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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7478
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi I have rented a flat, & since moving in discovered black

Resolved Question:

Hi
I have rented a flat, & since moving in discovered black mould problem in the bathroom. The managing agent sees no reason to fix the problem or even come to look at the problem, which is so bad with the smell & no use of bathroom that we haven't moved in. I have contacted the environmental health department, & am waiting for an appointment. I have also asked to be let out of the lease agreement due to the mould & it being unihabitable, & for the full off set of rent to be returned, as they should not have let the property in this state.

The managing agent has contacted stating that the landlord is unhappy but will release us from contract if we pay the letting charge of 3 weeks rent + VAT, & that our responsibility for rent will end once a new tennant moves in. She also says that this is a good offer as the property is no longer to our taste. We want out of the lease because of the mould, & the fact that because of the smell & no use of the bathroom we can't live in it, especially with 2 young children, & the health risks involved.

Any help & advice on what to do or say next would be appreciated, i'm not in a financial position at the moment where I can afford to just move nor can I afford to find anywhere else without recovering as much of the deposit & month in advance already paid.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Hi,


Thanks for yoru question.

 

THe basic position is that you can terminate the contract if the property is unfit for human habitation, this would mean that the landlord has breached a fundemental term of your agreement in such a way that the breach goes to the root (ie. the heart) of the contract to deny you the whole (or substantially the whole) of the benefit of it (called a repudiatory breach).

 

You've done the right hitng in calling enviro health, keep pressing them to come round and take a look at it. If they declare it unfit for human habitation then you should get a statement to that effect from them and you can use this as evidence of his repudiatory breach so that he will not be ablet to sue you afterwards. They may serve an enforcemnet notice upon him requireing remedial works to be carried out.

 

You could claim it as repudiatory now and terminate but he is more likely to litigate if you do not have a statement from the enviro health.

 

At the same time I would write to the the landlord/agent specifying the disrepair, making a list of the reasonable repair required and ask that he make those repairs within a reasonable time (eg. 7 days). State that if the landlord does not make the repair within that time you will pay to have the repairs made and will seek to claim the expense from him and are prepared to make an application to court if necessary.

If the landlord does not make the repair you can pay to have it done and then write formally to him requesting the payment of the cost, again within a reasonable time). If he does not pay you can issue a claim for the money yourself through Her Majesty Courts Service's online service: http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/


Its pretty cheap and straightforward to use. Needless to say you should document the disrepair by taking photos of it now.Keep copies of everything.

 

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my efforts. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.

Kind regards,

Tom

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Tom

Many thanks for that. Just to check a couple of things, If I want to terminate now they can charge the fees mentioned?

& should I go on paying rent when due even though we can't live here?

//Natasha
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Hi Natasha,

 

THe position is that you can terminate the agreement and not be liable for the rent only in the case of a repudiatory breach (as explained above). If enviro health confirm it is unfit for human habitation then this is cast iron evidnce that the breach is repudiatory.

 

Without such a statement it comes down to whether you would be able to produce evidence to the Court to convince the Court that the breach was repudiatory (eg. photos, your statements etc). THe problem is that it does sound as if they would dispute this so you would not be able to get your money back quickly.

 

I would send the letter as above but also at the same time press enviro health to make an inspection - try a two pronged approach. If you get a statement from the enviro officer then they will not be able to deny your termination is legal and will return your deposit money.

 

I hope this clarifies, if so please click accept.

 

Kind regards,

Tom

Thomas and 2 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That's very clear, thank you!

Lastly, someone told me that because we haven't moved into the flat that we could terminate contract as we hadn't accepted the terms, is this true?
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Hi Natasha,

 

Thank you for your question.

 

If you have signed the tenancy agreement and it has been properly executed (signed by landlord or agent and dated) then the agreement is binding upon you and you cannot terminate it unless you signed up for it after negotiating it and entering it by distance means (ie. telephone, internet etc).

 

Tom

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