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Getting out of a bad situation

Question

Hi Everyone, 

We live in a countryside rental that seemed perfect at first but the very low rental price should have been a tip that there were serious problems. Long story short - we've spoken to a few people and been told that the house would be immediately condemmed if we initiated legal procedures - and the landlord would be forced to bring the house into spec. The landlord has already told us that before she will make any changes, she will have the house demolished "for her daughter" - I assume she means she will get legal permission to throw us out by stating she will transform the property for a family member. We would love to be thrown out, since we have decided that we do not want to go through the disruptive process of getting the changes made - since, even if everything was "by the book", the location still has some disadvantages. So - we want to move!! In the meantime, we did send the landlord a registered letter listing all of the problems and issues we have in the house.

 

Now, here is my question. We want to make sure we minimize the financial impact of this move. I understand there are penalties for leaving a lease early. I wonder if we can avoid these penalties due to the failure of the landlord to maintain the home in habitable condition. Anyone have any experience with this?

Second question: we have a 3 month notice period and a 3 month deposit in a joint account. Is it possible for us to inform the landlord that we are leaving by the end of this month, and that she can expect to be paid her last 3 months rent from the deposit? Note that there was no incoming etats des lieux, so nothing to agree upon in terms of damages upon move-out. I know this would not normally be possible, but since the house is in an unihabitable condition, I thought it might be possible - seeing as she is not upholding her end of the agreement to provide us with a proper home.

Thanks in advance for helpful advice/comments!

 

ps - I have found this "renter's protection" agency -  http://www.locataide.be/ - looks great , but they do not answer phone calls and we have to register to get assistance - and all in French. We probably WILL do so, but I really wanted to also get feedback from anyone on this forum who may have anectodal experience!

 

J

 > I wonder if we can avoid these penalties due to the failure of the landlord to maintain the home in habitable condition. 

Yes. You can ask the Juge de Paix to break the contract in your favour because the landlord has not fulfilled his side of the contract.



> that she can expect to be paid her last 3 months rent from the deposit? 

No, because YOU are then in breach of contract, which pretty much destroys your case.

Sep 20, 2011 08:00