New to UK; please explain more about tenancies/law

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    New to UK; please explain more about tenancies/law

    Being new to the UK I've done my homework and did extensive research on what it means to rent in the UK. However, the 3 books and countless forum posts I've read failed to address certain points. I'd be most grateful if you could help with the following questions:


    - You hand over a holding deposit to secure interest in a property. I understand that. What if after this stage:

    - the LL/LA wants to include a clause you don't agree to in the tenancy agreement (no overnight visitors, for example) or
    - the LL changes their mind about something (e.g. during viewing they agreed to draw an inventory but they change their mind later or they do a 2-line inventory, or during viewing they say that they'll remove a certain piece of furniture but then they change their mind)
    - they agree on a move-in date but then they don't stick to it and push it further back
    - you find out that they have a residential mortgage and they're not allowed to rent out the property
    - refuse to give you a copy of the tenancy agreement to study before signing it?

    What if something like this happens after paying the holding deposit but BEFORE signing the tenancy agreement? Is it grounds for pulling out of the deal and still be able to recover your holding deposit?


    - When writing to the landlord or letting agency, you’re advised to keep copies. Does this mean you have to date them and post them to yourself or have some sort of timestamp or is it enough to keep them printed?

    - How can one ensure that the person claiming to be landlord is actually the landlord?

    - Oh, and regarding utilities. When should one notify the utilities companies that they've taken residence in the property? After signing the lease or after moving in?


    I'm also confused about the chronology of steps to take when renting a property:

    1. View a property, then hand over holding deposit.

    2. Discuss tenancy agreement. One can ask for a copy to read in private?

    ??. The deposit and rent must already be paid before the lease is signed? If yes, does the lease start to run from that day or from moving-in date onwards?

    ??. Does moving-in date coincide with the signing of the lease? If not, is moving-in date specified in the agreement? In this case, if you sign the agreement, hand over deposit and rent and the LL keeps pushing back the moving-in date, what can I do?

    *. When is the inventory to be drawn? When the lease is signed or when you move in?

    Any help is appreciated.

    #2
    Common sense tells me that all documentation concerning the renting of a property must be available to the potential tenant BEFORE any form of deposit is handed over. After all, such a tenant must have the opportunity to get another opinion as to the suitability of the clauses in the proposed AST. If this is not the case then there are uncertain grounds as to whether such a deposit is refundable if the T's and C's of an AST are deemed unacceptable by the tenant when its text is finally made available for signature.

    I don't believe in a tenant being expected to sign an AST until the property is available for the tenant to move in. After all, it has been posted here before that the contract has not been completed until a) the agreement has been signed, b) the first rental payment has been paid and c) the keys have been handed over. Thus a tenant is in a position to walk away if their access to the property is delayed. However the cost of claiming a refund through the courts has to be considered if this should happen.

    P.P.
    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

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      #3
      Originally posted by P.Pilcher View Post
      Common sense tells me that all documentation concerning the renting of a property must be available to the potential tenant BEFORE any form of deposit is handed over. After all, such a tenant must have the opportunity to get another opinion as to the suitability of the clauses in the proposed AST.
      I agree. To give a prospective tenant no advance sight of the Tenancy Agreement before demanding signature is entirely improper. Moreover, L runs major risks under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations- T could seek a Court Order, deleting any provisions held to be unfair in a 'Take it or leave it' document, whereas this right of challenge would not apply to a document's provisions individually negotiated.
      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).

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