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Landlord/tennant issues

rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
edited August 2010 in The bottom bracket
Hi guys.

Just looking for a few more opinions on this particular scenario.

My girlfriend just moved into a house-share. Signed the contract, was all well and good.

However, a week in, she e-mailed the landlord to ask him when the cleaner (mentioned in the contract), was coming, since they hadn't been. The landlord's response was that "there is no cleaner, and I wonder where you got the idea that there was one" and suggesting if she wanted one, she should arrange one seperately with her flatmates.

In the contract she signed however it says the rent paid every month includes "all water, gas, electricity bills, council tax, tv license and a weekly cleaner".

She's pointed this out to the landlord, but has yet to hear from him.

What should happen from here?

Ultimately, she signed the rent with the idea that she'd be paying for a cleaner.
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  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    He owes her a cleaner. Simple as. She should demand one, as she's paid for it, and presumably the landlord also signed the contract? If so then he's agreed to it as well I'd imagine.

    She could always negotiate a discount and do the cleaning herself though.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    bails87 wrote:
    He owes her a cleaner. Simple as. She should demand one, as she's paid for it, and presumably the landlord also signed the contract? If so then he's agreed to it as well I'd imagine.

    She could always negotiate a discount and do the cleaning herself though.

    Does the fact it's a flatshare change anything?..
  • volvicsparvolvicspar Posts: 208
    He owes her a cleaner assuming the contract is signed by both. Best bet would be to contact Shelter and ask them what to do next.
  • volvicsparvolvicspar Posts: 208
    Doesn't matter that it's a flat share.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    It's signed on his behalf.
  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    It's signed on his behalf.

    I agree with all above - he should provide a cleaner.

    However, I can see him using the fact that he hasn't (himself) signed anything as a get-out. Is the contract signed by a recognised legal representative of the landlord?
  • inkyfingersinkyfingers Posts: 4,400
    Was it done through an agent? If so i'd get her to go and sit in their office until they either arrange a cleaner or renegotiate the contract as currently he is in breach of contract. I lived in a shared house which had the all the gas systems (cooker and boiler) condemned by the plumber who came to do a gas safety check. it took them a month to get it fixed during which time we had no hot water or ability to cook hot food and the landlord didn't give a damn until we literally went and sat in the agents office and refused to move until they got a plumber in.

    Have a good read of the contract and see if it states what should happen if either party is in breach. I'd also recommend a trip to the Citizens Advice Bureau or if she's a student then the university should have somebody who can give her advice.
    "I have a lovely photo of a Camargue horse but will not post it now" (Frenchfighter - July 2013)
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    Monkeypump wrote:
    It's signed on his behalf.

    I agree with all above - he should provide a cleaner.

    However, I can see him using the fact that he hasn't (himself) signed anything as a get-out. Is the contract signed by a recognised legal representative of the landlord?

    Should be.

    As far as I am aware it's his representative at the estate agent she used.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    Was it done through an agent? If so i'd get her to go and sit in their office until they either arrange a cleaner or renegotiate the contract as currently he is in breach of contract. I lived in a shared house which had the all the gas systems (cooker and boiler) condemned by the plumber who came to do a gas safety check. it took them a month to get it fixed during which time we had no hot water or ability to cook hot food and the landlord didn't give a damn until we literally went and sat in the agents office and refused to move until they got a plumber in.

    Have a good read of the contract and see if it states what should happen if either party is in breach. I'd also recommend a trip to the Citizens Advice Bureau or if she's a student then the university should have somebody who can give her advice.

    Thanks.

    Unfortunately, she's not a student. It's her own hard earned cash paying for all this!
  • jim453jim453 Posts: 1,420
    Get the local paper, find out what the going rate is for a cleaner. Deduct that amount from the rent, until he sorts it out.

    In the mean time. she's going to have to vac up herself.

    I agree, you need to be provided with what you sign for but is a cleaner strictly necessary? What about the butler, has he shown up for work yet. Or the gamekeeper?
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    jim453 wrote:
    Get the local paper, find out what the going rate is for a cleaner. Deduct that amount from the rent, until he sorts it out.

    In the mean time. she's going to have to vac up herself.

    I agree, you need to be provided with what you sign for but is a cleaner strictly necessary? What about the butler, has he shown up for work yet. Or the gamekeeper?

    That's the point really.

    Cleaners are expensive.

    She's always been fussy about cleanliness, and since she can only afford a flatshare, she figured the cost of a cleaner would be worth the reduction in stress caused by not having to clean everyone's mess, or risk hassle/arguments by asking flatmates to clean especially given that she doesn't know them. After all, not everyone has her standards.


    If she has to have that hassle, she wants some money back!! since it's a lot!
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Go to Shelter?! Over failure to provide a cleaner?!

    Go to the agent and get them to sort it out. Are they operating as a management company? If so, they need to sort it out. She should go in with a copy of her contract and get agreement from them that a cleaner is part of the deal.

