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View Full Version : 2 days until we sign and the property is a mess!



wellies78
28-10-2009, 08:33 AM
:mad:

Hi there, I am so upset that I wanted to get as much information on our rights as possible before we commence our tenancy on Friday, this Friday!!

Yesterday I viewed the property with the letting agent to measure for curtains. I was upset that the property had been meerly 'wiped' over with a cloth and little attempt has been made to clean appliances (which had grease dripping from them , yuck) On top of this the following was either faulty or damaged: ( below a copy of the email i have sent to the letting agent)

Broken Garage Door - at present the garage is unusable and this was a particular feature of the property we required in order to store camping and cycling equipment. As it stands we will not be able to use the garage on Friday when we move in.

Marks on carpets - the carpets in the hall, 2nd bedroom and master bedroom all have considerable staining and to be honest in the long term need replacing.

Kitchen - the cooker, grill and hob extractor were dirty with grease and baked on food. The sink has a crack (although it appears to be water tight) and the Freezer drawer is broken. The dishwasher was also dirty.

Master Bedroom ensuite shower: The shower is visibly detached from the wall and there are considerable patches of paint which have flaked off above the shower on the ceiling as a result of inadequate ventilation.

Windows: These are dirty both inside and out. As stated above we have agreed to clean the fascias but this does not mitigate for the neglect in window cleaning by the previous tenants. At the very least they need cleaning internally

As you pointed out there are also numerous cobwebs and dirty skirting boards

I'm really unsure as to where we stand legally. Can we refuse to move in until the above are fixed? Am i being unreasonable? The letting agent said she would get back to me yesterday afternoon but didn't. We are both so looking forward to moving into our first property together, it should be a happy time but until I am satisfied that the above is rectified ( within 2 days) I will remain an unhappy bunny :-(

Any advice would be welcomed.

dominic
28-10-2009, 09:03 AM
Despite the title of your post, have you signed the tenancy agreement yet?

Have you paid a deposit (and have you have confirmation that it is protected), and have you paid any rent?

If you haven't signed an agreement, and you haven't yet paid any rent, you should be in a strong position (i.e. refusing to sign or pay) until the issues are resolved to your satisfaciton.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 09:16 AM
Dominic - no we have not signed anything yet. We have paid our deposit (which i presume went striaght into the DPS) and letting agents fees. We are due to hand over £950 in cash on Friday as our first months rent to the letting agent.

Our main problem is that this is our only opportunity to move; I am a teacher and can not get time off work. My partner has booked time off and we would have nowhere to go if we do not move this weekend ..a.rghh!

Tess
28-10-2009, 09:32 AM
When did you first see the property? Were any of these issues apparent at the time and was anything said?
I too would be absolutely fuming and writing sharp letters to the agency - have they responded to your email? I'd also follow up with an unhappy phonecall.

Edit to add - NEVER PRESUME! Check where the agent will be putting the deposit and make sure you get the relevant paperwork and put it somewhere safe. Also, never presume that a property will be handed to you in spick and span condition - make sure the Agents know what you want and if possible that the Landlord knows too (in writing of course).

tom999
28-10-2009, 09:38 AM
Your dilemma seems to be hinged on the agent's incompetence. If repairs had not been done pre-tenancy, then this should have rung warning bells.

Has an inventory been done?
Was there a written agreement regarding property condition at tenancy start?

Seems as though you have 2 basic options:

Don't sign the agreement or hand over any rent, and (a) wait for agent/landlord to make repairs or (b) look for somewhere else.
Sign the agreement and be tied into paying rent for the fixed term of the tenancy. (There is a procedure for with-holding rent in case of outstanding repairs - but is this really the way to go, if the tenancy hasn't even started?)

dominic
28-10-2009, 09:42 AM
Tess if what you are saying is true, you may able to negotiate a reduction in the rent gven the condition of the property, or agree to withhold paying any rent until the issues are resolved. Alternatively, you might suggest you pay for the work to be done by professionals and you will deduct that cost from the rent.

