”.
Tenants alleged that on the day they moved into the property there was no heating or working appliances due to an electrical fault. Tenants also stated that a hose came loose the first time they used the washing machine, flooding the kitchen and living room and causing damp and mould. Tenants were compensated by their landlord for some of these maintenance issues.
A group of student doctors in Bethnal Green have also had £1079 of rent repaid after a tribunal ruled that their landlord failed to apply for a HMO licence.
Tenant’s rights campaigner Ajay Jagota of online claims firm Veriwise responded to the cases:
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair claims for tenants who lack the resources to pursue them themselves, and has recently launched Very Wise Renter which checks the safety of rented properties further empowering renters.
“It’s a strongly held view of mine that there is a direct correlation between landlords not obtaining or sharing mandatory gas and electrical safety certificates and more significant maintenance issues in their properties – and at least one of these cases backs up that theory. That’s why we’ve created simple systems to help renters check their homes meet mandatory safety standards with a rapid online check.”
“A lot of tenants don’t realise that they can be entitled to rent repayment or compensation when their landlords fall short of their legal obligations and even when they do they all-too-often lack the resources to stand up for themselves – but organsations like Veriwise were created to get justice for renters who lack the resources to get it for themselves”.
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair claims, deposit disputes and illegal eviction claims on behalf of renters, negotiating with councils or private landlords to fix the issues quickly and claim compensation for renters from landlords and agents. In cases where the landlord or agent does not comply, Veriwise can now present the case to legal counsel who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.
The organisation this year launched Very Wise Student and this week announced Very Wise Renter a partnership with insurer ARAG aimed at empowering renters by offering free access to:
- LEGAL HELPLINE available 24/7 access to a qualified SOLICITOR
- TAX HELPLINE
- WELL-BEING HELPLINE 24/7 access to a qualified COUNSELLOR
All legal calls are handled by qualified solicitors with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience, whilst the free and confidential counselling helpline offers support with mental health issues, personal problems or any money worries renters may have.