Irish Times Property Clinic 29th day of September 2022.
Publishing Date; Thursday the 29th day of September 2022.
Q The lift in my apartment has been out of service since I moved in over 4 months ago, I wasn't aware it wasn't working until the day I moved in. I have contacted my estate agent multiple times and have gotten no answers on when it will be fixed. As I am on the top floor with a young child, can I end my lease early and move?
This cannot be easy for you and your young child. Mechanical and Electrical companies have experienced delays in sourcing parts since COVD-19 . The passing of four months most likely indicates the owners' management company (OMC) has funding issues.
A lease is a contract binding you and your landlord stating the responsibilities and rights of both parties in relation to the rented property. A lease would not extend to property outside of your landlords reasonable control and ownership such as the common areas. An exception to this is assigned and unassigned parking facilities, communal waste facilities or leisure facilities. Your lease would state what is included yet access may be subject to your landlord paying all their service charges due. Unfortunately a landlord is not required to prove that they are not in arrears to the OMC when letting their property nor is it standard practice to confirm this to tenants.
The lift is an issue that the OMC must address for your landlord. It may be the case that the landlord is unaware of the matter and should liaise with the OMC to have it resolved. An issue with the lift in the building would not constitute a breach of the lease between you and your landlord and as such would not be grounds to terminate the lease early. You should notify your landlord in writing of the issue and afford them the opportunity to resolve the matter for you. This will also allow for a formal record of the issue. In the unlikely event that you refer the matter to the RTB, the landlord should have evidence of making efforts with the OMC to have the failed lift repaired. This could be proven by way of email or letter with the OMC or their agent notifying them of the damaged lift and requesting that it is resolved. The RTB does not have jurisdiction over the OMC to repair the lift.
The RTB is an excellent source of tenancy information and reviewing their website to inform yourself on your rights and obligations will be beneficial to you before you take action.
Paul Huberman FSCSI FRICS is a chartered property and facilities manager, and a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 29/09/2022