LL refuses Surrender while flat is unfit?

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    LL refuses Surrender while flat is unfit?

    We've had enough of years of problems with a flat and want out but the landlord is being awkward in our view. We want to negotiate surrender on the tenancy and offered 30 day's rent from today 9th Feb, but he is insisting we pay up until the end of March.

    Me and my partner have rented the flat for 3 1/2 years now. We started out on an ast through an EA on a managed let but have been on Statutory Periodic for some time as the EA was negligent. We're reasonably good tenants and never in arrears.

    There have been various problems over the years and we have been very patient, and tried to help the overseas landlord deal with these things. I have about a hundred pages of emails back and forth and I've felt quite exhausted by the whole affair at times, feeling like an unpaid LA-by-proxy!

    At the moment I consider the flat barely fit for habitation as an ongoing rat problem has gotten to the point where power cables are getting chewed through and we have endured rotting stink and flies several times. This problem can only be fixed by considerable work to underground pipes, once the council finally discover exactly where the problem is.

    I am not prepared to wait around any more for my abode to be repaired to the standard I have been paying for for so long. The fact that the LL flatly refuses to compromise is a kick in the teeth.

    Any advice? Can I get out without the standard notice due to the health & safety concerns? I wasn't going to claim compensation but maybe I should. If so, How?

    btw 1st post, hi!

    #2
    It seems to me you have a number of options.

    You could leave early and risk your landlord coming after you for the final chunk of rent, (you may reason that this is unlikely, since he is abroad, however, it is not impossible).

    Or you could put up with the rats and sit it out. (I wouldn't!)

    Or you could leave as planned, but pay the rent up to the end of the tenancy.

    Or...if you have not already contacted the Environmental Health Officer at your local council, you could do so immediately, and he could legally force your LL to get rid of the rats....however, if your tenancy agreement holds you responsible for the cost of any infestation control which might be necessary during the tenancy, then that might not work in your favour.

    What does you TA say about pest control, by the way?

    Plan E : email your LL advising him that the rat problem has got to the point where the house is a risk to health and safety (which, from what you have said, it sounds to be). Tell him that you will be moving out until he complies with his legal obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Tell him that if necessary, the EHO will issue a statement relating to the property and will require him to comply with notice to effect repairs. This is often enough to make a LL see sense.

    Move out; pay no more rent, but put the money in a separate account so that you can demonstrate to a court if you need to, that you did not intend to default. Take photos of the property on the day you move out, showing the extent of the rat problem. Post the keys by recorded delivery to the LL's UK address. If he does not have one, he is breaking the law; notify him of that by email. If you rented the property through a letting agent, hand the keys in there instead and get a receipt. Handing in the keys is not in itself a guarantee that your LL will accept that the tenancy is over, but it's a sign you are serious.

    Please be aware that if you follow the above course of action, your LL may take you to court and you may end up paying for the pest control and the last rent payment, and his court costs.

    You may wish to consider getting legal advice at his point as to your chances of success and of getting compensation.

    Did your Ll take a tenancy deposit when you moved in?

    Good luck, whatever you decide.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      I dont think you mentioned if he has a deposit of yours.

      This is not advice...


      If I were you, from what I have read, my chosen option would be to gather as much evidence of the state of the place eg get an assessment from environmental health, document all the incidents etc

      Then I would leave at my convenience. If he holds a deposit that would become last months rent, so I would keep my rent money.

      Right a letter of your intention saying what laws he has broken and what parts of the tenancy agreement breached, what the EHO said, that you are due compensation of £X because of this; if he takes you to court to get full rent owed you will counter sue for compensation.

      You won't be able to rely on getting a reference from him for a future let though.
      All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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