Help with tenant

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  • Help with tenant

    Dear fellows,

    I have a property that has cigarette smoke smell that is being managed by an agency. The lettings agency arranged me a tenant and the tenant signed a 12 month fixed agreement, but the tenant apparently made an offer conditional on taking the smell out.

    However, the lettings agent only said to my managing company that the tenant wanted the flat cleaned - which we did.
    Now the tenant is asking to leave the flat saying he can not leave in the flat with the smoke smell. He has a letter from work doctor saying it is bad for his health and even has the document from lettings agent in written where he actually asks to take the smoke smell out.

    As you may imagine, i don't want to lose the rent on the flat, but he is saying he is going to court has he can't leave in the flat as it is affecting his health.

    Can I still get the full rent if he leaves? Will he be able to win in court?

    Thank you for your help.


  • #2
    Personally, I would offer him the option of breaking his tenancy without any penalty. The agents have obviously let you down. Get them to find you a new tenant free of charge.

    Apart from, new carpets and redecorating - I don't know how you'd get rid of the smoke smell.


    • #3
      I agree with Claymore about offering the tenant an early surrender.

      The stench of cigarettes can be hard to shift - it depends on how long the previous occupant smoked for and how heavily. A house we bought once still had overflowing ashtrays everywhere from the guy we bought it from, and it stank; it took 2-3 weeks with the windows open, new carpets, new soft furnishings and redecoration before the smell went. Also, I was asked to decorate an empty property recently to get it ready for renting out, in which the owner had (literally) smoked himself to death. Some of the ceilings took sugar soap, Zinsser 123 sealant, four coats of brilliant white paint - and still looked off white. The carpets were only two years old and hardly used (the guy wasn't very mobile), but had to be chucked (professional cleaning couldn't get the smell out).

      You should have claimed the cost of deep cleaning and refurbishing from the previous tenant's deposit (didn't you notice that it stank of smoke when they checked out?), but I expect it's too late now. Deterioration and dirt left by tobacco smoking is not 'fair wear and tear'.

      Your agents sound a bit useless. They should have been onto these things.
      '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


      • #4
        If the smell really affects the T's health so badly, then it was idiotic for him to rent a flat which smelt of smoke, even with a promise to remove the smell.

        I do wonder how a *smell* - and not actual smoke - could seriously affect anyone's health.


        • #5
          What does the letter from his "work" Dr actually say?
          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


          • #6
            Health issue aside, the landlords agent has made a 'promise' on behalf of the landlord. The landlord has failed to comply (for whatever reason) so the landlord is in breach of contract. Whether it is enough of a breach for the tenant to break the contract would be up to the courts to decide - but as a landlord I wouldn't risk the time hassle & cost of taking it to court with (imho) a high chance of losing.


            • #7
              Originally posted by westminster View Post
              I do wonder how a *smell* - and not actual smoke - could seriously affect anyone's health.
              He could have "cough variant asthma". Which is what I thought I had before my diagnosis, because the smell when I walked into a smokers house would set me off coughing.



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