In a bad situation with tenant. Need help!

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    In a bad situation with tenant. Need help!

    Hello,

    Three months ago, I got a new job in a new city (my first ever job) and I found a two flat apartment to stay in. The other tenant was a university student and he had moved there 2 weeks before me. He actually advertised the room on the web and that’s how I found about it. I didn’t mind staying with a student as he is a mature one of a similar age as me. Also the location and place itself is very nice.

    I paid a large deposit, nearly £500, which is what the student did. The assured short-hold tenancy contract I signed was with an Estate agents and not with the Landlord directly (whom I have his name but no contact details). I also had to fill in a Guarantor Form, enlisting my dad’s name if I fail to pay my rent. The student was asked to do the same, but he never handed one in! It is a 6 month contract.

    Unfortunately, the student flatmate has been nothing but a hassle. He never cleans up after himself and leaves the most mess. Anyway he is set to get his exam results and he told me has definitely failed and will be leaving. He also owes 2 months rent and the estate agent has been entering the flat (without permission) trying to get his money. The flat mate now says he’s not going to pay out of principle because the estate agent entered without permission!

    I read the contract today and it states that if the total rent goes into arrears, all the tenants will be liable to bring the rent up to date, even if they are not responsible! What have I got myself into?! I bet the tenant knows this and probably has no attention of paying the rent as he thinks the rent and bills will be passed to me to deal with. No wonder he is so relaxed about the whole matter. I on the other hand have been seriously stressing out. I have this to worry about on top of work.

    I have been paying my share of the rent on time. Also the Electricity, water, gas and council tax bills need paying and the student hasn’t paid for that either (the bills are in his name).

    So far the estate agent has only pressed the student to pay the rent but I am worried he will turn to me if the amount due, continues to add up. Also the bills are high and I am worried that I have to pay all of them. It is so unfair because I used the least amount of energy anyway as I work long hours, whereas this person leaves the heating on to dry his clothes and owns 3 computers!

    Also if he leaves, I may have to pay full rent until a replacement is found, which again will be extra penalties for me.

    The reason I have posted my situation is because I am clueless as to what to do. I don’t know my rights and I don’t know any property experts. Could someone please give advice on this issue? Any comments are welcome.

    Thanks,

    Hiedi

    #2
    is the contact valid?

    I'm no expert (I'm sure others will give advice), but the first thing that strikes me is that if he hasn't signed the agreement and returned it, and if the contract is in both your names, it would need both signitures to be valid. So the question in my mind is, if the contract you're worried about is actually valid. If it's not valid, the agent can't force you to abide by it. I'd think it's negligence of the agent not to realise and force the other tenant to sign.

    anyway, just thoughts off the top of my head, will be interesting to see what others say.

    Comment


      #3
      complications

      hiedi , this is complicated, all i can advise is take all your contract/documents to citizens advice.
      Opinions given are mine, They are not necessarily correct, as the more I learn the less I know, You should always seek professional help.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi we both signed the contract (both signatures on one page), but he did not fill in the Guarantor Form with a next of kin (has the next of kin's signature) whereas I did. He was supposed to do it but kept giving excuses about not having suitable ID of his next of kin.

        The estate agent should have made sure he filled one in. This is to the students advantage because if he doesn't pay, they can't get the money off his next of kin. The student says the contract is not valid because he got it checked but he could be lying. The contract clearly states how much I should pay a month but the condition about all the tenants being liable to bring the rent up to date is worrying me greatly. I fear I will be made the scapegoat for this student's wrecklessness.

        Comment


          #5
          My initial reaction would be that if you signed a different agreement to the student, it would not be fair to may you jointly responsible for the other tenanats rent. This term may be void. Like other poster said, you need to get good advice.

          Did they agent show your dad a copy of the AST before he signed the agreement? If not then guarantee is probably void.

          If the student does not pay his half of bills then you will have to claim back money off him through the courts. Try to get as much info (home address, NI number etc) in case you need to trace him later.
          All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Hiedi View Post
            Hi we both signed the contract (both signatures on one page), but he did not fill in the Guarantor Form with a next of kin (has the next of kin's signature) whereas I did. He was supposed to do it but kept giving excuses about not having suitable ID of his next of kin.

