Oral letting agreement only- and L won't fix anything

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    Oral letting agreement only- and L won't fix anything

    Hi everyone,

    I could really do with some help.

    I moved into rented accommodation on the 30th October. From the moment we moved in things have been a complete joke.

    We have no central heating so rely on electric heaters, when we moved in three out of five were broken. It took three weeks to receive new heaters.

    We also had a verbal agreement that a shower would be put into the property. This was agreed upon before we signed the contract. On arrival in the flat we found a shower unit (one which is attached to the taps). If you want a cold shower this is fine but the water pressure is too low for it to work properly and the hot water just trickles out!

    We have repeatedly asked them to fix the shower, after 6 weeks I finally spoke to their repair man. He was coming over to fix the shower, leaking taps etc. He told me that the shower would never work as it is and that this was known to him, the landlord and agency before we arrived. He said the only way to have a shower in the property would be to install an electric one. Having this new information I contacted my agency. They then said the shower was a gift (although one that didn't work) and that neither they nor the landlord would replace it as the property will eventually be demolished and new flats built in its place.

    We told them this breached our oral agreement and therefore breached our contract. We then handed in our notice to leave the property.

    Now they say we must pay up 6 months worth of rent to leave.

    The other problem with our contract is that there is no value to the rent we must pay as they forgot to put this in there when we signed. They have now written an amount into their own copy but we still have a blank amount.

    After all the problems we have received in less than 2 months of residing here i would like to leave and find another home. Can I legally do this?? Or will I as they say have to pay all the rent up to leave?

    As I was writing this my phone just rang. It was my agency saying that they feel morally they should give us a shower as the landlord did agree to this. They are saying they want to make us comfortable as we are going to have to stay there.....

    What shall I do??? I have told them I am checking my legal rights...

    There are also other repair issues that need solving.

    Such as:

    The fridge/freezer: The freezer section doesn't work properly so the food defrosts.
    Windows: Need draft proofing

    Another problem I face is that we do not have an inventory and I am terrified that they will take our whole bond when we leave. I did ask for one but it was never received!

    Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Even the name of a good, inexpensive solicitor.

    I have just moved to Bristol and feel cheated and severely unhappy.::
    Last edited by daniellepace19; 14-11-2006, 15:22 PM. Reason: title change

    #2
    Oral and written contracts

    I have tried to focus on some key points of the Danielle's post and made comments in red


    Originally posted by daniellepace19 View Post
    <snip>

    We also had a verbal agreement that a shower would be put into the property. This was agreed upon before we signed the contract. On arrival in the flat we found a shower unit (one which is attached to the taps). If you want a cold shower this is fine but the water pressure is too low for it to work properly and the hot water just trickles out! <snip>

    We told them this breached our oral agreement and therefore breached our contract. We then handed in our notice to leave the property.

    Now they say we must pay up 6 months worth of rent to leave.

    This is completely wrong. If you leave the landlord has a duty to mitigate his losses by reletting the property. The tenant might contend that the condition of the property is making it difficult to let.

    The other problem with our contract is that there is no value to the rent we must pay as they forgot to put this in there when we signed. They have now written an amount into their own copy but we still have a blank amount.

    A verbal agreement can be sufficient to constitute a contract and I am not sure that the absence of the rental figure will invalidate the creation of an AST with a minimum period of six months. How is the rent paid and would the landlord have evidence of payments you have made to confirm that the verbal agreement has been put into effect?

    After all the problems we have received in less than 2 months of residing here i would like to leave and find another home. Can I legally do this?? Or will I as they say have to pay all the rent up to leave?

    It may be best to obtain independent professional advice on the condition of the property and take photographs to support the contentions you have set out here. In the event of the landlord failing to return your deposit and you may need to take action through:- HMCS MoneyClaim online

    As I was writing this my phone just rang. It was my agency saying that they feel morally they should give us a shower as the landlord did agree to this. They are saying they want to make us comfortable as we are going to have to stay there.....

