Leaving a contract early due to poor living conditions

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    Leaving a contract early due to poor living conditions

    Hello all.

    Just looking for some opinions on my current situation and whether the steps I intend to take are reasonable.

    We have been renting our current flat for just over three years, we have a 2 month rolling contract agreement.

    In November of last year we had a bad leak in the bathroom which has left wallpaper coming off the walls, missing tiles and some nasty damp patches. We have been requesting that this be repaired for more than 7 months to no avail. During the last conversation I had with the LL, where I was quite irate at the situation, the LL said if I wasn't happy it would be best for me to leave, they also said it would be at least 3 more months before they would repair the damage.

    This is obviously totally unacceptable so we have taken an opportunity that has arisen to move to another property. However we have a small window where we can make this happen, so, we plan to give only 2 weeks notice on the basis that the property is no longer in a habitable condition.

    We can do this at no extra cost be simply withholding our final rent payment. Obviously my slight concern is that the LL may look to recover 6 weeks rent, or worse legal costs, which we can ill afford.

    Is it reasoanble to break the contract given the described situation?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    #2
    Originally posted by Pooza View Post
    Hello all.

    Just looking for some opinions on my current situation and whether the steps I intend to take are reasonable.

    We have been renting our current flat for just over three years, we have a 2 month rolling contract agreement.

    In November of last year we had a bad leak in the bathroom which has left wallpaper coming off the walls, missing tiles and some nasty damp patches. We have been requesting that this be repaired for more than 7 months to no avail. During the last conversation I had with the LL, where I was quite irate at the situation, the LL said if I wasn't happy it would be best for me to leave, they also said it would be at least 3 more months before they would repair the damage.
    This is obviously totally unacceptable so we have taken an opportunity that has arisen to move to another property. However we have a small window where we can make this happen, so, we plan to give only 2 weeks notice on the basis that the property is no longer in a habitable condition.

    We can do this at no extra cost be simply withholding our final rent payment. Obviously my slight concern is that the LL may look to recover 6 weeks rent, or worse legal costs, which we can ill afford.

    Is it reasoanble to break the contract given the described situation?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    You can give ONE month's notice to expire at the end of a rent payment period; the LL must give you two (he cannot insist you give two; it's a statuory periodic tenancy and the minimum notice periods for T and LL are laid down in law).

    You cannot however just give two weeks' notice unless the LL is willing to release you early - get this in writing from him, if he is.

    The problems with damp/mould, etc., which you describe are regrettable, but not sufficient grounds to break your contract. Telling you to wait three months on the other hand is unacceptable and you could use this as a lever to agree an early surrender; say that you think you should involve the EHO, as you are concerned that even another month of living with the damp is a health risk. It might galavanise him into action - or into agreeing to release you early.
    '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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      #3
      Thanks for the reply. Some useful info. I think we may, reluctantly, try and delay the move for a couple of weeks so we give a full months notice.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Pooza View Post
        Thanks for the reply. Some useful info. I think we may, reluctantly, try and delay the move for a couple of weeks so we give a full months notice.
        OK. In that case, make sure your notice is dated correctly. What was the exact start date of your tenancy when it was a fixed term AST?
        '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


          #5
          Originally posted by Pooza View Post
          In November of last year we had a bad leak in the bathroom which has left wallpaper coming off the walls, missing tiles and some nasty damp patches. We have been requesting that this be repaired for more than 7 months to no avail. During the last conversation I had with the LL, where I was quite irate at the situation, the LL said if I wasn't happy it would be best for me to leave, they also said it would be at least 3 more months before they would repair the damage.

          ...we plan to give only 2 weeks notice on the basis that the property is no longer in a habitable condition.
          From the sound of it, it's not uninhabitable, and the disrepair is insufficient to remove your contractual rent liability.

          However, as the disrepair has been ongoing for several months, what I would do is gather as much evidence as possible, (including getting the environmental health officer to inspect, copies of letters to LL reporting disrepair, photos, etc etc etc) because, if you leave early and the LL claims for unpaid rent, you could then counterclaim for the disrepair, and this could easily offset a couple of weeks' rent if you have good evidence. (Probably not worth the hassle of making a claim against LL just for the disrepair, but it's good counterclaim/defence material).

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