Rent Officer.

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  • Rent Officer.

    hello everyone, if anyone can advice me on this question l'd be very grateful.
    in 2000 my fathers new landlord put the rent up from £400per month to £1300per month. dad missed the 30 day period to get the rent officer in and went to appeal which rent tribuneral turned down because of my father not replying in time, since that date we have been paying £1300 which housing benifits reluctently pay. we have recently found out from solicitors that we are infact 1977 rent act tenants. question: can we go back now to rent officer and inform him that we were at the time rent act tenants which my father was not aware of and get our rent reduced? if this is possible will former landlord be liable to payback the council the overly priced rent.? we now have a new owner to our property . and they want to redevolpe our site. if we could get the rent reduced back to its £400 per month figure we think the landlord may consider paying us off to give up our tenancy.
    yours gratefully Charles

  • #2
    It would be helpful if you could post more detail as to the date your father moved in and took up the tenancy and if he has previously ever had a fair rent registered on the property before. Also check with the rent officer service as to whether there is an existing fair rent set on the property that has never been cancelled. They will check and see if that is the case. If so get a copy of the certificate. I think it costs a pound.

    If there is an existing fair rent then thats all your father has to pay even if it was set with a previous tenant as long as it wasn't cancelled. If not all he has to pay is the last contractual rent as per the last fixed term of the tenancy. Any increases have therefore probably been unlawful and the your father can reclaim any increases immediately by deducting overpayment from the present rent. But only for the past 2 years worth of overpayment.

    How long has he had a new landlord for?

    This complicates the issue as he can only reclaim the overpayment for the period he has had the new landlord from present rent (at the rate of the last contractual rent or last fair rent). Other overpayments I think may have to be reclaimed through the courts if there are any outstanding periods in the 2 years from the ex landlord. I remember some caselaw on this but will have to look it up.

    The last contractual rent or old fair rent will be lower than any new fair rent so although you could apply for a fair rent to be set, i would wait to find out about what i said above 1st.

    Your father has full security of tenure and as a statutory tenant under the rent act can only be made to leave in very extreme circumstances.

    See here for more info
    and go find out the answers to the questions above.

    Off for an ale or two now i think


    In addition it is doubtful the property can be redeveloped while your father is resident. If he occupies all the property it is likely that with him in residence it is probably worth only about 50% of the vacant free market value. So could be in line for a large payout should he choose to leave maybe half to three quarters of the increase in value after he left. Maybe even more depending on the development.
    Last edited by lucid; 19-11-2005, 17:03 PM.


    • #3
      Cheers Lucid

      once again thanks alot mate for finding the time to reply. Charles


      • #4
        my father moved into our present property in the 5 flat private building in 1983 under a licencee tenancy {caretaker} moving from a flat 2 doors away under of which he'd been also cartaker for the same owners since 1973. in 1986 the buliding was sold and my father made reduntant. he remained in our present home when the building was bought and the new owners were happy to keep him on as a cartaker his employers had sent my dad a ntice to leave the flat but we remained there and 2 months later the new owner a nice guy said he'd keep my dad on as he knew so much about the workings of the buliding next door which was an office building of which my dad was previuosly cartaker too. so we reamained in our flat across the rd from the office building and my father worked PAYE up until 1992. then my father was told he was nolonger needed as a cartaker to the office as it became less and less busy. from 1992 onwards my father claimed housing benifits to this date. since the time of my dads redundancy in 1986 he never signed any new tenancy agreement . and from 1997 onwards we have had 3 other owners to the building, all have always asked where is all your paperwork.


        • #5

          now the new owners who bought our building with just 3 flats occupied have only spoken to us by phone. their managing agents have told us they intend to develope the site within the next 3 yrs possible sooner. speaking to the other 2 old tenants they say the new owners accept that they are protected tenants. after speaking to the managing agents solicitor and stating to him that we are also protected he said why are u paying £1300 per month if your a protected tenant? l told him that was due to my father not replying to the rent officer in the prescribed time when the building was bought by another owner back in 2000. and l also told him that my father was no aware that he was actually more protected at the time than he knew, seeing that housing decided to pay the new rent of £1300 from £400 at the time my father decided not to make a fuss, although he did appeal it was rejected and as far as l know this £1300 is now our set rent. but as Lucid says we really need to know if infact at the time of the rent increase we were genuine rent act protected tenants


          • #6
            we have had a enviromental officer look at our property also who says although the flat is not in a serious state of disrepair it does have a serious condensation problem. the walls are like waterfalls now that it is getting cold and we have black mould in all the rooms. we told him last yr when he came that we were paying £1300 per month and he just laughed and said that if a rent officer saw this flat for the first time we would be unlucky to have the rent higher than the £400 we were paying before.
            our big worry is that our solicitor seems so busy that everytime we have spoken to him on the phone he never seems to remember any details and just says let them prove u are not protected tenants.
            my parents only want a habitable place to live in . we are not looking for some big payoff.


            • #7
              Ok so theres a lot going on there! you didnt say when the last owners bought the building??

              Maybe a better solicitor needed, a specialist in housing matters.

              Also as you have now explained the building is divided into flats you need to find out about if there was ever a registered rent on the flat your father lives in now.

              Also you should find out the dates the building was sold the past few times and when sold more recently how many of the 5 flats were occupied at the time and by what type of tenants. AST's or Fully Assured or Regulated.

