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Tenant unable to move in as no heating – what are her remedies?

CottageHere is a question to the blog clinic from Cara who is a tenant:

Hi,  I signed a tenancy agreement with an agent on the 1st March to move into the property that same day – however when I got there there was no heating or hot water.

I have a young son so we couldn’t move in – also it had been agreed that a flooring would be put down in the kitchen which it wasn’t (just painted concrete – which incidentally washes off when you mop!!), also all the old tenants furniture was still there.

Its a very small cottage so with all their furniture and mine you literally couldn’t safely move through the living room.  Me and my son went to stay with my dad.  I waited a week and then sent them a letter saying that I had not been able to move in and so wanted to terminate my 6 month contract.

I requested my landlords details so that I could contact her – wouldn’t give them to me – my grounds for wanting to terminate my contract were mainly down to the heating/water but that I also wasn’t pleased about the other problems.

I threatened to go to a solicitor and they agreed to put the property back on the market but are saying that I am liable to pay until someone moves in – as yet no one has viewed the property – and I have just checked with the deposit protection service and they have not even transferred my deposit over – which I have a contract saying they would.

Do I really have to keep paying these unprofessional cowboys?

As the property is without basic facilities (ie hot water and heating) you are entitled to terminate it immediately so long as you do it quickly. If you carry on paying rent you may be deemed to have accepted the contract.

Although if you go to court the Judge will be very much on your side, so don’t worry about threats to sue you.  I would suggest you do not pay any more rent and ask for the rent and deposit already paid to be refunded to you.

If you have to go to court to get your money back, it is the landlord you are supposed to sue NOT the agents.  So you will need her details (although you can use the address given on the tenancy agreement if you are not given any other, even if this is the agents address).

However, under s1 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 it is a criminal offence if the agents fail to provide you with details of your landlords name and address within 21 days of receiving a written demand from you, so I suggest you write to them about this mentioning the act.

If they still fail to let you have the details, have a word with your local authority TRO who may be able to help you by exerting a bit of pressure on your landlord.  They may also arrange for an inspection of the property as it sounds to me as it if its condition is in breach of regulations.

So far as the deposit is concerned, if it has not been protected in a scheme within 30 days of payment by you, the landlord AND the agents will both be liable for the penalty under the tenancy deposit regulations – see my special website on this here.



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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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