Landlord irresponsive after signing contract

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    Landlord irresponsive after signing contract

    Hi everyone,

    My partner and I have signed a contract on the 23rd of June, for a tenancy that starts on the 20th of July.
    The landlord lives abroad and the house is up for selling, so in order to view the flat we had an appointment with the agency that is selling the house. Although the rent is agreed directly with the landlord and not with the agency.
    This is already where something not completely clear starts in our opinion: apparently the agency doesn't know that the landlord is renting the property, so we had to arrange a viewing as potential buyers. it seemed odd to us, but we still really like the property and decide to go further.
    So on the 23rd of June we sign the tenancy agreement. The landlord up to this point was very responsive, replying to our emails every hour.
    After signing the contract he disappeared for 8 days. We sent several emails, asking for informations regarding wifi, asking for his bank details in order to pay deposit and first month rent, and also how, where and when we would get the keys.
    After 8 days he replied saying that the contract was binding and the tenancy is agreed upon, still not answering any of our questions. Then he disappeared again and it has now been a week. We tried to explain that we are puzzled by this lack of communication and it is anxiety provoking, as we ended our previous tenancies and if anything goes wrong we won't have a place where to live.
    We would be literally on the street.
    Still no reply and the tenancy is supposed to start in 5 days. We don't have bank details, we don't know how we are supposed to get the keys since the agency is not alerted at this point (the landlord mentioned a cleaner that would give us the keys).

    We really don't know what to do. We are bound by the contract and we know that. What happens if the landlord doesn't give us the keys on the day the tenancy is starting (20th)? Is that a breach of contract and in that case we are free from obligations and we can move somewhere else?
    Can we decide to not take possession of the property, even though we already signed the contract? At this point there are too many dodgy things going on and we would maybe prefer to find something more reliable.

    I apologise for the long post and I would really appreciate if anyone can clarify the situation.

    Thanks!!




    #2
    People do not normally deliberately create a sitting tenant situation during a sale. This sounds like a scam by someone other than the real owner.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi,
      I know it seems something dodgy is going on. But the landlord said that it is very difficult to sell at this time and he doesn't want to lose money.
      Now he sent his bank details and asked us to pay first month rent and deposit. But we don't feel comfortable with that. Can we wait until we get the keys?
      What is our position legally? Can we refuse to pay and take possession of the house even if we signed the contract?

      Comment


        #4
        It's a weird scam, because the point is to get the money, and that's not happening here.

        What happens if the landlord doesn't give us the keys on the day the tenancy is starting (20th)?
        In theory, you can ask a locksmith to change the locks and enter the property (because you have a right to enter).
        In practice, I'd ask the agent for their set of keys.
        They might have more joy contacting the owner.

        Is that a breach of contract and in that case we are free from obligations and we can move somewhere else?
        It would frustrate the contract, rather than simply being a breach of a term. So yes.
        That's my opinion, and a court might decide otherwise if it ever came to that.

        Can we decide to not take possession of the property, even though we already signed the contract? At this point there are too many dodgy things going on and we would maybe prefer to find something more reliable.
        That's more risky, because then you'd be in breach of contract.
        The landlord might try and get compensation from you (although that doesn't sound that likely, and it would be quite complex from abroad).
        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


          #5
          Sounds like a scam to me. How sure are you that the person claiming to be the landlord is the owner / have permission of the owner to let out the property?
          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

          I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi,

            thanks for your replies.
            I am not sure. Searching landlord's name online with property address, they result connected. The landlord registered a company in his name at that address.
            I'll try to contact the letting agent that is selling the house and tell them everything. Regardless what the landlord had in mind. I asked in an email for transparency and clarifications, but again no reply.
            At this point I would really prefer to find something else, but I am afraid because we signed the contract and also we are really tight and we have less than two weeks to find another accommodation

            Comment


              #7
              Although it will cost you £3, you should get the title register from landregistry.gov.uk. If the property does not show as owned by the company, it is very dodgy.

              If the contact address is the property, at the very least the owner is making themselves vulnerable to fraud.

              At the very least, the landlord is likely to be breaching company law by not having a registered office where documents can be effectively served on the company.

              Comment


                #8
                hi,

                thanks again.
                I checked the land registry and I cannot find the address we signed the contract for.
                I try to explain: in our contract it says 87b Street Name. Searching in the land registry I can only find 87 Street Name and 87a Street Name.
                Also the flat we viewed through the agency was 87 Street Name.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If I were you, I would find something else quickly. As soon as you tell the estate agent, they will persuade the landlord not to go ahead with the let as it will likely cause problems for any prospective buyer. You could then sue the landlord for breach of contract but if you can't get hold of him thats not going to be an easy process.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                    People do not normally deliberately create a sitting tenant situation during a sale. This sounds like a scam by someone other than the real owner.
                    Actually, I've little doubt at all it is a scam. While reading your post, I recalled a news item where the exact same con was used (viewing as prospective buyers) to scam unsuspecting tenants out of money. There were quite a few instances featured where the 'landlord' was someone other than the real owner. Sorry OP but at least you haven't handed any money over!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks guys.
                      What puzzles me is that searching the name of the supposed landlord with the address, a company comes up, where the landlord is listed as one of the officers of the company.
                      In any case I contacted the letting agent that is selling the house, and I hope things will get more transparent.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Alcofibras View Post
                        Searching landlord's name online with property address, they result connected. The landlord registered a company in his name at that address.
                        I'll try to contact the letting agent that is selling the house and tell them everything. Regardless what the landlord had in mind. I asked in an email for transparency and clarifications, but again no reply.
                        This looks like a scam then.

                        The landlord has given you a tenancy agreement for a property that doesn't exist other than as the address he's used to create a company.
                        Companies House don't do many (or any) checks on the information they're given, but it creates an official looking record to back up their story.

                        Anything I've posted about the contract doesn't apply if the property to which it relates doesn't actually exist.

                        I'd find somewhere else to live and count your lucky stars you were suspicious.
                        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

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