Wet walls and mould: can T leave tenancy early?

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  • Wet walls and mould: can T leave tenancy early?

    Good Afternoon,

    I'm currently in a fixed term 6month contract renting a one bed flat. Over the last couple of weeks wet patches have been appearing over the inside of my bedroom wall (an external wall). I have reported this to my landlord who is willing to fix it but says the flat needs to be vacant in order to fix it and therefore informed me I will need to move out at the end of my tennacy (mid October) when the repairs will be completed.

    Every time it rains, new wet patches are appearing on the walls, the damp areas are also expanding and now black and white mould is appearing on the walls.

    I have contacted the landlord and asked to negotiate to end the tenancy early, to enable me to move out (before it affects my severe asthma!) and also to enable her to complete the work sooner. This has been denied and I have been told I am still liable to fulfill my contractual payments until the end of my tenancy (mid October).

    I would be really grateful if anyone could offer me some advice to whether I have any legal right to demand the agreement finishes sooner than mid october.

    Many thanks in advance.

  • #2
    This link has useful info on dealing with disrepair.
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...n_private_lets

    To start with, contact the local council who will have someone in charge of standards in private rental accommodation. Mould and damp is a health hazard, even without having asthma, and councils have powers to enforce repairs. (see the section on the link entitled "contacting environmental health")

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you Westminster, for your speedy reply, much appreciated.
      Have just found a section in my contract which reads...

      'in the event of damage to or destruction of the property by any of the risks insured against by the landlord the tenant shall be relieved from payment of rent to the extent that the tenant's use and enjoyment of the property is thereby prevented and from performance of it's obligations as to the state and condition of the property to the extent that the insurance if prejudiced by any act or default of the tenant'

      would this be a suitable clause to insist on a surrender of tenancy?

      Oooo fingers crossed! Many thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lou0102 View Post
        Have just found a section in my contract which reads...

        'in the event of damage to or destruction of the property by any of the risks insured against by the landlord the tenant shall be relieved from payment of rent to the extent that the tenant's use and enjoyment of the property is thereby prevented and from performance of it's obligations as to the state and condition of the property to the extent that the insurance if prejudiced by any act or default of the tenant'

        would this be a suitable clause to insist on a surrender of tenancy?.
        No I think that's just about things like major fire/flood which forced T to move out - a bit of damp/mould isn't in that league.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by westminster View Post
          No I think that's just about things like major fire/flood which forced T to move out - a bit of damp/mould isn't in that league.
          I agree. Mould is not one of the insured risks, so that clause is inapplicable.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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          • #6
            Thank you very much for your replies, I do appreciate it.
            I've asked again about negotiating to finish the tenancy early and this has again been refused.

            I guess I now have to sit it out for the remainder of the contract and hope things don't get any worse and I don't get ill! Or move elsewhere and incur the cost of rent for two places for 6weeks.

            It's frustrating that I'm having to pay full rent when the LL is not going to do anything to fix the problem until I leave! I know also, that if I do decide to move out early, the LL will use the opportunity to start the repairs earlier; if they do I will certainly have something to say about it!!

            Thanks again.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by lou0102 View Post
              I guess I now have to sit it out for the remainder of the contract and hope things don't get any worse and I don't get ill! Or move elsewhere and incur the cost of rent for two places for 6weeks.
              Or take action such as contacting the council to force LL to carry out repairs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Some developments, some concerns.

                Thanks to everyone again who replied. Since my last message I contacted my LL again to formally request an early end to my tenancy and to inform them that I was not happy and was taking advice in relation to the problem. I decided to give them some time to respond to my message before following the steps you kindly advised me to.

                So, I've been away for a few days and returned to my flat today where I found a to let sign outside the house. It is my flat that is being advertised and is listed on the agents website as available to rent from the 1st Setember. First I knew of it!!! Now I'm actually very pleased, as I am hopeful that the LL has decided to release me from my tenancy on 31st August, but as yet, no response or contact at all from the LL! (I have a printed copy of this advert as proof). Would this stand as proof I am being released? Only it's two weeks away and I currently have nowhere to go! Do they think I'm stupid and I wouldn't notice the great big sign!?

                My main concern..... my rental contract started on the 14th of the month, so my next monthly installment of rent is due leave my account this Friday (14th). Within the contract is a clause that if rent is late, interest will be applied to the money owed. If I stopped this payment and paid half a months rent to tide me until the 31st August (assuming they are allowing me to leave) would I be held in breach of contract? I fully suspect I will not receive a reply until after the 14th for this reason and I will then have to fight to get the money returned in addition to the deposit.

                If the flat is being advertised as tenantable from 1st Sept, the LL is clearly not going to have any time to complete the necessary repairs! Instead it'll prob be a paint over it job in an effort to conceal it! The black mold is hidden behind my bedframe, but anyone viewing the flat with eyes would not be able to miss the damp patches on the walls!

