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property problems

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607 views 1 replies latest reply: 23 December 2015

Hello,new to the site,We looked at a property for my daughter to move into after her marriage breakdown, when we looked at the property early Nov,all was ok had been recently decorated and carpeted.We signed contract on 7th Dec and went to move in. when we got in there,in that time,through the new decor,damp was rising up the walls downstairs,including interior walll, mould had appeared on the kitchen ceiling.This is a very bad combination for my daughters asthma,and therefore she cannot live there,we have paid 2 months in advance,and are now being told we will have to continue with the 6 month fixed term,even if they can fix it we would have probably got to 3months of uninhabitable condition, this cannot be right.

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Hi Peter

It might be a good idea to call the environmental health team of the local council – they can inspect the property and look at whether there’s a health risk. If it’s bad they can compel the landlord to do something about it. The landlord is supposed to deal with issues like this and, theoretically, if they don’t they are in breach of contract. I’m not a lawyer but you could potentially sue for this – it might be worth speaking to someone at a law centre or Citizens Advice. However, you would need to give the landlord a reasonable length of time to fix the issue before you can take any action. It’s probably a good idea to put everything in writing to the landlord, setting out the issue – with photos – and what you want done about it, by when. 

Was there an inventory when your daughter moved in? Make sure this shows the issues. You can always update this be sending an email entitled ‘additional to the inventory’ to update the situation. The landlord will probably tell you it’s too late to update it but this will provide you with evidence regardless.

It is difficult re the contract as you are contracted to pay the rent up to the break clause and if you don’t then you are in breach of contract, arguably a bigger breach than the damp (although as I said, I’m not a lawyer). Make sure you give the break clause notice at the right time (check your contract but you normally have to give that notice two months before the six months is up). You could also speak to the landlord and ask them to ‘surrender’ the contract i.e. agree in writing to end the tenancy. You’d usually have to provide an incentive for this – for example, you’ll find another tenant. Or something more threatning, such as you’ll report them to the environmental health and sue for breach of tenancy (speak to someone at the two links above before doing this though just to make sure doing it that way won’t cause you problems).

Hope that helps.


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