Make sure any agreement as above is in writing and expressed to form part of the tenancy agreement.

Hopefully the agent does not know of your predicament re urgent need to move in, but even if he does, remeber that the LL may be equally inconvenienced by you not moving so may well agree to your (reasonable) solutions as set out above.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 09:42 AM
Tess - thanks for the advice. When we first viewed the property the L agent made ref to the fact that there were 4 children living there at present and that it was 'in a bit of state'. I assumed ( wrongly, as you so rightly pointed out) that this would be sorted before commencement of the tenancy - how wrong i have been.

My major worry is that the property will not be ready for us to move into on Friday. Does anyone know where this leaves us legally? Can i with hold a % of the 1st months rent? Can i charge the letting agent for storage and alternative accomodation whilst the property is being cleaned?

wellies78
28-10-2009, 09:46 AM
Dom - thanks for that. I think a reduction in the 1st months rent will be my move in the first instance and bill for cleaning.

Why is it is problem that we need to move this weekend?

wellies78
28-10-2009, 09:53 AM
Tom - we have not signed anything yet and will with hold rent until we see that it has been cleaned properly.

We really like the house, despite the condition, and just want to move in. Looking for another property is not an option and so we will perservere in getting what we want from the letting agents.

HAve looked at the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 but can't see any references or quotes that i can use. Does anyone have any i could use it we need to get more serious?

dominic
28-10-2009, 09:58 AM
s.11 of the LTA 1985 relates to the property needing to be in a habitable state.

However, I think any statutory references here will hinder not help. You are in a very strong position to negotiate a contractual change to the agreement (as per my last post), and this is much better (and constructive) approach than resorting to arguments over the LTA 1985.

Poppy
28-10-2009, 09:58 AM
What a way to commence your relationship with the landlord. Believe me, no landlord will let you move in without receiving the whole of the deposit and first month’s rent. Why get into the hassle of withholding part of the rent? It’s not a smart idea and does not solve anything. The simplest thing to do is to stay put. What is forcing you to physically move out of your current accommodation?

You need to decide:

whether to walk away
whether to accept the property as is, on condition that when you depart it is returned in the same state
whether to insist that the landlord rectifies the problems by x date (do not sign anything nor move in until resolved) or the deal is off
whether to move in, resolve the problems yourself and your landlord refunds your actual expenditure (or it is deducted from the rent)

Whatever you decide it must be put in writing to the landlord/agent and the response must also be in writing. Do not accept any promises unless they are in writing from the landlord.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 10:13 AM
Poppy - I know, what a way to start.....

Thanks for putting it so bluntly, I think I needed that. In the first instance I will go with:

"whether to insist that the landlord rectifies the problems by x date (do not sign anything nor move in until resolved) or the deal is off"

and then my second option will be:

"whether to move in, resolve the problems yourself and your landlord refunds your actual expenditure (or it is deducted from the rent) "

will let you know what the L agent says....

dominic
28-10-2009, 10:18 AM
What a way to commence your relationship with the landlord. Believe me, no landlord will let you move in without receiving the whole of the deposit and first month’s rent. Why get into the hassle of withholding part of the rent? It’s not a smart idea and does not solve anything. The simplest thing to do is to stay put. What is forcing you to physically move out of your current accommodation?

You need to decide:

whether to walk away
whether to accept the property as is, on condition that when you depart it is returned in the same state
whether to insist that the landlord rectifies the problems by x date (do not sign anything nor move in until resolved) or the deal is off
whether to move in, resolve the problems yourself and your landlord refunds your actual expenditure (or it is deducted from the rent)

Whatever you decide it must be put in writing to the landlord/agent and the response must also be in writing. Do not accept any promises unless they are in writing from the landlord.

Poppy, I disagree with you.

Part of the problem is that, presumably, staying put or finding alternative accommodation is going to incur the OP inconvenience and costs.

On the contrary, what a way for a LL to commence their relationship with the tenant.

