L won't confirm tenancy for T's successor to claim HB

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    L won't confirm tenancy for T's successor to claim HB

    Hello everyone I hope someone can help me please. My Father who was the original tenant, Regulated tenant, died and I have lived in the same property for 44 years. The landlord won't give me anything in writing for housing benefit so the rent can be paid.
    He did not cash my rent cheques until recently, this has gone on since July 2008. I am really under stress as the landlord is doing this on purpose. I was my Fathers full time carer and that is why I am now on income support. The council won't pay any housing benefit and I have borrowed alot of money for the rent and cannot borrow anymore. Please can you answer the few questions below.

    1) What tenancy would I have as I am succeeding a regulated tenancy, there never has been any succession before, I am the very first successor?
    2) What will happen if I get into rent arrears because the landlord has not given me anything in writing?
    3) Can the landlord get away with purposely causing me to be in rent arrears?

    All the hassle I have had is very stressful. I am a good tenant I have lived here all my life and done repairs as the landlord would never do anything. I want to pay the rent and have tried so hard to get it paid but now I am going to be in arrears as I cannot borrow anymore. Please can you advise?

    #2
    Your father will almost certainly have held a Rent Act 1977 protected tenancy. Yes, I know that it began before 1977; but this Act brought-together a lot of earlier legislation without substantially altering it! If you are eligible to succeed, as having lived there with him, you may be taking-over his protected status. What does the Tenancy Agreement state? This + Will (with Grant of Probate) should be sufficient for HB.

    More expertise to follow from other LZ members, I hope. I am not very familiar with the 1977 Act, myself.
    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


      #3
      Johnny, your situation sounds dreadful and I'm sorry you are having to try to sort it out by yourself. I'm afraid I don't know what you can do in order to get the tenancy recognised as being in your name - which will presumably enable the council to start paying you HB - but if nobody on this site can help (someone probably will, though!), do get in touch with Shelter and with the Citizens Advice Bureau who are more experienced in dealing with cases such as this.

      Do you think the LL is deliberately making life difficult for you so that you will leave, or is he just hopelessly disorganised?
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

      Comment


        #4
        The Landlord unfortunetly has always been very bad. He tried to evict my Father when my Father was ill.
        This is one Landlord that is very dishonest and has never been nice. I phoned a solicitor today and now I have an appointment to see him. I know that Landlords are always complaining about tenants, but this Landlord gives them all a bad name.
        I did contact shelter but they were unable to help. The Landlord is doing this on purpose and he thinks I am just going to leave. When I phone him to ask for a Landlord statement he said no and put down the phone. He not very nice at all.

        Comment


          #5
          Jeffrey (or anyone who knows) - might Johnny be able to get legal aid?
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            Jeffrey (or anyone who knows) - might Johnny be able to get legal aid?
            I don't know. Certainly Legal Aid has been constantly cut-back in funding, reorganised in administration, and reduced in scope.
            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


              #7
              You will become an assured tenant on succession but you will lose the right to a regulated rent. No doubt the first thing the landlord will do will serve S13 to increase the rent to market rate. You can appeal to rent officer to review but you have lost the protection of the 1977 Rent Act.

              If you really are a bonafide tenant then the Landlord must supply written terms and conditions (ie contract) on request. Get you solicitor to back this up with a letter.

              Also, without a document with the Landlord's name and address for service of notices (S48) you are lawfully able to withhold rent until provided with such. Therefore if Landlord tries to evict you, he will fail but the process will provide you with evidence you are a tenant.

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you for the reply. The market rent was always paid even under my Fathers regulated tenancy. The property is very run down as the landlord has always refused to maintain any of the property. The rent tribuneral set the rent to less than half of the market value due to disrepair.

                If I am An Assured tenant, am I still a sitting tenant?

                Comment


                  #9
                  "sitting tenant" is not a legal term as such, but yes, as an assured tenant the landlord cannot evict you unless for non payment of rent, and he can't ask for rent unless he has provided his name and address to you under S48.

                  Landlord can't refuse to accept rent. If he has banked cheques from you then he has accepted your tenancy (not that he had much choice).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi

                    I too sympathise with your predicament, but I do think that there is a solution to your problem with the local authority.

