Tenant wanting to end tenancy early

by Readers Question

10:23 AM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

Tenant wanting to end tenancy early

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Tenant wanting to end tenancy early

I am a tenant of a property with my partner. Since moving, we have had continuous problems with faults requiring repair. As soon as something is fixed, another problem arises. We’ve been here since March 2013. We renewed in October 2013 for 12 months as we didn’t fancy moving and also in the hope things would get better.

We’ve had problems with

  • No electricity and gas (first 3 days moving in)
  • Problems with leaks (from outside into our bedroom – ground floor flat) – now fixed
  • Broken boiler – it took 6 months for them to replace it
  • Broken shower cubicle door (it’s coming off the wall and has caused tiles to fall off the wall) – reported 1 month ago, not fixed
  • Leak now coming in from outside into bathroom (3 days time in 11 days since 1 Jan 14). Leak is coming from the drain where all outlet water runs in to. The one drain covers the whole building (there is an upstairs flat too)

We’re just sick of it all 🙁

Given that this current tenancy ends in October, is there a way out? Tenant wanting to end tenancy early

My thoughts are that we can end the tenancy using a breach of Section 11(1)(a) of LTA 1985 regarding the drains
and also the number of faults have not allowed us quiet enjoyment of the property with interruption.

I look forward to reading your views.

Many thanks in advance.

Philip Whitecollar



Comments

Shakeel Ahmad

11:01 AM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

It seems that you had renewed recently & your contract will probably commit both parties for a period of six months at least i.e. till March 14. Please refer to your contract.

As, despite of having the issues you had renewed your contract for an year and not a lessor period.

What ever reasons you may have for renewing for another year this will make it difficult to convince that you have not had a peaceful occupation. The kind of works that you refer to are common in old properties. The ones that every body likes due to character features, share of garden etc.

Do you know your Landlord or you are dealing with an Agent ? What do they about the state of play. In my experience most landlord wants to maintain their properties in good order.

However, in instances where access is an issue, issues with neighbouring properties and dare I say non caring managing gents/Freeholders the situation is taken out of the hands of ones landlord.

DC

12:23 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

Philip,
It’s a shame you renewed your tenancy agreement rather than just let it lapse into a statutory periodic agreement as it seems to water-down the strength of your dissatisfaction with the landlord, however, a landlord is under an implied duty in law to ensure that a property is fit and safe to live in and has to carry out repairs when necessary.

Your tenancy agreement should state that the landlord shall comply with Section 11 of The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, which covers the types of problems you are having.

If the Landlord has had sufficient notice and time to deal with problems you could point out that if the matters aren’t rectified without further delay that you may contact Trading Standards and/or the Councils' Environmental Health Dept, as well as their housing officer regarding his inaction. These bodies may then decide to instigate further action against the landlord but it may be enough to spur him into action before this occurs.

Notwithstanding, an alternative solution, which you are at liberty to take in circumstances of inaction that affect your health and wellbeing is to appoint a contractor of your choice to carry out repairs and to have the cost deducted from future rent payments but before taking this course of action I would write to the landlord/agent and ask that they organise a suitable maintenance firm to deal with this straight away and that they advise you by return that they have received this request (if you email use the read receipt facility) and that they are taking necessary action otherwise you will take the above action.

If this still fails to resolve the matter then at this point I would seek proper legal advice as to whether ending your tenancy agreement is possible under the grounds of breach of contract.

Good luck.

12:50 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

You would need to check your tenancy agreement to see if there is an 'Early Termination clause' this may give you the ability to just give Notice to Quit.

As you have signed a new agreement. i agree with comments above, this does somewhat show you weren't that dissatisfied witht he condition of the property.

However there are options available to you, depending of course what type of tenancy agreement you have.

You could come to a mutual agreement with your landlord - make sure tis is in writing, that you use (not withold) rent to fix the issues yourself.

You could come to a mutual agreement with your landlord - to surrender the tenancy - the landlord may ask you to pay reasonable costs for advertising the property again.

But the comments already posted are such as Environmental Health and Local council are good options too.
If you're really struggling pop in to your local CAB they should be able to assist you.

