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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7430
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My new tenant moved into my London flat less than two months

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My new tenant moved into my London flat less than two months ago. Three week, I advised him of upcoming roof repairs and he now wants to break the contract (well before the breakout date) on the basis that the noise will disturb him, and had he known before taking on the flat, he would not have rented the flat.

I was aware that quotes were being sourced by the block's committee from contractors. However, the scale or timing of the works was not confirmed until three weeks ago when I immediately advised the tenant of the scheduled dates and duration.

I have attempted to advise the type of work that will be undertaken. There is no suggestion that it will be excessively noisy. However, the tenant says that he is sensitive to noise and any works will be intolerable. The estate agent tell me has an OCD although the tenant did not disclose this at the time that he took on the flat.

I do not believe that I have not misled the tenant. The tenant says that the contract between tenant and landlord is now 'null and void due to non-disclosure of material fact'.
He plans to vacate the flat within the next week (until which time he has paid rent) and is demanding a guarantee that his full deposit will be returned.

However, there are two issues. The shorthold tenancy agreement states:

1) "If the tenant intends to vacate at the end of the fixed Term or later he must give the Landlord at least two clear months prior notice in writing'. This has not occurred.

2) 'This is a fixed term tenancy agreement for the period specified. There is no provision for the Tenant/s or the Landlord/s to terminate the agreement before the expiration of the fixed period. In the event that both parties agree to vary this clause rent willbe due up to the end of this agreement ort when the Landlord or a new Tenant takes possession of the said property. In addition, if the request to vary this clause was at the request of the Tenant, the Tenant will reimburse the Landlord the letting commission (10% of the rent + vat) from the date of early termination until the date that this contract was originally due to expire.'

I would be grateful on your comments please.

Many thanks,

Hi Ronia

Have you agreed to postpone or amend the works?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No. The works are decided by the managing committee for my block of flats. It involves scaffolding to repair the roof.

Right, So actually you have no control over the works themselves. Correct?

Where is the flat in relation to the works? Close, far?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Correct. The flat is on the top (third) floor of the block.

Thanks for your patience.

It’s a sticky situation, frankly.

Technically, you were not under a duty to disclose. If the tenant had asked directly or indirectly about noise/disturbance then you would have had to have answered honestly and would be guilty of misrepresentation if you did not.

However, I don’t think you’re off the hook because under the tenancy you will have given the tenant a right to quiet peace and enjoyment of the property. If this peace and enjoyment is impacted by the roof works and you did not tell him about it then effectively you would have breached the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.

This would be a breach of contract and if the noise was so bad that it effectively denied the substantial whole of the benefit of the contract to the tenant then they could terminate at that point unilaterally as it would be a “repudiatory” breach of contract.

I would say that the tenant probably does not have a right to terminate now, but if the works start and they are bad then they will at that point.

I would say to the tenant that he has no right to terminate (if you did not misrepresent the situation) at this point and that he should sit tight to see what impact the works actually have.

If the works start and they are plainly disruptive then I would offer to surrender the tenancy with tenant for a small fee paid from him to you. If he resists this then I would let him off the hook.,

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