              Assuming you are fully protected statutory tenants under the Rent Act 1977 (this could be complicated by the fact that your father was an employee of a previous owner...needs further investigation.) Then this could be a case where The Right of first Refusal applies. Meaning that the sale of the building could well have been unlawful and that the new owners and previous owners would be fined several thousand pounds, the building then have to be offered to the qualifying tenants to purchase. It is very complicated.

              The main thing is to firstly establish you fathers status and type of tenancy.. then move on from there.

              Also do you still live in the flat if so for how long and continuously? If so your status would have to be established also.

              Download this pdf file and look at pages 47 to 57

              If you have regulated tenant staus then you/he qualify. It then depends on the building ie how many tenants/what type etc but you say there are 2 other protected tenants in the building. If they each occupy a flat that would be 3 of 5 qualifying tenants thus greater than 50% of the building which would bring into efect the said legislation.

              There are many issues here but 1st thing to see if he is a regulated tenant. I'll post again when I get the chance to do some reading of the act. You should speak to the rent service and book an appointment with your advisor and ask him directly if he knows about these type of tenancies if not ask him if he can recommend a specialist. Ask him if he is familiar with the right of first refusal in the leashold reform act 2002. You'll soon find out if he knows his stuff or not.


              • #8
                thanks mate again. last owner before present owner bought building in dec 1999. sold it to present owner aug 2005. we hav lived as a family in present flat since 1983, before that in one of the other 5 flats from 1973. my dad worked as a cartaker in the biulding opposite our flats under a licencee tenancy. he was made reduntant in 1986 by his emplyers who also sold the building at the same time. he recieved a letter asking him to quit the flat but we stayed put, we never took legal advice at the time. the new owners after taking over the office building which they also bought with our building decided to give my dad a job and he started working for them some 2 months later. he worked casuully as well as paye for them and in 1992 was made reduntant again and the claimed housing benifit till this date. since my father being made reduntant in 1986 he never signed any tenancy agreements or any papers . our solicitor told us last yr that the fact that we remained in the property after my fathers redundancy in 1986 that no one attempted to evict us is all in our favour. he even says that my fathers liceencee tenancy may well not be as weak as it appears, and that if we can prove that my father did not infact have to live in that dwelling too carry


                • #9
                  out his work that we could well be more protected than we think,
                  the new owners of the 5 flat building say that we are assured tenants and not protected. they seem terribly confident about this.
                  on your other question Lucid, the sale of the flats in aug 2005 was with 2 SLT's and 2 protected and 1 assured{us} according to them. the shorlet tenants have now left the 2 flats which remain empty for the last 3 months.
                  this is a very big company that has bought our home. speaking to their solicitor {managing agents} on the phone has been a very antagonistic experence. they keep saying that they know the Law and that we are not protected in anyway. Our solicitor on the other hand won't confirm 100% that we are protected to us, although he has put it in writing to the new owners and just says let them prove otherwise. l was hoping there would be a clear simple answer that we either are protected or not. l thought this subject was not rocket science but the more l try to listen and explain the more grey area's appear to keep popping up.


                  • #10
                    l must also apologise to u Lucid for my terrible typing explinations, computers as l'm sure u can see are not my fav animals. my thoughts because we have so little paper work and for that fact the previous owners also after my fathers reduntancy in 86, coupled with the rent cok-up in 2000 were now we are paying £1300 probably makes us look like anything but protected tenants.
                    would be great if could speak and get another opinion from someone, l can give my mobile in pvt message.

                    thanks again Lucid.


                    • #11
                      In order to give you an answer to the best of my opinion based on what you have told me i'll have to disseminate the information in your posts,

                      (which are not very clear, try to be as concise as you can and not post in big blocks then new posts each paragraph??)

                      and go look at the Rent act. Off the top of my head I cant see how you would be fully assured tenants as you have all lived there before January 1989. Even if you were then You have whats called full security of tenure ie you can stay as long as you like. It may be that the new landlords are aware of the 1st refusal rules and are afraid you will find out. If the land is worth a lot of money and they want to develop it by knocking down the building there's a lot of money at stake. And I mean a lot really!!

                      Imagine they bought it a very low price, they would be forced by the courts to sell it to you and your other tenants at no more than they paid and be fined thousands in the process for not informing you along with the seller of the property. You need a really good experienced solicitor. What appears to be crucial is the tenancy status with regard to your fathers employment for the previous owners. Also what of the other tenants? have you spoken to them the owners may try to buy them out quickly before all this comes out.


                      • #12
                        my feelings are you may be spot on Lucid. perhaps a Judge will have to decide if my father is protected or not. just hope the wonker gets out the right side of bed that day.
                        l have looked and read alot the last couple of days here on this terrific site, can't help but feel that our case is so damn comlplicated with so many twists and turns, spoke to my solicitor today, he gave me 30 seconds which is better than normal, said don't worry Charles lets take one step at a time, tried to tell him though that alot of stuff l wrote down on paper and gave to him he has never even raised with me let alone the new landlords. l'm begining to think has he even looked at 1% of our long history 32 yr tenancy in 2 flats in the block. we changed our solicitor 2 yrs ago as was getting same response and current solicitor said he was not doing his job, now this solicitor acting the same perhaps worse. l can't but help think that if we were paying privately and not under legal aid funding the outcome to all these ongoing tenancy problems would be very very different.


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