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Nov, 2014

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  1. #1

    Post Wet walls and mould: can T leave tenancy early?

    Good Afternoon,

    I'm currently in a fixed term 6month contract renting a one bed flat. Over the last couple of weeks wet patches have been appearing over the inside of my bedroom wall (an external wall). I have reported this to my landlord who is willing to fix it but says the flat needs to be vacant in order to fix it and therefore informed me I will need to move out at the end of my tennacy (mid October) when the repairs will be completed.

    Every time it rains, new wet patches are appearing on the walls, the damp areas are also expanding and now black and white mould is appearing on the walls.

    I have contacted the landlord and asked to negotiate to end the tenancy early, to enable me to move out (before it affects my severe asthma!) and also to enable her to complete the work sooner. This has been denied and I have been told I am still liable to fulfill my contractual payments until the end of my tenancy (mid October).

    I would be really grateful if anyone could offer me some advice to whether I have any legal right to demand the agreement finishes sooner than mid october.

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    14,115

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    This link has useful info on dealing with disrepair.
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...n_private_lets

    To start with, contact the local council who will have someone in charge of standards in private rental accommodation. Mould and damp is a health hazard, even without having asthma, and councils have powers to enforce repairs. (see the section on the link entitled "contacting environmental health")

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you Westminster, for your speedy reply, much appreciated.
    Have just found a section in my contract which reads...

    'in the event of damage to or destruction of the property by any of the risks insured against by the landlord the tenant shall be relieved from payment of rent to the extent that the tenant's use and enjoyment of the property is thereby prevented and from performance of it's obligations as to the state and condition of the property to the extent that the insurance if prejudiced by any act or default of the tenant'

    would this be a suitable clause to insist on a surrender of tenancy?

    Oooo fingers crossed! Many thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    14,115

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    Quote Originally Posted by lou0102 View Post
    Have just found a section in my contract which reads...

    'in the event of damage to or destruction of the property by any of the risks insured against by the landlord the tenant shall be relieved from payment of rent to the extent that the tenant's use and enjoyment of the property is thereby prevented and from performance of it's obligations as to the state and condition of the property to the extent that the insurance if prejudiced by any act or default of the tenant'

    would this be a suitable clause to insist on a surrender of tenancy?.
    No I think that's just about things like major fire/flood which forced T to move out - a bit of damp/mould isn't in that league.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    39,409

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    Quote Originally Posted by westminster View Post
    No I think that's just about things like major fire/flood which forced T to move out - a bit of damp/mould isn't in that league.
    I agree. Mould is not one of the insured risks, so that clause is inapplicable.
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    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
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  6. #6

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    Thank you very much for your replies, I do appreciate it.
    I've asked again about negotiating to finish the tenancy early and this has again been refused.

    I guess I now have to sit it out for the remainder of the contract and hope things don't get any worse and I don't get ill! Or move elsewhere and incur the cost of rent for two places for 6weeks.

    It's frustrating that I'm having to pay full rent when the LL is not going to do anything to fix the problem until I leave! I know also, that if I do decide to move out early, the LL will use the opportunity to start the repairs earlier; if they do I will certainly have something to say about it!!

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    14,115

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    Quote Originally Posted by lou0102 View Post
    I guess I now have to sit it out for the remainder of the contract and hope things don't get any worse and I don't get ill! Or move elsewhere and incur the cost of rent for two places for 6weeks.
    Or take action such as contacting the council to force LL to carry out repairs.

  8. #8

    Question Some developments, some concerns.

    Thanks to everyone again who replied. Since my last message I contacted my LL again to formally request an early end to my tenancy and to inform them that I was not happy and was taking advice in relation to the problem. I decided to give them some time to respond to my message before following the steps you kindly advised me to.

    So, I've been away for a few days and returned to my flat today where I found a to let sign outside the house. It is my flat that is being advertised and is listed on the agents website as available to rent from the 1st Setember. First I knew of it!!! Now I'm actually very pleased, as I am hopeful that the LL has decided to release me from my tenancy on 31st August, but as yet, no response or contact at all from the LL! (I have a printed copy of this advert as proof). Would this stand as proof I am being released? Only it's two weeks away and I currently have nowhere to go! Do they think I'm stupid and I wouldn't notice the great big sign!?

    My main concern..... my rental contract started on the 14th of the month, so my next monthly installment of rent is due leave my account this Friday (14th). Within the contract is a clause that if rent is late, interest will be applied to the money owed. If I stopped this payment and paid half a months rent to tide me until the 31st August (assuming they are allowing me to leave) would I be held in breach of contract? I fully suspect I will not receive a reply until after the 14th for this reason and I will then have to fight to get the money returned in addition to the deposit.

    If the flat is being advertised as tenantable from 1st Sept, the LL is clearly not going to have any time to complete the necessary repairs! Instead it'll prob be a paint over it job in an effort to conceal it! The black mold is hidden behind my bedframe, but anyone viewing the flat with eyes would not be able to miss the damp patches on the walls!

    When do they suppose to show people round! I understand they need my consent to do so, but in view of this latest trick, I wouldn't put it past them to try and do so without me knowing: my LL knows the dates I am away. I'm intending to change my alarm code and I know if it does happen that my neighbours will tell me too if they are here. Even still, I'm nervous about the possibility of people I don't know being in my flat without my consent. And, if they do decide to inform me it is being advertised and want me to show the people around, I'm not going to lie if asked direct questions about things!!

    So as you can see, it's a mixed bag of emotions....I'm pleased, concerned and a bit panicky! And light you can shed on the situation will be very gratefully received I can assure you!

    Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to read my little essay.
    Best wishes, L

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    500

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    They dont need you out to repair, sounds like a gutter or roof problem which would be initially fixed from outside.

    Perhaps your landlord does not like you and wants you to leave and so is spinning you a yarn?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

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    If you pay the whole month's rent in advance, then you are able to leave early, it is unlikely you will be able to claim any of the 'overpaid' rent back unless LL agrees.

    I suggest you write to LL; advise that you have noticed the flat appears to be to let from 1st Sept; you will not at this stage assume you are being illegally evicted (although it might be construed as such), but assume instead that he has reconsidered your request for an early surrender of the tenancy due to the disrepair, and that until he can clarify the position, you will put your rent into a separate account ready to be paid to him once the confusion over the end of your tenancy has been resolved.

    Has this man protected your tenancy deposit, by the way?

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