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What constitutes landlord's breach of contract ?
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# 1
inclement
Old 27-11-2008, 3:06 PM
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Default What constitutes landlord's breach of contract ?

Hi,

I took on a 12 month assured shorthold tenancy and have had nothing but problems since I moved in.

When I looked round the property there was a dishwasher integrated in the kitchen but on moving in found it was not plumbed in and the landlord refuses to plumb it in. Had I known this was the case i wouldn't have signed the tenancy.

The fire in the living room doesn't work and won't be fixed for 2 months - this wasn't communicated until I moved in either.

Along with this, there is a leak on the central heating, the flooring is rotten, the hot water doesn't work unless the central heating is on and there is rubbish in the back yard that the landlord won't remove.

As far as I'm concerned this should be enough to show that the landlord is in breach of contract. There is no notice period in the contract so I want to rely on the breach to get out of the agreement.

Has anyone got any opinions/comments/help ?

Thanks,

Inclement
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# 2
Mutton Geoff
Old 27-11-2008, 3:43 PM
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Look in your agreement for "Landlords Obligations", that will state what he is supposed to do as part of the contract. Are the items you mention within the inventory? What is the condition of them stated in the inventory?
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# 3
mlz1413
Old 27-11-2008, 3:54 PM
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Write to the LL and LA if one is involved and state the problems that need fixing. Request that they respond to the letter within 7 days.

If they do not answer send the letter again by recorded delivery and state that as they have not answered your first letter of X date that you again write to request confirmation within 7 days of when the listed problems will be fixed. Go onto the royal mail website and print off the proof of delivery.

If they still do not respond write again saying that as the issues listed on letters dated X and X have not been acknowledged or agreed for repair so you feel that you only have two options left, one is to repair and make good the property to the standard that is was perceived to be let in (cross check with your inventory!) and therefore you will be getting 3 quotes for all the necessary works and choosing the middle one which will be deducted for the rent and the original bill forwarded to the LL's address. Or option 2 the LL release you from the contract early with no further monies due.

If you still don't get an answer from this 3rd letter and you have recorded delv signatories then choose to stay and repair or to leave and write again saying you give 1 or 2 months notice.

The above maybe long winded but it will give the LL every opportunity to repair and/or reply and will prove that you made every effort to contact the LL at every step of the process.

FIRST and FOREMOST read your contract and inventory ensure you are within your rights to want the things you complain about rectified.
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# 4
zebulon
Old 27-11-2008, 4:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlz1413 View Post
If they do not answer send the letter again by recorded delivery and state that as they have not answered your first letter of X date that you again write to request confirmation within 7 days of when the listed problems will be fixed. Go onto the royal mail website and print off the proof of delivery.
and what about there is an answer "yep will be all repaired in 4 months" :rolleyes:
should not the letter have something a bit more direct, like asking repairs to be done in x weeks ?

just a thought
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# 5
mlz1413
Old 27-11-2008, 4:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebulon View Post
and what about there is an answer "yep will be all repaired in 4 months" :rolleyes:
should not the letter have something a bit more direct, like asking repairs to be done in x weeks ?

just a thought
Quite agree if the LL does reply and offers repairs on long time spans then you tackle that issue, but at the mo the LL is not accepting responsiblility. I just find it easier to tackle things one step at a time as trying to put everything in one letter can be confusing and the LL could take advantage of that.
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# 6
inclement
Old 27-11-2008, 4:32 PM
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Thanks for the responses - I like the idea of giving a time frame for the faults to be rectified.

I have a grasp of contract law and was going to try and rely on the fact that I was enticed into signing for the lease by the existence of the dishwasher and fire when there was no intention on the landlord's part for these to be working (the fire within a reasonable time frame). If I'd known these facts beforehand I wouldn't have signed the agreement.
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# 7
mlz1413
Old 27-11-2008, 4:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inclement View Post
Thanks for the responses - I like the idea of giving a time frame for the faults to be rectified.

