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    #16
    Instead of dealing with the agency, why not literally pop upstairs and talk to the LL face to face and ask him all these questions and tell him your concerns.

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      #17
      Indeed. Or write to him.

      Spend £3 with land registry for deeds of property, it might give his actual address
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

      Comment


        #18
        I prefer dealing with the agency because they have been exemplary in their communication with me and they have been very helpful. They chase the landlord for me which is a great help.

        Today's latest update is that the landlord had planned to go forward with separating the utilities and address after the end of the current agreement term, but not anytime soon. In return I asked that this is brought forwards and the process is initiated now. Let's see what happens.

        The summary of all of this is that I've being screwed over by the landlord and have been misled into renting essentially part of a shared house with no separate address and utilities I cannot control, despite my agreement being for an individual flat with a separate address.

        And from what I understand there's nothing I can do. The landlord is essentially committing tax fraud and no one bats an eyelid. Another day in this wonderful country isn't it.

        Comment


          #19
          If your landlord is an accountant, he's unlikely to be committing tax fraud. The tiny gains aren't worth the risk of being fined and losing a livelihood.

          If you are not living in the same property as the landlord, and have a dwelling house (something you can live, sleep and cook in) with the ability to exclude everyone else (including the landlord), you have an AST.

          The landlord's working round the building being one address issue for the broadband in a pragmatic way.
          The mechanisms for other utilities are well established, but they don't work for phones and broadband (because of the supplier's policies as much as anything else).

          I don't see where you are particularly disadvantaged other than not being able to choose your utility supplier (which is quite common in tenancy agreements - even if less easy to enforce than in this case).
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by drcref View Post
            .....The landlord is essentially committing tax fraud and no one bats an eyelid. Another day in this wonderful country isn't it.
            It is a wonderful country IMHO, since you raise the matter. Yes of course it has faults a and spectacular own-goal propensity.....

            If you think landlord (or anyone else) is fiddling their tax then report them to HMRC, easy, online, just google "report tax fraud".
            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=report+tax+fraud

            But if nobody, including you, does nothing and bats no eyelid then you & they know who to blame. I'm sure you'd report a murder, simply follow your instinct on this. But, I agree, he'd have to be a very stupid accountant to do so ... (aye, could be...)

            Suggest you also contact council HMO dept and explain what is going on. And visit CaB, they may "know" him....
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #21
              Thanks for the pointers.

              I'm trying to understand if what he doing is wrong: signing an AST agreement with me for a property that appears with its own address on the agreement (Ground Floor Flat, ... etc) and mentions the rent is inclusive of utilities and council tax (and hence is £150-200 higher than comparable properties), when he actually hasn't taken the necessary steps for the flat to have its own separate address and council tax. So a) part of that extra £150-200 that would go towards council tax goes in his own pocket instead and b) I do not have my own address. Both of which seem to be contrary to what the agreement we signed suggests.

              So is this enough grounds for me to contact the council or CAB if the landlord after my latest communication is still not willing to initiate the process for separating the address (and possibly utilities, although I'm more fussed having an address)?

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by drcref View Post

                So is this enough grounds for me to contact the council or CAB if the landlord after my latest communication is still not willing to initiate the process for separating the address (and possibly utilities, although I'm more fussed having an address)?
                Why not ring them (the experts) and find out. Everyone here seems to think he's done nothing wrong. So ring the necessary people if you're so compelled to find out and they will advise accordingly or investigate it/him.
                Just be careful kicking the hornets nest as you may find a s21 coming your way when it can be issued.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by RedHitman View Post

                  Everyone here seems to think he's done nothing wrong.
                  Done nothing wrong? Well if that's what everyone thinks I think I'm in the wrong place and I suggest you all get a grip.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by drcref View Post
                    Done nothing wrong? Well if that's what everyone thinks I think I'm in the wrong place and I suggest you all get a grip.
                    Name one thing that your landlord has done wrong or that has disadvantaged you in any way?

                    The tenancy is almost certainly an AST.
                    An AST requires a "dwelling house" and the property not being a separate address is academic.

                    You're not charged for the utilities or council tax outside the rent.
                    When you rented the property the rent (for the space and the utilities and everything else) seemed fair.

                    It's likely that the property will be assessed for council tax at some point (the Valuation Office Agency are notoriously slow) and your rent won't increase.
                    In the meantime, the landlord is paying business rates for the whole property which are likely to be in the same ball park.

                    Your landlord isn't allowed to profit from reselling power, so with a separate meter, there's no need to split the supply.