            .
            Had the student already started the tenancy when you signed?
            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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            You can search the forums here:

            Comment


              #7
              It does sound like a joint and several tenancy- so both people are liable (together AND individually) for the entire rent- not 'half each'.
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

              Comment


                #8
                The agent did not show the AST agreement to my father before he signed it. I was given the form for him to sign, after I had signed the contract. It was a done deal before my father signed the form.

                The student started his tenancy 2 weeks before I moved in. He had already signed the contract and I signed the same contract (with his signature already on it) 2 weeks after he did. It is written in pen that I moved in two weeks after him.

                How will I be able to get the student's address and NI? Will the estate agent give it me? All I have is his name and hometown :S.

                The contract clearly states how much I should be paying a month (I already pay more than half!!) but the condition says I would be liable if the other(s) fail to pay their own, which I think is a stupid condition to have. It's not like we are a couple or anything. We are strangers sharing a flat. He already owes a lot (well past the deposit he gave).

                I've done nothing wrong and yet I could have to pay hundreds/thousands! The only wrong thing I did was sign that contract. I wish I got a second opinion before signing it but the agent was already counting my deposit before I had signed.

                The Bills are in his name (thankfully) as he was first to arrive. Those billing companies can take my share now if they wanted but I ain't going to pay for him.

                I will refuse to pay a penny more than my share in any department.. they will have to get his debts from him. If he can afford to go out and buy expensive computers and go on holidays, he can afford to pay his rent. I feel I have been stitched up here!

                Comment


                  #9
                  The guarantor agreement is null and void as the guarantor did not see the AST and agreement before it was signed.

                  Re the bills, the companies will come after him and not you. I would refuse to pay him to be honest. What can he do about you not paying its not like he is Landlord and he is not paying his way so why should you.

                  Re the Tenancy ... they may come after you for the full amount, you signed a contract to that effect, you should have read it before you signed it and then you could have tried to negotiate a separate contract.
                  GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                  Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi thank to all for the advice, I won't be paying my share of the bills, One question, could the student change the billing name to me and could I refuse to let him do that?

                    The guarantor form being void is good news!

                    Also, the contract says "if it is a joint tenancy, then condition". No where on my contract does it state that it is a 'joint tenancy' I am signing to so I could say I wasn't sure if that applied to me?

                    I think my best bet is to get advice about the contract to see if there are any clauses in it. Where do you think the best (preferably free or dead cheap) place is to turn to?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Also say I do what the student does and refuse to pay his rent (i'll still pay my amount). What will happen? I'm guessing we will both have to go to court. Surely a judge would order the student to pay his share?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If the AST is ambiguous than the court will always favour the tenant, so I wouldnt pay more than your share and insist to the agent that you are not liable.

                        If the tenacy agreement is dated before you signed then I think your signature will not count as it has already been executed, but get Jeffreys opinion on that.
                        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                        You can search the forums here:

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Time in possession of contract

                          How long were you in possession of the contract before you signed it? My understanding is that you must be in possession of the relevant paperwork for some minimum time before you are deemed to have been able to conduct due diligence. Were you under pressure of any kind to sign from the agent/student? These things may have a place in mitigating your liabilities.

                          Sit face to face with a specialist solicitor, you may well get half an hours confidence boosting help for free, ring around the specialists and visit the ones offering a free consultation!

                          Good luck.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Was your deposit protected?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi I saw the contract for the first time minutes before signing it. It was there at the agents office. I was under pressure to sign by the student/agent. I had told the student I would like the room and so he took the advertisement off. Also, I gave the deposit to the agent and he was counting it while I read through the contract and signed it.

                              The student had already signed the contract when he moved in. The student's name is written in type (i.e. by computer) and my details were added by pen to that very contract. This also induced me to sign as that was the contract previously assigned to the deal.

                              Would this help my case?

                              Unfortunately my deposit is not protected despite the fact that I asked for it to be. This is illegal isn't it? I had to pay a large deposit so losing that alone would be huge blow . I've been stitched up good and proper. That's a good suggestion about seeing a specialist solicitor (his free opinion) would be very helpful. I'll get the yellow pages, what type of solicitors are these?

                              I don't suppose there are any no win no fee sort of arrangements for this kind of claim?

                              Comment

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