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Need advice/information with new flat (6month contract)

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1333 views 1 replies latest reply: 26 July 2014

I am 17 just moved into my first ever house, Its a new experience for me and don’t know the ins and outs of it. I moved in about 1 month and a bit ago and the house seemed fine at first but the boiler was hanging off the wall, I was reassured that it would be fixed but its still sitting there duct taped on, in the contract I signed for the house it was stated that the landlord would pay for and fix any damages he or previous tenants had caused, 1 week in a fuse in my living light blows up. we rang the landlord up but could not get a hold of him for maybe a week. another week passes then my bathroom lights are faulty. there is a dampness in the air and I have a neighbour living above with 4 kids. I want get out of here as soon as I can but I can’t just terminate the contract because I would have to pay full 6 months rent when I would need money for a new place. Does anyone have any advice they could give me on what I can do in the current situation. +the boiler hanging off the wall is kind of a health and safety matter so I might contact environment agency to see what they say.

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Hi, thanks for contacting us in the forums. Congratulations on your new independence. It is an exciting time, but the added responsibility can be confusing and a little overwhelming at times. Don’t worry, everyone feels the same way when they move into their first property. Our website has loads of information to help make your renting experience a little less stressful.

It sounds like you have found a landlord who is not meeting his responsibilities and duty of care to provide you with a property that is well maintained. The duct tape on the boiler is a clear give-away. But let’s start with the lighting first.

When you move into a property with an AST (assured shorthold tenancy), it is the tenant’s responsibility to change fuses and light bulbs. When a fuse blows, it should be a simple matter of locating the fuse box and flipping the switch so that they are all facing the same direction. If you do this and the light still won’t turn on, then change the light bulb. If it still won’t turn on then the fuse needs replacing.

If this keeps happening, then there may be a problem with the wiring. If you are in a House of Multiple Occupation the landlord has a legal obligation to get an electrical inspection every 5 years. If you are not living in an HMO then, believe it or not, there is no legal obligation to get the wiring tested on a periodic basis. What you can do though, is write a letter or email to your landlord requesting when the last electrical safety inspection was carried out. The recommendation is once every 5 years or with each new tenancy. If the landlord cannot produce one, then you should request it in writing.

See our article on electrical safety for more information:

Moving on to the boiler, the law is clear-cut and simple when it comes to heating and hot water in rented homes. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985)your landlord is responsible for the repair and maintenance of “central heating, gas fires, fireplaces, flues, ventilation and chimneys.” In order to get the boiler repaired or replaced, you need to write a letter or email requesting these repairs.
See our articles related to repairs and what to do if the landlord won’t carry out necessary repairs. The key when dealing with landlords is to write everything down, include dates, and keep copies for your own records.

You are right in that you are liable for paying rent for the full 6 months of the fixed term, however, if your landlord is breaking the terms of your tenancy agreement by not carrying out his responsibilities, you may be able to be released from your tenancy early. Please be aware that the procedure for this must be carried out correctly by law otherwise you would be liable for the rent whether you are living in the property or not. Try putting your requests in writing first and following the steps involved in repairs, but if you feel that your safety is at risk then you should speak to an advisor at Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

All the very best for a quick resolution for you.

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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