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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi I was due to move into a detached bungalow and annexed dormitory

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Hi I was due to move into a detached bungalow and annexed dormitory this week. The property is private landlord owned, but on the market and negotiated through a letting agency. - I signed the standard short term agreement based on the good faith that the property was in good habitable condition as it seemed in reasonable condition when we viewed and we were promised by the agent it would be professionally cleaned on the departure of the old tenants. My wife, children and I turned up at the handover on wednesday but refused to take the keys when we saw rising water through the kids bedroom, bare live electrical wires where lights should have been and 8 inches of damp rotten floorboards across the entire length of one wall - previously hidden by furniture and rugs by the previous tenant. We also saw that there was a row of tiles displaced in the roof and the roof timbers visible. The property had not even been domestically cleaned and we refused to take possession or occupancy.
I have had to stay with relatives for the last few days. The agency say the landlord will release us from the contract but wants £750 as compensation for lost marketing time . . . what is my position please as we do not want to live there now given the condition and the landlords approach.



The key issue here is whether or not the property was unfit for human habitation or not.


If a reasonable person would consider that it was unfit for human habitation then this would be a repudiatory breach of contract. This is a breach of contract so serious that it goes to the root of the contract and denies the other party substantially the whole of the benefit of the contract.


If it was unfit and therefore a repudiatory breach of contract then you could terminate immediately.


As this would be a breach by the landord/agent you woudl also be entitled to be compensated for the breach. You would be able to to claim damages from them for teh direct financial loss that you have suffered.


IN the circumstances I presume that you simply want out and not have to pay any money. I would therefore play hardball with them. State in writing to them that you consider it a repudiatory breach of contract (if you do) and state that you consider you are entitled to terminate on the basis of their breach.


State that you only wish to deal with the matter in writing now. State that you are not minded to pursue them for damages but that if they persist in attempting to claim from you then you will sue them in county cour tfor the repudiatory breach.

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Kind regards



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