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New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?

Ellie2
Newbie
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-08-2018

New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?

I just moved into a new flat. I was never told that I would only be allowed to sign up with Virgin Media.  Now I have been with Plusnet for many years and was due to have this installed here.  The engineer came and stated that the mast to lay the cable is miles away and it would just not be practical, furthermore my landlord would never agree to have a cable installed on the house.  Now I have been told that I am in breach of the contract and must pay Plusnet 279.75 but I do want Plusnet its the Landlord who is objecting. So why am I being charged?

 

I be grateful for answers....

5 REPLIES 5
Townman
Superuser
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?

Hi Ellie,

A warm welcome to the forums.

I think that there are a number of distinct issues here.

  1. Your agreement with your landlord is your agreement - if that prevents Plusnet installing the service (if the service can be provided to the premises) is your problem, not Plusnet's.  What does your tenancy agreement say?  A landlord is obliged by law to provide a written tenancy agreement (usually referred to as an AST) which MUST state any such restrictions BEFORE the letting agreement is enacted.  If this has not been done, you could hold them liable for your unanticipated consequential loss.  If the Landlord has not furnished you with such a formal document, they might well be acting illegally in other areas of letting as well (if there is a gas appliance a gas safety certificate and a CO detector, interconnected smoke alarms, legionella check report, water tank inspection report, electrical safety certificate) - in which case contact your CAB. [I just happen to provide IT support to a letting agency - the legal obligations are very onerous and I am aware that some landlords duck essential obligations]
  2. If BT Openreach are stating that a BT circuit cannot be provided at the premises then that might be a somewhat different matter.  The Broadband T&Cs are quite clear, if Plusnet cannot provide broadband services at your new premises you have to pay the early termination charges (ETCs), but not the £30 service cease charge.  HOWEVER the phone T&Cs make no provision as to the case where a phone line cannot be provided to the property.  If this is actually the case, I would argue that being forced to pay ETCs where a service line cannot be provided is unreasonable.  If the distance between the property and the distribution point is significant then the installation costs might be prohibitive.

The fact is you are up a creak without a paddle here trapped between things over which you have no control, but are contractually bound.  The best that you can expect is a plea for leniency might give rise to some flexibility.  Personally I think tackling the landlord is your best bet … but if there is no BT line to the premises, you will face the cost of installing one.

VinceMarsters
Grafter
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Registered: ‎20-07-2018

Re: New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?


@Townman wrote:The Broadband T&Cs are quite clear, if Plusnet cannot provide broadband services at your new premises you have to pay the early termination charges (ETCs), but not the £30 service cease charge

Was just writing a similar thing but hadn't checked the T&C for exact conditions (still haven't tbh).

I do feel that is the above clause is unfair and it could well come under unfair contract laws too. If PN cannot supply what is ordered then the customer should not be forced to pay anything as it is then PN that are at fault not the customer. PN have more tools available to check availability etc than the customer does, so they should not be accepting any orders they cannot reasonably fulfil.

Townman
Superuser
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Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?

You need to be clear here, at the point the order was accepted and the contract was made, Plusnet could and did provide service, with very clear terms of what would happen if the user moved, sought to "relocate" the contract and service could not be provided.  Plusnet would have no knowledge of where the user might move to therefore, the claim of "reasonably fulfil" cannot be applied.

Legally this is a nightmare for the user...

  1. The user has a pre-existing contact with Plusnet
  2. The user makes decisions outside of the control of Plusnet
  3. The decision is made without consideration of the impact on PlusNet's ability to continue to deliver the agreed service at the user's chosen location
  4. Irrespective of PlusNet's ability to deliver, the agreement made by the user with the landlord precludes using a service other than Virgin Media.

There are layered responsibilities here...

  1. The user ought to have ensured that all of the legal agreements they entered into were compatible with each other
  2. The landlord should have made clear that there was a constraint on the utility services BEFORE the letting agreement was completed

It does seem rough justice that the party who has no control over the above has the clout to enforce the breach of contract, but that is what the contact is.

 

@Ellie2 - I have confirmed that responsibility [2] above is absolutely true.  If you want to seek help in resolving this with your landlord, the letting agent I support would be willing to offer some assistance - PM me if your want to follow that option.

 

VinceMarsters
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Registered: ‎20-07-2018

Re: New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?


@Townman wrote:

You need to be clear here, at the point the order was accepted and the contract was made, Plusnet could and did provide service, with very clear terms of what would happen if the user moved, sought to "relocate" the contract and service could not be provided.  Plusnet would have no knowledge of where the user might move to therefore, the claim of "reasonably fulfil" cannot be applied.


Except it would appear that they have accepted the move (with actual & implied contract amendments/renewals that this brings) - otherwise there would have been no engineer visit (unless @Ellie2 is getting the phone from elsewhere of course). I would also be surprised if there was not a close Openreach line on any premises which have a Virgin Media cabled line - they are not known for installing cable in anywhere but populated areas.

I do suspect a lot of this comes down to the landlord though, which we both agree, has nothing to do with Plusnet's ability to install and provide the service. I wish @Ellie2 all the luck in sorting it out.

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: New Landlord won't allow Plusnet installation, can I be charged for breach of contract?

Hi there.

I'm sorry to hear about the situation you're in.

From what I can see we should be able to provide a service but I understand it's whether your landlord would allow it.

While I appreciate this puts you in a difficult position, unfortunately the early termination charge we've quoted would be applicable in this case.

It may be worth discussing this with your landlord to claim back this cost from them if they didn't make it clear to you that you had to go within Virgin Media when you signed the tenancy agreement.

Sorry that this probably isn't what you want to hear.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team