Landlord breach of contract

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    Landlord breach of contract


    I have a friend who is a student and has signed with other students a one year rental contract for a house starting from September for one year. They have not moved into the house yet but have paid the deposit and signed the contract. In the contract that the landlord signed it was specified that he would carry out some specific work on the property and would convert a shower room into a toilet and that the work would be completed before they moved in. He signed the contract with this clause and the tenants also signed the contract. They only proceeded with the rental of this particular property because the landlord had undertaken to carry out this work. They have now been informed that the landlord got builders to quote for the work of conversion of the shower into a toilet and this is going to be too costly and he is not willing to carry out the work. He will carry out the rest of the work (which was minor cosmetic work) and he is willing to clean up the shower room and get in working order but will not convert into a toilet as agreed in the contract. My friends asked that they be compensated for this with a reduction of the rent but the landlord has refused.

    What is their position? I would have thought that as the landlord is in breach of contract if they decide not to go ahead with the rental they should have their deposit returned to them? Is that correct. However I think they do want to go ahead with the rental anyway but have asked me if they refuse to pay the stipulated rent then could they be evicted. I think they could because in this case they would also be in breach of contract but do they not have a right to be compensated for the breach of contract on the part of the landlord?

    Alternatively could they go ahead with the rental but take the landlord to court for breach of contract?

    Any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks

    What are they hoping to get out of it if they went to court?

    A rent reduction might be possible and reasonable, but I doubt it can be forced on the LL. Unilateraly deciding to reduce rent, is not advisable I would say.

    I think the best options are to either agree with the LL about a rent reduction or agree a free termination of the agreement. Maybe one could argue they are entitled to costs incurred by the LL's breach of contract, i.e. moving to another suitable property
    All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


      There is at this stage no breach of tenancy but a possible breach of contract, but as this wasn't executed as a Deed then parties can withdraw and the only compensation that would even be consided is if either party suffered a loss. At this stage it appears neither party has yet suffered a loss other then the tenants' deposit. If the tenants want to withdraw they are entitled to the refund of their deposits, and that's about it.

      There is no point in considering court action as costs would outweight any advantage/disadvantage, and there is very little to dispute.
      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


        The students have two options:

        1) refuse to proceed with the tenancy, demand return of the deposit, and find somewhere else to rent, or
        2) proceed with the tenancy at the agreed rent.

        The other options are not viable.

        It is not an option to proceed and then to claim against the landlord. Not only would the 'compensation' involved be negligible, but I doubt they'd even win when they would have willingly proceeded with the tenancy knowing well in advance that there would be no additional toilet. When there is a breach of contract there is also an obligation to mitigate any loss consequent on the breach.

        It is not an option to proceed and then refuse to pay the full rent.


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