Having a grown up, reasonable and constructive discussion about how to remedy the situation, recognising that T is committed to moving in on the agreed date but acknowledging that the property is not in the agreed condition leads only to the conclusion that some form of flexibility as to rent/recompense (or deferment of rent) must be forthcoming from the LL until the issues are resolved.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 10:23 AM
I am not dealing with the LL direct, does this make a difference? I am dealing with the letting agent. the property is fully managed by the letting agent - whatever that means.... not a lot at going on present experience atm.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 10:44 AM
Just spoken to the letting agent.....

Cleaners are coming in on Friday morning ( commencement of our tenacy) to clean kitchen and steam clean carpets.

Garage door is being fixed tomorrow

As for the shower, the letting agent has emailed the landlord and is awaiting repsonse.

We are meeting the letting agents at 12.00pm on Friday to check the property, then sign the tenancy and hand over the cash.

One last thing ... do the letting agents have to provide an EPC and what other certificates should i ask to see?

Thanks for all your help and advice :)

jeffrey
28-10-2009, 11:50 AM
s.11 of the LTA 1985 relates to the property needing to be in a habitable state.
No, it doesn't.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 11:51 AM
What does it mean then?

jeffrey
28-10-2009, 12:05 PM
What does it mean then?
Here's section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

11. Repairing obligations in short leases.

(1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor]:
(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

(1A) If a lease to which this section applies is a lease of a dwelling-house which forms part only of a building, then, subject to subsection (1B), the covenant implied by subsection (1) shall have effect as if:
(a) the reference in paragraph (a) of that subsection to the dwelling-house included a reference to any part of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; and
(b) any reference in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection to an installation in the dwelling-house included a reference to an installation which, directly or indirectly, serves the dwelling-house and which either:
(i) forms part of any part of a building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; or
(ii) is owned by the lessor or under his control.

(1B) Nothing in subsection (1A) shall be construed as requiring the lessor to carry out any works or repairs unless the disrepair (or failure to maintain in working order) is such as to affect the lessee’s enjoyment of the dwelling-house or of any common parts, as defined in section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which the lessee, as such, is entitled to use.

(2) The covenant implied by subsection (1)( “the lessor’s repairing covenant”) shall not be construed as requiring the lessor:
(a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,
(b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or
(c) to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.

(3) In determining the standard of repair required by the lessor’s repairing covenant, regard shall be had to the age, character and prospective life of the dwelling-house and the locality in which it is situated.

(3A) In any case where:
(a) the lessor’s repairing covenant has effect as mentioned in subsection (1A), and
(b) in order to comply with the covenant the lessor needs to carry out works or repairs otherwise than in, or to an installation in, the dwelling-house, and
(c) the lessor does not have a sufficient right in the part of the building or the installation concerned to enable him to carry out the required works or repairs,
then, in any proceedings relating to a failure to comply with the lessor’s repairing covenant, so far as it requires the lessor to carry out the works or repairs in question, it shall be a defence for the lessor to prove that he used all reasonable endeavours to obtain, but was unable to obtain, such rights as would be adequate to enable him to carry out the works or repairs.

(4) A covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises is of no effect so far as it relates to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (c), except so far as it imposes on the lessee any of the requirements mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (c).

(5) The reference in subsection (4) to a convenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises includes a covenant:
(a) to put in repair or deliver up in repair,
(b) to paint, point or render,
(c) to pay money in lieu of repairs by the lessee, or
(d) to pay money on account of repairs by the lessor.

(6) In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.

mind the gap
28-10-2009, 12:18 PM
Just spoken to the letting agent.....

Cleaners are coming in on Friday morning ( commencement of our tenacy) to clean kitchen and steam clean carpets.

Garage door is being fixed tomorrow

As for the shower, the letting agent has emailed the landlord and is awaiting repsonse.

We are meeting the letting agents at 12.00pm on Friday to check the property, then sign the tenancy and hand over the cash.

One last thing ... do the letting agents have to provide an EPC and what other certificates should i ask to see?

