AIBU to expect my first months rent to be discounted?(25 Posts)
This is a long story so I apologise.
Back in October I was given notice of eviction from my current Landlord due to the house being in a poor state of disrepair and him not being able to carry out the substantial works needed whilst the house is occupied.
In November I went to view a house that is managed by an agency. The house had / has the potential to be fantastic but had a few things that I would expect to be done in order to take it on, these were:
Electrical inspection - as my partner as an ex spark was not convinced that the electrics were / are safe.
Deep clean if not replacement of the badly stained (with cats piss downstairs god knows what upstairs) carpets.
Replacement of the badly damaged kitchen units and the ripped lino in the back porch.
And finally replacement of the broken light fixture.
The agent agreed that these would be done and so I payed my holding deposit and credit check fee's.
On the following Friday I asked to go in and take measurements for curtains and pictures for my autistic son's school to make him a social story to help adjust him to the coming change etc. On this visit it became apparent that none of the work agreed to prior to paying my fee's had been carried out and when questioned I was told the maintenance man had been in to look over the jobs and they would be started on Monday. It also came to light at this visit that the door had previously been forced and was missing half its hinges and that the downstairs carpet had been laid over old laminate with no underlay meaning that it could not be deep cleaned without soaking and warping the badly damaged laminate below. I therefore asked if I were to choose a laminate myself, lay it and leave it when I go if the landlord would be prepared to go halves on the cost. The agent later called to say that he had agreed to this. I also asked if they could ensure the old floor was taken out ready.
On Wednesday the agent said the door hinges would be replaced the following Monday as the maintenance guy was waiting on the ordered parts.
On the Thursday I payed my full deposit and month's rent upfront and asked if they would allow me access on that day and the Friday prior to my tenancy commencing on the Sat (yesterday) in order to get the flooring down and some decorating done as this would be easier whilst the property was empty. They agreed and gave me the keys. When we got to the house not one single job that had been agreed had been carried out and upon setting up and starting work found several other issues including a leak under the sink with the unit badly water damaged, the sofets and facias rotten and that non of the downstairs doors close and all the bins overflowing with the last tenants stuff that the council wont take as its not the correct stuff for the bins, smoke alarm bleeping every few minutes, gas hob not working etc. I rang the agent who assured me the maintenance guy and the electrician would be over that day to do the electrical inspection and start the jobs that day. The day came and went and they never showed up.
Friday (day my current tenancy ended and day before my new tenancy started) I called the agent again to complain of the no show and make them aware of the other issues we had come across during the course of the previous day. She said she would call the maintenance guy and find out why etc.
Maintenance guy called to say he had been given a list of jobs and that he would come at the end of the day. When he came and I asked why he had not yet carried out any of the works he had had two weeks to do he said the first he knew of any jobs needing to be done at the property was at 5.30pm the day previous and that he does not do the carpet cleaning it is someone else whom he would have to book so no chance of it being done prior to commencement of tenancy and as they would need the rooms clear to carry the task out I would not be able to put furniture in until 6hrs after they are done. He said there were signs of damp in the bedroom where the sofets and facias are damaged and then informed us that there has is no up to date gas safety inspection he has yet to arrange for someone to do it.
First thing Saturday morning (now technically homeless and due to sign my tenancy) I e-mail the agent telling them I am not happy to find out there is no gas safety cert which is a legal requirement prior to commencement of tenancy, that there has still been none of the agreed work carried out as yet and that until the carpets have been cleaned the bedrooms are unusable and therefore I would like a 50% discount on this months rent to cover the inconvenience and electric their contractors will use as I am on metres. The agent rang me to say that the landlord would not give me a discount as he has already been more than accommodating agreeing to jobs he is not obligated to carry out and that the doors not closing was purely cosmetic and me being picky and would not be sorted and that gas would be done tomorrow (today) and if I don't like it not to sign the tenancy and get out (by which point we have spent 3 days laying new floor and re-decorating at the cost of hundreds of pounds and I am officially homeless so go ahead and sign the tenancy which has no inventory being carried out until tomorrow.