Mike W

13:04 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Philip, Although annoying I think you should turn this problem around and look at it from the landlord/agent point of view. If you were the owner of this property could you have done anything faster? You would be entirely dependent on the availability of workmen.... I can't judge based on the info provided. Frankly the issues could be usual property issues rather than an indicator of a poorly maintained property.

As others have stated the renewal of the lease weakens your position...

I suggest opening discussions to see whether and how the owner agent would release you from the agreement. A decent landlord does not want a dissatisfied tenant but equally doesn't want to incur expense because someone 'changed their mind' about a contract.

Tony McVey

18:13 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

A fundamental breach of contract (any kind of
contract) by one party will enable the innocent
party to rescind the agreement. Whether you
have such a breach is a matter of fact. Your
renewal of the agreement does not help your
case. Perhaps you should write and threaten
to rescind if any further problems.

White Collar

20:35 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

It is 12 months not 6 months.

We are dealing with an agent. However, the Landlord is a limited company whose registered address is the same as the agent (probably a tax evasion thing)

We did let it lapse. It was due to run out in September. They contacted us 1 month later to enter into a new agreement.

The tenancy agreement does state that the landlord shall comply with Section 11 to 16

Thank you all for your comments. I was just being hopeful for my partner and I agree with everything you have all said.

Shakeel Ahmad

21:44 PM, 13th January 2014
About 7 years ago

It seems that your Limited company Landlord and the estate Agents may be connected. Estate Agents will insist on a years contract as it gives them a years commission otherwise they will be earning less commission in advance e.g six months.

The world would be a very peaceful place if the partners can agree and in turn the divorce/breakup rates would fall.

Industry Observer

8:43 AM, 14th January 2014
About 7 years ago

@ Philip

I think Tony is closest to the true position here and his advice is sound. Formalise the issue now with confirmation you expect any defects to be put right within the next 4 weeks otherwise you will regard it as a frustrated contract and leave without notice.

This is a legal question as the issue is what happens if you give notice - which is the alternative but in the circumstances if things are that bad would be generous of you - and then left. What would happen in terms of the deposit and above all whether the Landlord/agent/owner (all sound like they are the same person to me) decides to pursue you for the remaining rent during the latest term.

I see this sort of situation all the time and the easiest thing to do is basically threaten a counterclaim for the lack of repairs and discharging s11 duties within a reasonable time given the notice of defects.

The renewal of the lease I agree is a point the agent could argue, but compared to their shortcomings I'd say is not that strong. If it was a perfect Landlord and you just wanted out for no good reason then I'd agree the renewal is almost fatal to your position.

The other argument is whose idea was 12 months as hardly yours I assume?

But here it is totally different and I am sure any creative tenant could come up with good reasons to excuse why they renewed when they didn't need to.

The EHO and a threat of a HHSRS visit should also wake the agent up. The fact it all seems to be at the same address I'd say helps your cause and cancels out the renewal weakness in it.

Remember this is a LEGAL situation. What are the rights and wrongs and who has most wrongs?

Seems like the other side to me if what you say is correct and as Tony has said, based on the facts. I'd give them notice say to the end of February and then see what they do. Any argument over timing of notice offer to make it to end March (this assumes 1st monthly rent due date) to give them plenty of time to find another poor soul to suffer their management/ownership.

If they still won't play ball after such reasonable notice either leave or get EHO in

Romain Garcin

14:04 PM, 14th January 2014
About 7 years ago

A notice to quit has no legal effect during a fixed term tenancy, so if served it would be no more than an offer to surrender the tenancy, which the landlord would be free to accept or refuse.
The fact that the tenant might also leave has no impact.

But as mentioned, the question is rather whether the breaches would entitle the tenant to consider the tenancy forfeit, and whether the claim for disrepair the tenant may have against the landlord would make him accept an early surrender.

Industry Observer

14:16 PM, 14th January 2014
About 7 years ago

Romain

I agree but it is only being given out of courtesy and to strengthen the tenant's position.

If it truly is a frustrated contract then he can walk without notice and penalty at any time but deposit return then becomes the issue

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