Thanks for all your help and advice :)

Yes they do have to provide an EPC and if the % energy efficiency rating is below average (ie below 50%), then it means your energy bills will be higher than for other comparably sized properties, so make a fuss about that too. Might be worth negotiating a rent reduction or a commitment on LL's part to carry out some of the energy efficiency measures the EPC will idenitfy as being appropriate and cost-effective for the property.

As they have already got your deposit, ask them for the 'prescribed information' relating to its protection. If they look shifty and make weaselly excuses, point out that they are legally obliged to give you it within 14 days of receiving the receipt. Insist on this.

Also ask to see the CP12 (gas safety certificate) and something from an electrician to say the electrics are safe.

Take lots of photos on the day you move in, just in case you need to prove anything later.

Happy Moving Day!

westminster
28-10-2009, 12:20 PM
Just spoken to the letting agent.....

Cleaners are coming in on Friday morning ( commencement of our tenacy) to clean kitchen and steam clean carpets.

Garage door is being fixed tomorrow

As for the shower, the letting agent has emailed the landlord and is awaiting repsonse.
I know everyone has said this already, but I'm going to say it again; if agent or landlord make promises GET IT IN WRITING, SIGNED BY AGENT/LL. It's a recurring theme on this forum - LL promised to repair X when T moved in but hasn't done it and T didn't get it in writing. Verbal promises are worthless.


One last thing ... do the letting agents have to provide an EPC and what other certificates should i ask to see?

Yes, they have to provide an EPC and a gas safety certificate (if there is gas in the property). If agent cannot provide these, then I would have serious doubt about signing the contract as these are legal requirements any decent agency would comply with. You should also be sent (by agent or LL) the prescribed information in respect of the deposit scheme within 14 days of handing over the deposit. Again, a legal requirement.

No legal requirement to show you an electrical certificate however LL has a duty to ensure electrics are safe.

dominic
28-10-2009, 12:21 PM
Apologies, s.10 refers to fitness for habitation.

mind the gap
28-10-2009, 12:24 PM
No legal requirement to show you an electrical certificate however LL has a duty to ensure electrics are safe.

Which, in reality, he cannot prove unless he has them checked by someone suitably qualified, can he? So I would be insisting on some sort of certificate or assurance signed by an electrician, especially given the lack of professionalism on the part of this LL and his LA.

What a shower.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 12:32 PM
Brilliant guys, thanks for your input. I have now been emailed the EPC for the property and am told that the gas safety information will be with the agent when we meet him at the property.

Am being overly fussy now ...we asked for the chimney to be swept and paid £25 for the priviledge, do i need to see a certificate for that? The National Association of Chimney Sweeps says that one should be issued but only if they are members.... confused.com

wellies78
28-10-2009, 12:35 PM
"What did you want me to do about the freezer draw and the sink , all we can do is note it down on the inventory that when you moved in this is how the items were found. " Letting Agent

What can i realistically expect them to do?

mind the gap
28-10-2009, 12:35 PM
Brilliant guys, thanks for your input. I have now been emailed the EPC for the property and am told that the gas safety information will be with the agent when we meet him at the property.

Am being overly fussy now ...we asked for the chimney to be swept and paid £25 for the priviledge, do i need to see a certificate for that? The National Association of Chimney Sweeps says that one should be issued but only if they are members.... confused.com
If you paid for it, have you not been given a receipt/invoice? Ask for one. To be honest, having the chimney swept is something you should only have to do at the end of the tenancy, not the start. LL or previous tenant should have ensured chimney was swept before you moved in. Why do you have to pay for someone else's soot to be removed?

mind the gap
28-10-2009, 12:37 PM
"What did you want me to do about the freezer draw and the sink , all we can do is note it down on the inventory that when you moved in this is how the items were found. " Letting Agent

What can i realistically expect them to do?
They should order a new freezer drawer, of the correct type for the model of freezer. They should have done that already, the useless lumps.

If the sink is not leaking, then it is probably best to leave it as it is with the proviso that if the crack widens or it begins to leak, it will be replaced immediately. Get that in writing too!

wellies78
28-10-2009, 12:41 PM
I agree with the chimney sweeping costs but we've paid for it now...

