The tenants, Mr and Mrs F, viewed the property whilst the previous tenant was in occupation. The property was being marketed by the Agent as unfurnished. However, when the tenancy started the bedrooms contained some furniture which Mr and Mrs F did not require. They raised a complaint three days after the tenancy started concerning the contents, condition and cleanliness of the property. Mr and Mrs F requested an immediate termination of the tenancy and the return of the rental and deposit monies paid to the Agent.
From the information provided it was obvious that Mr and Mrs F were not happy with the condition of the property from the first day of the tenancy. They implied that the problems reported to the Agent amounted to the property being uninhabitable. I advised that aesthetical issues such as an ugly paint colour, worn carpet or cleanliness do not, in my opinion, render a property uninhabitable and that, generally speaking, it is a condition that makes living in a home or premises impossible. Whilst I acknowledged that Mr and Mrs F were of the view that the property was uninhabitable, they did not provide any ocumentary evidence to support their claim nor did they demonstrated to my satisfaction that the property was uninhabitable. I advised that Mr and Mrs F were liable to pay the landlord the rent until such time as the tenancy agreement ended or a new tenancy was in place. The landlord refused to terminate the tenancy until new tenants were in occupation and this took place three months later.
Concerning the condition of the property, I explained to Mr and Mrs F that this was the responsibility of the landlord, as recorded in the tenancy agreement and as specified under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Furthermore, it was apparent that the Agent had acted quickly to try and rectify the problems that Mr and Mrs F raised and that there was little else they could have done to assist in this regard, given the landlord’s obligations. However, I was persuaded that the agent had misdescribed the property as unfurnished when it was clear from the previous check-out report that some of the furniture belonged to the landlord. As this had caused Mr and Mrs F a degree of distress, aggravation and inconvenience, I made a minor award of compensation.
It is essential to describe a property correctly when marketing commences in order to comply with the TPO Code of Practice and the requirements of the CPRs. If there is any doubt as to whether a property should be marketed as unfurnished, the landlord should be consulted and previous inventories and check-out reports examined.