I have a grasp of contract law and was going to try and rely on the fact that I was enticed into signing for the lease by the existence of the dishwasher and fire when there was no intention on the landlord's part for these to be working (the fire within a reasonable time frame). If I'd known these facts beforehand I wouldn't have signed the agreement.
Would you be happy to stay if they were working?
Also how long have you been there?
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# 8
Incisor
Old 27-11-2008, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inclement View Post
... I have a grasp of contract law and was going to try and rely on the fact that I was enticed into signing for the lease by the existence of the dishwasher and fire when there was no intention on the landlord's part for these to be working (the fire within a reasonable time frame).
I would be more inclined to go on whether these are inventory items. You are arguing that the dishwasher was an enticement into the contract, I would argue that it is scheduled to be made available under the contract.
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# 9
inclement
Old 27-11-2008, 7:01 PM
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To be honest with the way that the landlord is, I just want to get out of the property soon with a minimal amount of fuss. I've been in 2 months out of a 12 month contract and it's been a nightmare !

The best position for me would be to be able to get him to agree to terminate the contract however I would be prepared to go down the breach of contract route to get out of the house early.

Any thoughts on the early termination route ?

Also, I've read that if I do leave and he deems that I am the one breaching the contract, he will need to do as much as he can to find a new tenant to mitigate the loss in rent.
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# 10
mlz1413
Old 28-11-2008, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inclement View Post
To be honest with the way that the landlord is, I just want to get out of the property soon with a minimal amount of fuss. I've been in 2 months out of a 12 month contract and it's been a nightmare !

The best position for me would be to be able to get him to agree to terminate the contract however I would be prepared to go down the breach of contract route to get out of the house early.

Any thoughts on the early termination route ?

Also, I've read that if I do leave and he deems that I am the one breaching the contract, he will need to do as much as he can to find a new tenant to mitigate the loss in rent.
I thought it was you who had to do as much as possible to get a new tenant in? I think if the LL does it you are liabile for the costs incurred including rent up until he finds new tenant - in other words don't except LL to put in too much effort!

In your situation I would try appealing to the LL along the lines of; the cost to plumb in dishwasher, fix fire, stop leak, replace/make good the rotten carpet is so high would he prefer you to find a new tenant and let you leave early.

The only other thing not confirmed is your deposit, is that in a scheme?

Last edited by mlz1413; 28-11-2008 at 1:12 PM. Reason: typo
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# 11
N79
Old 28-11-2008, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inclement View Post
To be honest with the way that the landlord is, I just want to get out of the property soon with a minimal amount of fuss. I've been in 2 months out of a 12 month contract and it's been a nightmare !

The best position for me would be to be able to get him to agree to terminate the contract however I would be prepared to go down the breach of contract route to get out of the house early.

Any thoughts on the early termination route ?

Also, I've read that if I do leave and he deems that I am the one breaching the contract, he will need to do as much as he can to find a new tenant to mitigate the loss in rent.
While I deeply sympathise with you and I am sorry that you have such a bad LL you can not just terminate early. As you correctly identify, this would mean you would be in breach. The LL has to take reasonable steps to mitigate his losses, not as much as he can. Any replacement you propose would be subject to vetting by the LL.

You have had good advice from MLZ1413 above with regard to the correct procedure for writing letters and trying to progress the claim. However you are a long way from being able to withhold rent or leave early blaming the LL I am afraid.

In the meantime can I offer the following on your problems. I am not making excuses for the LL but this might help you live more comfortably.

1. Dishwasher - why not plumb it in yourself. If the correct points are already available then this is a 10 minute and zero cost job. If there is no waste pipe then fitting one is a 30 minute and a few pound job. Even fitting a cold water supply pipe is very easy these days.

2. Take the rubbish to the tip yourself (after informing the LL by letter that you will do this and giving him a couple of weeks to arrange it himself).

3. Have you tried tightening the leaking CH joint - it may be a very simple fix!

4. Finally, needing to run CH and HW together may not be a fault. 12 of my houses (which all date from the mid 1980s) have heating / hot water systems which can not be individually controlled (they lack the correct number of motorised valves). However, they all have relatively recent controllers which have seperate controls. They don't work however. Just to let you know that this may be a design of the system.