    What do the other flat shares say about it? The problem is - if she is on an AST then after 6 months it is breakable both ways on a month's notice and if she wants to stay she can't piss off the landlord too much.

    The other thing is that the phrase "weekly cleaner" is sufficiently vague that he could just pay someone to go in for an hour and bash a hoover around.

    Agent first. Then consider options after.
  • jim453jim453 Posts: 1,420
    Fair enough.

    In which case stop paying rent. Sounds like you've got this knobhead bang to rights.

    Withholding rent usually provokes some type of response.

    Good luck. And don't leave toothpaste all over the sink when you're next round there. For the time being anyway.
  • zaneszanes Posts: 563
    A fiver says the landlord's grabbed a standardised housing contract from somewhere and not bothered to read it rather than this being a (stupid) attempt to rip the tenants off.

    Best one was our landlord in second year at uni. We took the contract up to the uni and had one of the student services lot review it. They thought the clause implying the landlord could get access at any time for any reason was slightly dodgy and told us to query it with the landlord just to clarify it.

    His response;

    "Ooo, yeah, that's a bit dodgy isn't it? Never knew that one was in there"

    :D Top landlord though.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,920
    zanes wrote:
    They thought the clause implying the landlord could get access at any time for any reason was slightly dodgy and told us to query it with the landlord just to clarify it.

    A tennant has a right to live oin peace and quiet which means the Landlord has to give 24hrs notice of a visit. I've seen my Landlady once in the 4 years I've lived in her flat, I get the odd phonecall/text from her but no other hassle. Mind you, her living in Brighton and me being in Bristol might have something to do with that. The cleaner ain't the best at my flat, I'm a lazy [email protected]@rd :lol:
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • zaneszanes Posts: 563
    redvee wrote:
    zanes wrote:
    They thought the clause implying the landlord could get access at any time for any reason was slightly dodgy and told us to query it with the landlord just to clarify it.

    A tennant has a right to live oin peace and quiet which means the Landlord has to give 24hrs notice of a visit. I've seen my Landlady once in the 4 years I've lived in her flat, I get the odd phonecall/text from her but no other hassle. Mind you, her living in Brighton and me being in Bristol might have something to do with that. The cleaner ain't the best at my flat, I'm a lazy [email protected]@rd :lol:

    That's true, hence why we queried it with the landlord. I don't think it explicitly stated he could turn up whenever, more it didn't say he had to give X hours notice or whatever. It was more his reaction that was memorable; Genuine surprise that someone had slipped that one into his contract and then him running around to remove it on all his property contracts.
  • volvicsparvolvicspar Posts: 208
    Keep everything in writing, follow up all your phone calls with a letter. Write to the landlord and give him 7 - 14 days to honour the contract, if he doesn't you'll deduct the amount for a reasonable cleaner from the rent.

    If you don't put it all in writing and keep copies (get proof of posting), he will be able to deduct whatever you've withheld from your deposit at the end of the tenancy, as you'll have rent arrears.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    volvicspar wrote:
    Keep everything in writing, follow up all your phone calls with a letter. Write to the landlord and give him 7 - 14 days to honour the contract, if he doesn't you'll deduct the amount for a reasonable cleaner from the rent.

    If you don't put it all in writing and keep copies (get proof of posting), he will be able to deduct whatever you've withheld from your deposit at the end of the tenancy, as you'll have rent arrears.

    Do e-mails count as letters?
  • volvicsparvolvicspar Posts: 208
    No, only good old fashioned 1st class letters count. You can still phone them, just write a letter to confirm it.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Rick - do bear in mind that if she is otherwise happy in the house and she kicks up a massive fuss about this, the Landlord might not be too happy which might result in her stay in the house being shorter than she might like. Doing stuff like with-holding payment (even if she is entitled to) may not go down well with a landlord who might exercise break rights. By far the best thing to do is to try and sort it out amicably first.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    mroli wrote:
    Rick - do bear in mind that if she is otherwise happy in the house and she kicks up a massive fuss about this, the Landlord might not be too happy which might result in her stay in the house being shorter than she might like. Doing stuff like with-holding payment (even if she is entitled to) may not go down well with a landlord who might exercise break rights. By far the best thing to do is to try and sort it out amicably first.

    Quite.

    So far she hasn't been threatening at all. All she's done is ask where the cleaner was, and explained why she expects one.

    She's on a short term - 6 month contract. We're moving in together after that anyway, so there's less fear of the landlord exercising the break.

    Out of interest, if you are in a standard 12 month with a 6 month break clause, can you break it after 6 months, and if so, how much notice do you have to give?
  • volvicsparvolvicspar Posts: 208
    The landlord can't evict you before 6 months is up regardless of any break clause in the contract, so no worries there. The law says that no tenant an be evicted before 6 months is up, unless they (seriously) breach the contract

    The only way he can evict you sooner is if you fall in two months arrears

    So no worries for you if you're moving after 6 months.
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Do a Google search for Assured Short-hold Tenancy. It's the standard 'legal minimum' agreement and almost sertainly what your friend signed.

