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Mutual surrender - any advice?

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Author Topic: Mutual surrender - any advice?  (Read 1904 times)
« on: October 18, 2010, 06:47:12 PM »

I am a very experienced renter, with every single one of my previous tenancies over the past 17 years giving me back my deposit in full.  I consider myself to be an ideal tenant, needing little or no repairs (taking care of small things myself), keeping the landlord updated as needed, leaving the flat cleaned to near professional standards. 

I have recently moved into a furnished flat that has been nothing but trouble.  When I viewed it, I assumed the prior tenant (still in place) would clean.  He did not.  (I can't wrap my head around how even a shower curtain rail can be grimy!)  I complained about the state of the flat, and after several weeks the agency capitulated and at least I got the carpets professionally cleaned.  Even so, you are still smacked in the face by the stench of cigarettes as you walk in to this "nonsmoking" flat, and of course the carpet cleaning only goes part way - there's all the filth on everything else that also needs to be removed.  Everything is sticky and coated in a yellow grime.  All of this is noted on the inventory - this is not just me being a neat freak.

Okay, so it's repulsively dirty.  On top of that, though, none of the appliances worked apart from the hob (which I won't use until this third dose of cleaner).  I haven't raised enough courage to try the oven yet, but I'm not optimistic.  The washing machine was broken - they eventually fixed it.  The vacuum cleaner was broken - I bought parts and fixed it myself.  One of the two windows wouldn't open - I managed to unstick it, though I had to buy specific tools and spend a few hours on it.  Even the shower head was taped together - I'm not making this up, it was held together with electrical tape. 

Fine, so it's dirty and nonfunctional.  It can be cleaned and fixed, I suppose.  But that's not all.  The immersion heater for the hot water was too hot - I could hear it boiling in the tank, and when it came out of the taps it was always between 80 and 90 Celcius.  After it was 'repaired', I complained that it was still over 70c, but the electrician said this was perfectly fine.  Well, despite taking care in the shower, I still got 2nd degree burns from the hot water, and have been told to expect permanent scarring.

I want out of this flat.  I don't want anything to do with this smelly, filthy hovel, and I don't want to have to deal with this incompetent letting agency ever again (who allows a flat to be released to the market in this condition?  If the landlord doesn't know any better, the agency should).

I understand that technically, nobody is in breach of the short term contract because the landlords did at least ATTEMPT repair, even though it resulted in personal injury.  I guess that my most likely way out of this is by mutual surrender.

Do you have any suggestions for how to frame a letter asking for mutual surrender?  Do I have any chance of getting out of this contract?  (I'm afraid that given their behaviour so far, they just might not care.)  I'm very happy to imply that if they're not nice I might consider other legal options regarding the personal injury, but I'm afraid that following through would take too much of my time.  What can I do?  Please feel free to offer any advice, suggestions, comments!
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