Surrender of contract - Cannabis and careless agency.

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    Surrender of contract - Cannabis and careless agency.

    Good morning,

    I want to obtain a surrender of my tenancy agreement (Assured Shorthold Tenancy). It is an individual contract between a private agency and me; It is a 12 months contract (6 months to end). There are two other tenants in the flat, one in each room.

    The accommodation is advertised and established in the contract as non-smoking. However, one of my flatmates keeps smoking weed with friends (from other bubbles). I sent an email to the agency reporting this situation and asking them to take some action. I also asked my roommate to stop smoking indoors; he said "ok". However, once again, I felt the weed smell all around the house and decided to call the agency; I was told that they would send him a message warning him against this type of conduct, but so far this situation has kept repeating through the days.

    There was some weed smell coming out from his room today. I knocked on the door, and one of the persons in the room came out and said to me that they would stop doing that. He recognised that they were smoking weed. I have that part recorded on my mobile phone in audio (I did that as I was desperate to prove such conduct).

    I consider that there is a breach of the contract on the agency's side. They have been careless about this activity; I think they can do much more to prevent these types of actions (such as implementing smoke detectors, inspecting the property... etc.). I wish to leave this accommodation, and I feel there is no return because the tenants' relationship will not be the same after this.

    Do you think that I can force a surrender of the contract based on these facts?

    #2
    How is the accommodation "established in the contract" as non-smoking?
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      I think it unlikely that you will be able to surrender your tenancy in this instance even though you are quite clearly in the right.

      I would suggest that you write to the agency stating that due to the breach of contract by the other occupant and the agency's failure to deal with it effectively you want to leave and see what they say. There is no guarantee they will take any action or accept your notice but it won't hurt to try.

      Assuming they won't release you from the contract I would suggest your only option is to ask your flatmate to restrict his smoking & guests to his room and leave after your 12 maths are up (having given the appropriate notice).

      Going forward, only sign for 6 months & then go periodic so the you are not tied into a situation for any longer than necessary.

      Good luck

      Comment


        #4
        No I don't, I think that you can ask again for what you want and threaten to call in Mr Plod

        Comment


          #5
          The police will not normally take an interest unless they suspect drug dealing is taking place. If they do raid the house often the front door is smashed in ( at the landlords cost to replace) . If the culprits are just smoking it recreationally I don't think they can do much more than talk to them. Even use in public places the police only issue a street caution for cannabis use.

          Cannabis use unfortunately is widespread these days and once it has been smoked inside a house leaves a heavy residual smell which can last for months. Does the third tenant agree with you on this behaviour of the other tenant and would they back you up? In the past a tenant has complained to me that the smell of cannabis was getting on to her clothes and if her employer (NHS) noticed would discipline her or even sack her. Even under these circumstances it was difficult to control within the house by anyone other than the tenants themselves. If the culprits are also students there may be some help for you through the University or Students Union.

          Your flat is occupied by three separate tenants and falls under HMO ( House in Multiple Occupation) rules and a wired smoke detector must be fitted . I would suggest that the other tenants use the place as they do because no detectors are fitted and the agents are lax in enforcing rules generally. A practical way out this would be to ask the agency to find a replacement for you or for you ask the agency to agree that you can find one for yourself.

          Comment


            #6
            Suggest you also communicate with landlord. At the address given for him "for the service of notices" and spend £3 with land registry and get deeds (online,5 minutes). He might be very pleased to hear from you.

            You can move out anytime you like e.g. this afternoon at 15:47 but may remain liable for rent.

            Is this one joint tenancy or multiple "room only" tenancies?

            Inform plod - maybe anonymous via crime stoppers they just might do something.

            Perhaps ask fire service to advise as you are worried about smoke risks....
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              How is the accommodation "established in the contract" as non-smoking?
              I meant that in the contract it says:

              "C You must not do the following:"

              "5: Smoke cigarettes or any other type of smoking operatus such a vapes, shishas,...anywhere in the building or immediately outside the building but use the designated smoking areas (cigarette bin) instead ifprovided for your ‘Property’."

              "23: Not to cause, or allow household members, or visitors to engage in anti-social behaviour, which means any conduct causing or capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance to the landlord, other occupiers, neighbours or people engaging in lawful activity within the locality. (Examples of anti-social behaviour include failure to control dogs or children, leaving gardens untidy, not properly disposing of rubbish, inconsiderate use of the property, as well as more serious problems such as noise, violent and criminal behaviour, domestic abuse, the supply and use of controlled drugs, and intimidation, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of a persons’ race, sex (gender), sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity status, socio-economic status)"

              "D: We agree to do the following:"

              "3: Provide smoke alarms and be responsible for making sure that any furniture we provide, keeps to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations."

