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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69985
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have two disabled sons and live in a house where one son

Customer Question

I have two disabled sons and live in a house where one son sleeps upstairs in a bedroom , he has mobility problems so he cant get up and down the stairs very well. and my other son lives in the dining room which is just underneath the master bedroom. We took tenancy on this house 20th December and moved everything over from wales 22nd December. A we couldn't find a more suitable property we took this on even though it is £1250 a month.
Over Christmas and new year we was all quite ill some violently ill , there was a sever strong smell as soon as you opened the door getting worse the closer you went to the boiler room which is where our back door is. notified the agency and a man came out to repair it and we was left without heating for a few days as he had to turn it off till h got parts as one spark would have blown us all up.
the house is major disrepair under the surface handles falling off doors not locking shutting etc
the patio moved which resulted in my partner having to take a week of work because of his foot after falling over the patio.
things just carried on with the house cracks appeared in the ceilings when we first moved in , the gentleman that came out said they was normal so we believed him but those cracks have got bigger in length and also are starting to gape to , plaster coming down of the ceiling door jambs are separating cracks are no longer cracks they are turning to crevices.
we have a salt water softener this is making everyone ill now we have all had sever nausea headaches and stomach problems my son has been in hospital I am diabetic and it is making my diabetes play up. everything tastes like pure salt the water which we have to drink and every time we wash we just have a cover of salt on our skin
the bathroom upstairs has a bath as my upstairs son can stand for long so cannot use the shower very well when we first moved he said he felt like the bath was dropping and then the bath panel came off we thought that was it they came and repaired it and so he started using the bath again he carried on moaning saying he felt he was going through the floor and one night he had a bath and we was sat downstairs water flooded though the ceiling in the living room,. the bath had started coming away from the wall. Then we noticed in the en suite which is adjoined by a wall that the floor was sinking . we have been told 4 weeks ago not to use the bathroom or the en suite as the floor is sinking the shower in en suite has come away from the wall the bath in the bathroom has to
in the master bedroom the cracks from around the ceiling are now going down the wall one the outer wall which are getting bigger all the time with the floor sinking and cracks I fear for my son who is below us , I have asked to terminate the tenancy but have been told we cant for twelve month is there anything we can do
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Have you contacted the letting agent regarding this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have and all I keep getting is people coming round o do repairs which break again and they came took photos of the floor and told us not to use bathrooms and the cracks are normal but twhen the repair man left he said they are not normal as plaster is falling down and door jams are opening up and the estate agent just says we have to stay for the 12 months


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

What are the dates of your AST please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


20th dec 2013 -19th dec 2014

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thats bad news.

Is there a break clause at the half way point?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


no idea


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Is it possible to check your contract?

It must be in there.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I am just looking through now


 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


break clause


notwithstanding the fixed term stated in clause 1 of the main terms of tenancy the parties hereby agree that this agreement may be terminated by either partygiving to the other at least two months notice in writing such notice not to expire until after the 6 months of the start date of the term at the end of such notice the tenancy shal end and all obligations and responsabilities shall cease


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok.

That is better news.

Is there a named date for the 6 month point? I suppose the 20th June?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


no there is no date what does that mean does that mean I can write my two month termination notice now as it would be after 20th june when it ends

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, it would but there are other options.

If you give me 20 mins I will type out an answer.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately ASTs are very hard to escape. You pretty much have to show that the property is gutted by fire damage or flooding and so you cannot live in it. Another acceptable reason would be that a person's life is in immediate danger like a gas leak.

I'm afraid that things like change of circumstances of the tenant or disrepair is not sufficient.

You could try to negotiate with the landlord. Sometimes they will agree to allow tenants to leave as its in their interests too on occasions.

If that fails then you could try to activate the break clause. You are too late to serve a notice upon which you can rely but courts generally do accept much shorter notice periods from tenants and if you did it today then you would only be a few days late.

If that is not possible here then I'm afraid you will be acting unlawfully if you leave early. However the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement tenant and he will not get forever to achieve that. Realistically, if a landlord is really trying, most properties can be let to another tenant comfortably within a month. You will only be liable up until the time that the landlord is able to replace you which will be nothing like the remaining months due under the contract.

Of course, there is a risk that the landlord will not be able to find a replacement. If so, the Court will ask him to prove that he has looked for a replacement. If he is able to do so to the Court's satisfaction then you would be liable for that period but that is very unlikely.

This is not to say that you don't have a claim against the landlord is disrepair. Clearly there is work that should have been done and has not. That does not entitle you to leave but you may be able to claim a reduction in rent.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69985
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


so in simple English there isn't a lot I can do but hope they accept the two month notice


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, you do have a disrepair claim but it doesn't mean you can leave an AST lawfully I'm afraid unless the landlord agrees.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


how do I go about making a disrepair claim


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You need to write to the landlords asking for a reduction in rent first.

Then if that fails, you can sue. You will find the procedure here

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/common_problems/compensation_for_disrepair

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