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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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Hi, I was renting a property, there was an accidental fire

Resolved Question:

Hi, I was renting a property, there was an accidental fire causing the property uninhabitable. I had to move out, there was a clause in the tenancy agreement saying I could cancel the tenancy due to the fire and flat inhabitable providing the landlords insurance was not invalidated. I was informed by my insurer for my contents that the landlord should have landlords insurance and accidental fire would not invalidate it. I terminated my tenancy via registered letter on june 17, I haven't anything from the letting agency but the company I did pay my rent to now say I am in arrears on my rent and the letting agency have not agreed my termination. In fact they owe me 3 weeks rent plus a months rent I had as a deposit. My insurance have paid me out for the contents and accepted it was accidental. Have I done everything correctly?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I can try and assist with this.

tdlawyer :

What reason does the agency/landlord say your tenancy is not properly terminated following your letter?

Customer:

Hi,

Customer:

They have given no reason. When I went into the letting agency personally before I sent my registered letter the manager there only said that 'the landlord say's he won't allow you to terminate until his insurance makes a decision on who is liable' I have my contents insurance and I assume the landlord has landlords insurance covering such incidents. The letting agency received my termination letter on june 17th terminating my tenancy on june 18. I have heard nothing since from them. just the call from the company today saying I was in arrears now.

tdlawyer :

Ah, well, does the clause allow the landlord to refuse the termination until the insurer makes a decision? Or does it simply say you can terminate if there is a fire?

tdlawyer :

It may not - I'd be surprised if it did. Usually, you get a right to terminate in certain conditions, and whether those conditions have arisen is usually determined by a court, not by an insurer, which is what it sounds like you're being told applies in this case.

Customer:

The tenancy agreement quite clearly states I have a right to terminate unless I invalidate the landlords insurance which I can't see how I could of. It was an accidental fire. So what do I do now? They won't acknowledge my termination and also now saying i'm in arrears, when in fact they owe me money. No one from the landlord or the letting agency even visited the flat until I handed the keys in 5 weeks after the fire.

tdlawyer :

Well, the right to terminate then may have already arisen, you do not need to await the insurer to tell you that you have no invalidated their policy. You would only have to do this if the contract required it. So, the benefit of waiting for the insurer is that you know then its position, and you would know whether you had lawfully terminated or not, but strictly, you do not need to do that if the right to terminate exists. The landlord is seeking comfort and strictly, he is not entitled to that.

Customer:

Great, that's what I thought, so in terms of my unjustified arrears, and claiming back the money they owe me. What do I do now?

tdlawyer :

You could issue proceedings in the small claims court at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk (assuming you're owed less than £10,000).

tdlawyer :

As for arrears which are not justified, you can just tell them that you've terminated and owe nothing more, and you will contest their entitlement to pursue you for them in Court if you need to.

Customer:

That's great. I thought i'd done everything correctly and I just needed expert advise to clarify it. Many thanks. Can I print a transcript of this conversation?

tdlawyer :

You can - yes, although how to do that I wouldn't know because it depends on your own computer system.

Customer:

Ok, i'll figure that out, one last thing please. I will re contact the letter agency via another registered letter letting them know my intentions. If they yet again do not acknowledge receipt of this letter do I just go ahead with the small claims court?

tdlawyer :

I'd go ahead with small claims to be honest.

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