Advice on landlord leaving loads of clutter and locked storage room

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    Advice on landlord leaving loads of clutter and locked storage room

    So me and my partner have just moved into a really nice 1 bedroom flat. Its definitely on the more expensive side of 1 bedrooms but it is extremely large and supposedly has a lot of storage space etc. On the RightMove description, the bedroom was described as a double bedroom with ample storage space and the property to be let as fully furnished.

    During the viewing, we weren't shown the storage room as it was locked, and the person doing the viewing just said "thats weird, not sure why its locked", we were also told a patch of mould in the bathroom would be sorted prior to moving in. After the viewing, when the agency had accepted our application for the property, we were sent an email saying it's "sold as seen" without any context so we didn't really acknowledge the sold as seen part as the email was in response to a different question and was more about our acceptance and fees etc so it kinda feels deceptive that they chucked the sold as seen in that email

    Fast forward to today where we have moved in to a number of issues:

    - The property is full to the brim with clutter (about 30 empty baskets, `100 different books, loads of cutlery, utensils, glasses, pots and pans that have taken 90% of the space in the cupboards in the kitchen leaving us literally no space - this is honestly not an over exaggeration). There is very random junk everywhere including sports equipment, empty gadget boxes, weird travelling souvenirs etc. The bathroom cupboards are full with towels and bed sheets. Also there is what appears to be dirty linen in a laundry basket.

    - The mould hasn't been dealt with

    - The storage room is locked and is apparently full of the landlords belongings

    - The bed is much smaller than a double, it has both a headboard and a backboard and both my head and feet touch them when in bed (I'm only 5'11), and our own mattress we've bought doesn't fit the bed

    We've spoken to the agency about all these issues, this is what they've said:

    - The clutter is part of the furnishing, and that we've been told that the property was sold as seen (even though we weren't explicitly told there would be loads of cutlery and baskets taking up literally all the storage in the kitchen and other spaces)

    - The bed being too small should've been mentioned during the viewing (we didn't know it was a double as we didnt bring along our tape measure to measure the bed during a viewing and just took the agency's word that it was a double LOL)

    - The storage space is locked as it has the landlords personal belongings whilst she's abroad (again, we weren't told this was going to be the case, the storage room is on the floorplans on RightMove, and is mentioned in the description on RightMove, and it isnt excluded in the tenancy contract)

    In regards to the bed, we've asked if we can just pay for a replacement double bed as the bed provided is too small and is slightly damaged, and they've said that we can only break down the bed and store it at our expense, which I think would be possible if we had that storage room, but we don't

    Most of the clutter items have been included on the inventory which they've given us a couple hours after moving into the property via email

    Would also like to mention they said there were tenants living here. When we met the neighbours and they asked where our landlord was, leaving us to believe that our landlord actually lived here. It looks like the landlord has gone travelling for a year and thought she could make quick money by renting out her property - its also easier for her to leave all her junk here without paying for storage. Is there anything legal we can do about this situation?

    We really dont want to cancel the tenancy as its a nice place in a good location, and its been extremely expensive and difficult moving in. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we literally don't know what to do.

    Thanks

    #2
    When is your break clause? Is your deposit in the protected deposit scheme?

    You can tell the agents that you are going to complaint to council environmental health. That'll sort out the mould.

    The rest you can threaten to sue as the property not as described and you were told the stuff will be out.

    Comment


      #3
      I dont think there is a break clause, its just a 12 month term AST and we would also rather not move out. The deposit is also in a protection scheme according to our AST

      Comment


        #4
        I think I'd be getting a locksmith to pick the lock on the storage room and make you a key, put everything you don't want in there and lock it up again.

        (You could always get the junk out again when you leave.)

        Comment


          #5
          I did think about doing that, but we've been told by the agency (after asking for the key) that the landlords got all her stuff in it. The agency have said they are currently liasing with the landlord whilst she's abroad, but honestly they just dont seem that interested in offering solutions

          Comment


            #6
            Ask for landlord's email and contact her directly?

