Forced into signing a Fixed term contract

by Readers Question

11:07 AM, 28th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Forced into signing a Fixed term contract

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Forced into signing a Fixed term contract

My partner and myself entered a letting agreement were we signed a fixed term 6 month contract via a letting agency.forced

We were advised on signing the contract that at the end of the contract we would have 3 options;
1. to sign a further 6 months
2. to sign for 12 months
3. to sign a periodic month – by – month contract

We discussed and mentioned at the that initial point that we would like to have the flexibility of the 3rd option being a Periodic contract. To which the letting agency rep agreed that it was the best option for flexibility.

We signed and moved into the property and paid full rent on time every month for the full entirety of the contract. We passed 2 house inspections with no faults at all, although we have mentioned a couple of issues in the house that we felt needed addressing, on getting back to us the letting agent advised us that the landlord had said he hadn’t left the property in that way so it must of been something we had done which we thought was a bit of a irrational and unfair response to our concerns.

Leading on we approached the end of our 6 month contract with view of leaving the property in foreseeable future, but finances at the time were too restricted to think about moving at that point in time so we requested the periodic contract to use flexibility.

We were told by the letting agency that we can no longer take that option as the landlord wants us to sign for 6 or 12 months, although if we sign for 6 months we would have to pay a contract renewal fee, but if we sign for 12 months the landlord would pay the renewal fee to encourage us into the 12 months.

We were obviously very annoyed, but was pressured to decide by the letting agency by letters, emails and phone calls. We informed them that we were annoyed and thinking what to do.

We took the 12 months as we buckled under pressure. We have just had another house inspection after 3 months of the new 12 month contract. We passed it again with no issues, but again reiterated to the agent that there are still issues with the property that concern us ie front door not shutting and locking properly, a old electrical socket under the bath. The bath has a sealed up hole in it that is leaking or has at some point as the kitchen ceiling direct below the bath has a big bellow in it and cracks. Which is pretty concerning considering I have child in the house as well.

Anyway we asked the agency to enquire with the landlord if we would be able to leave the property before the full 12 months. The agency said the landlord’s response was that he was disappointed that we wanted to leave and that we would have to pay £400 re – advertising agent fees to exit.

This is the current situation and we are unsure if the agency or the landlord have breached any Tennant rights? We feel let down by the agency and very confused with the landlord’s attitude.

Please can anyone advise us on how to get out of this mess/contract.

Andrew



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:13 AM, 28th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Andrew,

I can understand that you feel you have been coerced into something you didn't want, because you felt you had no options. Unfortunately from what you have told us I can't see any evidence that something is technically wrong.

In isolation if you just asked me if £400 to exit a 12 month contract is reasonable I would have said yes.

Mark Alexander

13:05 PM, 28th September 2015
About 3 years ago

The electrical socket under the bath would concern me.

It seems like you have given your landlord plenty of opportunities to fix this. Perhaps it is time to involve the local Council Heath and Safety Inspector?

It's a pity you didn't seek advice from us before signing the new 12 month tenancy. I'd have advised you not to do that based on what you have said.

Having said all of of that, I agree with Neil. Also, if you antagonise the landlord/agent they may just hold you to the 12 month commitment that you have entered into.
.

Simon M

20:22 PM, 29th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I assume the faults you've listed aren't noted on an inventory taken when you moved in, and aren't mentioned on any inspection reports?

I would suggest you take photos, and send a letter or email to the agent, keeping a copy. If you have copies of any previous emails, include the copies to show this isn't your first request and tell them you'd like them to respond in 2 weeks. If they don't act, contact the Council, and the agent and landlord shouldn't be surprised.

If you spoke to the agent directly, then it's more difficult to sort out. You should still send them some photos with an email or letter. If they don't respond within 2 weeks, then send another letter, copying the first, and this time specify you require a response in 2 weeks. If they don't reply, ask the Council for help.

Mervin SX

14:43 PM, 4th October 2015
About 3 years ago

I would go with Neil & Mark's advise. You have two options:

- If you want to leave the property soon, pay the £400 (or negotiate a lower fee) to get out of the 12-month contract;

- If you think you will stay in the property for the next 10-12 months, write to the agent with photos, etc. and then get the authorities involved if the issues are not resolved.

If you get the authorities involved and then are looking to get out of the 12-month contract, your landlord will hold you liable for all the remaining rent & costs.


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