Roll on today and I get a call at lunch time from the maintenance man to say that he has been told he is not to remove the old flooring but he would be over at half 3 to remove the last tenants rubbish so we decide to leave moving until after he has been. We get to the house to find little leak under sink has become big rendering the sink un-useable. At 5pm he hadn't turned up so I call to ask if he is still coming and he tells me he is on his way. He finally turned up at 10 past 6 with no gas man by which time it is to late to move my stuff. He then informs me he can't sort the leak as he's not a plumber, the water damaged unit will not be replaced and the damaged fronts are not being replaced as agreed but taken off and sent for stripping and re-coating and won't be done until wednesday at the earliest, the carpet guy is not coming until wednesday, and nor is the gas man or electrician and plumber for sink when he can arrange it and he has now been told the sofets and facias will not be being put right.
This means that until at least Wednesday if not Thursday I am expected to live in a house with no gas safe certificate, no useable kitchen sink, no useable oven or hob, no fronts to my kitchen cupboards, no way of keeping dog out of kitchen cupboards as door doesn't shut and am unable to put anything in the bedrooms.
So would I be unreasonable to push the issue of a discount on this months rent to cover the inconvenience and electric their contractors will cause / use??
Threaten the landlord with small-claims, trading standards and even BBC Watchdog. Jesus Christ, what the hell is this bloke about?! Just because he "agrees" to something doesn't mean he's going out of his way. When he actually DOES the jobs is when he gets the credit for it!
He's extracting the urine!
Seriously though, if you actually have the money then leave. Just up and leave. Find somewhere else ASAP - even if it means kipping on a family sofa.
He agreed to do things to get the house up to a livable standard, and he's not done that. Therefore you can't live there. Ergo you can't be expected to pay rent and deposit for a house you can't live in. Any money you have spend so far should be paid back to you by the landlord at once, and if he refuses to void your contract or to repay you any of your expenses then consult a lawyer.
If you do consult a lawyer, be sure to get a statement from the agency/agent regarding everything. If you have e-mail evidence then even better.
agree with jazzy. None of these jobs are cosmetic but are general maintenance. Agent lied to you about the handy man coming in. Utterly ridiculous. LL probably doesn't even know what the agent is up to though. Look over your contact as their responsibilities should be outlined in that.
It appears that the issue is with the agent not no much the landlord. The agent is telling us that the maintenance guy has given dates etc when he is claiming he's never been spoken too by them. They have only started pulling out of agreed jobs since we have started to kick up a fuss which makes me wonder if it is them and not him. The landlord lives down south, I am up north and he buys to let as a profession given the distance we are not sure he is even aware of how bad a state the property is actually in as he pays the agents a management and maintenance fee but clearly the property hasn't been maintained.
Yes Jazzy I have e-mails to prove what was agreed would be done prior to commencement of tenancy and e-mails where she has told me categorically the 'maintenance guy said' at at time he is claiming he was never even aware of any jobs needing doing. I have also taken photographs to prove the state the house is in and have half a mind to forward them on to the landlord asking if he has actually been made aware of just how bad a state this house is in.
On the bright-side my living room / dining room is starting to look amazing after all the time and money we've spent on it!
I agree with previous posters and wonder if landlord knows what agent is telling us.
We had a similar situation, tho not on such a large scale, but we were the landlords.
Agent had been spinning one story to them and agreeing to allsorts, without consulting us. It was incredibly embarrassing and awkward when they moved in and said why hasn't x y and z been done, and we had no idea what they were on about....
talk to shelter, for the best advice, people like this give good landlords a bad name.
I agree with leaving if you can. I was in a similar situation some years ago and the whole thing was a nightmare. As we stayed more and more things that were wrong with the flat became apparent including a mouse infestation and dangerous gas installation.
When we eventually left they stole our deposit. They had actually had us removed from the electoral roll, denying that we even lived there before we left, this caused a lot of problems with our finances and credit ratings.
If they're like this when you're moving in it will only get worse. Cut your losses, go somewhere with a reputable landlord, this is a warning of what's to come and I suspect you will end up living in a horrible if not dangerous situation if you stay.
Would you really trust this man to have your gas appliances and electrics in a decent state of repair when he's expecting you to live with piss stained carpets?
I experienced something similar a couple of years ago when moving into our current home. It ended in three months of legal battles, lots of letters from our solicitor and threats to take the LL to court before they compromised and did some of the work that the
lying money grabbing bastard estate agent assured us would be carried out before we moved in.
In the end, we moved into the house just under 3 months after paying the first month's rent & deposit, with the tenancy amended to reflect that that payment covered the whole period & we were not liable for anymore rent until the following month. Personally I wanted all our money back and to rescind the tenancy, but that would have been a really big fight & I ran out of the will to keep it up.
