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gooders2274
27-07-2005, 10:43 AM
:( I am wondering if there is any way I can end a tenancy agreement early?
Been renting current property for 6 months, there is a big list of issues and despite countless phone calls and numerous letters to the landlord none of them have been resolved and I have now had enough and want to move as the stress is getting too much and I am really unhappy here. I have also now involved Health & Safety and Environmental Health which I’m sure the landlord is not going to appreciate but I felt I had no other option as I have done everything I can personally.

All these issues were found either upon me moving in or very soon after, none were caused by me and all have been in writing to the landlord. The problems are as follows;

1.Property has no gas safety certificate
2.Property has no electrical safety certificate
3.Boiler has never been serviced
4.Hot water is scalding! Within 30 seconds of turning it on it is at boiling point, I have scaled my hand numerous times and despite turning down the temperature on the thermostat it hasn’t got any better. My baby has burnt her hand yesterday on the tap (no the water but the handle of the tap), quite often the cold water in the bathroom doesn’t work, it just trickles for a day or so, then will suddenly come back on again!
5.Also because of the above I cannot have the radiators on when the children are up and about as they are so hot they will burn themselves
6.Damp in kitchen
7.Bare wiring in bedroom
8.Wires hanging out of burgular – it has also never worked since I moved in
9.Shower has never worked
10.Radiator in 3rd bedroom has never worked
11.Toilet has leaked since I moved in
12.2 spindles missing from banisters on landing – hasn’t been a problem until now my 1 year old is tottering around, she can fit through them and will fall down the stairs so cant be let down when upstairs
13.Cupboard door and a drawer in kitchen missing
14.Rubbish left in garden (was more but I paid myself to have it moved as was starting to smell and attract flies)
15.Fence in garden broken – has now given me £30 to get this fixed
16.Have not been able to use the garage since I moved in as is packed to the roof with mouldy rotten old furniture – has just given me £100 to have this removed, finally after 6 months, but Environmental Health have now advised that HE should have it removed not me as he may claim he never wanted it removed once I have done so.

The landlord claims he is sorting out all my problems to environmental health but all he has done in 6 months is give me £130 for the two cheapest jobs that need doing. My main concerns are gas safety, electrical safety and the boiling hot water but he has made no effort to rectify any of these matters. Two months ago I reported the non gas safety issue to Health & Safety but am still waiting for the outcome.

With 2 small children in the house I am constantly worrying about the safety issues at the property.

Please do not suggest I with hold rent or deduct from it and have works done as I have threatened both of these and I had the landlord on the phone threatening me that he would come round and collect the money himself if I didn’t pay it and he got quite nasty. I live on my own with the kids and am too scared to upset him.

I took a 12 month tenancy but am now desperate to move sooner. Is there anything I can do to get out the agreement early? :(

MrShed
27-07-2005, 11:18 AM
1.Property has no gas safety certificate
2.Property has no electrical safety certificate
3.Boiler has never been serviced
4.Hot water is scalding! Within 30 seconds of turning it on it is at boiling point, I have scaled my hand numerous times and despite turning down the temperature on the thermostat it hasn’t got any better. My baby has burnt her hand yesterday on the tap (no the water but the handle of the tap), quite often the cold water in the bathroom doesn’t work, it just trickles for a day or so, then will suddenly come back on again!
5.Also because of the above I cannot have the radiators on when the children are up and about as they are so hot they will burn themselves
6.Damp in kitchen
7.Bare wiring in bedroom
8.Wires hanging out of burgular – it has also never worked since I moved in
9.Shower has never worked
10.Radiator in 3rd bedroom has never worked
11.Toilet has leaked since I moved in
12.2 spindles missing from banisters on landing – hasn’t been a problem until now my 1 year old is tottering around, she can fit through them and will fall down the stairs so cant be let down when upstairs
13.Cupboard door and a drawer in kitchen missing
14.Rubbish left in garden (was more but I paid myself to have it moved as was starting to smell and attract flies)
15.Fence in garden broken – has now given me £30 to get this fixed
16.Have not been able to use the garage since I moved in as is packed to the roof with mouldy rotten old furniture – has just given me £100 to have this removed, finally after 6 months, but Environmental Health have now advised that HE should have it removed not me as he may claim he never wanted it removed once I have done so.


