Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. You question contains a lot of information but it is not clear to me what answer you are seeking. can you clarify please?
OK thankyou for that. I have been busy this morning but will answer you this afternoon.
OK so you have signed the tenancy agreement, presumably without seeing the house and agreed to take it part furnished. It is a 2 year contract and a deposit has been paid.
There are various problems in the house the main one seems to be that there is too much furniture in the house. Your landlord intends to put that in the cellar which you contend is pat of the property you are a renting and not storage space for the use of the landlord. There are other disrepair issues including damp and a smell of sewage from the toilets. There is an agreement for these problems to be fixed.
You do not want to take up the tenancy now.
You have now been told by the agents that the cellar will be padlocked and is not part of the property let.
You need to look at the agreement and see how the property is described. If it is simply described by the address and perhaps a phrase like “dwelling house situated at…” and there is no clause excluding the cellar from the tenancy agreement then it seems to me that the cellar is yours for the duration of the tenancy.
You also need to look at the contract to see what the provision are regarding you ending the tenancy.
You can only treat the contract as null and void (ie rescind the contract) if there has been a fundamental breach of contract. Here the fundamental purpose of the contract was to provide you and your family with a home. The loss of a cellar and the other disputes do not seem to amount to a fundamental breach. This will be the case unless the use of the cellar was essential to you taking the property, or if the damp/sanitation problems render the home unfit or unhealthy, or some othee very major problem exists.
If you simply refuse to move in and refuse to pay further rent the landlord will take your month’s rent and keep the deposit. (incidentally is it with a deposit guarantee scheme?). However you will be liable to pay a sum in compensation for his losses. Ie lost rent until he relets the property at the same or a higher rent than agreed with you. He has a duty to reduce his losses ie to try to relet it quickly. If he brought a claim, you would be able to counterclaim against him regarding the problems you have referred to above. If the property being in the cellar does not defeat your purpose in renting the property and if you are confident that the repairs will be carried out then it may be that you should start renegotiating the rent on the basis that as you have been let less than promised and there should be a reduction in the rent by a figure you think appropriate (maybe 5% of the rent) or alternatively you could suggest a charge for storing his things in your cellar.
The position is that if you renege on the contract you will be in a weak position and will almost certainly lose what you have already paid, and run the risk of greater losses . You might be able to avoid the extra losses but you cannot be certain about this. Not moving into this property is therefore likely to be quite expensive.
If the use of the cellar is central to you then you have 2 choices you can refuse to move in and be in the situation I have set out above. You can argue for a return of all your money on the basis that the cellar was central to the agreement and that the landlord removing it is a fundamental breach. You may not find it very easy to get the money back and it would certainly take time. By further losses I mean the landlord claim you owe him rent for th period the place is empty or let at a lesser rent than you have agreed.
If you need the cellar and decide to move in then you can write to the agent demanding they clear the cellar and make it clear that the cellar is part of what you are renting. I make suggestions about this above and you can negotiate. You could threaten to deliver all the furniture to the agent's office as part of your negotiations. You are in a bad situation and it is a question for you to work out which is the least bad option.
if you move in tomorrow you will have statutory rights to have str
ucture and exterior in repair. This often includes damp. Otherwise things like the curtains and garden fence panels etc. what does the contract say about repairs and were any promises made to fix them. You will have rights to repair under the contract and implied terms under the Landlord and Tenant Act. You do not lose these rights when you move in and will have to enforce after you have moved in if you do move in. My answer is not that you should move in but that you should be aware of the risks if you do not take up the tenancy.