    If she has signed a contract stating that a cleaner is provided then he really should provide one. However, if she's that bothered about getting a cleaner (and let's face it, it's not worth forcing him to provide one because it will be a really censored job that gets done), she could offer to mutually break the contract on the understanding that the landlord pays the costs associated with getting a new flat (such as Agent's fees and credit checks etc).

    I've never heard of a flat-share contract to include a cleaner, however if it's what's in the contract he's legally obliged to provide one. That may end up being 1 hour per 2 months or some such nonsense though!
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    If it was all done through an agency, shouldn't she be dealing with them?
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 53,403 Lives Here
    GiantMike wrote:
    Do a Google search for Assured Short-hold Tenancy. It's the standard 'legal minimum' agreement and almost sertainly what your friend signed.

    If she has signed a contract stating that a cleaner is provided then he really should provide one. However, if she's that bothered about getting a cleaner (and let's face it, it's not worth forcing him to provide one because it will be a really censored job that gets done), she could offer to mutually break the contract on the understanding that the landlord pays the costs associated with getting a new flat (such as Agent's fees and credit checks etc).

    I've never heard of a flat-share contract to include a cleaner, however if it's what's in the contract he's legally obliged to provide one. That may end up being 1 hour per 2 months or some such nonsense though!

    Yeah.

    D'ya think the most straightforward hassle free option would be to ask to renegotiate the rent to take into account the lack of cleaner? I.e. say it's £40 a week, and there are 4 in the house, he takes off £10 a week on rent? I know it doesn't sound like much but over 6 months it's £250!


    BTW, my house is a flatshare and we have a weekly cleaner (who works exclusively for my landlord). She's seriously good.
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    First of all I'd tell the agent what the problem is and get them to work out what to do for the best. Either the agent or landlord has screwed up, so she should let then come uo with a solution. However, she should have a fall-back offer in case the landlord offers a silly offer.

    What do the other tenants have in their contracts? It's a stronger case if all have the same contract signed at different times as it shows it's more than a single mistake.

    The landlord (or agent) really should check every line in the contract before it's issued. While your friend may not want to go all the way legally, a judge would almost certainly rule in her favour and the agent/landlord knows that.
  • jim453jim453 Posts: 1,420
    I wouldn't renegotiate the rent so much as tell the guy he'll be getting less and by how much.

    Let's not get away from the fact that the landlord is totally wrong if as you say he is contractualy obliged to provide a service and has not. The tennancy agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on any way, they never are, so don't worry about comeback. She's leaving in six months anyway.

    Alternatively you could painstakingly log every phone call and follow it up in writing whilst taking the whole thing to shelter and contacting your local member of parliment. Get Bono involved if you need to too.

    Actually, when the landlord/agent showed her around the gaff she would have mentioned the cleaner,yes, it being a bit of a deal breaker for her. What was their response then?

    Rick, you could always get a pair of marigolds and muck in yourself, I'm sure it would be appreciated.
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    jim453 wrote:
    The tennancy agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on any way, they never are, so don't worry about comeback. She's leaving in six months anyway.

    What makes you say this? An assured shorthold tenancy has certain legal rights for both the landlord and tenant. Providing it's a proper contract, and either signatory is prepared to use legal redress in case an amicable agreement can't be reached, it's the same as any other contract.

    Unilaterally deciding what the best course of action is is when the situation usually goes sour. As a landlord, if a tenant stopped paying any proportion of rent without agreeing it with me first, I'd have them out in days and take the 'owed rent' out of their deposit, including my costs for changing the locks and any legal fees incurred.

    FIRST OF ALL, let the agent try to resolve the situation in an amicable way. Your friend can be an censored later if she likes, but try to resolve it amicably first. There has been a mistake. Resolve the mistake, but DON'T break the contract or she won't have a leg to stand on (or a flat to live in)
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    jim453 wrote:

    In which case stop paying rent.


    A great way to get a bad credit file!
  • zaneszanes Posts: 563
    I love how everyone is jumping up and down and all, but let's review the OP;
    However, a week in, she e-mailed the landlord to ask him when the cleaner (mentioned in the contract), was coming, since they hadn't been. The landlord's response was that "there is no cleaner, and I wonder where you got the idea that there was one" and suggesting if she wanted one, she should arrange one seperately with her flatmates.

    In the contract she signed however it says the rent paid every month includes "all water, gas, electricity bills, council tax, tv license and a weekly cleaner".

    She's pointed this out to the landlord, but has yet to hear from him.

    So it sounds to me like the landlord hasn't said "No you can't have one yet". I stick by my earlier comments that it's likely nothing more than an oversight on his part (hence why he questioned where she got the idea from; exactly what he would ask if he was unaware of the clause), and previous tenants haven't challenged it.

    Give the landlord time to state his position (oops sorry/no b*gger off), then consider taking it further.

    C*ck up over conspiracy everytime.
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