            Comment


              #7
              Apparently the agency have already asked the landlord in regards to the clutter i.e. the books and cutlery, and replacing the bed. They've told us that she definitely doesnt want to get rid of the bed "as its her bed" and the books and cutlery are included in the furnishing. It is a bit of a frustrating situation as I do believe a lot of the "furnishing" isn't normal, I've never had a property provide cutlery and random empty baskets and literally over 100 books, and Ive rented a couple furnished properties. If all of this was explicitly disclosed to us we'd have negotiated or just not signed the agreement

              Comment


                #8
                If the landlord is using it for storage, it may be a "council tax HMO", and the landlord may be responsible for the council tax.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by SoManyBaskets333 View Post

                  we have moved in to a number of issues:
                  If the issues are so important to you, then negotiate (and pay for) them in future.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    IMO, there is no legal definition of 'fully furnished'. It varies by Property, though it should contain essentials like carpets, lighting, some curtains for Privacy, somewhere to sleep, means to cook a meal with some crockery/utensils (your apparent 'clutter'). If you wanted to move some of your 'stuff' in, why not choose an unfurnished Property, which should contain the basics?
                    As for her locked storage room, negotiate a pro rata rent reduction for lost floor space?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by boletus View Post

                      If the issues are so important to you, then negotiate (and pay for) them in future.
                      If the issues were explicitly mentioned before signing the contract and during the viewing, I would have definitely negotiated, but alas they weren't mentioned, infact in descriptions on RightMove, we were lead to believe the opposite i.e. "ample storage space", "double bed room".

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mariner View Post
                        IMO, there is no legal definition of 'fully furnished'. It varies by Property, though it should contain essentials like carpets, lighting, some curtains for Privacy, somewhere to sleep, means to cook a meal with some crockery/utensils (your apparent 'clutter'). If you wanted to move some of your 'stuff' in, why not choose an unfurnished Property, which should contain the basics?
                        As for her locked storage room, negotiate a pro rata rent reduction for lost floor space?
                        I agree with what you're saying, but I don't think I've clarified how excessive this "furnishing" is. There are literally probably 30 empty medium sized baskets, weird large suitcase sized lock boxes that are locked, over 100 random books, over 50 glasses. The kitchen was literally full to the brim with cutlery that we genuinely had 0 space to put anything in. Even if I didnt bring any cutlery or plates myself, I still wouldnt have enough space to store food. Every single cupboard and drawer in the kitchen has been full of stuff. Every single storage space you can think of has something there, whether it be many empty baskets ontop of a cupboard, or 50 books on the window sill. Luckily the flat is quite large and we've managed to put some of the clutter in boxes and leave them in the middle of the hallway, but as you can imagine this isn't really practical on a 12 month tenancy.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Your legal rights in this situation are pretty negligible, you viewed the property with the clutter and locked room. What does your AST say about the landlord? Presumably there is something saying they lived there previously so you can expect to be evicted when the landlady returns from her travelling.

                          Anything not on the inventory can go to the tip.

                          If there is this much clutter in the flat then the storage room is probably full to the brim too. You should ask if someone will open in for long enough for you to put items in but the agent may not have a key or be prepared to use it if they do have one.

                          You could put items you dont want into store and try to claim a rent reduction but most likely the landlord would apply to have the costs back from your deposit. If there is space under the bed put the clutter under it.

                          Remove backboard from the bed, your mattress will go on, support the end with a blanket box or some of the clutter boxes. . Make sure the damage is on the inventory and that the mould is also on the inventory. It's probably less hassle to bleach the mould than involve environmental health but your choice.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If the store room isn't excluded, you have a right to access and use it.
                            I think that's the key point - it's not a grey area and "as seen" doesn't affect the right to access the property that you're renting.
                            Tell the agent that you want to access all of the property you are renting and to sort out access.

                            If something is described as a double bed, it should be a double bed ( 54" x 75" ).
                            There is a smaller size, which is a small double bed ( 48" x 75"), but that should be described as such, the "small" part is an essential part of the description, it's not a minor issue.

                            If you start with those two points, which are not really debateable, you might find that accessing the storage space gives you room to shift the rest of the things you don't want.
                            Otherwise, I'd tell the agent that you're planning to move out because they haven't supplied the property, just a part of it because of the storage room issue.
                            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              ...Or just tell the Agent that the landlord is responsible for the Council Tax if they won't give you access to that room and that you won't be paying it. You can then use that money to store/replace the bed.

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