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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi I have a shop which has been subject to serious damp which

Customer Question

Hi I have a shop which has been subject to serious damp which is now effecting my stock. I notified the land lord last May of the problem and they have been promising to resolve the problem. As this has been going on for nearly a year I've stopped paying rent and service charge until resolved. They are now threatening legal action. Can I hand the keys back until resolved? Also as this is retail and joy stock will have to be fire sold to clear the stock am I obliged to go back into the unit once fixed?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

Have you complained to the environmental health section of your local authority?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is a known issue with the damp and the unit has dry Rostand rising damp which is why it is effecting the stock. The landlord irresponsible for the fixing the damp but they haven't fixed the issue
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

I am afraid the issue is not as simple as you handing back the keys and moving out as you could be held liable for rent for the remainder of the term of the Lease.

You need to review what your lease says very carefully, Precisely what obligations there are on your landlord to repair the premises and what is causing the damp.

These issues cannot be addressed properly in this Q&A site but just to guide you, I would suggest that you look at this case here which is similar to your situation where the tenant lost its claim against the landlord in the courts

http://www.je-consulting.co.uk/clients/mfgcommercial/news_aug07_leases.htm

This may also help

http://www.practicalconveyancing.co.uk/content/view/10591/0/

I would suggest that you instruct a solicitor who can read the paperwork and assess the issues in more detail and advise you accordingly.

Hope this helps

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes the land lord is responsible and will recoup any costs through the service charge which has been paid until this last quarter. They have known about this issue for 11 months. They have inspected it and confirmed there is dry rot and rising damp both caused by building defects and has been a known issue since the building was done. In order to resolve this with the level of damage to the building I will have to vacate whilst they take off plaster, replace joists etc and let it dry out properly so I can't see how I can continue to trade whilst the work is done. They have not offered alternative space and all they keep saying is that none payment is not the way to resolve this but I've only seen movement since I've with held payment. They have given me until 16th April to pay or they will start legal proceedings so I tempted to hand back the keys on the grounds I can no longer trade as the unit is not fit for purpose. I have 18 months left on the lease. Can I walk away on the grounds the unit is not fit for purpose?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Have read the case you refer to its the same as mine. I don't have a repairing lease. He is responsible for repairing the damp to allow me to continue trading. They haven't and the damp is so bad that the walls are deteriorating and mould is on my stock. The issue is 2 fold. 1) it is effecting my stock and 2) if he does come and fix it they are talking about taking down walls and repairing joists after it has dried out. I would need to vacate for them to fix to make it fit for purpose As this is retail i cannot just shut for a period of time as I need to sell stock and have new stock ordered for autumn winter which I can't take if I have no premises. If I move out and seek alternative accommodation would I still be liable for the old unit given I had to move due to them not fixing it in a timely fashion
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Nicola. Yes happy to wait
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is Alex and 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, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

I see the expert has opted out. Can I clarify what is your outstanding question please?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Have you read the entire conversation to date?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes.

Is there a termination clause please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will need to check the lease and let you know
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok.

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