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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In a short-term tenancy agreement at what point is the landlord

Resolved Question:

In a short-term tenancy agreement at what point is the landlord in breach of contract?

We are currently 8 months into a one-year fixed tenancy agreement. Over Xmas I notified the managing agent that all of the windows at the front of the property were leaking water in the bad weather we were having which has caused damp and rotting around the living room and bedroom interior window sills as water poured through. Water and dust now persist in entering the house whenever it is windy. About 6 weeks ago a contractor came around to prepare a quote for fixing the issue since then we have heard nothing and now I am told another contractor is coming to provide a secondary quote.

In the meantime we have been living with this issue for 3 months and paying £4K a month in rent with no immediate end in sight.

Do I have the right to enforce some form of breach of contract on the landlords part and exit my tenancy agreement earlier than the prescribed July end date?

Would appreciate any guidance on this. We had e-mailed the managing agent and included photos, I received e-mail correspondence yesterday stating that they were now chasing down the second contractor to get in contact with me.

All very frustrating especially as we now have damp inside the house and two young children.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Is there a term that says the Landlord must keep the property in good repair please?

Alex Watts :

I assume you want to leave early rather than get the problem fixed?

Customer:

Hi, my name is Steven.

Customer:

The contract states the following: To comply with the requirements of section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which imposes obligations on the landlord to repair the structure and exterior of the premises...

Customer:

Which I believe covers the windows etc

Alex Watts :

Yes.

Alex Watts :

Sadly I dont think because of the windows are leaking you can end it.

Alex Watts :

You would certainly be able to take action for breach of contract and sue for loss and damage.

Customer:

Yes we would like to leave early as from my point of view the windows will need to be replaced (large bays in the living room and bedroom) which will take a number of months...

Alex Watts :

You could certainly seek a reduction in rent but I dont think you can leave early.

Alex Watts :

If there was a breach and it was significant then you could leave.

Alex Watts :

But on the basis that these are leaky windows and sadly you have been putting up with them a Court may take the view that you knew about the breach but decided to live with it

Alex Watts :

If you had said it was significant and left straight away, you may have had a case.

Alex Watts :

But bearing in mind it has now been 3 months I just think that is far too long

Alex Watts :

But what you should do is take photos and even if you wish get a surveyor in to produce a proper report.

Alex Watts :

Then you could issue proceedings against the Landlord for breach of contract and seek a refund on some of the rent.

Alex Watts :

But I don't think this is enough to end the tenancy

Customer:

I have photos of the leakage, literally water pouring through the windows top and bottom. With two young children it is not easy to just up sticks and move

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Indeed - but I think given the length of time and the fact that the breach is not that significant is not enough

Alex Watts :

If it had been the heating was not working or the boiler had failed, that would be different.

Customer:

What is the process for a rent reduction? As not clear how to go about this.

Alex Watts :

But I think this is where you have difficulty.

Alex Watts :

In that you would speak to a local estate agent, point out the problems and ask what rent should be. They will give you a figure.

Alex Watts :

You can then seek to recover that difference you have paid since Christmas and then the remaining term of the contract.

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.


 


If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.


 


The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.


 


If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.


 


Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

When you say local estate agent, do you mean the managing agent I deal with or another firm?

Alex Watts :

No, local estate agent apart from the one you are dealing with

Alex Watts :

They obviously have a conflict!

Customer:

Understood. Thanks

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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