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Glitter
15-11-2005, 09:42 AM
Hello,
I swiftly moved out of a property that I'd only been renting for 5weeks. The landlady had turned out to be very unpleasant and had mislead me when I first moved into the property. I had been led to believe there would be a 6month contract to sign, but this never materialised. She also told me there would not be a bond, the house was in quite a state. After I cleared and decorated the property with her permission, she got very abusive and told me I would need to pay a £500 bond. She made other abusive comments to me also. As the landlady lived next door I felt very upset and uncomfortable. After a few days I notified her that I would be leaving, and left almost immediately. The rent was paid until the end of the month, she is now taking me to court to gain a further months rent. The law does state that it will presume a perioic tenancy unless it can be shown that this was contrary to the parties intentions. The intentions were that there would be a contract to sign, and as this didn't materialise surely I'm not liable to pay an extra months rent??
If anyone can shead light on the subject I would be gratefull.
thanks.

MrShed
15-11-2005, 09:45 AM
Hmmmm....quite a complex little situation there! I'm not sure I wish to speculate, as someone will only jump and and correct me....but I am 90% sure that you are correct. Even if an AST is automatically created, which I believed but I am not so sure now, no fixed term was agreed upon, so it would become periodic anyway surely....but maybe I am wrong. But without a fixed term it will be difficult to enforce anything. The main issue, to my mind, is the exact length of time between the "notice" given, and the next rent being due.

Just for clarification, could you give us the following dates:

- First rent payment
- Moving in date
- Last rent payment
- Date you moved out
- Date you gave "notice"

Glitter
15-11-2005, 15:14 PM
Hi,

- I paid rent from the 14th September until the 31st October.

-I moved in on the 6th of October as the property was not ready on the 14th September. It was agreed that the property would be cleared (old furniture, boxes of rubbish etc...) by the 14th September, but it wasn't and I ended up clearing it myself. It took me until the 6th of October to clear the property(I am making a counter claim for costs incurred to me for this).

-I notified the landlady on the 23rd of October that I was leaving, and I left on the 26th October.

-She is asking for a further months rent i.e 1st-30th November.

-I did not sign a contract as planned as she did not produce one.

Thanks.

MrShed
15-11-2005, 22:19 PM
Hmmmm. In that case, I may be inclined to agree that you owe the rent! AST or no AST, that is a VERY short notice period to give, and on periodic tenancy the tenant would have to give a full rental period notice ie a month. Now, that isn't to say that you will not recoup the money back in other ways....eg rent reimbursed perhaps for the period at the start, if the property was uninhabitable, and charges to clear the stuff etc. But I do believe that, despite her obvious faults, she is legally entitled to that months rent. Can you put in a couple of simple bullet points exactly why you moved out?

SteveP
15-11-2005, 22:43 PM
Interesting. Don't think anyone will bet any money on how this turns out. however, my thoghts are:


The intentions were that there would be a contract to sign, and as this didn't materialise surely I'm not liable to pay an extra months rent??

Your contract was made when you agreed what you were going to do. The terms of the contract are whatever you agreed, and whatever is implied by statute...or perhaps by a court later. If you agreed to lease the property for six months, then that is one of the terms of your contract.

A contract may be discharged by performance, agreement, breach, or frustration.

You have not performed your contractual obligations, you and the landlord haven't agreed to end the contract, the contract has not been frustrated, so you can only rely on breach of contract.

A failure to perform the terms of a contract constitutes a breach. Now it seems that both you and the landlord have breached the contract and the following needs to be considered (a) with you as the innocent party and (b) with the landlord as the innocent party.

A breach which is serious enough to give the innocent party the option of treating the contract as discharged can occur in one of two ways:

One party may show by words or conduct at some time before performance is due that he does not intend to observe his obligations under the contract (anticipatory breach). You provide no evidence of this either way so that leaves;

One party may in fact break a condition or otherwise break the contract in such a way that it amounts to a substantial failure of consideration.

Consideration is money or moneys worth. In this case that would be you failing to pay the rent that is due (six months rent if that is how long you agreed) or the landlord preventing you from having what you paid for (quiet enjoyment of the property).

So I would guess that your best bet is to argue that you did not have quiet enjoyment. My guess is that the failure to produce written contract would not be considered a substantial failure of consideration.

Yours is the sort of case that really turns on the evidence put in court, and the detail of who did and said what and when is something best discussed with a lawyer, not on here.

Tell us what happens though.

Glitter
16-11-2005, 08:26 AM
Thankyou MrShed and SteveP for your advice, I will let you know what happens.
Thanks.