                When do they suppose to show people round! I understand they need my consent to do so, but in view of this latest trick, I wouldn't put it past them to try and do so without me knowing: my LL knows the dates I am away. I'm intending to change my alarm code and I know if it does happen that my neighbours will tell me too if they are here. Even still, I'm nervous about the possibility of people I don't know being in my flat without my consent. And, if they do decide to inform me it is being advertised and want me to show the people around, I'm not going to lie if asked direct questions about things!!

                So as you can see, it's a mixed bag of emotions....I'm pleased, concerned and a bit panicky! And light you can shed on the situation will be very gratefully received I can assure you!

                Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to read my little essay.
                Best wishes, L

                Comment


                • #9
                  They dont need you out to repair, sounds like a gutter or roof problem which would be initially fixed from outside.

                  Perhaps your landlord does not like you and wants you to leave and so is spinning you a yarn?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you pay the whole month's rent in advance, then you are able to leave early, it is unlikely you will be able to claim any of the 'overpaid' rent back unless LL agrees.

                    I suggest you write to LL; advise that you have noticed the flat appears to be to let from 1st Sept; you will not at this stage assume you are being illegally evicted (although it might be construed as such), but assume instead that he has reconsidered your request for an early surrender of the tenancy due to the disrepair, and that until he can clarify the position, you will put your rent into a separate account ready to be paid to him once the confusion over the end of your tenancy has been resolved.

                    Has this man protected your tenancy deposit, by the way?
                    '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

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                    • #11
                      Wet walls and mould: can T leave tenancy early?

                      When we first viewed it in May 07 we told the Letting agent we wouldn't take it if it was noisy because we have kids in bed at 7.30 and want to lead a normal family life - so if other tenants are noisy students partying all night or if walls are thin, floors noisy etc could he tell us now so we wouldn't waste each others time. It was daytime when we viewed and nice and quiet. Letting agent, who seemed a nice gent, assured us the place was v. quiet. Great.

                      We also told him there was no point letting the place to us if the landlord was going to put rent up more than �50 per year because as the rent stood we would be at our limit.

                      He assured us the landlord never put the rent up by more than �50 p.a. so not to worry. We signed an AST fixed term for one year and when we moved in the LA whipped out a Section 21 saying it wasn�t anything to worry about. Our last place was rented off a friend and we had a verbal agreement so all this was new to us. With our 2 small kids we were just desperate to move in somewhere and get settled. We had no chance of researching what an S21 was at that stage so we took his word.

                      We moved in and found the place had severe noise issues � esp at nights. Common parts, stairs, hallway all uncarpeted wood and broken tiling so upstairs people traipse through day and night with loud footsteps, banging the wooden front doors and waking us up. Rotten wooden floorboards in flats upstairs creaking and cracking like gun shots when you are asleep in middle of night. All other neighbours bar one nice couple are druggies or party girls so noise not limited to daytime. We were so exhausted by the move itself, with 2 young kids in tow, we just tried to make the best of it. Bought earplugs. Moved around to sleep in different rooms in middle of night if noise grew to loud on one side of the flat.
                      We discovered that over our bedroom were 2 shift workers. So our bedroom is only quiet enough to sleep in between 1 a.m. and 5.45 a.m., and not at all at weekends when they have screaming mates over. The thudding of their footsteps and creaking boards means we have not slept properly for 18 months now.

                      Now my health is suffering.

                      We negotiated with landlord who agreed to get floorboards fixed but nothing was promised about dampening noisiness of common parts like carpeting the stairs or anything. The shift worker tenants were told to ring the floor repair man to sort out a time good to get it done. But they didn�t. And so the noise continued.

                      Then in March this year, 2 months before our first year�s tenancy was up, the letting agent came round asking if we wanted to continue living here. He brought a new AST agreement for us to sign and when we looked at it were shocked to see the LL wanted to raise our rent by �200 pcm. A rise of 20%. The Letting Agent said the LL had to repair floorboards above us so he had �to get the money from somewhere�.

                      We didn�t know what to do. Because of the Section 21 repossession order, we were legally bound to vacate the property in exactly 2 months time. But how could we possibly find another suitable property in the one month window left to do it in? We were a family with 2 little kids, not a single young person with hardly any responsibilities or possessions.
                      After an incredibly stressful month of seeking legal advice and desperately searching for suitable properties, we stayed, thinking that another move, after only one year, would kill us. We hoped things might improve, that the floorboards upstairs would be fixed eventually, that after some friendly negotiation the neighbours would start behaving better, but of course nothing changed.

                      Then, in June, some new psycho neighbours moved in upstairs. They seemed to spend all day on booze and drugs binges, fighting and smashing stuff all night, so even all the other noisy, partying neighbours were pissed off � for a change! One day in July, after boozing all day, Psych neighbours smashed several windows into our garden below. The falling glass narrowly missed me and our children. I stormed up to find out what was going on and was met with the psycho neighbour�s usual volley of abuse. The Letting agent said he would �have a word� with psychos and that was all that happened.

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