OK first of all I will answer these points:

1) an ABSOLUTE requirement. Demand the gas safety certificate within 7 days, or you MAY (someone please confirm this for me) move into a hotel and charge the cost of this to the landlord.
2) Not a requirement in any way - prudent, but no requirement. Have you actually had electrical difficulties?
3) Again, not neccessary AFAIK....if the boiler works, and it obviously does, then no problem here.
4) Have you had hot water before??? Hot water gets HOT....every property I've ever been in, the hot water gets very hot.
5) This is what radiators do....get hot. I've again never known a radiator that when on full will not burn you.
6) Is there a tumble drier in the kitchen? This can often cause damp. Ask the landlord to provide adequate ventilation, and ensure windows are open etc when possible. Was there damp there when you moved in?
7) Bare wiring, yes, should be fixed. Demand it to be repaired, again within 7 days.
8) Wires hanging out where....inside or outside(alarm box)? Were you informed when moving in that it didnt work?
9) Again, were you informed when moving in that it didnt work? Is it the only shower in the property?
10) Again, ask for this to be fixed.
11) As above. How bad a leak are we talking?
12) Unsure.....these were obviously missing when you moved in, so dont THINK you have any recourse about this one.
13) Again, as it was like that when you moved in, not much you can do. You can ask, but think thats about it.


I would advise writing a letter, recorded delivery, stating the following:

- All repairs, primarily gas certificate, shower, toilet, bare wiring etc, to be fixed within 7 days(maybe 14?) of the date of the letter.

- State that if this is not carried out, you will cease paying rent, due to the property being uninhabitable(due to gas safety) and will move into a hotel, and that he shall be responsible for all hotel bills.

- State that if he attempts to forcibly acquire any money from youfor rent, this shall be considered harrassment, andyou will take this up legally in this event.

- State that you must have 24 hours notice for any entry into the property for any reason, including repairs, and that currently you will onlygrant access to the property for repairs ONLY. Any breach of this, shall again be classed as harrassment.

With regards to your original question, I am unsure to be honest. I believe you can give him 2 months notice, but if you move out after that he can still charge you rent until he finds another tenant....although he MUST be seen to be actively attempting to reaccommodate the property. However, I am not sure with regards to the complaints youve made, whether this makes any difference. The gas certificate is the biggy....he can be prosecuted for this(may be worth putting this in the letter) and the lack of one may make the property uninhabitable, and so you may be able to break the tenancy....however I am REALLY not sure on this part, someone like paul f will be able to help more.

gooders2274
27-07-2005, 11:32 AM
with regard to the hot water - i have lived in many houses over my life, 5 with parents, 5 on my own, never before have i been scalded by the water or the radiators - i know they get hot, but not that bloody hot and thats been confirmed by environmental health yesterday.
I have already sent every letter recorded delivery, stopped rent, told him he has broken the law with no gas safety, reported him the health & safety - they have threatened prosecution. Still he does nothing.
With regard to moving into a hotel, be a bit difficult with 2 small children, clothes, bottles, sterilisers, nappies, toys etc etc. Not sure i would want that uphevel to be honest and then how do i get the rent back.?
How could I prove he was getting nasty on the phone and have him done for harrassment, he will only deny it.
Wires on burgular are hanging loose inside the house, close to the floor in hallway.
The garage - didnt know it was full of ***** when i took the property as it was locked. He also had me move the furniture from the property in there on the basis he had 4 weeks to move it, i had trouble getting it all in as it was already ful and i have had to pile previous tenants furnitre on top of the other lot.
Honestly I am just at my wit end, i just want to pack up and run away.

