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I signed and paid a deposit on a house 2 days ago and mine

was the only signature on...
I signed and paid a deposit on a house 2 days ago and mine was the only signature on the lease (the landlord had yet to sign it and it was through a letting agency) Yesterday we went for an inventory at the property and the man doing the inventory pointed out some things that I failed to notice when I first looked around. The house had been smoked in previously and the curtains and blinds were yellow on one side, fan not working in bathroom,flooring that looked like it had been cut with a knife round the edges and not done properly, dish washer hanging out of cupboard, dirty. I actually broke down into tears and told the estate agent I no longer wanted the house. I never moved in but we were handed the keys by the inventory man (a key for the garage was not provided) When I signed I didn't date the agreement and mine was the only signature. I have not got a copy of this and I do not know if the owner has signed yet. Is there any way I can get out of having to pay for this house for the next 6 months legally without causing any problem to my credit file. obviously I understand that I did sign up but if I had been shown how bad it was I would not have signed.
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Answered in 4 hours by:
10/18/2013
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Verified

Joshua :

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

Joshua :

Has the agent offered to fix any of the items or have they told you along the lines of "tough" please?

Customer:

Thank you for your answer,The agent offered to ring the landlord to see what he says but never got back to me. It looks like i'm going to have to pay it for the 6 months until the break clause kicks in.I can not see a way out of it.

Joshua :

thank you. Unfortunately, if you have signed an agreement and paid a deposit due under the agreement or rent due under the agreement, this is sufficient for the landlord to claim and enforce the contract against you. I cannot see basis you can unilaterally withdraw from the contract without the landlords consent. However, this does not mean you have no rights whatsoever…

Joshua :

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 together with any reasonable agency fees. However your liability would end on the earlier of the end of your existing term or a new tenant being sourced to replace you. Alternatively you could agree the fixed compensation proposal if this is preferable to you and agreeable to the landlord. 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.

Customer:

I told the agent that we will not be moving into the property and it will stand vacant for the duration of the tenancy, it will stand unoccupied. As long as I pay it should be ok shouldn't it? I just wont live there

Joshua :

Notwithstanding the above, in terms of the issues you have noticed; the starting point is that you are responsible for inspecting the property before you agree to a contract and cannot subsequently withdraw from a contract on the basis of items you failed to notice. For this reason, it is very important that you satisfy yourself as to the state and condition and suitability of a property before you sign the tenancy agreement. However, 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 his 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 and so on. There is a useful guide to the same here:

Joshua :

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9425/150940.pdf

Joshua :

Landlords can therefore be held liable if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their tenants. You can use or threaten to use the HHSRS (as above) and ask the environmental department 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. The service is free so you have little to lose. If the property is declared uninhabitable the tenancy can be terminated unilaterally but only in these circumstances can the tenancy be unilaterally ended early. In these circumstances and indeed even if it is not declared uninhabitable but issues are identified you can potentially claim compensation by way of a rent reduction for the period since the issues were first notified.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

that's fine. The gentleman doing the inventory said the house was safe just dirty and "shoddy" as he said. I guess I am stuck with the tenancy until March. Thank you for your help, I appreciate your advice

Joshua :

A pleasure. Do not be afraid to exercise your rights under the above legislation however. The environment protection department at the council will be very willing to assist you in is no charge. if the house was dirty and so on, to ensure that the inventory reflects this. Despite any clause that they say to the contrary in your tenancy agreement, you cannot be required by the landlord to return the property in a state that is better than that which was provided to you unless you are very specifically negotiated and agreed such a provision which I assume would not be the case

Joshua :

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

Customer:

that is all I needed to know, thank you.

Joshua :

A pleasure. 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 though.

Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hello again and thank you for your help,


 


I have had time to think about this matter and I understand that I am responsible for the rent of this property until they get another tenant in however, do I have to pay the full amount or am I able to put it to them in writing that to pay two lots of £650 for 6 months is not financially doable and offer to pay it at a lower rate for a longer period perhaps 12 months of £325. Am I legally allowed to make this kind of offer, they get their money and no court has to be involved as I am not refusing to pay. Surely I am within some sort of rights to make the payment affordable and not live financially crippled for 6 month and not be able to afford anything else. Do I need to go see a solicitor. I was going to return the keys today, is this a good idea?


thank you.


Angela

Sorry for the delay in responding to you. May I continue to assist you with the above?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I trust you to advise me on what I am legally within my rights to do. I apreciate any help you can give.


 

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Joshua
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Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
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