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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We are about to sign a contract to rent a property. However

Resolved Question:

We are about to sign a contract to rent a property. However there are some contradictions between the contract, the terms of business (referred to in the contract), and the inventory.
The contract states that we will be charged £80 for a final inspection under the special clauses. However the agency terms of business state it is £100. So which do we have to pay?
The contract also states that the tenant must professionally clean to a good standard any carpets curtains etc that have become soiled/stained or marked during the tenancy. However the inventory and the terms of business state it must be professionally cleaned regardless.
Furthermore the contract also states we have to be notified within 14 days of the deposit scheme in which our deposit is held but it later says 30 days.
Unfortunately I have no alternative but to accept the conditions of the contract, as they are unwilling to negotiate on any terms and I have no alternative accomodation. I also do not want to ask them to clarify as I am sure they will charge me extra.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

Are you being asked to sign the terms of business please as well as the tenancy agreement?

Customer:

When we completed the application form online we accepted the terms of business. However the agent had not yet sent me the main contract so I was not aware of the conflict.

Joshua :

thank you. Where there is an ambiguity your discrepancy between terms, the courts will always determine the ambiguity in favour of the consumer (here the tenant, you).

Customer:

So would this issue be decided by the TDS or would it have to go to court?

Joshua :

in respect of the specific provisions you refer to, in fact a mixture of legislation and regulations provide for certainty in these matters absolutely in any event namely that the housing act as amended by the localism act provides that the landlord must protect the deposit within 30 days

Joshua :

in addition, the unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations provide that the tenant cannot be expected to restore a tenant of property to a better condition than it was when the property was let to them. clauses that require the tenant to provide a higher level of cleaning for example are unenforceable by virtue of the above regulations

Joshua :

in the event of a dispute in the future between you and the landlord, if the dispute relates to claims against your deposit, providing both you and the landlord agree, you can refer the matter to the deposit protection resolution service. If either of you refuse to use the service, you can issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

The inventory states that the property was professionally cleaned before we moved in, and I am willing to pay for professional cleaning where there has been soiling etc

Customer:

would I be obligated to professionally clean the whole property in this case or simply as the contract states where there has been staining by the tenant?

Joshua :

You should not be asked to sign the inventory before you have had the opportunity to inspect the property. by signing inventory you are agreeing with comments therein. The agents insist you sign the same for have an opportunity to thoroughly inspect the property, ensure you right next to your signature "subject to inspection" and then take the opportunity as soon as you can to go round the property and make any comments where you identify matters which are incorrect on the inventory and forward a copy with your comments to be agent by email retaining a copy.

Joshua :

if the tenancy agreement requires you to professionally clean items which you have damaged this will be the binding term rather than the requirement that you professionally clean everything

Customer:

Sorry going back to the first question- would the contract take precedence over the terms of business?

Customer:

Because we had to agree to the terms of business before signing the contract. In which case I am assuming I would still be bound to professionally clean the property?

Joshua :

if you are being asked to sign to different terms, the law will provide that the term that is most favourable to you will be determined that is binding insofar as it does not overridden by statute. so accordingly, where to differing terms, you can effectively pick and choose the most favourable terms to you between the two documents

Customer:

I understand now. Thank you for your help.

Joshua :

pleasure. I wish you all the best with your rental

Customer:

Thank you.

Joshua :

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 though please reply back to me though.

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