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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11876
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am a tenant when I viewed the flat I’m in the estate agent

Customer Question

I am a tenant when I viewed the flat I’m in the estate agent ask what I wanted I said 3 years with a six month break clause at the time there were loads of the agreements flying about wrong money etc. Signed some of the agreement but did not receive the rest until I moved in. My tenancy agreement read 3year with a 6 month break clause which can only be exercised if I get a infestation of mice I did not ask for that. I have the paper that I originally signed which does not have infestation of mice that was added without my knowing as the landlady needs my rent for a house she is building. Please could you help me
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Good afternoon. I will assist you with your question but need more info - also I apologise if delayed in replying

so the break clause is ONLY if you have an infestation of mice? just mice?

how long into this tenancy are you?

did you point this out to the agent? what was their answer?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It has a break clause of 6 months only if I get a infestation of mice,the tenancy is for 3 years. Yes I’did and they asked the landlord to put just a 6 month clause with the mice and she refused.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I do have the tenancy request from the agency that was signed by me that has a six month break clause but none of the rest about mice as I did not ask for that.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you.

I think there’s a typo here because in one reply you said “asked the landlord to just put a six month clause with the mice and she refused”. I think you mean without the mice.

Can you please explain what you mean when you say that you sign some of the agreement but didn’t receive the rest until you moved in.

Do you now want to leave or has it not yet got to that stage?

In respect of the three-year term, is it only exerciseable at the six-month period.

You say that this is a three year term. If she can give you two months notice, at any time, that isn’t a three-year term.

I need to know exactly what you have please. Thank you

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The contract that I received after I moved in had 6 month break clause that can only be exercised if I get a infestation of mice, on the application that I signed before I moved in has 6 months break clause and no mention of mice as I did not request that. It was added to the tenancy contract without me knowing as soon at it came to my attention I went to the agents they phoned the landlady and she refused to change it. At the time there were loads of tenancy agreements with the wrong amount of rent etc. The landlady sent a copy to the council saying I am staying for 3 years and she sent them the wrong agreement. I got intouch with the agents for my tenancy agreement there answer was we sent you this on the 18th she also sent me the wrong contract twice, the rent is not correct and it differs how they worded the dates to pay the rent.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My mother is 85 and has been in hospital twice as she has had heart failure and this flat has damp every winter which I took pictures sent to landlady and estate agents and all they do is come up and wipe it off and then deny it’s damp. I have pictures etc of it. I called the council down but he said you need to call us in the winter as the weather changed for the better and dried it out. I asked my doctor about my mum staying and he said it would not be a good idea with her condition. I told the landlady and she said what does that have to do with flat 2.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. I’m still not clear on these contracts.

So one document that you signed was an application which was satisfactory and which you read but then, after you moved in you got another agreement which was different?

Did you read and sign that later agreement?

When is the break clause exerciseable? Only at the end of the first six months?

Does it say that she can exercise the two months at any time or only after the first six months?

Are you now looking to exercise the break clause that you would have had if the agreement was what you were expecting to be?

You’ve now mention your mother and her health problems. Has the doctor put this in writing?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
When I first viewed the flat the agent ask me what I would like to be put in the contract I said 3 year contract with a 6 month break clause. She put this down on the application for the tenancy and I signed it. There was a lot of mix up at the beginning with the agents putting down the wrong rent which I pay quarterly, I went the agents and started signing the tenancy agreement then noticed the rent was still wrong somo took of the copy which I still have but left the rest behind. I received a copy on the 18/5/16 which was wrong that is why I went in to the estate agents for it still to be wrong so I took the top copy with me. I never received another copy until I moved in on the 10/6/16 which just had the landlords signatures, so I got back on to the estate agents who sent me a email saying- I am forwarding an email that was sent on the 18th May 2016 that included the tenancy agreement for the above property) but she sent the wrong on again with the wrong rent on it, as I said the landlady did the same with the council. I then got another contract with all different stuff on it including the rent being adjusted ,infestation of mice being added. I went to the agents and said you have to put a break clause in it as I did not ask for this, the agent phoned the landlady and she said no. The landlady and give me notice of 2 months after a year but I cannot unless there are mice. The doctor put it on file as he gave me anxiety tablets as well. It was one big mess at the start with different wording in the contracts but I have the original top copy to prove stuff was added as they are different.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. Based upon what you have told me, it appears that you haven’t sign this tenancy agreement but you only signed an application.

Therefore, if you haven’t sign this tenancy agreement, you can just walk away whenever you like.

If you didn’t read the agreement which was incorrect but signed it, then you are bound by it, but of course, only have you signed it.

However, if the agreement says that the landlady can give you two months notice at any time to suit her but that you cannot give notice until the end of the term (if you have gone past the initial six month period) then I think you could successfully argue that is a Unfair Term and therefore not enforceable because it is unfairly weighted in favour of the landlady.

In respect of the damp, refer the matter to the Environmental Health Department at the local authority assumed the damp manifests itself once more. It seems unlikely that during this current spell of hot weather the property is going to be damp but some buildings do take months to dry out.

If you do report the damp issue, then the landlady cannot give you notice.

I still don’t know whether you actually want to leave the property at this stage in time or not.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I do want to leave as my mother can not stay her due to her health and there is only me to look after her. I signed part of different tenancy agreements as I said the first one was wrong the second was wrong. I did sign part of the first but not all the pages. Then it appeared to have things added to the final one but they had photographed my signature and apparently there is no original copy, but I have the first sheet of the original one as I took it because the rent money was wrong instead of being £7.149.99 it had £7.419.99 and that is why I ripped the top page of and did not receive another copy until 20/6/16 ten days after I moved in which was also wrong.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. Provided you did not sign a document agreeing to the six month break only if there are mice, then you are not bound by it you are only bound by the agreement that you signed and if there was no agreement, only an application, then you are free to move out at any time in my opinion.