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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6296
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We took on a tenancy in a property that has had nothing but

Resolved Question:

We took on a tenancy in a property that has had nothing but problems. To date:
1) Central heating - broken down and some of the radiators don't get hot. Landlord has been recommended to flush the system but has not done so. We now have a leaking radiator as well.
2) Vermin - we have mice.
3) Main cooking appliance doesn't work. There is a small old electric cooker we have been using but the main gas cooker is still awaiting repair since the start in Oct.
4) Electric infrastructure may well be unsound. Landlord has written a letter of indemnity rather than have certificates. We have requested certs.
5) Leaking roof - repaired
6) Leaking windows - repaired
7) House was so cold during the cold period we all (pregnant wife and toddler) had to sleep in one room upstairs to keep warm.
8) Letting agent will not deal with issue as Landlord to taken on the task of agent and repairer himself.

We pay £1700 / month and have until end of March. So far we have had to pay for loft insulation and carpets as we were verbally told it would be a long lease but now turns out there is a break clause. Basically we want to leave now and not pay anymore rent. There is a deposit of £2500. We have a written paper trail of everything that has happened.

Regards

Andrew
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Hi Andrew,

 

What is the fixed term of the tenancy agreement and when is the break clause operable?

 

Please also state whether the break clause can be exercised by either landlord or tenant.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tom

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Tom,

Break clause in April the 8th and has already been exercised by the Landlord. Could have been us.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We'd like to stop paying rent asap!
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

I note you wish to stop paying rent asap, but is your main objective to terminate the tenancy and move out?


Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Tom,
Our main objective is to leave the property asap before the end of the agreement. I pay rent every 5th of the month and would prefer to to pay anymore.

Andrew
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Hi Andrew

 

A tenant can only terminate earlier than the fixed/break clause in the event that the property is unfit for human habitation. This would be a breach of contract by the landlord called a repudiatory breach, meaning that the breach is of so serious a nature that it goes to the root (ie. the heart) of the contract to substantially deny you the benefit of the contract.

 

To safely do this you would have to have documentary evidence of the state of the property demonstrating that it is not fit for human habitation. Ideally this would be in the form a a declaration made by the environmental heath department of the local authority. I note you have been in contact with the authority but if you have not actually spoken to the environmental health department then I would do this immediately and ask that they make an emergency inspection.

 

If the landlord does not accept that it was unfit for human habitation then will first dispute over the return of the deposit and then it would be for him to issue litigation proceedings against you to sue you for the rent he would have received from you up to the time at which the tenancy is terminated.

 

If you were minded to terminate claiming a repudiatory breach then I would say so in a letter to the landlord sent by registered post listing all the matter which contribute to the state of the property (lack of electrical certificates, gas certificates, disrepair) and at the same time noting your efforts to get him to make appropriate repairs and that these have been left unressponded. State that if he seeks to resist the the return of the deposit or the legal termination then you shall defend any claim he makes against you as well as make concurrent complaints to the Council, trading standards and the Association of Residential Lettings agents (if they are a member).

 

That he has exercised the break clause may help you - he may actually want to get you out early and may accept that you will not pay rent. This would be a surrender of the tenancy and you would have to get this in writing from him. I would contact him to size him up on this option.

 

I assume the deposit has been registered with a tenancy deposit scheme, if it has not then please let me know and I shall advise further

 

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: 6296
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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