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House not ready on moving in date

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285 views 1 replies latest reply: 04 September 2017


Quite an odd situation that is causing me a whole heap of stress and anger…. 

I have rented a new house through a letting agent that I visited 7 weeks and ago and agreed to a completion/moving date of the 31st August. As a long serving and decent honest renter, I got my former house ready for leaving, professional cleaning amounting to £400 as stated, hired a moving van for £100 and prepared to move.  I was finding myself worrying about the lack of communication from the new agents and them not giving me days on which the schedule of condition, etc would be completed but they just confirmed the 31st for all the above.

So some friends helped me pack my van in the morning to transfer stuff and ten minutes before I was due to sign the contract and take the keys at 9.30am – the agents rang and said that the house was found to have broken smoke alarms and that i couldn’t legally get the keys that day until after 5pm. I was obviously fairly annoyed, especially as I had one day to move due to work and get the van back to the hirer at 5.30!  They then agreed to allow me to move my belongings in whilst the contractor was working on the smoke alarms as long as he held the keys. 

I inquired why the smoke alarms were not checked prior and why the house wasn’t ready when my applicant was approved 6 weeks prior. They then let me know that the previous tenant had only moved out at 9am that morning and they hadn’t yet checked the property and that the prior tennant had let them know over text.  Alarm bells begin to ring.

I arrived at the property to find the doors open but no contractor. The property has no working locks, all of them are ceased up and unlockable. The door was left open by the previous tenant who I now know was kicked out for not paying rent. She has trashed the house, it is disgusting. Showers are broken, there is around 3 working lights. The filth is like a channel four documentary including what maybe human excrement in the shower. Holes ripped up in flooring. There is at least a van load of rubbish and broken smashed up furniture in the property and garden.

despite the smoke alarms not working and the doors not lockable, the agent says I signed the contract and am now liable for the house. They have told me the work will be completed in a weeks time. I asked where am I supposed to put my belongings and live in the meantime to no response.

luckily my previous landlord has allowed me to rent my former property for another month. So I have now paid two rents at two properties and two deposits totalling almost £4000. 

I asked the agents since they failed to get the house ready for the 31st and that Ive had to extend my former tenancy whether they could change the tenancy for the 1st of next month. They have declined and stated that it is my problem, I signed the contract. 

As you can imagine I am utterly broken. I am considering getting legal advice but would like to know if I have any sort of case first because of the cost.

thanks for any advice in advance.

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This is a horrible experience, but not too uncommon. We’ve had many tenants complain that when they moved in, the property’s condition was horrible and unlivable without them putting in serious effort and money to fix the problems. 

However, you would be pleased to know that the landlord is responsible for rectifying such problems, left behind by former tenants. Not only are they liable to cover the repairs (and in acceptable time frame), BUT ALSO, should the property be in such a horrid condition as to be considered unlivable, the landlord is required to either provide you with an alternative accommodation or to cover your expenses living in another property, or in a hotel, while the house is being repaired. 

Having no locks and no way of securing the property is the first major problem that contributes to making the property unlivable. Junk, filth and excrements further complement it, adding an environmental safety and health impact. 

Lastly, no working smoke alarms is absolutely against fire safety protocols. 

I would say (without being a lawyer) that if you can sufficiently prove this and also have records of your communication with the letting agents, you can build a very solid case against the landlord and successfully claim compensation to cover your housing expenses for the duration. 

What I suggest you doing, if haven’t already is to go back to the property ASAP and record all problem areas. The smoke alarms, the lack of locks, the filth, the feces, etc. You can take photoes or do a video-walk-around and supply this proof to the court, when requested. 

The faster you do it, the more damage you can prove, the easier it will be to claim this compensation. 

However, please also seek real legal advice from a licensed solicitor. You can check some options at our resources page –

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