                    You can get mail delivered.

                    You seem to have been freaked out by a telecoms company policy which (in reality) has delayed things a little bit.
                    When the landlord found out about your problem he took steps to rectify it.

                    If you are really concerned speak, to the landlord and see if you can negotiate an early end to the tenancy.
                    I'd guess people will be falling over themselves to replace you.
                    It's a new conversion with inclusive utilities and someone in during the day to keep things secure - no problem selling that.

                    But it's not tax fraud.
                    Feel free to go to the council or CAB - they might need something light hearted to get them through the morning.
                    You are in exactly the position you signed up for as far as I can see.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #25
                      drcref,

                      The Valuation Office are responsible for banding of property and, from what you have posted, it sounds unlikely they wouldn't band it as an individual dwelling, the decision is theirs and it's not an elective choice of the landlord.

                      This means that you would be getting the backdated (and ongoing) council tax charge - the landlord cannot override council tax liability by way of a contractual term. Any contractual term is between you and the landlord, it has no bearing on the decision the council will make.
                      Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

                      If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        And from what I understand there's nothing I can do. The landlord is essentially committing tax fraud and no one bats an eyelid. Another day in this wonderful country isn't it.
                        Your landlord is paying exactly the same council tax as the property next door.

                        Your landlord is a small business owner, he is creating employment and is running his practice from a modest premises. You are wrong to smear him as tax fraud.

                        It is his decision to spit the council tax. He has reasons for it. Kensington Palace is registered as one property and they have many apartments occupied by different members of the Royal Family, but they have not split the council tax up into little pieces.

                        You are fixated on having your own bill.



                        The summary of all of this is that I've being screwed over by the landlord and have been misled into renting essentially part of a shared house with no separate address and utilities I cannot control, despite my agreement being for an individual flat with a separate address.
                        You knew the bills were included at the outset. So how were you screwed? A lot of tenants like all inclusive deals.

                        The gas and electricity companies did not have a problem with providing two supplies to the same property. However, the telecoms companies had a problem with supplying your internet, despite the gas and electricity already being split. Some ignorant call centre staff told you computer says "no". It is a fault of their IT system.

                        If you don't like the situation, then you should ask the landlord, if he wiling to release you from the contract.

                        If I were living in your flat, I would be very happy with an accountancy firm as neighbours, as there is no noise between 9 to 5. No children upstairs running around, or the sound a baby crying 3am or people going up the stairs at 2am.

                        As for the internet, there is nothing wrong with sharing the internet. You are running off a closed network. Most web sites use https, which is a secure internet connection (look for the padlock icon). No one can snoop into your internet connection or look at web site visited (unless they are the Government). If you are paranoid, you sign up to a monthly subscription to a VPN service.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by Flashback1966 View Post
                          As for the internet, there is nothing wrong with sharing the internet. You are running off a closed network. Most web sites use https, which is a secure internet connection (look for the padlock icon). No one can snoop into your internet connection or look at web site visited (unless they are the Government). If you are paranoid, you sign up to a monthly subscription to a VPN service.
                          My ISP explicitly allows sharing, but I'd be surprised if typical consumer providers allowed it, particularly those advertising unlimited internet.

                          Also, https does not protect information about the site you are accessing. The address of the server has to be sent in clear. Although, these days, many web site can share a server, so small websites may be difficult to distinguish on IP address, Whilst this means that small sites may be indistinguishable on that basis, the lookup to get the address from the domain name is sent in the clear.

                          There are now services that encrypt all this and make the actual access from somewhere else, but I sometimes wonder what they are doing with all the collected intelligence about internet accesses that people don't want to be public.

                          Also, if you are techie, you can do effectively what BT do, and have multiple SSIDs on the router and isolate the traffic. This also allows you to limit the throughput of the sharer.

                          One thing to be slightly concerned about is that your internet access may be used for unlawful purposes and it may be difficult to prove you didn't make the access.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            It is his decision to spit the council tax. He has reasons for it. Kensington Palace is registered as one property and they have many apartments occupied by different members of the Royal Family, but they have not split the council tax up into little pieces.
                            Kensington Palace (as is Buckingham Palace) is divided in to multiple assessments. Each self contained dwelling within the premises is banded individually.

                            The say over the council tax liability is not the landlords to make - legislation governs when council tax is due and on what basis (in this case it's almost a certainty that the downstairs is a separate dwelling for council tax purposes).
                            Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

                            If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

                            Comment

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