    Not a moral obligation but a legal obligation. Verbal agreements apply to both landlord and tenant

    Another problem I face is that we do not have an inventory and I am terrified that they will take our whole bond when we leave. I did ask for one but it was never received!

    It there is no inventory or condition report , signed by both the landlord and tenant at the start of the tenancy, the landlord has no evidence whatsover to support retention of the deposit. A retrospective document has no validity. Use MoneyClaim or take action in your local County Court to get the return of the deposit plus the costs of the Court action and independent inspection.
    Maybe write to the agent (with a copy to the landlord) a WITHOUT PREJUDICE letter setting out all the issues in your original post. State that the verbal and written obligations of the contract have been thwarted by ineffective action by the landlord to resolve repairs and maintenance obligations promptly.

    Seek their agreement to an early termination of the agreement by (set out the date you wish to leave) and seek assurances that, having regard to the unsatisfactory condition of the property and the repairs and renovations required, they will forego any claim against you for alleged loss of rental income. Bearing in mind there is no signed inventory the landlord will not be able to make a successful claim to retain money against the deposit.

    State if the agent and landlord cannot agree to your WITHOUT PREJUDICE proposals you will seek a professional report on the condition of the property and the cost of that report will be added to your claim for the return of the deposit. Furthermore you will seek confirmation of the verbal advice you have been given as to whether or not there could be a claim for damages arising from the failure to provide essential heating and washing facilities.

    You could also seek the help of the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter or obtain the input from a specialist housing solicitor advertising on this forum.

    Other contributors to this forum may agree or disagree with the proposal I have suggested to resolve this dispute.
    Vic - wicked landlord
    Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
    Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

    Comment


      #3
      Helpful advice

      Thank you so much.

      Now I feel I know what my next step.

      As far as rent payments go we have only paid one months rent and we paid it in cash. We also paid 1 months rent in advance and the deposit.

      I will take your advice and write them a letter.

      I have also been trying to get advice from my CAB but haven't received a call back yet.

      Thanks again

      One more thing I have asked three times now for my landlords name and address but have not received it. I think this is illegal. If I am right how could I find out this info?
      Last edited by daniellepace19; 14-11-2006, 16:37 PM. Reason: spelling errors

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by daniellepace19 View Post
        <snip>

        One more thing I have asked three times now for my landlords name and address but have not received it. I think this is illegal. If I am right how could I find out this info?
        See Shelter - Landlord's responsibilities It sets out very clearly the action to adopt if you are unable to obtain the name and address of the landlord.
        Vic - wicked landlord
        Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
        Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

        Comment


          #5
          I hope you haven't been paying the rent?

          Nothing like 'no rent' makes us landlords take notice of things quickly.

          This character is doing everyone a great disservice and being a *&^$%£"%^ as well.

          Comment


            #6
            We've been in this flat for under two months but did pay the rent due on the 30th - foolish I know.

            We then handed our notice in on Saturday to be told we would be liable for 6 months rent.

            This is the next step - hopefully it'll work

            We don't even want the problems repaired we just want to leave...

            Comment


              #7
              Excellent letter Danielle.

              It's a good record to present as evidence in Court should you need to start recovery procedures for deposit. I'm not in a position to advise whether or not you may have a stronger claim for damages but hope I am correct your objective is to get out of the property without penalty.

              On general internet security suggest you immediately delete on the draft displayed on this forum the specific reference to the address of the property concerned and maybe the name of your partner.

              I still feel you should state the date on which you intend to leave the property and state the time and date you wish the agent to attend the property for final inspection and for you to hand over the keys (best this coincides at the end of a rental period). Otherwise you will return the keys (state method... special delivery, hand in to office)

              Maybe state that unless you have a full, reasoned and legally valid response to this letter within (state number of days - maybe 7 or 10 if you are feeling generous) you will assume that you accept my right to terminate the tenancy without penalty and will return my deposit in full.

