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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I have signed a tenancy agreement for a flat and upon getting

Customer Question

I have signed a tenancy agreement for a flat and upon getting the keys did not get a schedule of condition or an inventory despite having asked. Upon arriving at the flat for the first time there were major problems with it along with lots of minor problems, all of which I feel should have been sorted out prior to me moving in.

The managing agent is non communicative and will not confirm that they will do anything about any of the issues or produce the paperwork. They don't even really repy to emails and I can't get hold of anyone on the phone. The only reply I have had is that "most of the issues are being looked it" which is not really a response at all.

I do not consider the flat to be habitable. I have had the keys for 10 days now but nothing has been done, not even a visit to see the problems. I have included a list of problems at the end of the question.

I think some of the problems are big issues and others can't be argued as a problem based on the tenancy agreement.

My question is - what are my rights? I can't move in at the moment and don't want to just in case that is deemed as accepting the problems. Can I get out of the tenancy agreement if nothing is done? I'm going to have to pay rent on my current place to stay there any longer and I really can't afford to pay rend on two places.

Thanks
Adam

Problem list:
En Suite shower has a sign saying "Do not use" and tiles are falling off the wall inside.
Main bathroom shower leaks on to floor and is ruining it.
Upon testing the main shower, the fittings fell off the wall along with some of the tiling.
One of the leaking showers has made the carpet in the second bedroom damp by the looks of things and the room smells awful.
The lights do not work in the lounge or the second bedroom due to an electrical fault.
The tenancy agreement requires me to set the alarm when the flat is empty - the alarm does not work
The Window will not open in the mast bedroom.
The front door jams and needs a good amount of effort to open sometimes - not good if there is a fire.

Less important issues:
The telephone wiring is broken so can't be set up
There is no bed in the master bedroom despite being a furnished two bed flat
When I sat on one of the dining room chairs it totally collapsed, it turns out that most are broken in one way or another.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Hi,

 

Has the tenancy agreement been executed by both you and the landlord? (ie. signed and dated)

 

Tom

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi,

Yes, the tenancy agreement was signed on the 9th of September by both myself and the letting agent - I didn't get the keys until the 8th of October.

Thanks
Adam
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Hi Adam

 

...and were you aware of the condition of the property after having viewed it prior to signing the tenancy agreement?


Tom

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When I viewed the property it was only for 20 mins and I raised a few points and asked if everything would be repaired and properly cleaned and sorted. I was told yes a full inspection would be done and all maintenance sorted prior to me moving in.

I didn't notice any of the major issues to do with leaks or electrical problems during the viewing, they were not really obvious and people were still living there so it was difficult to see any of the problems.

Thanks
Adam
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Adam,

 

The basic position is that you are only entitled to terminate the agreement if the property is unfit for human habitation. It it is then this would be a repudiatory breach of contract - a breach so serious that it goes to the root (ie. the heart) of the contract so as to deny you the whole or substantially the whole of the benefit of the contract.

 

The issue is whether it is in fact unfit and if you can prove this. If you suspect it is then I would contact the local authority's environmental health department and ask them to make a inspection. If they find it unfit then they will declare it as such and you can ask them to provide this in writing. This would be sufficient evidence for you to terminate confidently.

 

If they do not declare it as such then you would have to prove this yourself. If you do not prove it to the satisfaction of the Court then you could be liable to pay the rent up to the point at which the Court decide the property could be re-let by then landlord (they are under a duty to mitigate their loss by reletting).

 

If you doubt this can be proved you can require them to carry out repairs, you have a right to a property in repair. You would write formally to them setting out the repair and asking for them to make the repairs within a reasonable time (ie. 14 days) failing which you would state that you will pay for the repairs to be made yourself and then seek to claim the expense from them by issuing a claim against them.

 

You could do this via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.. It's very straightforward and easy to use.

 

The agreement is enforceable and unless you can terminate on the grounds of uninhabitability then you will have to enforce your rights to repair in the above way.

 

If you can get them to agree that the property is unfit now by sabre-rattling and threatening to call environmental health, or perhaps negotiating a lesser rent for the time being until the repairs are carried out then this may also be a solution.

 

Get everything in writing (eg. email).

 

If you withhold rent in respect of the above then this may entitle the landlord to terminate the agreement, they would then sue you for rent and would probably get judgement on an amount equal to the rent they would receive until the property could be re-let.

 

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

 

Kind regards,


Tom

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6657
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the useful answer.

I will go and camp out in their office at lunch time and see if I can get a useful answer from them.

I certainly don't think that damp carpets and showers that don't work or will damage the building further make the place habitable.

I will give them until the end of the week to put a plan in place to address (or not) all of the points I have raised and then 14 days to fix or I will have the work done myself and try a claim.
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Good luck. Thank you for your kind accept.


Tom

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