              Comment


                #8
                jpucng62,

                I sent an email to the company asking to surrender the contract on those terms, let's see what they say. Hope it successes. Btw, they are smoking now hahaha.. I was thinking to call the police but I will not until I see the agency's response.

                Thanks mate.

                Comment


                  #9
                  AlexR,

                  Oh, mate. I do not care about what people do with their lives as long as they respect the common rules. In this case, it is not allowed to smoke indoors. They keep doing so; Plus, cannabis is still illegal in the UK and in some cases, it could get someone evicted. I think there is a duty of care on the agency's side for not taking the necessary steps to ensure that the property remains clear of smoke, (fitting a smoke detector, etc).

                  The agency establishes that I can find a replacement but it is very difficult to find a student to occupy the room because of Covid; so I'm trying to get the surrender of the contract for their omission. Let's see what they answer.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I feel that something is being missed here:

                    Whilst the police may not be interested in recreational cannabis use, at the moment they are very interested in breach of lockdown rules.

                    If he's having 'friends' round to smoke then report him to the police for breaching lockdown.

                    It won't stop him smoking weed, but a fine for having mates round during lockdown may curtail it, he may even start going to one of the 'friends' to smoke.

                    None of this is reason to terminate your Tenancy Agreement.
                    Is this smoking the real reason that you want to leave? (Or is it that you are looking for an excuse to leave early?)
                    The agency establishes that I can find a replacement but it is very difficult to find a student to occupy the room because of Covid
                    From that I'm assuming that you are a student yourself?
                    We know that many students are stuck with tenancy agreements they no longer need due to covid shutting down lectures.

                    Ask yourself truthfully though, if you were still attending lectures and so still needed a flat would you still be trying to get out of your tenancy because of someone smoking weed?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      nukecad,

                      I mean, there are many reasons to leave this property (problems with the hot water; the laundry room falling down in pieces... etc) but none of these affects me as much as the smell of the weed; I tried to get support in several occasions but it seems this agency either careless or doesn't know how to deal with this problem. I have to point here that this activity -smoking weed indoors- cannot be justified on the grounds that I am a student and want to leave the accommodation for any particular reason, it is a material fact.

                      Let's see what is the agency response.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by tenantinquiry View Post
                        I have to point here that this activity -smoking weed indoors- cannot be justified on the grounds that I am a student and want to leave the accommodation for any particular reason,
                        Mmm,
                        Not answering the question asked then, but instead pointing out that someone else is doing something wrong.

                        Are you studying politics by any chance?

                        OK, another question- If the weed smoker was suddenly gone would you still be looking to terminate your Tenancy Agreement early?

                        I'm not trying to have a go at you,
                        just asking you to be honest with yourself about your real reason for wanting to get out of the Tenancy Agreement that you signed.
                        If you concentrate on that and deal with the landlord/agent on that basis, rather than complaining about others, it may get you further.

                        Most good landlords are sympathetic to the plight students have found themselves in and will help where they can, even allowing early termination if possible.
                        But in the end you have signed a legally binding agreement, and complaining about other people does not change that..

                        Comment


                          #13
                          nukecad,

                          I am not studying politics

                          If the weed smoke issue was solved... I would not seek to surrender the contract 100%. The place where I am is close to the shops that I need, unis, etc.

                          However, I just wanted to point out that your question (if I am looking for an excuse to leave the flat) does not solve the problem in any way. In addition, I reported this problem back in October; this has kept going on until now, I cannot tolerate it anymore, and I can see that the agency is doing nothing about it. I think it is important and some analogies can be drawn. It is like having a property where the electricity and water are not provided by the agency -when the contract establishes it-, etc.

                          Therefore, as we have a "legally binding agreement" where it is stated that this is a non-smoker accommodation where such activity is not allowed, there is a breach of the contract caused by a third party (flatmate). The agency has not ensured to protect this, I understand that this is not fair and surrender of the contract can be agreed. I tried to seek support and waited several months, but nothing has changed so, I think it is time to move ahead and reach an agreement of surrender.

                          Let's see what is the agency response mate.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Report the matter to the Environmental Health Officer at the Council and also to the HMO team in the housing department, (I assume that this is an HMO). Let them know that you reported the matter in October and nothing has been done.

                            Comment

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