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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24292
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My daughter in law in desperation said yes to flat after looking

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My daughter in law in desperation said yes to flat after looking at it about 15 minutes. She was told it was a low rental of £550 per month and the first month would be free due to the place needing decorating. My son unfortunately didn't see the place or ask his father or myself to check the place out before they both signed the 1 year contract.Subsequently they both got a shock on the moving day to find that there was bad damp in two rooms,a tree growing out of the downpipe drain which covered the whole window and maybe the cause of some of the front room damp plus other issues too. They didn't move in as their little boy suffers with asthma. My son's father met the managing agent who agreed that there were several major jobs to do in the flat and that he would list them and get the landlord to carry out these works. Surely this is a breach of contract when they were told the only things they would have to do were a bit of decorating and cleaning up? Do they have to move in with the damp? Do they have to pay the rent whilst they are not in the flat because of all the repair works? and will the Landlord put up the rent when these works will obviously have improved the property?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 10 months ago.

Joshua :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Joshua :

Is the rent in deed as was represented to them please verbally?

Customer:

Would have to come back to you with that

Joshua :

Thanks. Do you want to resume later or would you like me to continue in any event. I should be able to cover all the issues in any event...

Customer:

I think I will get more facts for you if that would help my answer thanks

Joshua :

No problem. If you could confirm the amount of rent in the tenancy agreement and post back, we can continue then? If I happen not to be available when you post I will come back to you as soon as I am next available which is usually every day.

Customer:

Yes, will do.

Joshua :

I look forward to hearing from you further.

Customer:

I now have that information The summary of terms says twelve months commencing: 31/5/13 Rent: 550.00 monthly

Customer:

Payment; in advance by equal payments on 31st of each month

Joshua :

Thanks. The first thing therefore to say is that the landlord is unable to increase the rent during the initial 12 month term of the tenancy improvements or not.

Joshua :

There is a raft of legislation and regulations to protect tenants in respect of landlords repair obligations. The landlord has duties under statutory legislation. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides that the Landlord has a duty of care to provide adequate and safe conditions in their properties and the Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which shifted assessment towards health and safety impact. Each council is responsible for developing its own policy but most have a substantive list of requirements that address mould, damp structure and so on. There is a useful guide to the same here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/142631.pdf. There are also provisions for the safety of electrical installations.

Joshua :

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places an implied term in every tenancy that the landlord must keep in repair the structure, sanitary installations and exterior of the property. However this does not cover design faults, only a lack of repair - this is provided for in a decision handed down in Quick v Taff Ely BC.

Joshua :

Landlords can therefore be held liable if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their tenants. Your daughter can or at least could have used or threaten to use the HHSRS (as above) and ask the environmental department at the local council to carry out a health and safety assessment of the property. They have the power to serve improvement notices on the landlord to remedy any areas which do not come up to standard.

Joshua :

Sorry your daughter in law and your son I note... Apologies for the typo above.

Joshua :

During the period of repair, their obligation to pay rent continues. Tenancy agreements often provide that it is agreed that the tenant's obligation to pay rent does not continue whilst the property is rendered uninhabitable by fire or similar risks. However, if the landlord is in breach of repairing obligations and because of this breach the property falls into such a state that they cannot live at the property, the landlord will be liable for the cost of alternative accommodation and removal expenses (as well as any other damages that they can prove as a result of the unfitness of the property) or alternatively if provided for in the tenancy agreement alternatively that rent is suspended for the period. If the property is inhabitable then they may be able to claim a reduction in rent for the loss of amenity during the period in question.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

Thankyou.If they haven't moved into the property and they'd rather get out of the tenancy agreement how can this be done?

Joshua :

A pleasure. Two possibilities for early escape. If they can obtain an HHSRS report or other independent report or evidence that deems the property uninhabitable then there are grounds for ending the contract early on the basis that the landlord is unable to provide the service provided under contract. If it is not uninhabitable it is not possible to unilaterally leave early; however it is possible to escape early from the tenancy by asking the landlord to remarket the same. The landlord has a common law duty to mitigate his costs and as such must do his best to remarket the property. You would be liable for reasonable marketing costs notwithstanding the above associated with this together with any reasonable agency fees. However their liability would end on the earlier of the end of your existing term or a new tenant being sourced to replace you. Alternatively they could agree the fixed compensation proposal you have now if this is preferable to you. The landlord cannot refuse to do anything at all or he will find that he is limited in the amount of continuing rent he can attempt to recover. All of this is of course entirely without prejudice to their above rights.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.

Customer:

So in essence they would have lost their initial £300 holding deposit and the £550 deposit plus they might be liable

Customer:

So they will have lost the £300 paid over to take the property off the market and the subsequent £550 holding deposit and they might be liable for more costs as well as their rent due 30th June?

Joshua :

If they want to cancel the agreement they may start simply by asking the landlord the question.

Joshua :

If the landlord refuses to cancel the agreement on terms they find acceptable then the next step is to establish using the above approach the condition of the property particularly whether it is habitable. If it is not habitable they would have a basis to cancel the agreement and demand a refund of all monies.

Joshua :

If it is habitable but requires works then they cannot unilaterally leave but can seek to replace themselves as above. However they can still seek a reduction in rent to compensate for the loss of amenity in the property during the period until repairs are completed

Joshua :

Can I clarify any of that for you at all?

Joshua :

I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24292
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

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