Glitter
10-02-2006, 16:14 PM
Hello,
The court letter has finally arrived but the landlady has made some false statements.

In brief I redecorated four rooms of the property with the landladies full permission. This was because the landlady had stated that the property would be painted and decorated by the beginning of my tenancy, which it wasn't. So she agreed that I would do it myself (I was happy to do this as I didn't have to pay a bond). After I'd finished decorating, clearing and cleaning the property which took me 2weeks, she demanded a £500 bond.

She has taken a number of photographs and is claiming that she had to repaint over the two coats of paint that I'd already applied -

One image is of the front bedroom brown/wood window frame, which I clearly remember had some white pollyfilla roughy applied along the wall which had smeared all along the wooden windowframe. She is claiming that this is actually white paint which I had badly applied and smeared on the wood. The photos are quite poor so it is difficult to see that it is actually pollyfilla. She is claiming costs to paint all windowframes and repaint the rooms. All in all she is claiming £255 to repair the so called damage that I did (I didn't do any!!!). This includes £80 for paint and £170 for the painter (with a homemade invoice).

She also claims that I threw out all her furniture into the back yard to perish in the rain. It took me four days to clear the landladies belongings from the house, which I put out the back way on sunny and dry days with the landladies full permission.

I know this is small fry, but it is really stressing me out that this person has gone to such lengths. I didn't take any photos as evidence at the time because I just wanted to get away from there ASAP after she had been very abusive towards me, and I couldn't deal with the stress as I was trying to start an MA at University. But this landlady has made false statements and I don't know how I can prove that she is lying. Do I just give the court my side of the story and hope for the best? Will they believe me as I don't have any photographic evidence?

I am a student with debts, so can't pay anyway. In total she is claiming

£475 for a months rent, as I didn't give a months written notice
£255 Paint and redecoration
£80 court fees
£70 solicitors costs (how come I have to pay for this??)

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Paul_f
10-02-2006, 17:56 PM
C'mon everybody let's look at this rationally!

Firstly the landlady failed to produce a written AST on 14 September, the day she accepted rent, therefore the tenancy was created orally, i.e. a parol lease on that day, never mind when the tenant moved in.

The tenant was unable to take up occupation because of disrepair, a breach under S.11 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the Defective Premises Act 1972 and the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. just for starters.

I would suggest you might let this landlady take you to court, and make a counter-claim for damages for frustration of the contract. Also as you have no written terms, if you had requested these it would have been a legal obligation of the landlady under S.136 (2)(b) Housing Act 1996 to provide you with such terms.

Glitter
10-02-2006, 19:01 PM
I am just reading through my response pack, and I've decided that I'm going to make a counter claim for costs incurred to me for redecorating the property. I am going to add the costs of materials, and petrol costs as I had to live elsewhere pending the property being fit to live in and travelled to and from the property solely for the purpose of redecorating and clearing. Is there anything else I can add? I read in some other posts that the landlords have charged an hourly rate for redecorating a property - in my case it's the tenant that has redecorated the property. Can I claim an hourly rate too?

Also, can I claim back the two weeks rent that the house was uninhabitable?

Glitter
10-02-2006, 19:21 PM
Also as far as quiet enjoyment of the property goes....

For the first two weeks that I rented the property but was not living there (due to clearing and decorating), I would arrive to find the back door unlocked every morning. This was to let the decorator in who had all of his equipment in the living room, and who was supposed to have had the house decorated before the 14th September(my supposed move in date). The decorator was painting the landladys house and was using my house as his storage room. Despite requests to the landlord to have the house cleared, it did not happen, and I did not want to tell the decorator himself to remove his stuff from the house because he was a retired old man and I felt bad for him.

Also the landlady confronted me in a very abusive manner at the back door, and would park her landrover right outside the kitchen window, which I found very intimidating.

From this can I say that the landlord did not allow me quiet enjoyment?

Jennifer_M
10-02-2006, 20:40 PM
I presume the landlady never had an inventory done ?

In which case she can't charge/sue you for damages as she can't prove the state of the house before you got the keys.

I don't think you can counter sue for the cost of redecorating though as you agreed to do it at your own cost.

Glitter
10-02-2006, 21:14 PM
I don't think you can counter sue for the cost of redecorating though as you agreed to do it at your own cost.[/QUOTE]

Yes, both the landlady and myself agreed that I would paint the property, which I did with two coats of good quality paint. She is now claiming that I poorly repainted the property and through doing so have have damaged it. She is claiming £255 for repainting the property i.e painting over my two coats of paint.

Jennifer_M
10-02-2006, 21:22 PM
As I said, without an inventory she can't prove you damaged the property.