Good luck with sorting out your problems.
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# 12
clutton
Old 28-11-2008, 6:36 PM
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repairs, and notice to quit, are two entirely separate issues in law.

you have signed a legally binding contract to rent for 12 months - you are legally bound to pay for 12 months - unless there is a 6 months break clause in the agreement.

you can negotiate with the landlord for an early release - but he is under no legal obligation to agree.

i cannot condone lack of repairs - accept the excellent advice given earlier in this thread - but you cannot use these issues to get out of your contractual obligations.
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# 13
joanne1965cat
Old 02-12-2008, 4:55 PM
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Angry to pay or not to pay???

Hi, Whilst at University, my son and his 'friends' decided to rent a house. He signed the rental agreement (I signed as guarantor), he paid rent for July and August 2008 in advance. In June, my son decided to drop out of University and so never even moved into the property. In September, I received a letter from the landlord reminding me about the rent I had to pay (as guarantor) I paid Sept/Oct/Nov208. During this time I asked for a set of keys to the property as I believed the'friends' to be subletting the property. We are now in December, I still have no keys or access to the property, yet I am paying 277.00 a month. Decembers rent was due yesterday. Have I any right to withold rent until I receive keys to enable me to access the property? Anyone know where I stand, legally?
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# 14
Premier
Old 02-12-2008, 5:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joanne1965cat View Post
Hi, Whilst at University, my son and his 'friends' decided to rent a house. He signed the rental agreement (I signed as guarantor), he paid rent for July and August 2008 in advance. In June, my son decided to drop out of University and so never even moved into the property. In September, I received a letter from the landlord reminding me about the rent I had to pay (as guarantor) I paid Sept/Oct/Nov208. During this time I asked for a set of keys to the property as I believed the'friends' to be subletting the property. We are now in December, I still have no keys or access to the property, yet I am paying 277.00 a month. Decembers rent was due yesterday. Have I any right to withold rent until I receive keys to enable me to access the property? Anyone know where I stand, legally?
You, as guarantor, are not entitled to any keys or have access to the property.

However, your son as a tenant for which you are paying rent is entitled to keys (assuming the TA has not been ended)

Rent is due in full on the day specified in the TA.
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# 15
joanne1965cat
Old 02-12-2008, 5:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Premier View Post
You, as guarantor, are not entitled to any keys or have access to the property.

However, your son as a tenant for which you are paying rent is entitled to keys (assuming the TA has not been ended)

Rent is due in full on the day specified in the TA.
I can only assume that the tenancy agreement has not been terminated as I have had no written correspondence indicating that it has, nor when I spoke to the landlords office (in Belfast) did they say that it had. My son has never dealt with these people, it has ALWAYS been me. On the three occasions that I requested the keys, they said that they would get on to the lettings agents (in Manchester) and get them to forward them to us. Incidentally, my son lives back at home and so the keys would be addressed to him - not to me.
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# 16
marshallm
Old 09-12-2009, 5:44 PM
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the flat i am renting has scafolding outside the building which has men working from 8o'clock in the morning onwards. we have been suffering from leaking through window sills of 2 of the bedrooms which has caused damp floors, mould and a bad smell. it states on the contract that the flat should be wind and water proof. we have been suffering from this for months, the landlord took away are rent for a couple of the months and now has told us that he is moving us to bedsit for a couple of months while work is being done on the flat, where we will be charge more than our normal rent or we can stay at a friends and pay no rent. do we have the right to cancel the contract?? we are all third year students living in the property and as you can imagine this is added stress. anyoen have any suggestions??
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# 17
blckbrd
Old 09-12-2009, 7:38 PM
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OP the specific points of law relating to the LL & tenant relationship would take precedence over contract law. So I'd doubt you'd get very far seeking redress under the latter.
Opinion, advice and information are different things. Don't be surprised if you receive all 3 in response.
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# 18
Fire Fox
Old 09-12-2009, 9:22 PM
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MarshallM: Can you please start a new thread instead of dragging one up from 2008? Thanks. Presumably you have read this thread and now know you need to put your complaints into writing to the landlord, and cannot simply terminate the contract.
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