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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We have a private tenancy agreement for 6 months but have terminated

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We have a private tenancy agreement for 6 months but have terminated it early due to a converted garage which is damp smells and has no ventilation therefore impacting the whole house, should we be liable for the rent for the whole term? Even though there is an obvious environmental problem. We are being told this is the case

What evidence do you have on the damp and impact on the property?

Did you give the landlord an opportunity to remedy the problem?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes we have given ample opportunity for it to be rectified and there's been no avail - proof? Well the estate agent has been round - also other family members etc also phoned environmental health at local council

Did you take pictures?

What did the eniviro health dept. do about it?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We haven't taken pictures but a colleague has advised me to as we are currently still in property. Environmental health advised that it sounded as though conversion had been done with no planning permission and theres no ventilation on the room and if we wanted to take it further to call back which we haven't as yet
Sorry, you originally said that you had terminated the tenancy. Now you have said that you are still in occupation.

Please clarify? Is it that you want to terminate but need to confirm if you can or not?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No sorry we have given confirmation that we want to terminate the agreement and property back on the Market but have been told we will have to pay the rent until new tenants are found. We want to leave asap either way but want to see where we stand before in a position where we're stuck paying 2 lots of rent

Thanks for your patience.

I'm afriad you will be bound by the full term of the tenancy agreement unless the property is unfit for human habitation (which would also entitle you to terminate as it would be what is called a repudiatory breach of contract,which is a breach that is so serious that it goes to the root of the contract to deny you the substantial whole of the benefit of it).

If the damp is very very bad and it affects the rest of the property then it’s conceivable that it could be regarded as a repudiatory breach if the landlord does not fix it.

The issue then becomes proof. In order to safely terminate you have to have sufficient evidence so that you would be comfortable defending a county court action for the rent. Therefore I would take photos of the damp and the rest of the house and press the local authority to come for an inspection.

If the inspect and find it particularly bad then they will issue an Enforcement Notice, you can use this enforcement notice as part of your evidence to terminate on the basis of a repudiatory breach.

You have to be honest with yourself and ask whether or not the issue really does mean that you are denied the substantial whole of the benefit of the contract. If you think it does then you have to document it.

You should formally write to the the landlord 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, referring to your earlier requests as wll). State that if the landlord does not make the repair within that time you will consider it a repudiataory breach and shall terminate. .
Alternatively, landlords are generally under a duty not to unreasonably refuse a suitable tenant and your focus now should be on finding one. If the landlord acted through agents then you should explain your situation to them and press them (and continue to press them) to find you a replacement tenant. If the landlord acted on his own then you should speak to him to check that he would be amenable to your finding a replacement tenant. You can then use to find a tenant (private landlords frequently use this service.

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Kind regards,

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