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Signed tenancy agreement, can I cancel on the same day due to health & Safety?

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Can someone please advise me.


Myself and my family (wife, 3 kids) are having problems at home and were accepted on the local authorities home finder program for private rent.


I received a call from the estate agent on Monday morning informing me that there is a house i can see so made an appointment for 5pm. I went over to the street during my lunch break at 12pm and by coincidence i see the the estate agent showing the property to someone else. Once she had finished we had a short conversation and she offered to show me around.


The 'viewing' lasted no more than 5 minutes and not all the keys were available so we could not even cover all areas. I felt under huge pressure to agree and accept immediately as "the previous viewer is going to take it", coupled with the fact that life were i'm living now is rather depressing and my wife is not happy at all, i agreed. I feel so stupid.


I went to the estate agent yesterday again during my lunch break and signed many documents got the key and returned to work.


When i finished work i went to the house and was horrified that i have been so stupid in signing a tenancy agreement for a property that is not fit to live in. here is what i found:


a) Back door can not lock shut, always open

b) Bedroom window permanently open due to missing handle

c) Wires hanging from ceiling, no light, where there are lights the fitting has come away from the ceiling

d) blocked plug sockets

e) Unsafe garden, many many loose slabs on the garden floor, falling fence into neighbor

f) filthy, rusty built in cooker that I was informed can be removed on Monday and replaced with my stand alone, now we can not.

g) missing door handles on both sides of bedroom door

h) cracked bath

i) broken kitchen cupboard's


I feel so stupid, and my wife is in tears as we really do NOT want to live in that area/house now even if they say they will repair everything. We are still at the same address and have not moved in. am in my rights to hand deliver the Key back to estate agent today (during my lunch break)? Is there a 14 day cooling off period for tenancy agreements like there is for other contracts?


Thank you in advance for any light you can shed on this for me

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Hello there.


Please hang on in there, the forum guys will be along later, I'm sure. I can understand why you're upset, it doesn't seem to reflect well on the agent and the guys will do their best for you.


My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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You should have a grace period where you can back out of the contract, have you spoken to the agents?

Have you raised these problems with them?

If things are really that bad then I cannot see any reason why you cannot back out of this.

Did you pay a deposit?

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You say it is part of a local authority scheme - I guess people here won't be able to provide much advice given that such schemes may differ from place to place and that most queries relate to private lettings.


Unfortunately, the normal answer would be that if you have signed a contract, you may be liable for the rent and costs until the house is re-let to someone else.


If they have given you a key, it sounds like you have indeed signed a contract.


Given that this seems to be some part of a local authority scheme, it may be worth contacting the relevant body to see whether they know that they are promoting houses with the sort of issues you describe, and what comeback you have.


It may be that they can initiate action to resolve these problems quickly. Most of them sound relatively easy to fix.

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You say it is part of a local authority scheme - I guess people here won't be able to provide much advice given that such schemes may differ from place to place and that most queries relate to private lettings.


Good point steve_M I totally missed that, if this is the case then surely they would have a complaint/help procedure in place. I would certainly bring it to their attention, and if you can back it up with photo's that may help get items fixed asap so you can move in or be able to back out of the contract.

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Thank you all for your replies. I will be back home (Not property in question) at 5ish and will scan over the documents minus personal details + photos for you to see this evening all being well. Thanks.


Yes I paid a £300 reference fee & I was asked by the estate agency to supplement the Councils £1300 deposit (the word 'bond' was thrown around) with £50. I have personally paid £350 so far.

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OP has keys so could ring Council Tenancy Relations Officer to do a site inspection visit together, hopefully for lunch break tomorrow (Fri).

Not sure if OP has any 'grace period' as Contract signed on Agent's business premises, but normally there is no cooling off period for signed ASTs, esp after a viewing.

The only saving grace may be that OP has not physically occupied the property, so may only be in breach of 'contract to occupy', which could cost him ref fee & 1 month rent for LL compensation.

The Council may have a moral duty to vet properties, but no legal obligation so caveat emptor.


I doubt the Council provided a cash deposit, only a written bond guarantee for 6 months.

If OP did pay an additional cash deposit of £50 then this should be protected within 30 d of receipt and he should receive the stat PI.

The LA employed typical sales technique to which OP succumbed.

Edited by mariner51
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