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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I need advise on civil matter, i have a big problem with

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good morning, I need advise on civil matter , i have a big problem with letting agency, signed tenancy agreement, didnt move in due to many things, can you advise the solicitor on such matters/?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: which papework?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: london, stratford area
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: well many things, i thought i could directly explain with him/her

Hello, my name is Jim and I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.

Can you please outline the issue and what you are looking for (e.g. repayment of rent, deposit, etc).

Thanks

 

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I have signed tenancy agreement, the agency rushed with the move in date, I askd them to put it back but the landlord didnt want (the agency explanation was they could not let the landlord to loose so much money) , ther were quite a few issues in the flat (dirty , stained walls, some other things) I compromised on quite many, agreed that the walls would be refreshed/painted end of December. When I view the property i noticed the bulbs in both bathrooms were missing /not working, during the process the agency blamed me that I was delaying the process, asking me to read the contract and to pay withing 15 min; anyways I managed to finish referncs, pay, sign the contract on time; when I came to collect the keys on the day of inventory check , there was someone from 3d party company doing inventory check, I found the flat in the horrible conditions, many things were not working, bulbs still missing, pieces of glass on the floor, fat was quite dirty, extractor bulbs not working, cracked shelves in the fridge, but the worst what we found a big crack on the window in one of the bedrooms which I didnt know on the day of signing the contract, otherwise I would not have signed it.. I took all the photos, I didnt collect the keys as I know how slow this agency was in sorting things, I didnt live in the property yet to find the fat in such conditions. same day on Saturday I sent emails/photos to the agency, on Monday the start sending me email that landlord is not happy to proceed as I seem unhappy and they proposed to give me the refund (nothing was mentioned about the deductions), I was trying to find a solution and discuss with them any other option as I literally left without the accommodation a few days before my move out day at my current place, I asked them to give me exact time frame, assurance that all the things would be fixed by this saturday and we can still proceed. yesterday the agency told me that i have 2 options: they might repair/fix things by this saturday (not sure, subject to contractor availability), or I got the refund with the deductions for this week rent, reference check and inventory check..It would cost me alot , whole week they were waiting , its almost the week, still they didnt fix the things, they dont give me exact timeframe, but the deal breaker for me is cracked window -If I had known about it , I would not have signed an agreement.. I am so stressed, I didnt go to work trying to find another accommodation but I dont want to proceed with this agency as I can see how many issues I ma having with them and might have..
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
they didnt/dont give me the time or assurance that those things would be done by that time, also I didnot break anything there, I even didn't live there to find the flat in such conditions , I dont want to pay so much for such a flat
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I didnt collect the keys, I dont have the kyes, so i didnt live in the flat since last saturday when I was supposed to collect the keys
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
so I need an advise, if I can avoid paying all those money that they are saying i am obliged to pay.. as I mentioned some things I find out later about the property, which would have affected my decision not to sign an agreement.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
sorry, anyone there?

Yes, sorry - I was stuck in traffic so apologies for the delay. I am typing the answer now

Based on what you have said I feel you have reasonable grounds to not take up the tenancy.

By law, landlords must ensure the property is in good repair under S.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

If they do not, they face prosecution by the local council and can be fined. It would also be breach of contract on their part and you would be within your rights to terminate the tenancy agreement.

The Local Authority Environmental Health Officers have powers under the Housing Act 2004. They have a duty to ensure that properties in their area are in a habitable condition, and will serve improvement notices on landlords of properties which are assessed, under the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System as having ‘category 1 hazards’.

Similar powers are available to Local Authorities under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if the property is considered a threat to public health.

I would therefore threaten to contact your local council (the housing department) in the first instance to report the matter if the agency and landlord does not let you leave. My view is the property is not fit for habitation so you should demand that you are released.

If not then report them by email to [email protected] or telephone number 020 3373 1950.

If the landlord does not repay you or if they refuse for whatever reason, you can sue them in the county court for your losses on the money claim site (http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) although I recommend sending the landlord a letter before action to warn them of your intentions first and allow them 14 days to reimburse you. If they do not reimburse, you are free to issue a claim.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
i called the Newham council already , they said they can not assist in this matter, as I am not living there, and if i was living there, and the agency/landlord would have refused to repair/fix-then they could have helped, they didnt really help me. the agency told me that -yes there were/are some issues with the flat, but it was habitable when I came for inventory check and to collect the keys.. so what to do>?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
thank you very much
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I m not living there, they let me leave but they want to charge me a big amount of money..when I raised this issue to them and contacted them, they didnt fix it immediately, delayed, or was trying to find excuses, didnt give me timeframe/assurances/ I could not wait and was running to find another property
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
because local council didnt help me..what grounds shall I use against the agency?

OK you would have to tell the landlord you are leaving then and demand your money back - if they refuse you need to sue via the money claim site like I said. The grounds would be breach of contract due to uninhabitable conditions, and misrepresentation due to advertising the property with no issues.

I hope I have helped.

Before you go please don't forget to rate the answer by clicking the 5 stars on screen and clicking “submit”.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
if the agency argue and apply charges on me, i can sue them or use money claim site?
Thank you, I will rate your service ofcourse

Yes, if they have already taken money from you then yes, you can sue for your money back. If they try to pursue you for breach of contract then they may issue a small claim - the court will send you a response pack to fill in which is easy to do - and it lets you defend the claim. You can come back to this site for further help if that happens.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
because they said yesterday they could refund but they want to deduct 1 week rent (I didnt have even the keys), fee for reference check, and fee for inventory check, it is reasonable?

No, that is unreasonable, they should not deduct anything at all.

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Hello, as continuation to my issue that we discussed last week with the letting agency and renting the property, I sent the letting agency the email on Friday, another email on Saturday, and today (requesting to initiate the refund) and they didn't respond to me until now . I have paid the agency more than 3400£ (deposit+1 month rent) and they dont respond . what are my actions?

If you register at http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk - once you receive login details you will need to start a claim against them for your money.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
shall I just register ? I believe the agency will not easily agree to return and will try to object this and/or deduct some money. I am not familiar with that- is it similar as if I took them to the court?

It's the same thing but the money claim site allows you to start a claim online instead of having to use paper forms.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
they just replied to me that they are waiting for the landlord's instructions and once received, they will instruct me whats necessary. Can it be the case? I paid to the agency, why do they need landlord instruction>? I think they are intentionally delaying or also seeking a justification to keep/ charge me

Because the landlord is legally responsible for the deposit. You would need to wait for the agency to get back to you. Give them 14 days max and then start the claim if they do not reply or they do reply and refuse to reimburse.

If you could please post a new question to the main site, it will not cost extra assuming you are a member. If you would like me to deal with the new question please mark them “FAO:JIM” and I will pick it up as soon as I can.

Many thanks