All electrical items in the property are left as a gesture of goodwill?

by Readers Question

11:12 AM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

All electrical items in the property are left as a gesture of goodwill?

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All electrical items in the property are left as a gesture of goodwill?

When we initially viewed our rental property and prior to signing the rental agreement, there was a fault with the integrated fridge freezer which was pointed out to the letting agent. We were assured this would be addressed. With that in mind, we duly signed the agreement believing that it would be repaired. freezer

It took many emails over the space of 6 months and many items of perished food until finally a serviceman investigated. The said unit was then unfortunately condemned. We were then told that a clause was in the contract which states ” all electrical items in the property are left as a gesture of goodwill. The landlord is not financially responsible for any payments due to mechanical faults or failures and will not repair or replace the items”

Had we known that this was broken in the first instance and that the landlady would not be replacing, we would not have taken up the tenancy particularly given that with her broken unit still housed integrated and still in situ, there was no room in the very compact kitchen for a fridge freezer of our own to be placed.

We explained all of the above and our emails were ignored for months so we purchased a new fridge freezer, withholding part of the rent payment to pay for the fridge/freezer.. £219 from the £695 rent p.c.m. Still we had nowhere to put this freestanding unit in the compact kitchen with the faulty one in situ still plugged in behind the kitchen cabinets somewhere so we then contacted environmental health who said that the unit should be unplugged if condemned as it was a potential health & safety risk. We explained this again in an email and eventually some 8 months later the unit and its housing was removed freeing up space for the new one we purchased to replace.

We have resided here for 3 years and are now about to vacate the property having purchased our own home. We are now being informed that the money withheld for the replacement fridge freezer is to be deducted from the deposit.

We feel that we were misrepresented at the commencement of the tenancy and that given the situation that arose from this and length of time it took them to resolve this issue it is very unfair?

Your advice would be very much appreciated!

Kind regards,

Laura



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:14 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

This is very simple, just raise a dispute with the deposit protection providor, eg TDS, MyDeposits or DPS.

Michael Freer

12:26 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

As Mark said, use the dispute system that is part of your deposit provider.

The unit was fitted so will probably come under the same scrutiny as a fitted gas or electric hob, in other words you stand a very good chance of the result being you'll get all or most of your deposit back, barring any other deductions deemed reasonable.

Ian Narbeth

12:27 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

I agree with Mark and if you were assured by the agent before you signed up that this would be addressed, that amounts to a representation. If you relied on the representation in entering into the tenancy you may have a claim for misrepresentation and could claim damages, possibly including for damaged food. I don't think the deposit protection provider will be impressed by the sneaky clause in the tenancy.

You may also have a claim that the clause is an unfair term in a consumer contract. I would also complain to the letting agents and if (as I doubt) they are members of a reputable letting association such as ARLA to that association if you get no joy.

This sort of behaviour is what gets landlords a bad name.

terry sullivan

12:35 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

fitted white goods are fixtures and fittings--landlord is responsible

Mark Crampton Smith

13:11 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi, It would be worth checking the inventory and schedule of condition. If the original Fridge Freezer was on the inventory, you might reasonably assume that it was part of the fixtures and fittings. I agree......... the clause saying that all electrical goods are a gesture of goodwill may be deemed an unfair clause. If you have anything in writing from the agent at the beginning of the tenancy saying that the Fridge Freezer would be fixed this would be a straightforward consumer rights issue, if not, it will be more difficult to uphold. Definitely worth asking the agent if they are part of an ombudsman scheme (now obligation) and make representation that way if no luck with any other route. If they are not a member of any such scheme, they may well have made a mistake at the beginning of the contract with registration of the deposit and issuing prescribed information, in which case you could pursue them for up to three times the deposit held?

Elisabeth Gordon

13:17 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Freer" at "01/08/2016 - 12:26":

Yes indeed and every single electrical appliance in the premises should be PAT tested by law.

Mark Alexander

13:30 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Elisabeth Gordon" at "01/08/2016 - 13:17":

I do not believe that statement to be correct. PAT testing is only a legal obligation in commercial properties so far as i am aware.

David Price

13:32 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Elisabeth Gordon" at "01/08/2016 - 13:17":

Which is why we never put or leave any electrical items in our property. Incidentally it is not my understanding that PAT testing is a legal requirement.

Michael Freer

13:45 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

In any case, PAT stands for portable appliance testing and as, in this case, the fridge is fitted it's not considered portable also as in most/all cases neither the plug or cable are visible/accessible that need inspection as first part of the PAT test.

Mark Crampton Smith

15:37 PM, 1st August 2016
About 2 years ago

ridiculous as it may sound, unless appliances are "hard wired" with an separate isolation switch (as will most modern kitchens) the appliance should be PAT tested. We are advising clients to hard wire appliances when they do refurbs on HMOs as this is often cheaper than annual PAT testing.

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