Many tenants experiencing difficulties with their landlord’s failure to carry out repairs at their home, ask whether they are within their rights to stop paying their rent.

Tenants find it frustrating that their landlord is receiving their rent and failing to carry out the required repairs.

Although it may seem a good idea to withhold rent, either to pay for the repairs required, or as a way to get their landlord’s to do the repairs.

This can be dangerous as the tenant leaves themselves open to possession proceedings being commenced against them as a result o of rent arrears.

Tenants do not have the right to simply stop paying the rent to their landlord, contrary to popular belief.

It is relatively easy for a landlord to obtain an order for possession against an assured tenant if the landlord can prove teh arrears of rent are at least 8 at least 8 weeks (or 2 months if the rent is paid monthly), in arrears both at the date the notice seeking possession is served and at the date of the first hearing the court must make an Order for possession.

Assured shorthold tenants can be evicted even more easily as a landlord is entitled to an order for possession without the need to prove a ground or provide a reason.

Although tenants can pursue a counterclaim (that is effectively bring a claim against their landlords due to the disrepair at their home) that, if successful, extinguishes, or reduces the level of rent arrears that the landlord is claiming, there is a risk that the damages ( (compensation awarded) may be insufficient to extinguish the arrears, especially, if a tenant has allowed the rent arrears to build up to a large amount.

Although a tenant may consider that they are within their rights to stop paying the rent in order to pay for the required repairs to the prope property there is a strict procedure which must be followed. A tenant wishing to follow the procedure should obtain specialist legal advice to ensure that the correct procedure is followed.

Tenants who decide to carry out works are liable for the quality of the works carried out and should the repairs not be done properly, the tenant will be responsible, to put right any damage.

Our advice is generally that tenants should not withhold the rent as the tenant may find themselves facing proceedings as a result. Instead tenants should seek advice as to their rights, from specialist housing solicitors as to what can be done to remedy the problem.

WTB Solicitors are expert lawyers acting only for tenants. For more information contact us online or call us on 0161 224 3311.