Advice on delay to contracted tenancy start please

by Readers Question

8 months ago

Advice on delay to contracted tenancy start please

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Advice on delay to contracted tenancy start please

Hi all, I’m a tenant looking for advice.

I have signed a fixed term AST and paid the associated deposit and first month’s rent. The contract began on the 18th of October.

The letting agent called on the morning of the 18th to delay my getting the keys until the afternoon. At 12pm I was then told I would not be able to gain access to the property that day. The previous tenants had left their belongings and the landlord was arranging for his contractors to empty the property, clean and redecorate.

I have been told that I may be able to gain access this afternoon (19th) to store my belongings and, if this is the case, I will be sent a new AST agreement to sign with a start date of the 19th. This is yet to be confirmed and I’m expecting an update on the contractors progress at 12pm.

I am concerned that if I am unable to gain access today I will need to look into storage for my belongings as I only have 2 days left on my current tenancy. I was planning on doing the move and cleaning myself over a number of days, however with this window being squeezed I am potentially looking at van rental, storage, cleaning costs and loss of earnings (I have unnecessarily been taking annual leave from work).

I am concerned that accepting the terms of the new AST will invalidate any claim I may have to reimbursement of the additional costs incurred as a result of the delay to the start in tenancy. At the moment I understand that the landlord is currently in breach of contract, but in signing a new agreement he won’t be.

So I suppose my questions are:
– Should I sign a new tenancy agreement or should I be looking to seek a refund on the days the property has been unavailable during my current agreement?
– Where do I stand on claiming for additional costs incurred?
– Would I be within my rights to claim any additional compensation on top of this considering I have paid over £600 in admin fees, the contract has been breached and it has made what was to be a well planned move over a number of days extremely stressful?

I would really appreciate any advice!
Thanks,
Amy



Comments

Neil Patterson

8 months ago

There is an answer to this on the Landlord Law Blog by Tessa Shepperson.

Please click here for full article and details >> http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2013/03/20/tenant-unable-to-move-in-what-are-her-rights/

"If you signed a tenancy agreement then this is a legally binding agreement which has been broken by the landlord – who is liable for the things done, or not done, by his agent.

You are entitled to be put in the position you would have been in had the contract been properly performed. So you are entitled to the refund of all additional expenses incurred by you. Such as additional removal fees, hotel expenses etc."

Rob Crawford

8 months ago

I agree with Neil and I would not sign a new AST if in your position. Obviously the landlord / agent find themselves in a difficult position but it was them that signed you up as a new tenant to benefit from a fast tenant turn around. Don't sign the new AST, detail all your additional expenses, let them know you have obtained legal advice (it would be worth going to Citizens Advice). The AST may have a clause that the tenancy doesn't start until the check-in is complete, irrespective of a desired start date (or similar). A solicitor should be able to advise on the legality of such a statement.


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