MrShed
27-07-2005, 11:45 AM
OK:

- Hot water.....fair enough. But I'm just saying, from my experience, hot water ALWAYS ALWAYS gets scalding from the tap, and certainly radiators get hot enough to burn. I have lived in 7 properties and all have been like this.

- If he is merely harrassing on the phone, then I wouldnt be too concerned anyway. It is if he begins physical harrassment that you should be concerned, which is obviously provable. Note, in this context by "harrassment" I was meaning him entering the property/forcing way into property without your permission. However, if you were worried about phone calls, you could always record the calls?

- If he does nothing, force him to do something, by saying you are moving out, stopping paying rent, and charging him for hotel bills. I am 90% sure that you will be fully backed by the law in this. The difficulty would be if he ONLY got the gas certificate done, as none of the other issues would be construed as a property being uninhabitable, I do not believe.

justaboutsane
27-07-2005, 12:19 PM
With regards to the harrassement, by law he has to prove he is NOT harrassing you. You can report him to the police and your telephone company. I think that is right but you could email the police or call in, I think it may be called demanding money with menaces?? Not sure if it is right but a quick call or email to the police may be able to help!

MrShed
27-07-2005, 12:41 PM
sane, thats not right. You MUST prove he is causing harrasment. Ever heard of "innocent until proven guilty" ? Trust me, if you make charges against someone for harrassment, certainly in a civil case but also in a criminal case, you MUST be able to prove it.

gooders2274
27-07-2005, 13:03 PM
but with regard to my original question, can I move out and end the tenancy agreement without having to pay up the last 6 months rent.?
Sorry Mr shed, when i reread my message to you back it actually sounded like I was being quite rude, it wasnt intended to be, i wasnt getting at you at all ;)

justaboutsane
27-07-2005, 13:12 PM
MrShed, I am almost certain that in harrasement cases the person accused muxt prove their innocence, I had trouble with an ex partner and was informed that this was the case, I was shocked too! A quick call to the police (or an email as it takes forever to get through!) should back that up! As I say, shocking though it is I am almost certain its right!

Regarding getting out early..... Sorry I don't know! If he does not get the work done the EHO will either take him to court or get the work done.

MrShed
27-07-2005, 13:31 PM
:eek: you are kidding sane! Thats ridiculous!!

Its ok gooders didnt take it as offensive... :)

As I said, if he doesnt supply the gas certificate then you would have good reason to move out. However, a court will look more favourably(if it was to go that far) if you can demonstrate that you had tried to get them to get the certificate, so you should write a letter stating as such. Otherwise, I THINK you can give 2 months notice, but you may still be liable for rent after the 2 months when you move out until he finds another tenant. However, he cannot just sit and get rent from you for the entire year, he must actually actively look for a tenant.

MrShed
27-07-2005, 13:36 PM
To be honest, the absolute best thing you can do is withhold the rent. I hear what you are saying about being worried about harrassment from him, and scared of him etc, and i appreciate that. But bear in mind that if he does harrass you in any way, every form of harrassment he makes he can be prosecuted for, and you can seek damages for. If he harrasses you, call the police!!

However, if you are considering withholding rent, you should consult a solicitor.

mjpl
27-07-2005, 13:40 PM
I am sure that Paul will have a field day with this one but I have little time I am afraid.

We need a little bit more information about the tenancy, for example is there a break clause of any description.

In simple terms if you signed a legal agreement you are required to stick to it! or so it used to be. These days such an onerous responsibility has been tempered and you have a right of assignment and under the Unfair Terms laughislation you could potentially sublet the property. The latter I would ignore as it opens a whole can of worms.

The assignment issue requires the Landlord at the very least to take steps to minimise your loss if you do move out of the property. For example you may move out early, the Landlord markets the property and when new tenants are found allows a mutual termination of your agreement with no further rent to be paid. However, your Landlord sounds a tad unpleasant and unless a reputable agent is involved I doubt there will be any mutual agreements.

You should consider that the Landlord has failed in pretty much all of his obligations and how can he consider the contract to be binding if he is in material breach. Are any of the comments and points you make covered by your contract?

