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MarianC
MarianC, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  Expert
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I am a university student. For my second year, myself and 3

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I am a university student. For my second year, myself and 3 other students decided to rent a student house together with a real estate agency. We signed a contract. Our tenancy was supposed to start on 7th September. One of us drove 4 hours to the house planning to move in on 7th September only to find a broken window, a radiator that was coming out of the walls, no curtains on bedroom windows and a generally filthy environment. We believed that the house was not liveable so we returned the key to the agency on the same day and informed them of the issues we came across and they assured us that it would be sorted by 11th September. I arrived on 12th September, after a 2.5 hour drive from my home to our student house only to find the house in a similar state, with the window still broken and that there were still no curtains in some of the bedrooms, and the house was filthy and stinky, despite the agency claiming that the house had been cleaned twice. We returned the key to the agency and informed them that we no longer wanted to live in the house, we want the contract to be nullified and we want our first months rent back and we want the deposit back. They are refusing to allow us to leave the contract. We start school in less than a week and we cannot live in such a disgusting place. What can we do to get out of the contract and not have to pay them any more money whatsoever and receive some compensation, if possible
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: We have emailed the council of the area our house is in about the situation and contacted the MP. We have also got email evidence of what was promised to us when we moved in
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Norwich
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The agency are saying that we have a legal agreement that we are required to honour yet they don't seem to be doing the same

Hello there

Sorry to hear what you are going through especially when this should be an exciting time for you!

Your tenancy agreement should have a clause relating to the Landlord's responsibilities. These responsibilities include making sure the property is in good repair and safe to live in. Even if this is not actually written into the agreement the law says that it is "implied."

If they are not carrying out the works, they are essentially in breach of their obligations under the contract.

On what grounds are they refusing to allow you to leave the contract? Do you happen to have a copy of it and I can take a further look for you.

Kind regards

MarianC and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I will attach a copy of the contract to this message now!
Also, they are saying that because the broken window is on the first floor and not the ground floor, it is not a hazard. They say that in due time, they will repair all that needs to be repaired, however at this point, we want out completely. I will also attach images of the houses condition the last time we were there, which was Saturday 12th September.
Also, we have found a new place that we want to get, but we cannot do that until we are released from this contract and know that we won't have to pay rent from this property.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
File attached (2ST1Z24)

Hi

The landlord is able to remedy the issues ‘within a reasonable time’ however there is an implied term in tenancies that the property must be fit for human habitation the day of letting.

A new law was brought into force in 2019 that means properties must be safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

Whilst they may argue the cracked window may not be a hazard, you can argue that the property is not fit for human habitation the day you attempted to move in due to its condition.

The cracked window is likely to cause a draft, rain water to get in and cause dampness and mould which can also be detrimental to your health. Depending on how long the crack has been there, there may already be damp in the property. One of the main factors of determining whether the property is fit is ‘freedom from damp.’

Another factor is sanitary conditions which the property does not appear have.

Another factor is sufficient ventilation – if you are unable to open the window properly, how are you able to ventilate?

Another factor are hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. The prescribed hazards include hygrothermal conditions – damp and mould growth and excess cold (given the crack in the window these are definite possibilities).

I would argue that on the above factors, the property is not fit for human habitation and due to this, you require your tenancy agreement to be ended and full deposit and first month’s rent returned to you.

Sorry this is a bit long winded but I hope it helps?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
This sounds great, thank you. It helps a lot. From the contract that I sent, is there anything in the contract that I can use to support that tenancies that the property must be fit for human habitation the day of letting?
Thank you so much Marian C.
Would I need to send an email to the agency and state everything above that you have told me? Or how would you suggest that I proceed with the new information you have provided?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
With the window issue, this window is broken in a bedroom. Does this mean this argument would only help the owner of that room and not the other students in the contract?

What is the latest correspondence you have received from the agents?

I would respond to them advising the points I have set out and stating you do not believe the property is fit for human habitation and on that basis, require the tenancy agreement to be ended and all deposits and first months rent returned.

