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Peter Collins
Peter Collins,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 955
Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed
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Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello, I am a Junior Doctor and I have just moved into a new house. I am renting and I signed a fixed agreement for 12 months. Prior to moving in we agreed with the agents that the house would be cleaned, specifying carpets, curtains etc, mostly because it was dirty and I have asthma with an allergy to house dust mite. I moved in on 28/07/2018 and ever since I started noticing how the house was either not cleaned at all or very superficially. I have taken pictures of dust and dirt which has accumulated in large quantities everywhere in the house - likely due to lack of cleaning over a long time. In the meantime my asthma has deteriorated more and more every day and this has severely affected my health and my work. I notified the agents about the situation on 02/08/2018, asking to break the contract early and to get in touch with the landlord so that we can reach an agreement (the agreement has a break close). I still have no reply (07/08/2018) and despite numerous emails and reminders no steps have been taken towards resolving this. The agents have not been able to contact the landlord and have not been able to give me an answer on how to proceed. What should I do next?Area of law: England-and-Wales
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Update: The agents are reporting that the Landlord is agreeing for the contract to end when a new tenant is found. I know that this property was on the market for a long time before I moved in and I am worried that a new tenant will not be found soon. In the meantime my asthma is getting worse and I cannot stay in this property until a new tenants is found. What should I do?
Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I hope to assist with your question. Have you considered asking the agents to arrange for the place to be professionally cleaned and presenting the landlord with a bill for this, given that this was a condition of your moving in to the property? Presumably, if the place was cleaned to an acceptable standard you would be happy to remain there?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The agents claim that in their opinion the house has been cleaned by professionals already. They did offer at some point to get the same cleaners in, but if that is the standard of the cleaning - there is no point for me. House dust mite does not get eradicated with a bit of vacumming - which I can do myself. I believe that due to years of terrible conditions the carpet would have to be steam cleaned/ replaced, the curtains dry cleaned, new matress etc.
Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

If you specified prior to moving in that the carpets/ curtains etc needed to be cleaned as in your opinion it was dirty, then if this is not the case you are entitled to ask for this to be done. Professional cleaning is not the same as hiring someone to run a hoover round! I don't think you could ask for the carpet to be replaced, but steam cleaning and curtain washing/ cleaning, in addition to a thorough clean to remove all of the dirt that you say you have photographed might suffice? I'm just trying to suggest that if you push for the problem to be resolved now, it might be more simple than having to find somewhere else to live and go through the dispute about ending the tenancy.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Well I want to end the tenancy as I want a home where I don’t have asthma exacerbations. Could you help me with that?
Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

The difficulty is, that a dirty house is not necessarily unfit for habitation, it is something that can be rectified. And I think you have a strong case for getting this done at their cost, as you specifically asked for it to be done prior to moving in. But, if you are unable to accept this, you will have to try to negotiate a mutual agreement over ending the contract forthwith. Explaining that you are suffering and that if you have to continue to live in the property you may be forced to bring a claim for loss of enjoyment of your right to good health may assist.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The problem is not a dirty property. The property has so much dust which is hidden everywhere. Unless they change the carpets, get a new matress, new couch, clean in between radiators - house dust mite will not decrease. This property has been poorly looked after for many years and this damage will be difficult to reverse. How can I use ‘loss of good health’ as you said?
Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

Did you raise all of this prior to moving in, or not? You said you asked for a thorough clean, not intially for a new matress, couch, carpets etc.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I asked for a thorough clean. Which was not done. I read that if there is a break in the agreement - i can end the tenancy early. Also my health is suffering, am I expected to stay in a property where my asthma is affected? How could I have known that the matress was full of dust until i live in the property and use the bed/ couch etc... No laws for somebody not having to pay to live in a property that is making them sick?
Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

OK, there could be grounds for you ending the agreement early, yes, particularly as you flagged all of this up at the first opportunity. Ideally I would need to see the tenancy agreement to be able to give clearer advice, but this would require a) you uploading the agreement and b) a premium service (document review), which would come at an extra cost I'm afraid.

Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

However, for more general advice, take a look at this link: https://housingrights.org.uk/news/can-tenant-leave-property-tenancy-agreement-expires You would be looking to prove that the Landlord has not fulfilled their obligations to provide a property that is safe for you to live in, not a danger to your health and cleaned to an acceptable standard (though you should gice them the chance to rectify the issue and have the property cleaned, in this last instance).

Expert:  Peter Collins replied 4 months ago.

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