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smalone80
10-10-2011, 14:07 PM
I was hoping someone could help me with a query!
If a prospective tenant has viewed a property to let, subsequently agreed to take the property, but then a new kitchen has been added since the viewing which now leaves the tenant unable to fit in a fridge or freezer in, can said tenant then pull out of the property and request their moving costs be reclaimed as the property is now not fit for purpose?
The tenants were not informed that the kitchen units had been extended and only saw the new kitchen arrangement one day before they were due to move in, but no tenancy agreement had been signed.
Please help!!!

tacpot
10-10-2011, 14:26 PM
If the tenants have not taken possession of the property (not accepted keys and not moved anything into the property), they should be able to avoid the tenancy starting - so no security deposit would be due. However any holding deposit will be lost, and any security deposit is unlikely to be returned quickly, even though it should be.

I can't see that the tenant can claim their moving costs if they haven't moved in. If they have moved in, the tenancy agreement is in force and it will have to run as per the agreement. If a professional removals company was being used, and will charge for cancellation, I think the tenant will have to cover this cost, as there will be no contract with the landlord that covers consequential loss of the tenant not moving in due to the landlord's actions.

But who puts a kitchen in without there being space for a Fridge! If you are the tenant and have moved in, I would discuss this with the landlord and see if a compromise can be reached, e.g. can a change be made to the kitchen to allow a Fridge to be installed. You might talk to Environmental Health to see if they can help with applying pressure to the landlord.

If this doesn't work, you might have to have a small fridge on top of the worksurface and have a small freezer elsewhere in the property. Your landlord will pay for this change with a rapid turnover of the first tenant and difficulty renting to subsequent tenants.

How long was there between the viewing and the date when the tenant was to move in? Was nothing said about any plans to replace or update the kitchen - I do find this odd, but not unbeleivable if the tenant was shown around by an agent. Landlords don't always tell their agents what they are planning to do...

jjlandlord
10-10-2011, 14:29 PM
However any holding deposit will be lost

They could argue that landlord changed the conditions of the agreement so that holding deposit should be returned.

smalone80
10-10-2011, 14:42 PM
Many thanks for the responses!
The moving costs that are being disputed consists of £65 worth of admin fees being charged to the tenants for having to change back their insurance certificates. You are correct that a holding deposit for £170 was taken, however £80 of this was itemised as the reference fee.

The tenants were originally shown the property on the 26th August (with a fridge in place) and were informed that a new kitchen would be fitted to replace the old existing units, however the situation has arisen as additional kitchen units were fitted and so no floor space was left for a fridge to be reinstalled. The tenants were only made aware of this the day before the move in date, which was due to be the 7th October and when the issue was raised they were informed by the estate agents that they would have to put a fridge in the living room of the property, which is when they decided to pull out of the move.
Any advice would be appreciated!

Paul_f
10-10-2011, 14:56 PM
Applicants should have all monies returned in full including reference charges as the original accommodation had been changed.

tacpot
10-10-2011, 15:01 PM
They could argue that landlord changed the conditions of the agreement so that holding deposit should be returned.

Unfortunately many Holding Deposits are taken without any meaningful agreement as to the circumstances that would cause the deposit to be refundable. Part of the difficultly is in codifying whether a tenant's change of mind is reasonable or not (or has been caused by a landlord's actions.)

I do feel for both parties here (although we haven't heard the landlord's point of view). It does sound as though the additional units have been installed in error, and have created a situation where a fridge cannot be put into the kitchen.

The Insurance Admin Charge is a consequentialy loss. It would be very unusual in my experience for an agreement regarding a holding deposit to cover any consequential loss - if I were drafting any such agreement I would certainly look to exclude consequential loss.

I doubt that a UK court would accept any claim for consequential loss where the liability was not accepted as part of the contract (unless the liability was created by statute and was therefore unavoidable).

tacpot
10-10-2011, 15:07 PM
Applicants should have all monies returned in full including reference charges as the original accommodation had been changed.

But the OP agreed to the change. It's just that they expected the replacement to be like for like, but the landlord (or installer) had a different plan in mind. It is very difficult to provide for such mis-communications.

Was there any agreement signed that related to the holding deposit and the circumstances in which it would be returned?

smalone80
10-10-2011, 15:27 PM
No, all communication was made verbally and the estate agents informed the tenants of the purposed replacement of the kitchen, although they did state they did not know what work was being carried out.

Ericthelobster
10-10-2011, 15:33 PM
No, all communication was made verbally and the estate agents informed the tenants of the purposed replacement of the kitchen, although they did state they did not know what work was being carried out.But as mentioned earlier... a kitchen with no space for a fridge?? Does the landlord actually realise this is the issue here - has anyone told him? The whole thing could be a complete oversight and it may well be that the LL will resolve it forthwith, without any need for all the angst.

(I do wonder whether perhaps the new kitchen has a built-in fridge, and the maybe tenant doesn't like that and already has his own anyway? Which would put a different perspective on things)

smalone80
10-10-2011, 15:41 PM
I agree, this is the issue we are having as cannot understand why no one thought to include space for a fridge in the new kitchen installation.
Tenants viewed the property with a fridge installed and so were not inspecting the new kitchen to a) have no fridge installed - as original fridge has now been completly removed and b) not have the floor space provided to be able to replace trhe previous fridge within the kitchen.
The mind boggles!

ram
11-10-2011, 09:11 AM
The mind boggles!

But it's your property, why did you not know what was being done in YOUR
kitchen ?
Seems like a failure on behalf of the letting agents if they agreed to replace
the kitchen for you, and dont have the intelligence to make sure a fridge
can be fitted, as per original layout, and are so inept.

If letting agents made the mistake, then tell them that their actions
lost you a tenant, lost you rent, and you "could" be looking to them to
pay you for lost rent, and they must give ALL monies back.

My Fridge freezer is in a massive bedroom, nestled between office desk
and racks of box files, but I saw before that in the same way, a new kitchen
had been fitted and no room for fridge, but at least i saw there was no room,
but more than enough space in the bedroom.
Comes in handy when sat at desk, to have nice cool drinks available by just
leaning over, oor to get out of bed and be instantly in "the office".
But that is my choice, and not the choice of short term tenants.

R.a.M.

MrJohnnyB
11-10-2011, 09:21 AM
But it's your property, why did you not know what was being done in YOUR
kitchen ?
Seems like a failure on behalf of the letting agents if they agreed to replace
the kitchen for you, and dont have the intelligence to make sure a fridge
can be fitted, as per original layout, and are so inept.



I think the OP is the tenant in this case, not the Landlord. I have only skim read this post though so could be wrong.

Going back to the OP. Was the tenant consulted on the changes to the kitchen? If the tenant wishes to rescind the contract then they maybe required to go to court or come to a mutual agreement as to the issue.

For what it's worth I think that a material change in a property which can have such an effect as to make it unusable would result in the ingoing tenant being refunded, in its entirety, plus any costs incurred - any genuine costs that is!

jjlandlord
11-10-2011, 18:37 PM
Unfortunately many Holding Deposits are taken without any meaningful agreement as to the circumstances that would cause the deposit to be refundable.

If holding deposit is taken without such agreement it should either be treated as refundable in all cases, it certainly is if landlord changes his side of the deal.