Paying rent for a flat you can't access

Dear all,
A friend of mine has having a problem that I find hard to believe it’s real.

He’s under a rental contract of 1y, started few months ago.
He has been contacted some days ago from the letting agency (who’s acting as landlord for the property) telling him that due to fire safety related works he has to leave the house to get into an accommodation for ~8 weeks.
Packing and moving services will be payed by the landlord, but during this period he is supposed to pay full rent plus every other expense related to the flat he won’t be able to access.

It is a very stressful period for him already and packing all of his stuff twice in 2 months (he will have to repack his things when works are done ofc) doesn’t help at all.

He would be happy to end the contract and find a new place to rent so he would move his stuff only once, but it seems that he’s not allowed to end the contract early unless he pays the exit fee (and yet he could be still liable for the rent for as long as they don’t find a new tenant).

How is this situation even fair?
There are so many wrong things in this situation.
Reading on the web, the landlord is not even supposed to find an accommodation for you. Yet you still have to pay rent for a place you cannot gain access to.

So, I could buy a house, make a 1y contract with someone, finding a way to carry out some essential works on the house, kick the tenant out and make them pay full rent and/or an exit fee for a house I own and they cannot even access…?

Please can you let me know if there is anything my friend is able to do?

Other information you might find useful:

  • he lives in a flat
  • the works in the whole building started in 2018, going through every single flat one by one, but he wasn’t aware since few days ago (he will need to move in 3 months from now, in February)
  • the works are meant to increase the fire safety of the building, which it seems not to be conforming to the law.

Thank you in advance for your time.

If it is genuinely fire related, then it will be unsafe for the tenant to remain in the property until the work has been finished. It is likely that whatever temporary accommodation is being offered, plus moving expenses, will cost more than the rent that’s being paid, so I doubt the landlord is ripping him off. If your friend doesn’t want this, I suggest he tells the landlord he will move out and won’t give access until then. He will need to give notice, but this could be short notice with the landlords agreement. If the place is unsafe, I suggest he finds somewhere quickly.

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