                    Assuming that your father's tenancy never had been or was no longer a fixed term tenancy, then the statutory assured periodic tenancy to which you have succeeded will be on the same terms and conditions as the old tenancy (section 39 Housing Act 1988). This includes the rent and the period of the tenancy (usually weekly or monthly). The first day of your new tenancy is the day after your father's death and any "period" of the tenancy starts from that point - there is case law on this point if you need it.

                    It should be sufficient for you to take a copy of your father's tenancy agreement to the local authority with a letter referring them to section 39. In the same letter you could explain the difficulties you have had with the landlord and also, ideally, provide them with evidence that rent cheques have been cashed.

                    You should also ask for this claim to be backdated to when you first contacted the authority. If they still refuse, submit an appeal straight away and make a formal complaint about the way your case is being handled. They ought to be dealing with you very sensitively given your circumstances and there is no reason under the HB regulations why they should refuse your claim when they have ample proof of your liability to pay.

                    There is a provision for assured shorthold tenants to request a statement of the principal terms of their tenancy in writing from the landlord, but I am not aware of a similar provision for assured tenants, perhaps other contributors may know of something. You are entitled though to a section 48 notice. If your rent is payable weekly, you are also entitled to a rent book. The absence of either means that the rent is not payable until they are provided.

                    The landlord can only increase your rent by serving you with a proper notice; precisely when and how this can be done depends partly on whether there was anything in your father's tenancy agreement on the issue of rent increases, so if you are interested in this issue you will need to give more information on this point. If the landlord does try to increase the rent, you will have the right to refer it to the rent assessment committee for a decision, although it would be important to get some very good quality advice on local rent levels before doing so.

                    It also sounds to me as though you might want to ask the landlord to look at some issues of repair?

                    In summary, you asked about "sitting tenant" and in the way that I think you meant it, yes, you are a sitting tenant in that you have a very high level of "security of tenure". You have a very similar level of security, in fact, to that enjoyed by your father; you can only be evicted on one of a number of specified grounds, such as arrears of rent.

                    Perhaps the biggest difference between an old Rent Act tenancy and an assured tenancy is in the area of rent control - as you probably know, registered rents were generally lower than market levels.

                    Anyway, hope this helps.

                    Preston

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Preston View Post
                      It should be sufficient for you to take a copy of your father's tenancy agreement to the local authority with a letter referring them to section 39.
                      But also with Will/Probate/etc.- or how else can OP prove entitlement at all?
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                        But also with Will/Probate/etc.- or how else can OP prove entitlement at all?
                        Hi

                        They will need proof Johnny's father has passed away - I would guess a death certificate has already been provided but if not I agree it will be needed. Other than this, I dont think a will or probate has any bearing does it, the succession takes place by operation of law, unless there is more than one person who is entitled to succeed, which from what we have been told is not the case?

                        Preston

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yes- one needs to prove T's death, one way or another. Succession is by operation of law, so no deed or document is needed, but OP still has to prove entitlement- e.g. his residential address is at the property and has been for years before T's death. I was concerned about what the Will- if any- might have stipulated on the subject of continued use of the property as OP's home].
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                            Yes- one needs to prove T's death, one way or another. Succession is by operation of law, so no deed or document is needed, but OP still has to prove entitlement- e.g. his residential address is at the property and has been for years before T's death. I was concerned about what the Will- if any- might have stipulated on the subject of continued use of the property as OP's home].
                            Hi

                            If Johnny has been on the electoral roll at that address for the necessary two year period, or if the council tax records show him as resident, this should be enough for the local authority. If these records dont exist and they ask for other proof of residence, the usual utility bills or other correspondence sent to that address should be enough.

                            I could be wrong, but I dont think that proof of residence will be the issue with the local authority. More importantly, because this is a slightly unusual case, they will need just a little nudging to step outside their usual procedure manual approach ("give me a copy of an agreement with your name on it") to considering what the HB regs actually say.

                            Anyway, given your concern it might be worth Johnny letting us know if there is a will and if it says anything of relevance, if he is happy to do so?

                            Preston

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Presence on (or absence from) Electoral Roll is irrelevant.
                              Lawful examples: person may not wish to register; student may register at home and termtime addresses; person may not be UK-entitled to register.
                              What counts for 1977 Act succession is what that Act requires. See paragraphs 2 and 3 in its Schedule 1, which require successor's [provable] two-year residence with the now-deceased T.
                              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

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