Letter from Solicitor - joint owner who was not aware of our occupation? Fraud?

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    Letter from Solicitor - joint owner who was not aware of our occupation? Fraud?

    Tenant here. Just recieved a letter in the post from a Solicitor stating that they are acting on behalf of their client who is a joint-owner of the property that we are renting, and that they were not aware of our occupation. They stated that an eviction notice will be served on us shortly and that the matter has been reported to the police as property fraud. The letter also tells us to stop paying rent.

    I looked it up on the land registry - their client is definitely a joint owner of the property. Our tenancy is with a letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord, who is the other joint owner of the property. Tenancy is from the 18th September 2020 - 17th September 2021. It states in the tenancy agreement that our landlord warrants that they are the only freeholder of the property and that they have recieved permission in writing to let the property. Obviously, this either isn't true, or this other joint owner has revoked permission. I have emailed the letting agent informing them of this letter, asking for proof that they are legally within their rights to let the property to us, and informing them that we will be withholding this month's rent (due tomorrow) until the situation is clarified.

    This is obviously very concerning. Not really sure where to go from here - is our lease completely void or are we alright because this is a matter between the letting agent and the other joint owner?

    #2
    This will be pretty messy for the landlord and estate agent, however it shouldn't be your problem.

    I would recommend you continue to pay rent to agent (with proof of payment) as your contract is with the landlord (co-owner) on AST until agent has stated otherwise. It should be the co-owner's problem to recover any rent. That way you are not breaching the AST by withholding rent, if you do you may get evicted on section 8.

    If you get evicted for any reason you should be able to expense everything from renting hotel to finding new rental property to the landlord as it is technically breach of their tenancy agreement.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by spiritdreams View Post
      This will be pretty messy for the landlord and estate agent, however it shouldn't be your problem.

      I would recommend you continue to pay rent to agent (with proof of payment) as your contract is with the landlord (co-owner) on AST until agent has stated otherwise. It should be the co-owner's problem to recover any rent. That way you are not breaching the AST by withholding rent, if you do you may get evicted on section 8.

      If you get evicted for any reason you should be able to expense everything from renting hotel to finding new rental property to the landlord as it is technically breach of their tenancy agreement.
      This. As an assured shorthold tenancy you can't be evicted without a court order anyway.

      Comment


        #4
        Definitely don't stop paying rent.
        That's self serving "advice", because it would give the owners a route to evict once their issues are sorted out.

        The problem is between the owners and doesn't affect you at the moment.
        You have a perfectly valid tenancy agreement, and the other owner has no right to end it.

        Long term, the owners will have to come to an agreement, but neither can force the other to do something they don't want to with the property.

        The solicitor is bluffing about an eviction notice, which can only be served by your landlord or their agent.
        Ignore any notice from anyone else.

        Even if the landlord wanted to evict you, I can't see any way that they could do that before next September.
        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).

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          #5
          As above..... a good bit of bluff by the solicitor but do NOT stop paying your rent.

          Comment


            #6
            I didn't comment on the property fraud but because I don't really understand it.
            Obviously the tenant hasn't committed fraud, and I'm not sure how the landlord could have done either.
            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


              #7
              I would think that the solicitor is throwing scary crimes into the mix to see if it upsets the tenant enough to do what they (or their client) wants them to do...... classic ploy really.

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                #8
                Who signed the AST as LL? (assuming you are not squatters.

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