We haven't moved in yet, these are the faults that I picked up when viewing the property yesterday to measure for curtains.

Will ask them to order a new part then. The sink is a big belfast sink with surfaces cracks on the bottom. It's a difficult one as it is useable but not perfect.

westminster
28-10-2009, 12:55 PM
"What did you want me to do about the freezer draw and the sink , all we can do is note it down on the inventory that when you moved in this is how the items were found. " Letting Agent

What can i realistically expect them to do?

Follow the inventory clerk around and make sure he/she makes proper note of all the defects. Measure the length of the crack in the sink. Run/switch on all appliances while the clerk is there to check they are working. Ditto taps and loo flush and drains flowing freely. Also check filters in dishwasher/washing machine, which will probably be clogged up. And remember you are allowed to make amendments to the inventory before agreeing to sign it.

As MTG says, take lots of photos yourself too, to supplement possibly low quality ones by inventory clerk.

mind the gap
28-10-2009, 12:59 PM
Agreed. And make sure the LL pays for the new freezer drawer, not you.

In fact, it might be an idea to offer to order it yourself (easily available online as long as you can read the model number - usually on a sticker/little thin metal plate inside the freezer). From what you have told us about the agent, I would question their ability to carry out a simple task like ordering a freezer drawer so you might get it more quickly by DIY. But get permission to deduct the cost from your next rent payment. It will be about £10-25, depending on model.

wellies78
28-10-2009, 13:17 PM
cyber drinks for everyone..... cheers guys.

Think I have her by the preverbials and have everything written in an email stating what they will do before commencement of the tenancy.

Poppy
28-10-2009, 14:31 PM
Excellent!

I am beginning to think that the landlord/agent are not inept, just a bit slow to act. I hope that your ongoing relationship with the landlord/agent continues to be a good one. :)

jeffrey
28-10-2009, 14:44 PM
Apologies, s.10 refers to fitness for habitation.
Yes, but all it does is to define 'fitness'. Its ambit extends only within s.8, implying terms as to fitness for human habitation. In turn, s.8's Table explains why it virtually never applies!

8. Implied terms as to fitness for human habitation.

(1) In a contract to which this section applies for the letting of a house for human habitation there is implied, notwithstanding any stipulation to the contrary:
(a) a condition that the house is fit for human habitation at the commencement of the tenancy, and
(b) an undertaking that the house will be kept by the landlord fit for human habitation during the tenancy.

(2) The landlord, or a person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable tinmes of the day, on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the tenant or occupier, enter premises to which this section applies for the purpose of viewing their state and condition.

(3) This section applies to a contract if:
(a) the rent does not exceed the figure applicable in accordance with the subsection (4), and
(b) the letting is not on such terms as to the tenant’s responsibility as are mentioned in subsection (5).

(4) The rent limit for the application of this section is shown by the following Table, by reference to the date of making of the contract and the situation of the premises:

-TABLE
Date of making of contract
Rent limit Before 31st July 1923.In London: £40. Elsewhere: £26 or £16 (see Note 1).
On or after 31st July 1923 and before 6th July 1957.In London: £40. Elsewhere: £26.
On or after 6th July 1957.In London: £80. Elsewhere: £52.

-NOTES
1. The applicable figure for contracts made before 31st July 1923 is £26 in the case of premises situated in a borough or urban district which at the date of the contract had according to the last published census a population of 50,000 or more. In the case of a house situated elsewhere, the figure is £16.
2. The references to “London” are, in relation to contracts made before 1st April 1965, to the administrative county of London and, in relation to contracts made on or after that date, to Greater London exclusive of the outer London boroughs.

(5) This section does not apply where a house is let for a term of three years or more (the lease not being determinable at the option of either party before the expiration of three years) upon terms that the tenant puts the premises into a condition reasonably fit for human habitation.

(6) In this section “house” includes:
(a) a part of a house, and
(b) any yard, garden, outhouses and appurtenances belonging to the house or usually enjoyed with it.