The fit for human habitation is an implied term whereby it is not expressly stated in your tenancy agreement. Regardless of the fact that it is not stated in your contract, it is something that all landlords must adhere to.

I do not believe that it would only help the owner of that bedroom because damp and mould can spread, it would not just be contained in that one room.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
We went to their offices on Monday for a meeting with the manager to discuss leaving the contract. He said he would need to get in touch with the landlord- which they have apparently been doing since Sunday. This morning he sent us an email that I will paste below:Good MorningFollowing the email from Mr Aleja - Banjo I can confirm that moving forward we will only communicate with persons named on the fully signed tenancy agreement.As mentioned above you have all signed the tenancy agreement, this is a legal agreement that you all are required to honour.The property is not uninhabitable, we have conducted an inventory with photographic evidence which has been reviewed.Failure to comply with the contract will lead to legal action being taken, that may lead to the court proceeding and may well affect all parties ability to let or purchase a property in the future.Regards
Daniel2 hours after this email was sent, we called the agency and spoke to Daniel (the person who wrote the email above) and he said that the broken window isn't a risk as it is not on the bottom floor and emphasised that the house is liveable and that we signed a contract and viewed the house before signing the contract.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
To that, we responded that when we viewed the house, it was clear that the tenants were messy, however because all of them were in the house, we were unable to fully view their bedrooms, as some of them were in bed and such.

You said previously that they emailed confirming they would carry out certain things before you moved in, has this been done?

Whilst the tenants may have been messy, this does not negate the fact it does not appear to have been fully/professionally cleaned by the landlord.

They are right however that you have signed the tenancy agreement and it is a legal agreement. Generally, tenancies can only be ended prior to the end of the fixed term if the landlord is in agreement.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Majority of the things they said they would fix has not been done, no
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
39;Generally, tenancies can only be ended prior to the end of the fixed term if the landlord is in agreement.' If this is the case, how can we fight this and get out of the contract?

In the first instance, I would go back to Daniel and state that you do not believe the property is habitable for the reasons I have set out above. Tell them you are concerned there may be damp and mould which is detrimental to your health.

I would refer them to the email they sent confirming what would be done before you moved in and set out what has not been actioned. Also ask for confirmation as to when the property was professionally cleaned.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Okay I will do this now and get back to you with their response

Okay, let me know how it goes.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hi Marian- Daniel sent an email about the conversation we had with him on the phone today:Daniel Duffield <*****@******.***>
17:58 (7 minutes ago)
to***@******.***,***@******.***,***@******.***, meGood Afternoon allFollowing on from our conversation and your request for a break down of the works that have been carried out and are due to be carried out.General clean of the property had been carried out prior to you collecting your keys,An additional clean and carpet clean were instructed after you returned your keys to the office.The broken door has been fixed and is now secure.The radiator is now fixed securely to the wall.Curtain rails have been fixed other than the one in the bedroom to the front of the property, that is due to be fixed in the next few days.The window frame that is broken on the first floor is being dealt with by the landlord who has instructed a company to replace the unit, this is likely to be replaced in the next week or two.My issue is that we no longer want to live here- in your professional opinion, can we get out of this contract?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
This email came before I sent the email about what you have said to me today
Hi
Given they have now carried out the works required and undertaken a professional clean of the property, the only way you will be able to get out of the contract is if the landlord agrees to it.
Kind regards
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
But it should have been done prior of us moving in. We start university in a week, and he says the window will be replaced in a week or two..... so we would have to live in that?
Hi
I completely appreciate where you're coming from and I would be fuming if I was in your position however the keys were handed back and the works carried out.As I said earlier, the landlord will be allowed a reasonable time to carry out works.You may be able to request a reduction in rent for the period between the date you were meant to move in and the date you do move in but you will not be able to get out of your contract simply because you no longer wish to live there unfortunately.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
This makes a lot of sense. Marion, thank you so so much for all of your help. I will hopefully update you on the situation later in the week
No problem at all. I do hope it all works out for you.
I would be grateful if you could please rate my response so I am credited with assisting you. You can come back and ask further queries if you like.
Kind regards