Jonathan Lynn partner in the Property Law team at Courtyard Solicitors LLP writes about some little known but powerful law.
If a tenant enters into a tenancy after a misleading action and that misleading action was a significant factor in entering into the tenancy then the tenant may be entitled to unwind the tenancy.
What can amount to a misleading action? This is not entirely clear due to the lack of cases on these rights but it may well include the following.
- False claims about the condition of the property,
- False claim to be in a particular school catchment,
- False claims about being in a quiet area,
- False claims about work to be done to the property before or at the start of the tenancy.
This is list is not comprehensive and anything that amounts to a “misleading action” and that was a “significant factor” in a tenant entering into the contract could trigger these rights.
If the tenant unwinds the tenancy in the 1st month of the tenancy then he can get back all the money that he has spent on the property (rent, deposit, fees etc.). He can in effect stay for up to a month rent free. Further, the right to unwind will last for 90 days from the start of the tenancy. However, if the tenancy is unwound after the 1st month, the tenant will have to pay for his occupation. He can, however, unwind the tenancy without incurring penalties.
These are powerful rights, that go well behind any assistance to be found in general contract law, that can be used to help tenants who have been the victims of unscrupulous landlords or agents.