Multiple complaints – grounds for termination? | The Tenants' Voice
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Multiple complaints - grounds for termination?

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487 views 1 replies latest reply: 06 June 2014


Wondering if anyone can comment on the following situation.

We’re now in our 2nd year of tenancy with a private landlord (via an agent). Throughout the first year we had various problems with the property and the agent and/or landlord took months each time to take action (all documented via email). Despite this we renewed in March 2014 with a 6-month break clause for September 2014. Since then the situation hasn’t really improved and we’ve decided to look elsewhere.

I’ve since contacted the landlord (via agent) and they’ve agreed subject to payment of legal costs (£100+vat), rent until a new tenant would move in, and payment of approx 10% of our monthly rent through end of contract to cover the reletting fees. We’re happy with the first 2 conditions, but given that the agent/landlord are the cause of the situation I’m resolved that they shouldn’t profit from the situation (ie. they’d have paid reletting fees when we gave notice anyway!)

I’m prepared to contact a solicitor to have them draft a notice before action, but wondered if anyone could comment on the grounds of the complaint as follows:

1. Maintenance of the property – on each occasion that we have required maintenance it has taken anywhere from weeks to months to get a resolution, in the worst case we had cracks open in the living room walls that took 9 months for the landlord to agree and repair. Also the building is a new high rise where the view is a significant feature, yet the external windows have not been cleaned once in 15 months of tenancy. We’ve repeatedly notified them and asked for updates, but we just get excuse after excuse.

2. There is a communal heating/cooling system in the building which is meant to be billed quarterly to the resident. In 15 months we’ve had only 2 bills, the rest are up to 9 months behind. Whilst we were made aware of this system when we moved in, we were NOT made aware that it cannot be switched off. This effectively means we are paying for a system that we have, for all intents, no control over. I question the legality of such a system in the first place if not possible to disable, but also that the lease states the bills are to be provided quarterly and we are clearly many months behind in receiving these.

Any advice is much appreciated. To be clear we aren’t seeking anything other than early termination (and only 2 months at that), and we’re willing to be flexible on the move date to ensure the landlord isn’t out of pocket.


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Hi, thanks for posting on our forum.

You’re in a difficult situation here due to the renewed fixed term of the tenancy agreement.

Nine months could be considered more than a ‘reasonable’ amount of time for the repairs to have been carried out, so you clearly have an issue here. With regard to cleaning the windows, they are usually a tenant responsibility, but as you say it is a high rise, so quite difficult for you to take care of. There should be a clause in your tenancy agreement regarding whose responsibility it is. With regard to the heating/cooling system, that also should be in your tenancy agreement. If it states that it should be billed quarterly, that could imply that there is no option to opt out. A lot of ‘grey areas’ here. Not receiving the bills is clearly a concern for you as it would affect your ability to manage your finances and budget accordingly.

As you know, the tenancy agreement is a legally binding document. That is ‘black and white’. The only way that a tenant can terminate the tenancy for a breach of contract by the landlord is “if the property is unfit for human habitation as it would be what is called a ‘repudiatory’ breach of contract. This is a breach which is so serious that it goes to the root of the contract so as to deny you the whole or substantially the whole of the benefit of the contract.”

While your issues and complaints with the landlord are completely valid, it could be argued that the landlord has not breached the contract. Horribly frustrating for you; the tenant who pays full rent and expects proper service and a well-maintained property. Therefore, as you are bound to the tenancy till the end of the 6 month fixed period, the offer by the landlord to release you early shows signs that s/he is being reasonable. I would negotiate a fair deal for yourself as you clearly are being reasonable and have without question been inconvenienced.

However, do seek advice from a solicitor as you have indicated, as the last thing you want to do is pay rent on a property you are no longer living in. The law would support the landlord in this instance.

It would be a good idea to negotiate for a shorter break clause when renewing an agreement when you haven’t been entirely satisfied with how the property is managed.

All the best of luck and I hope you find a happy home with your next rented property.

Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate interpretation of the law.

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