Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Thank you for the comprehensive information you have posted. You refer several times to managing agents in your post. May I clarify are these your letting agents which might manage the letting for you or is this the managing agents that manage the entire leasehold block of flats on behalf of the freeholder please?
I refer to both. There are Managing Agents who manage the building and deal with buildings insurance. Also Lettings agents who put together tenancy agreement, they are mentioned in the last part of the email so for most part im talking about the actual Managing agents who manage the building
I be with you in just a moment...
my apologies for the short delay - I just had to take a phone call.
no problem at all
Based upon what you say, the position is as follows: the tenants are in breach of their tenancy and in breach of contract for failing to advise you of their extended non-occupation. Such clauses are placed there for a reason because many standard insurance policies will not provide cover for extended vacancy periods and also for the obvious reason that empty properties are generally more susceptible to things like damp and so on. If you can show that the damage caused to your property was exacerbated due to their breach of contract you may have a claim against the tenant for the increased damage. however, if the damage is covered by insurance in any event, you may decide this is not worthwhile pursuing
as regards ***** ***** demand for compensation. Sometimes there are provisions in tenancy agreements for periods where the property is uninhabitable however many tenancy agreements do not contain such provisions and I note from what you say yours does not. Where there are no provisions, there are two options when the property is rendered uninhabitable. In such circumstances, the landlord may no longer charge rent for any period the property is made uninhabitable. The tenant will need to make his own arrangements for alternative accommodation and the landlord is not responsible for paying the costs of that accommodation. The alternative which can be agreed between the landlord and tenant that neither party is required to agree, is that the landlord continues to charge rent and pays for the cost of reasonable alternative accommodation.
my concern is also that they rented a very expensive temporary flat without our permission and want us to cover the costs
the insurance is not actually liable to pay anything in excess of rent
we have not charged them rent but now they are asking to coverthe difference
you say, the managing agent (not your letting agent) advised your tenants that they could move into alternative accommodation and proved that accommodation. if the managing agents did so, this is entirely a matter between them and your tenants. The managing agents do not represent you as your tenants landlord and therefore representations made by the managing agent do not bind you. The tenants may or may not have a grievance against the managing agent for what they were told by them but this is a matter between them not you.
ah great! so looks like we fall into the first category where we did not charge them rent
Finally, as landlord, you are not liable for the cost of damage to many of their personal possessions. If any of their personal possessions were damaged, they will need to claim against their own contents insurance policy unless they can demonstrate negligence on the part of the neighbour from his flat there was a leak which case they may attempt to claim against that neighbour
Joshua brilliant! thank you very much I think this pretty much answers all my questions!
and thanks for a quick answer
accordingly, from your perspective, you can consider applying to your tenants request along the lines that unfortunately you were not able to accede to their requests as you are not liable in law to cover the cost of alternative accommodation in the event the property is uninhabitable. During any period tthe property is uninhabitable, the tenants are not liable to pay rent and you have not sought rent for the period in question. You may also wish to reserve your position in respect of any costs arising from the failure to notify you of their extended absence reminding them that this is a breach of their tenancy.
I am glad I was able to assist.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though