              Hope this is helpful but bear in mind the proviso set out in my signature to these posts.

              I shouldn't suggest that you withold the last month or rent and thus avoid the need to take the landlord to Court to secure the return of your deposit.

              Good luck
              Vic - wicked landlord
              Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
              Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

              Comment


                #8
                Setting aside the disrepair issues, if a tenant enters into a fixed term contract they are bound to honour that contract and pay the rent up to the expiry of the fixed term if they leave early.

                I am not aware that if the landlord then relets the property prior to the end of the fixed term contract this removes the liabiltiy of the vacating tenant, however I may be wrong

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by propman2 View Post
                  <snip>
                  I am not aware that if the landlord then relets the property prior to the end of the fixed term contract this removes the liabiltiy of the vacating tenant, however I may be wrong
                  You are wrong. - this issue is has been well covered on LandlordZONE

                  Furthermore there are two parties to a contract and you cannot have a serious breach of contract by the landlord and thus thwart the contract to the prejudice of the tenant.

                  Look at both the written terms of contract within the AST and the implied terms of contract

                  Implied terms of tenancy agreements


                  There are obligations the tenant and landlord have which may not be set down in the agreement but which are given by law and are implied into all tenancy agreements. These terms form part of the contract, even though they have not been specifically agreed between your landlord and you.

                  Some of the most common implied terms are:-

                  the landlord must carry out basic repairs
                  the landlord must keep the installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating and heating water in good working order
                  the landlord must respect right of the tenant to live peacefully in the accommodation without nuisance from the landlord
                  the tenant has an obligation to take proper care of the accommodation.

                  From the evidence provided by the OP the landlord is clearly failing to meet his/her legal obligations and not meeting contract requirements.
                  Vic - wicked landlord
                  Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                  Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for your help and advice (address has now been removed from post!)

                    I have added in the leaving date etc. as suggested.

                    And you are completely right, I do not want compensation i simply want to vacate the property and to have my deposit returned as I feel that we have been treated unfairly and that the situation will only worsen if we stay.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by propman2 View Post
                      Setting aside the disrepair issues, if a tenant enters into a fixed term contract they are bound to honour that contract and pay the rent up to the expiry of the fixed term if they leave early.

                      I am not aware that if the landlord then relets the property prior to the end of the fixed term contract this removes the liabiltiy of the vacating tenant, however I may be wrong
                      If old T acquiesces, it might. L cannot claim rent from old T at same time as claiming from new T, so re-letting implies L's acceptance that old T no longer liable. It's then up to old T whether to concur.
                      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


                        #12
                        So if/when he re-rents the property he cannot attempt to claim costs from ourselves.

                        Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.

                        Also, does he have to try and advertise the property or can he do nothing and keep trying to claim rent from us if he does not consent to us leaving?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by daniellepace19 View Post
                          So if/when he re-rents the property he cannot attempt to claim costs from ourselves.

                          Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.

                          Also, does he have to try and advertise the property or can he do nothing and keep trying to claim rent from us if he does not consent to us leaving?
                          Well, L cannot have it both ways can he?
                          Old T is not entitled to force surrender during fixed term- so L will rely on old T keeping his side of the deal.
                          Only if old T defaults will L need to try to find new (replacement) T, as L is then under a duty to mitigate his potential loss.
                          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


                            #14
                            Surely this must be a breach of contract by the Landlord

                            All the best Danielle
                            Last edited by Bel; 17-11-2006, 08:26 AM.
                            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks

                              I just wanted to post an update and send my thanks.

                              I sent the 'without prejudice' letter as advised. I waited a week and then rang my letting agency fearing the worst - either having to stay there or losing my deposit and having to pursue things through the courts.

                              I couldn't have been more wrong.

                              The agency admitted that they had broken promises and acted unfairly and agreed that we could leave the flat and are returning our deposit in full.

                              I am so happy and grateful to you all.

                              Super thanks to worldlife - you really helped me out!!

                              Comment

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