I am afraid that your situation sounds a little serious for friendly advice. If you are being threatened and feel that your children are unsafe (which without a gas safety is sufficient proof) I suggest you take this matter to citizens advice for a practical way to move the situation forward.

I would not stay in an unsafe property.

gooders2274
27-07-2005, 21:24 PM
As far as my tenancy agreement goes, to be honest its not worth the paper its written on. Its very basic, has the wrong rent payment date (silly me should have checked that properly i know), doesnt have any break clauses. Was witnessed and signed by a guy who doesnt work at the 'wannabe' letting agents anymore, they are crap to put it bluntly, they are also in troule with H&S because they should have checked there was a gas safety b4 i moved in. They are really unprofessional. The guy who is named as landlord on my agreement is not actually the landlord and doest help me in anyway other than to pass my messages onto the actual landlord. I really think the whole situation in a complete farce.

gooders2274
29-07-2005, 20:08 PM
with everything else aside, all i really want to know is can i end the tenancy agreement early and move out on the basis that i have lived here for 6 months and he still wont get a gas safety certificate done.>?

MrShed
29-07-2005, 21:58 PM
Consult a solicitor....that is the best thing to do. Or citizens advice. I believe you could move out, but I would check first, as he most likely will try to sue you, so you want to make sure the law is on your side first. I suspect it is.

PaulF
31-07-2005, 09:00 AM
I've made some comments to put you right!

As far as my tenancy agreement goes, to be honest its not worth the paper its written on. Its very basic, has the wrong rent payment date (silly me should have checked that properly i know), doesnt have any break clauses It doesn't have to have any!. Was witnessed and signed by a guy who doesnt work at the 'wannabe' letting agents anymore There is no requirement to have it witnessed., they are crap to put it bluntly, they are also in troule with H&S because they should have checked there was a gas safety b4 i moved in. You're definitely right here! The agent and landlord are both committing a criminal offence by not supplying you with one before you moved in. They are really unprofessional. The guy who is named as landlord on my agreement is not actually the landlord If not, then you can just walk-away from the agreement without penalty.and doest help me in anyway other than to pass my messages onto the actual landlord. I really think the whole situation in a complete farce.

gooders2274
31-07-2005, 20:52 PM
The guy who is named as landlord on my agreement is not actually the landlord - "If not, then you can just walk-away from the agreement without penalty"

HE IS AN 'INBETWEEN' (SUPPOSED AGENT FOR THE LANDLORD) DOES THAT MEAN THE AGREEMENT IS VOID..?

MrShed
31-07-2005, 21:07 PM
ACTUALLY an agent? What do u mean by "supposed" agent. Is it a letting agents?

gooders2274
31-07-2005, 21:40 PM
I]ACTUALLY an agent? What do u mean by "supposed" agent. Is it a letting agents?[/I]

no, the lettings agents drew up the contract and did introduction only, now theyve washed their hands of it because all this trouble has started. When i moved in i thought the guy on the agreement was the owner/landlord but now i'm asking for repairs etc he has told me he doesnt own the property and i have to deal with the owner (his friend i assume), not that he has been any help either. I know the best thing to do would be to see a solicitor but i honestly canot afford to. I have looked up the mans company (the one on the agreement) and under yell.com it comes up as 'Managment and Business Consultants'

MrShed
31-07-2005, 21:42 PM
You need to find out exactly "what" this guy is. But yes if he is just a random, you can walk.

gooders2274
31-07-2005, 22:20 PM
Great Thank You, I Will Find Out More Tomorrow, Thanks For All Your Help So Far. :)

grayfriars
01-08-2005, 23:45 PM
I can confirm what the OP has said about the scalding water. I am renting a flat which has instant hot water supplied from a gas boiler. It is called a "Main Severn 4".

The water does literally become scalding hot within a very short time. I have never known a supply to become so dangerously hot.

It is easy enough for me to deal with as I live alone but I dread to think what it must be like for someone with small children to worry about.

And this is just one of the problems that the OP is coping with.......