Shelter, CAB and a good solicitor will be your friends at this point. Good luck!
BridgetBidet - unfortunately it won't be as simple as just leaving because the OP has signed a contract & will be held liable for the rent. That's what we tried to do over our house and it didn't work.
The problem is you've signed a tenancy. By doing so you've agreed to take the property on for a period of time as is. I had this with my current landlord who promised verbally to put right certain things and never ever did.
Do you have anything in writing at all? Promises made etc?
The issue you also have is, if you only made verbal agreements with the agency, you have no proof of any such discussions taking place, and, should you now walk as suggested, you will be classed as "intentionally homeless" and your council Housing team will not help at all.
The only thing I can suggest is to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, but they will suggest going to Environmental Health who can force a Landlord to sort out safety and health issues (eg the Gas cert and the lack of cooking and cleaning facilities, not to mention damp) BUT that said, we did this and the Landlord in that house then gave us notice to quit, and, again, because of this the Housing Team declared us Intentionally Homeless again.
There are groups you can go to if the property is maintained by Agents, but it depends if they are signed up to them, which I doubt they will be by the sound of their replies.
I really wish I could say "yes, you should push the rent issue" but I think you will get nowhere bar being evicted and, in essence by agreeing to go halves on laminate, he's kind of seen you as a soft touch.
this does indeed give landlords a bad name, although it is not impossible that he is being messed about by the agency as in my experience they are staffed by total incompetents.
sadly it is too late to do what you should have done, which was walked away before signing and moving in. So to minimise the 'good money after bad' situation you now have two choices; give notice and leave, chucking away what you have already spent, or get on with it all and sort it out, risking lots more spend on a property that is not yours.
make sure the deposit is protected, that the gas safe is done ASAP and best of luck. I really hope that it is the agency that are the crooks, not the landlord - have you direct contact with him?
This is a very, very expensive lesson to learn. Never ever invest one penny of your own money in a private let that isn't already, completely up to the standard you feel comfortable living in. Never ever sign a tenancy agreement on a property you haven't seen and verified to be in a state you'd consider living in then and there.
I doubt you will see a penny of any of the money you put in again.
Is the agent a member of arla? The gas certificate thing is very, very dodgy and you shouldn't be moving in without it. The inspection itself is not expensive, and if, while holding your deposit, the agent hasn't pulled his finger out and organised it that is a very bad sign. Even if this agent isn't a member of arla, perhaps they could give you advice?
The law says that a gas safety certificate has to be provided before new tenants move in. If not the law has been broken and the landlord or agent could face a custodial sentence or fine.
Sorry for the late update things have been manic and I've no broadband. Glad to hear the majority don't think I am being unreasonable.
We have had endless problems with this house and are now in the process of seeking legal advice and I am about to report them to the Ombudsman.
Having tried to push the issue of reimbursement for the week I have been unable to live here and the cost of the extended van hire plus half the additional fuel I have basically been threatened in e-mail that if I don't shut up and put up they will be advising the landlord of a rent review and that they will ensure he refuses me an extended tenancy at the end of my 12month contract.
The gas inspection revealed a long term slow gas leak and my hob was condemned and the electrics haven't yet had the 'official' inspection but they guy has told them it fails of a visual alone and would require a full rewire which they are now saying the landlord will never pay for.
Please please please get out of this property. Fight for your money later but find somewhere else to live. Get in contact with your councils housing department about all these issues.
I would say you have grounds to repudiate the tenancy due to fundamental breach as the property isn't in fact habitable in its current state. You should be able to claim back everything you have paid to the agency in the circumstances, but absolutely get some legal advice to make sure you proceed properly. Have you started looking for somewhere else to live? I'd take the "threats" of refusing an extended tenancy with a pinch of salt - would you want to stay there long-term anyway given what you now know about the agency/landlord?
Upthread you've been given the link to Shelter: www.shelter.org.uk
Have you been in touch with them?
If the property isn't habitable then you have every right not to pay rent. Ignore their threats that you have to 'put up or shut up'. You don't. They have to ensure properties are habitable before they rent them out.
However, if I were you, I would be seriously considering if I wanted to live in this property. It seems to have major defects. Pursue the money that you are out and compensation for the inconvenience but then, if I was you, I'd look for somewhere else to live.
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