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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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My daughter occupied a flat in student accommodation last

Resolved Question:

My daughter occupied a flat in student accommodation last year with a large prominent student accommodation provider.
In March 2017 she decided to renew for 2018/18 ( Good security being a major consideration )
Over the Summer she asked to leave her possessions in her flat and these subsequently disappeared or were stolen.
She is now very unsettled and does not wish to stay in the flat but the landlord is refusing to release here from the contract.
Is there a solution? Could this be breach of contract ?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

I am sorry to read of the above. Was there a sign of a break in? If not has the landlord identified who has a key to her room? Are th keys security keys that cannot be copied? Has your daughter reported the issue to the police?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Entry to flat is by electronic key and there are 4 doors to pass to reach her flat Outer gate/Block/Flat/room. Over the summer the Landlord will have had contractors in to clear the units (There are about 400) Removal of items could have been under landlords instruction by contractor/Theft by individual contractor/Opportunist theft by other student/Theft by somebody off the street. Police not informed. Landlord cannot understand how it occurred or find a culprit. My daughter had requested permission to leave property over the summer and landlord had agreed ( all documented by email ) My daughter is young for age, sensitive and dyslexic. Security is important to her and the loss of her possessions is like a personal assault/break in. She has lost confidence in the Landlords security system being forced to carry on there this coming year would be troubling and not what she expected when booked earlier in the year
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.
  1. Thank you for the above. Just two final queries if I may. The period in question which your daughter left her belongings. Was this a period where she was not permitted to occupy the premises under her tenancy but the landlord allowed her to leave the things anyway? I assume this is why your daughter asked if she could leave them behind?
  2. You mention that agreement was recorded in emails etc. Was any discussion had about who was to be responsible for those items if she left them in such emails?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The flat tenancy agreements run from September to July ( 44 weeks ) The theft was probably in August So technically outside of a tenancy agreement. However the landlord claims that when she booked in March 2017 she accepted a contract for 2017/2018 for which the tenancy period will again be 44 weeks and would commence in September 2017.The tenancy agreement has disclaimers avoiding liability for theft. However there was no discussion at all about liability during the summer when my daughters possessions were left
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

I do apologise for the delay in reverting to you. I had to take a long phone call. Thank you for the above information. I am sorry to say that this is not going to be something your also can rely on in order to repudiate (cancel) the contract. a landlord is not ordinarily responsible for a tenants possessions. I would be very happy to tell you differently but I would not want to encourage you in terms of making an application for a court order to determine the tenancy on these grounds because unfortunatly it would be very unlikley that such an application would be successful. If your daughter does not wish to limit the property due to the incident, she can certainly attempt to replace herself as a tenant or even ask the landlord to remarket the room on her behalf subject to your daughter being responsible for his reasonable costs in doing so. Upon any replacement tenant been found, she can avoid liability for any future rent from that point onwards.

In terms of the landlord's responsibility for her belongings, I have better news. While ordinarily, the landlord is not responsible for attendance possessions, because the theft happened during a period in which your daughter was not allowed to occupy the property because she had no tenancy, for that period, the landlord becomes what is known as an "bailee" in respect of your daughters belongings under the Torts (interference with goods) Act if he allowed her to keep her things there for that period and did not specifically agree with her that this would be at her own risk.

Accordingly I consider that your daughter would have a claim against the landlord for replacement costs for the items that were stolen (assuming they had a commerical value) under this legislation. In order to bring a claim, in the first instance, your daughter would need to serve notice upon the landlord detailing the amount in question and asking him to settle within seven days failing which she reserves her right to issue proceedings in the County Court for recovery of the same together with interest and costs under the County Courts Act.

if you decide to pursue a claim,, she can issue proceedings using the course online issuing service:

http://moneyclaim.gov.uk/

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for 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

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