Proving Tenant is a Rent Act Tenant

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  • Proving Tenant is a Rent Act Tenant

    Hi

    In the mid 90's I bought a house which was tenanted. The same tenants are still in the house now and have always paid a very low rent.

    I have checked the with Rent Service as I originally thought the tenants could be Rent Act tenants. The Rent Service have advised me that they have never registered a fair rent on the property.

    I want to increase the rent and as such have sent them the standard S13 notice assuming they are have an Assured Tenancy. The tenants are very reasonable and have sent me a letter back stating they moved into the property around 1987/1988 and as such they are Rent Act tenants but they have no proof of this.

    Is it up to the tenant to prove they are Rent Act tenants or is it up to the landlord they not?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
    a. the 1977 Act applies; and
    b. the 1988 Act does not.
    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
      Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
      Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
      a. the 1977 Act applies; and
      b. the 1988 Act does not.
      Jeffrey, by 'state definite date' do you mean 'provide evidence of', or just 'assert', please?
      '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
        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
        Jeffrey, by 'state definite date' do you mean 'provide evidence of', or just 'assert', please?
        Provide at least reasonable evidence.
        The onus of proof is usually on whoever is propounding a view. It's very much in T's interests to prove Rent Act status!
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
          Provide at least reasonable evidence.
          The onus of proof is usually on whoever is propounding a view. It's very much in T's interests to prove Rent Act status!

          Are both T and L not propounding a view in this case, though?
          L wants to raise rent so needs to prove Ts are post Rent Act tenants...Ts (presumably) don't want rent raised, so need to prove they are rent Act tenants?
          '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 jeffrey View Post
            Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
            a. the 1977 Act applies; and
            b. the 1988 Act does not.
            No the tenant can't state a definite date when they moved into the property they just think it was around 1987.

            Do we just have to take their word for this or is it up to them to prove when they originally moved into the property?

            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Utility bills will be enough proof for T. Not many keep old bills for that long, but, Gas and Electric providers do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by montana View Post
                Utility bills will be enough proof for T. Not many keep old bills for that long, but, Gas and Electric providers do.
                Add to this list the Council Tax (or was it the dreaded POLL TAX at the time) If that is not to hand, how about checking the electrol roll? Or the driving licence,letters from tenants' employers, personal insurances, old passports, dead or birth certificates, children's school reports. The list is endless.

                Incidentally, if you bought the house with the property being tenanted, what the heck was your solicitor doing? Did he/she not make any enquires about the status of the tenants at the time?

                You cannot be that naive and surely must have known what you were acquiring and paid the purchase price accordingly? Did you get a mortgage to purchase the house and was a valuational carried out on behalf of the lenders? What does that state about the status of the tenants at the time?

                There are 101 ways of establishing the status of the tenants but I can only give you but a few. Get your thinking cap on and you will find the rest.

                Good hunting.

                P.S As your tenants are aware that you desire to put their rent up there is nothing stopping them making an application of registration of fait rent to the Rent Office. Then the onus will be on them to prove the date of commencement of their tenancy. If the RO thinks he/she does not have enough information to go on then they do not have the jurisdiction to set a fair rent and you /the tenants may have to apply to the Court for a ruling.

                Anyway, why have you waited over 15-19 years to try and increase their rent?
                Did you not think in the interveing period that the rent was low?

                I think that there is more to this then you are letting on.
                Kikuyu

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kikuyu View Post
                  Add to this list the Council Tax (or was it the dreaded POLL TAX at the time) If that is not to hand, how about checking the electrol roll? Or the driving licence,letters from tenants' employers, personal insurances, old passports, dead or birth certificates, children's school reports. The list is endless.
                  That would be the electoral roll, I take it? And death certificates? I cannot see how children's school reports would prove anything other than the fact that they went to a particular school at the time and that they were fantastic at woodwork, or whatever. Reports do not normally bear the parents' address.

                  Originally posted by kikuyu View Post
                  Incidentally, if you bought the house with the property being tenanted, what the heck was your solicitor doing? Did he/she not make any enquires about the status of the tenants at the time?

                  You cannot be that naive and surely must have known what you were acquiring and paid the purchase price accordingly? Did you get a mortgage to purchase the house and was a valuational carried out on behalf of the lenders? What does that state about the status of the tenants at the time?

                  There are 101 ways of establishing the status of the tenants but I can only give you but a few. Get your thinking cap on and you will find the rest.

                  Anyway, why have you waited over 15-19 years to try and increase their rent?
                  Did you not think in the interveing period that the rent was low?

                  I think that there is more to this then you are letting on.
                  kikuyu, I know you are trying to be helpful, and some of your suggestions are sensible, but the tone of your answer comes across as really bossy and critical here. OP asked a reasonable question and we are trying to give him a useful answer. Much of the stuff you have commented on is really none of our business, is it?
                  '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


                  • #10
                    Sorry, Mind the gap. I did not mean to give any offence to anyone least of all to the OP. My apologies to you too OP.

                    Apart from the dreaded spelling mistakes, I was trying to be helpful and explore as many avenues as possible to get to the bottom of problem.

                    Regarding questions on finding out if OP took out a mortgage etc. it was merely to alert him where else to look.

                    As far as schools are concerned I realise that school reports do not carry one's address but is another way to prove that the children went to the local school, especially if the tenants moved from outside the area.

                    Anyway, I will moderate my tune and hope not to be seen as being bossy or authoritarian in the future.
                    Kikuyu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all your replies everyone.

                      In reply to kikuyu's questions:

                      The solicitor who acted in the purchase has long been out of business and I have to admit when I bought the property I didn't know quite what I know now.

                      With regards to the purchase price the property was a steal at the time and to be honest that was all I was interested in. The house was bought with cash so there is no mortgage.

                      Yes I've known that the rent has been low for a long time however I've been busy managing the rest of my portfolio and as the tenants have been very good payers and pretty much never bother me with regards to repairs I have put it to the bottom of my pile of things to do.

                      Thanks for all your suggestions though. I think I'll suggest to the tenants they provide me with some of the information you have listed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've spoken to the tenants today and they tell me that when they moved in they paid the council tax and utility bills to the then landlord and he paid all the bills so they can't get any confirmation of these.

                        I asked them if they would consent to me running a credit check on them so I can have a look at the electoral roll at the property and they said that was fine. I've run this and it turns out that one of the tenants is listed on there from 1990 and the other from 1998?

                        If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?

                        Thanks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The tenants don;t know when they moved in?? Bull.... I may not know the exact date of when I moved somewhere (I have moved often!) BUT I do know the rough month and year! They are trying to pull a fast one!
                          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


                          • #14
                            Thanks justaboutsane.

                            I should probably rephrase that. The tenants THINK they moved in the year before Hillsborough which would mean they moved in in 1988 however they have no proof of this.

                            Can anyone else help with my other question of "If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?"

                            Thanks

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by settloe_99 View Post
                              Thanks justaboutsane.

                              I should probably rephrase that. The tenants THINK they moved in the year before Hillsborough which would mean they moved in in 1988 however they have no proof of this.

                              Can anyone else help with my other question of "If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?"
                              You can use s.13 IF (but only if) it's a Housing Act 1988 periodic AST. That section is part of that Act, of course.
                              You cannot use s.13 if it's a Rent Act 1977 tenancy (although there is an alternative rent increase procedure thereunder).
                              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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