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Has my tenancy agreement been breached? Help!


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Hello, I'm having a problem with a house I have just started renting.

The property was marketed by an estate agent and is property managed by another agency. I viewed the house a few weeks ago and it is a very nice house but had quite a few superficial damages that needed to be repaired before I moved in. I was assured these would be addressed before I got my keys so I applied to rent the house.

On Saturday the 12th I signed a tenancy agreement to begin tenancy at the property from the date of September 12th. I was told all work had been done on the property and that it was ready for me to move in so I paid the deposit and one months rent in order to get the keys.

After getting the keys I went to the property to start measuring up for the move and the house is actually unfit for me to live in as there are some quite major repairs that have not been done prior to me receiving the keys. These include a toilet that doesn't work, a radiator that is hanging off the wall, an old sofa in the garden, rubbish in the back yard and shed.. a smashed outside light, a broken letterbox, broken interior window, a heated towel rack stuck on hot.. various popped light bulbs and general uncleanliness. The house hasn't even been vacuumed let alone cleaned properly (there is food stuck to the cupboards in the kitchen!).

I cannot move in yet due to the faults with the property but the estate agent will not let me change the tenancy agreement to start at a later date now that I have signed it.

However, surely they have breached their contract as the property is not fit to live in. I don't see why I should pay rent when I can't live in the property. On top of that, they are sending builders over to work on the property this week and they will be using power. I am legally responsible for the rates now that the tenancy agreement has been signed but I don't want to pay bills incurred by contractors. Do I have any legal footing with which to demand they void my tenancy agreement until the house is fit for purpose? I've also had to cancel removals firms and re-arrange time off work and I have been generally inconvenienced by the mistakes the estate agent has made so obviously I'm very unhappy. What can I do?

 

Also, I've been told by the property management company that things such as light bulbs are not their responsibility and that I have to change those myself. Obviously if a bulb pops when I'm renting I will happily change it myself but surely they should all work before I move in? I'm not picky about maintaining a property whilst I rent it, but I'm loath to have to maintain it before I'm even moved in!

Please help me!

 

Thanks,

 

Sarah

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Guest Old_andrew2018

There are a couple of experts who advise on the forum, you could send a PM with a link to your thread, I believe that kentish lass may be able to advise you

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This is a classic problem where agent promises that faults will be dealt with and then they are not. Often there is nothing in writing and the agent then denies all knowledge. However, if builders are needed, then you at least have some proof. The ultimate responsibility is with the Landlord and that is who you must chase.

 

Firstly you have to decide what you want.

 

e.g. release from the contract / variation of the commencement date of the contract

 

Reimbursement of all expenses involved.

 

You need to work out how much you are out of pocket. List everything such as cancelled removals, value of time off work, liabilities such as council tax, rent etc. etc. but forget the light bulbs - they are tenant's responsibility!! What you need to end up with is a sum of money you can sue for.

 

You then have to decide how far you are prepared to go with this.

 

Write to LL (LL is the person with whom you have the contract) AND the LA. Say that you "have taken advice". List EVERYTHING which made the property unfit for occupation. Say that all of this should have been dealt with in accordance with your agreement with LA and say that since the property was not fit for you to occupy on the start date of the AST, they are in breach of contract and you will sue them, and for all your costs involved which amount to [£xx] + any legal fees. [i wanted to put UNLESS they vary the date of the contract here but I think you should still seek reimbursement of your costs even if they do vary the contract. It is up to you really.]

 

Don't enter into arguments, and don't let them bully you. If you are unsure about any of this, go and have a chat with the CAB. They are usually extremely helpful.

 

Then see what they come up with. Don't expect miracles.

Edited by Kentish Lass

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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