Poor Condition of your Rented Property
Help! I have just moved into a rented property which was left dirty and with broken furniture. What can I do?
When you are a single parent it can be stressful finding somewhere for you and your children to live. This can be made even worse if, when you move in, the house or flat has been left untidy, dirty or in a bad state of repair.
If this happens to you, the first thing you should consider is what was agreed at the start of the tenancy. If the landlord or the agency gave you an opportunity to view it first and told you that it would be cleaned, then you ought to go back to them and request that it is cleaned without delay. You could also ask them to reimburse you with some of the rent you have paid, as a form of compensation.
If the property was let to you as “furnished”, there should be something in your tenancy agreement that covers condition of the furniture at the outset of the let, together with the landlord’s responsibilities. Your landlord could therefore be in breach of the term in your tenancy agreement covering this.
You may be able to seek some compensation via the small claims court if they refuse to come and clean the property or reimburse a portion of your rent, especially if the landlord is in breach of a term of the tenancy or did promise to clean the property at the outset of the tenancy.
Finally, you could contact the Local Authority and see if they could send an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to have a look at your property. The condition of the property may potentially be viewed as a hazard. The EHO would be able to take steps on your behalf to force the landlord to deal with any potential hazards.
Unfortunately, many private rented tenants have such a low degree of protection against being evicted that taking further action could have consequences for you. Some landlords (especially unscrupulous ones) may simply retaliate by evicting their tenants, or trying to bully them into leaving. If this happens, seek advice to ensure that the landlord has followed the correct legal procedure. You may also need some advice about finding somewhere else to live or what to do if you are at risk of homelessness.
Get some advice: Visit Shelter or ring their National Helpline on 0808 800 4444.