Hi there, my daughter moved into a rented property 10 days ago, the inventory showed a problem with the washing machine, the management company sent out an engineer who says that the washing machine cannot be repaired and needs to be replaced.
The landlord is now saying that the machine does not belong to him, and that maybe the last tenants left it.
As the property was advertised as having a washing machine and it’s on the inventory, can he now say that the property comes without a machine? It’s expensive and my daughter cannot afford to buy one.
Help would be appreciated.
This sort of situation falls within the Consumer Protection regulations.
First, it falls within The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Your daughter was provided with misleading information (the statement that there would be a washing machine) which wholly or partly induced her to enter into the tenancy.
So if your daughter were to bring a complaint to the local Trading Standards Office it is something they should investigate and they could bring a prosecution.
Whether they would or not is another matter – Trading Standards Offices are overworked and have a history of neglecting offences in the private rented sector. However making a complaint is one thing she could do – or threaten to do.
Unwinding the tenancy
Your daughter also has the right, under the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 to ‘unwind’ the tenancy – ie to end it.
- If she gives notice to do this within 30 days of the start of the tenancy, she will also have the right to recover all money paid (including all the rent).
- If she gives notice after that but within the first 90 days she can still unwind the tenancy but can only reclaim money paid for future rent
If she wanted to reclaim money this would have to be done through the courts but provided she was able to show that the misstatement (ie the false statement that there would be a washing machine) played a significant part in her decision to rent the property she should win her case.
Regulation 27I.(1) also provides for a tenant to opt for a discount on the rent if she does not exercise his right to unwind.
These rights are fairly new and are not well known. I personally am not aware of any cases where they have been used, but that does not mean that they have not been successfully used by tenants.
If you have a local Law Centre they would also be a good source of help (there is a list here).
If anyone reading this post has experience in bringing this type of claim please leave a comment.