Here is a question to the blog clinic fast track from Mandy (not her real name) who is a tenant.
On the 19th November, I moved into a flat in Notting Hill, where I have a 3-year contract and an 18-month break-clause.
I was shown the property via a video that showed a very well furnished property, but when I arrived the property was totally unfurnished. The agent was shocked as I was, as he didn’t know the furniture he showed me in the video was the tenant’s and was apologising over the phone. The check-in clerk was there, but he had nothing to register as there was nothing there.
I had to wait until 21.30 on the same day so that the landlord put some other furniture (the furniture shown in the video was from the previous tenants who moved it all) and so the current furniture is very old and not what I was expecting. There are several things missing:
- King size bed
- Kitchen table
- Large bed-sofa
- Bedside tables
- 2 closets
to name a few.
I contacted the agency and the 1st reaction was to be very aggressive and to say I had to “suck-it-up”, as the contract said the house was furnished.
But upon pushing back they proposed that I make a list and the landlord will then consider buying some stuff for the flat.
However, at this stage, I just want to leave the apartment, and move into something else. I am ready if necessary to love my deposit, but would like to know what are the best options for me, and if I am obliged to pay the 18-months.
You will be pleased to hear that you have the right to cancel this contract, although if the agent / landlord refuses to accept the situation you may need to apply to the court.
The law where a trader has acted unfairly
Under The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations, 2014 consumers are given a right to ‘redress’ in certain circumstances. This includes the right to ‘unwind’ the contract and recover money paid.
This right occurs if the trader has carried out an ‘unfair practice’ which induced the consumer to enter into the contract.
In this case, the unfair practice was advertising the property as ‘furnished’ with pictures of furniture but without saying that the furniture in the picture was not the furniture which would be provided.
In the absence of any statement saying this, you are entitled to assume that the property will be provided as advertised – ie with the furniture shown in the pictures.
I think this is a classic case of an unfair practice.
There are some stipulations though.
- You must be able to show that you made the decision to rent the property based on the misleading information (I suspect that the court will accept this – as otherwise why are you complaining about it now?), and
- You must apply to the court within the time limits:
- If you apply within 30 days you will be able to recover ALL payments made (including rent, the deposit and any holding deposit).
- If you apply within 90 days you not be liable for ongoing rent but cannot recover rent paid for the period that has passed.
What you should do now:
If the landlord / agent does not agree to rescind the agreement and repay all your money you need to apply to the court ideally within the 30 days.
I have not personally been involved in an application of this type so I suggest you get some advice.
Anthony Gold, the solicitors who advise via our telephone helpline service would be able to help you and have experience of this procedure so would be a good choice. You can find out more about our tenant’s telephone advice service » here.
You may also be able to get help from your local Shelter Office. See » here for more information about tenant advice services.