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Landlord is in breach of contract. Where to go for help?

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Anna-Belle Elizabeth Cao
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Landlord is in breach of contract. Where to go for help?

Postby Anna-Belle Elizabeth Cao » Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:54 am

Hi everyone,

We moved in to our condo two months ago on a twelve month contract. We were not told about the diplomatic clause - despite being expat students - so it's not included in our contract.

On moving in they said they would correct some of the issues we spotted immediately (broken shower holder, loose towel rail, nothing serious). The LL confirmed they would get these sorted and also told us they would get a cleaner in to do a professional clean in a few days time.

Nothing happened...

We dutifully reported more issues we found with the flat within our 30-day period (broken ceiling fan, broken toilet) as per the contract which states the landlord must repair or replace anything faulty at his own cost.

And we sent over a full set of photographs depicting the current state of the apartment on delivery (lots of marks, dents, etc) to cover us for when we move out.

The landlord came over to check these claims and sat around the table with their agent and told us they would get them sorted but again nothing happened.

It's now been two months and the LL sent an email via their agent accusing us of the damage and stating they had no intention of getting the issues fixed. We are clean, tidy and quiet tenants with excellent references and are not responsible for the damages within the property that have occurred since moving in.

My question is that due to the fact that they are in breach of contract can we terminate the tenancy agreement and reclaim our deposit? We just want to live somewhere peacefully and be treated with respect.

Is there anyone we can contact to help us fight this? A lawyer for example? I know we can go via the small claims court but I would really like someone professional to help us as we're new here.

Thank you
:(

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Thu, 02 Oct 2014 11:23 am

1. A diplomatic clause would not have saved you.
2. Although not strictly legal, try holding back rent to get their attention. How much deposit have you paid?
3. I would recommend the SCT as the best place to start; you don't need an expensive lawyer as students.

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Re: Landlord is in breach of contract. Where to go for help?

Postby taxico » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 4:15 pm

Anna-Belle Elizabeth Cao wrote:...We are clean, tidy and quiet tenants with excellent references and are not responsible for the damages within the property that have occurred since moving in...


for our benefit, please explain the above.

did you pay an agent a commission for the tenancy?

any proof that you had contacted the LL previously asking him/her to fix the problems?

SCT is slightly time consuming but not expensive (compared to being billed by a lawyer) and designed with the layperson in mind.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 6:47 pm

Above and beyond the informed advice/further questions above...

I'd suggest not withholding rent. At least not at this stage. If it ended up in court being seen to have fought alleged fire with real fire won't garner you any sympathy at all. 'Instant fail'.

I'd be more inclined to lay out a plain and polite 'statement of facts' -

- We took the property on X date
- We had Y days to notify you of any maintenance/repairs required
- We did so on Z date
- To date you have stated, contrary to the Tenancy Agreement, that you are not liable for such repairs [or ignored our requests].
- We intend to go ahead and have the required repairs carried out, the cost of which will be deducted from our rent...


... and so on. Or something similar.

One thing is for sure, this is your wake up call that either way, you can probably kiss your deposit good-bye!

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 8:08 pm

JR8 wrote:Above and beyond the informed advice/further questions above...

I'd suggest not withholding rent. At least not at this stage. If it ended up in court being seen to have fought alleged fire with real fire won't garner you any sympathy at all. 'Instant fail'.

I'd be more inclined to lay out a plain and polite 'statement of facts' -

- We took the property on X date
- We had Y days to notify you of any maintenance/repairs required
- We did so on Z date
- To date you have stated, contrary to the Tenancy Agreement, that you are not liable for such repairs [or ignored our requests].
- We intend to go ahead and have the required repairs carried out, the cost of which will be deducted from our rent...


... and so on. Or something similar.

One thing is for sure, this is your wake up call that either way, you can probably kiss your deposit good-bye!


No necessarily - the SCT wil back up the deposit if there is a paper trail asd you suggest above.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 9:20 pm

PNGMK wrote:No necessarily - the SCT wil back up the deposit if there is a paper trail asd you suggest above.


Yes. But in the real world 99% of people who could resort to the SCT, never do/can't be bothered. Hence my comment.

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aster
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Postby aster » Tue, 14 Oct 2014 9:31 pm

JR8 wrote:One thing is for sure, this is your wake up call that either way, you can probably kiss your deposit good-bye!


Yeah, hopefully it's just a 1-mth "deposit" for a 12-mth lease and the OP didn't fall for a 2-mth donation to the landlord...

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:31 pm

I would also try pressure the agent, who was present when you met and witnessed the verbal agreement to make repairs, but then has sent an email on LL's behalf decommitting from this. I would threaten to report him/her to CEA for misconduct/unethical behavior. Maybe a long shot but might possibly work if agent gets worried and decides to persuade LL to be reasonable on your behalf....

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Re: Landlord is in breach of contract. Where to go for help?

Postby missfong02 » Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:50 pm

Anna-Belle Elizabeth Cao wrote:Is there anyone we can contact to help us fight this? A lawyer for example? I know we can go via the small claims court but I would really like someone professional to help us as we're new here.


Just wondering if you got any resolution on this or found a lawyer?
Thanks

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martincymru
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Re: Landlord is in breach of contract. Where to go for help?

Postby martincymru » Mon, 06 Jul 2015 1:46 pm

If it's building defects start by drafting a summary table. Evidence is key.
Issue polite letter.
7 days later tell LL will appoint Surveyor.
7 days later, SCT for all costs...... $$+
If no response and near end of Tenancy stop last month rent.
(do not appoint Lawyer)


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