Our landlord hasn't followed the terms and conditions of our contract, does this mean the contract is null and void? And if so, does this mean we can move out? I'd like to know because we've signed a six month agreement but the landlord has now broken the conditions of the agreement and we'd like to be able to leave.
Private landlords have certain obligations, such as:
- Allowing tenants to live peacefully in the accommodation;
- Carrying out some kinds of repairs;
- Meeting safety requirements;
- Accepting rent;
- Providing certain information.
And as a tenant you have a number of responsibilities, these include:
- Paying rent;
- Paying bills;
- Reporting repairs;
- Giving correct notice to your landlord before you leave.
It's unlikely that your contract will have become 'null and void', but your housing rights will depend on what type of contact/tenancy agreement you have. Once a tenancy agreement has been made it cannot normally be changed unless both you and your landlord agree. If you choose to move out during a fixed term (in your case, the six months you signed for) you may remain liable for the rent until the fixed term has finished, unless a break clause allowing you to leave early has been written into the contract.
As a tenant there are certain steps you need to take in order to bring a tenancy to an end. Again, this will depend on what type of tenancy agreement you have. Usually, you have to give your landlord notice that you are going to leave. But if you have a fixed term tenancy you can leave on the last day of the fixed term without telling your landlord. Even though this is the case it's often a good idea to inform them, because good communication between a landlord and tenant can help things to go smoothly, especially if you have paid a deposit.
But, if you are experiencing harassment from your landlord there are certain steps you could take to try and resolve the problem:
- Ask your landlord to stop the behaviour;
- Keep a diary, notes and photographs of what happens;
- Go to an advice centre, the police, your local council, or a solicitor for help;
- Ask your landlord to put all communication with you in writing;
- Write to the landlord saying if the harassment continues you will take legal action;
- Have someone with you for support and as a witness whenever you see your landlord;
- If possible, get together with other tenants who have the same landlord.
Your local council should have a worker who can help you if you are having problems with your landlord. This worker is usually called a tenancy relations officer. In addition you may want to get help from a local advice service for further assistance on this matter.
Question answered by Shelter