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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We have to leave our rented house before the end of the contract.

Customer Question

We have to leave our rented house before the end of the contract. Thus we have been told we have to pay the estate agent a fee or find new tenants and will have to pay rent until then. However we have been having problems with the landlord for a while and it turns out that a large part of the floor under the floor boards is wet. A contractor came around and has taken floor boards out and disconnected the radiator in the affected rooms. However we have had the exact same issue this summer were we were told that he entire floor needs to be taken off and renewed but the landlady could not afford to do so. Similarly a broken window has been fixed with tape. Moreover the landlady removed a fireplace which supposedly had asbestos on it but the hole in the wall thus created has only been covered with a sheet mdf. All thesr issues and the lack of a proprely laid floor have also lead to mice. It is thus unlikely that we will find someone to move in to the property which is in disrepair and does not look acceptable . Can we leave on those grounds? Is there any oher way we can leave our tenancy considering our contract was for two years and we have only lived there for 7 months ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this question for you. I need a bit more information to do so.
Can you just give me an idea of how bad the disrepair is at present. please list al the major problems together with details of how long the landlord has known about them. Were any in existence before the start of the tenancy and hidden from you.
Also have a look at your tenancy for the landlord's repairing obligations and let me know what the tenancy says about them.
I am going to be on and of this site today attending to various things but I will answer later today.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Current problems :- holes in window in hallway (fixed by landlady with tape). Provides little to no insulation and the tape is peeling off due to moisture. (We didn't see the holes in the window when we decided to moved in)
-holes around all pipes and in beading and fixtures throughout the house leading to problems with mice. Exterminator came around twice and provided traps but issue subsists. (Were not told that there were mouse before moving in but have since found mouse traps they must have used before us so they clearly knew about the mice but didn't inform us).
- it's raining into the garage, not fixed yet. Didn't realise before we moved in.
-floor warped up in the hallway. Was remedied this summer by taking some floor boards out and taping the hole shut, after complaints they have nailed a piece of wood intothe floor but he beading remains broken, there is still a hole in the floor and the floor is warped up again. Happened two months after moving in.
-floor warped in the living room, contractor removed floor boards and put our book shelves in top to block he hole. Still not repaired since. Happened after moving in at the same time as the rest of the floor.
-floor warped up in the dining room, was remedied in the summer by taking out floor boards and nailing a piece of wood into the floor, however warped again and underfloor is all wet.this can be seen this floor boarda werw remived shieing wet underfloor. Contractor came around and took out another floor board, now there is a hole in the floor, beading removed, dirt from underfloor. The warped floor boards were putting pressure on the heating in the dining room which then also started leaking so hat to be switched off. (Now very cold room, difficult to heat downstairs and cannot use that room especially with a toddler as there are holes in the floor and dirt everywhere and it's wet. Happened after moving in. He contractor informed us this summer that the entire floor downstairs needed to be taken out and a new floor put in, however this has so far not happened and th landlady said she might do it in the next year.
- an old fire place was removed from the dining room after the exterminator found that not only was it were hey were some mice hiding but also it contained asbestos. The landlady removed it immediately but without covering anything in the dining room properly and there was first and dust everywhere when we came back from holidays. She then had the fireplace wrapped appropriately and got waste removal to get rid of them but claimed that it wasn't asbestos after all when I asked about the dirt and dust. The hole thus created in the wall in the dining room was blocked by a sheet of mdf nailed into the wall, which she called a "feature wall". We were told this was going to be replaced but this has not happened since September.The contract says that the landlord has to keep in good repair and working order all appliances, plumbing, mechanical and electrical equipment belonging to the landlord and firming part of the fixtures and fittings and to maintain the same in such condition at hiss own expense during the term of the tenancy unless they have been damaged or broken due to negligence or misuse by the tenant and his family or visitors. The landlord will not be responsible for any loss or inconvenience suffered by the tenant as a result of the failure of any other supply or service to he property by any other party or body.Thank you for checking this for us.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Thankyou for that. The position is that you do not have a right to terminate your tenancy early unless you can argue that the contract is void (ie that the purpose of the contract can not be provided). I don't think the situation is quite that bad yet.
However you do have weapons you can use. In addition to the clause you repeat above the landlord has a duty to ensure that the structure and exterior are kept in repair and that the facilities for space heating and sanitation are kept in working order (Section 11 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985)
There are clearly breaches of this here. You should write to the agent requiring them to carry out repairs and listing all the defects you want fixed.
You should also state that you are entitled to compensation for the upset, distress and loss of amenity caused by the disrepair.
It may be that you ave concerns for your child's health and welfare: a partially heated house, missing floorboards etc. If so mention them as well.
YOU should state that you will commence court proceedings requiring repairs and seeking compensation but if he agrees to release you from the tenancy you will not issue those proceedings.
(If you consider the house is completely unliveable than you should state that you consider the house to be completely unliveable and that they have therefore failed to perform the fundamental aspect of the contact and it is therefore void. Throw this into the letter to if you do thing the house is uninhabitable).
You should give them a time limit (say 14 days)to respond to avoid action.
YOu can inlcude a comemnt that alternativrely of they agree to let you leave erly