Breaking a residential agreement with the University

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  • Breaking a residential agreement with the University

    Hi

    I’m currently living in halls of residence, I signed a 42 week residential agreement which I want to break, unfortunately the university is unwilling to let me do this, so I’m posting here to see if there is any way I can get out of the contract.

    There are many reasons for me wanting to move, but the only one which I believe could be used to repudiate the contract is an issue concerning heating/bills...

    The accommodation was sold as having all bills included; however heating is limited to the hours of 7-9am and 5-9am. I’m wondering if I can break the contract on the grounds that this was a misrepresentation or distortion of the truth. It would of had an impact on my decision to take the property as I suffer from eczema/dry skin which means I shower at least twice a day, 3 times when I go to the gym. The limited heating makes it hard to dry towels, which has led to other issues; condensation etc. Since moving into Halls my skin condition has visibly worsened though I’m not sure I can use this to break the contract, so I’m wondering is the issue regarding the heating going to be enough. Or do the university have me over a barrel?

    Thanks for any replies

  • #2
    University's letting to student is entirely outside the scope of the Housing Act 1988, but its contents have full legal contractual effect. Moreover, L is subject to s.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (see post #5 on http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...812#post166812) just as is any other L.
    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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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, though I don't see how it helps, though this could be down to my own ignorance.

      There is nothing wrong with the heating, it isn't in need of repair... we just only get it at certain times, something which wasn't mentioned when I signed the agreement. I'm basically looking for a reason to break the contract, and am wondering if the above distortion of the truth is enough

      Comment


      • #4
        No. You'd need to rely on some sort of breach by L in respect of its contractual obligations.
        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).

        Comment


        • #5
          FWIW I work in the Accommodation Services at a University. 'My' University will only release students in the following circumstances
          - you withdraw from your course and are no longer a student.
          - you 'replace' yourself with another, non-contractually bound student (we still have a list of commuters going, your University may be in the same position) ask on your course or through the student union.
          - you appeal to be released on grounds of severe mitigating circumstances (think death, misery, despair).

          Can you appeal on the grounds that your skin conditon has worsened?

          TBH I can't see why you dry toewls in your room - are there no laundry facilities in your Halls?

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          • #6
            Hi Tess, thanks for the response

            There are many reasons why I want to leave my room, I am miserable and it is affecting my work, however they don't seem overly interested in this, hence why I have posted about the heating, as it is the only thing i could think of that could be used to void the contract. Me being miserable is not enough, its still upto the universitys discretion, plus i just wasn't goin to mention it on a forum. I have spoken to someone about this, but its just a case of being referred along and not a lot happening.

            If I drop out they'll release me whch seems crazy as they lose tuition fees and accommodation fees, this is obviously a last resort but I have told them I'm considering this due to it affecting my work, they still stand firm on me being liable to pay fees though. I wont post all my problems on here, but suffice to say the heating is a very small part of it

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            • #7
              Ok, you're miserable. University is rough, no doubt, but how will leaving Halls help you feel better?
              Is it your flat mates? You should be able to speak to a residential officer/warden/pastoral support about this. Keep on, and don't expect one report to be enough.
              Does your University offer the opportunity to transfer into another flat? Perhaps you can use the Union or orther forum to find a student willing to swap rooms with you?
              Perhaps you are miserable because you do not enjoy your course - you could speak to your course tutor or relvant person.
              If it is a money issue - student finance england messed up big time this year and you will find that your University is going to be MUCH more respectful of financial problems than a private landlord, trust me on this one.
              I'd also suggest the counselling department (I'd have thought ALL universities would have one) because going to Uni is stressful and can make people depressed.
              There is a lot you can do to mitiagte your problems short of breaking contract, and your University will think the same.

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              • #8
                I'm a postgraduate, I've already spent 3 years at University in Sheffield, now somewhere different, so I'm used to usual ups and downs in University life. Problems here are different, not what I wanted to get into on the forum tbh

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 3styler View Post
                  I'm a postgraduate, I've already spent 3 years at University in Sheffield, now somewhere different, so I'm used to usual ups and downs in University life. Problems here are different, not what I wanted to get into on the forum tbh
                  But you do not appear to have any legal grounds to withdraw from a letting into which you freely entered.
                  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).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes, I'm aware of that now

                    I knew I was clutching at straws when I mentioned the limited heating being a distortion of fact. But that was the only legal recource i thought i might have. I have only posted extra details to try and show that this was not the only, or even main reason for me wanting to leave my halls of residence

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You sound bloody miserable, poor thing. I think the best advice is to follow Tess's advice. Go and talk to the University Counselling service/Chaplaincy/Nurse.

                      Talk to your Doctor about depression. Get a letter from your Doctor making reference to your obvious depression, its cause arising from your accommodation, and take it to the university counselling service and then see what happens.

                      What sort of tinpot uniersity do you attend that ignores the welfare of its students?

                      Or buy yourself an electric heater. If condensation is a problem, open your windows.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm sorry you feel so unhappy. I think it might be worth kicking up a fuss about the heating issue, since it is a fairly basic requirement and it is arguably unreasonable that you can only have heating for a few hours per day, especially if no mention is made of it in the agreement you signed.

                        AST tenants have come on this forum and asked whether it is lawful for their LLs to control (and ration) the heating in their properties, and the consensus has generally been that it is not. I appreciate that Universities are literally a law unto themselves when it comes to providing accommodation, but it's worth seeking legal advice perhaps from a Legal Aid lawyer - your Student Welfare Office will be able to put you in touch with one.

                        Other than that, I agree with the suggestion about the convector heater - Argos, £20 - and it would be worth putting your own ad on Accommodationfor students.com - you may just be lucky and find someone who wants your room in hall.

                        Good luck - I hope it works out for you.

                        Telometer - the uni is not necessarily a tinpot one, in fact in my experience, the bigger the institution, the less interested they are in the individual and his/her problems. My son spent his first three weeks in a Manchester University shared flat (8 lads), with no working toilets or hot water - this led to an outbreak of diarrhoea and sickness and general misery all round. The Accommodation Office just blamed it all on the contractors, who had not apparently checked that things worked after they had refurbished the flats and said nothing could be done until the main contractor came back form his holiday. Rubbish, really.
                        '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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post

                          Telometer - the uni is not necessarily a tinpot one, in fact in my experience, the bigger the institution, the less interested they are in the individual and his/her problems. My son spent his first three weeks in a Manchester University shared flat (8 lads), with no working toilets or hot water - this led to an outbreak of diarrhoea and sickness and general misery all round. The Accommodation Office just blamed it all on the contractors, who had not apparently checked that things worked after they had refurbished the flats and said nothing could be done until the main contractor came back form his holiday. Rubbish, really.
                          Did you push for compensation?
                          All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bel View Post
                            Did you push for compensation?
                            The lads did and got nowhere - don't know how hard they pushed. The trouble was, they were all feeling so lousy because of the D & V that they didn't have much fighting spirit at the time. Then when they were better they were desperately trying to catch up with work missed and find a sociial life (Freshers Week had passed them by), so I think they gave up.
                            '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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                            • #15
                              Oh, actually... I think they got their bus fares to the gym refunded (they had to go there to have showers).
                              '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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