TDP judgment; Agent gone; claim against L/ increase rent?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • TDP judgment; Agent gone; claim against L/ increase rent?

    I recently won a county court judgment against an Estate Agency which had failed to protect my deposit. The agency was ordered to protect my deposit, pay me 3x the original deposit and pay my court fees by a certain recent date. The agency, however, did not comply. I've been advised to seek a 3rd Party Debt order.

    The problem is, the agency has liquidated and has been born again as a "new" agency i.e. same premises, staff and director, but new name and bank account; also, the "old" agency, which was the defendent in my case, I have since learned, was not actually a legal entity, but rather was an individual (the director) "trading as" the old agency; i.e. the old agency's letterhead did not contain the words "Ltd" and its correspondence had no company registration number.

    The new agency (which is an Ltd, and has the company number) has instructed tenants to pay rent to the new agency at a different bank. So the old agency's bank account, to which a 3rd party debt order would apply would likely be empty.

    And after speaking with a solicitor, I think it could be costly, long and risky to pursue the claim against the new agency.

    So I am wondering ... the Housing Act permits a claim to be filed against either a landlord or against an agency acting on the landlord's behalf. As the facts of the underlying TDP case were strongly in my favour (or at least the county court judge thought so), I wonder whether I can either

    a) file a new TDP non-compliance claim, this time against the landlord (who is an individual, and thus is unlikely to morph into another entity, as the old agency has done,) or,

    b) to speed things up (it's already been a 15 month ordeal) ,to ask that the existing judgment be amended to make the the landlord a defendant, or the defendant, in my already decided case, so that the landlord becomes liable to comply with the original judgement.

    This is very frustrating ... over a year of waiting, a successful county court claim, and not only have I not been paid the 3x penalty, I am out over 1,000 pounds in court costs, and to top it of, my deposit remains unprotected. I have played by the rules; the defendant is running rings around me.

    (I suppose simply withholding rent is out of the question...)

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by yai ling View Post
    The problem is, the agency has liquidated and has been born again as a "new" agency i.e. same premises, staff and director, but new name and bank account; also, the "old" agency, which was the defendent in my case, I have since learned, was not actually a legal entity, but rather was an individual (the director) "trading as" the old agency
    So apply to amend the judgment to name this individual, not his trading name.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was wondering whether I have sufficient evidence for that. What do you think? I have

      --a copy of a form which he filed with the court on behalf of the old agency (i,e, the named defendant); this shows he was directing the defence, although it does not state his precise affiliation with the old agency;

      -- a letter from him to me, prior to the hearing, urging me to drop the case as, he said, it had no merit; again, there is not title;

      -- an old piece of correspondence idnetifying him as the "Manager" of the old agency

      -- a new letter from him, to all clients of the old agency, telling them that the new agency has taken over, and that they should now pay into a new account; it is signed by him as the "Director" of the new agency, which again is an Ltd

      This guy is slippery and clever. I've learned that he has set up and dissolved about 7 companies over the last 10 years; I fear that he will somehow slip through again. If I do as you say, what could go wrong? Might it not be more straightforward to go after the landlord (my original question)?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by yai ling View Post
        I was wondering whether I have sufficient evidence for that. What do you think?
        It's possible you have enough evidence - I don't know - but the best evidence is probably from the old agency bank account, which will presumably have been set up as Mr Slippery t/a Dodgy Agent? Did you by any chance have a standing order set up showing payments made to Mr Slippery t/a Dodgy Agent, or would your bank have any other evidence of this? If not, you could try contacting Mr Slippery's bank quoting s.35 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (but this wouldn't compel the bank to release the info, just allow them to).
        http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998...en_5#pt4-l1g35

        I would also obtain a copy of the company records (from Companies House) for Dodgy Agent Ltd showing Mr Slippery as sole director.

        Do some DIY sleuthing and try to gather as much evidence as you can that Mr Slippery and Dodgy Agent are one and the same.

        If I do as you say, what could go wrong? Might it not be more straightforward to go after the landlord (my original question)?
        I doubt you can obtain TWO judgments for the same thing, so this doesn't strike me as "straightforward".

        If you followed my suggestion and try to have the judgment amended, the worst that can happen is the court refuses the application and you lose the fee. But it's clear what the problem is: you have a judgment against a "trading as" name but not the individual connected to that name, so it's unenforceable - I'm fairly sure the court would amend the order provided you supply sufficient evidence.

        Comment


        • #5
          What about a hybrid of our approaches, i.e. the idea of asking for an amended defedeant id, but asking that it be the landlord -- who, under law, can be named as a defendant and who bears responsibility (certainly morally, perhaps legally) for the misedeeeds of her appointed agent?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by yai ling View Post
            What about a hybrid of our approaches, i.e. the idea of asking for an amended defendant id, but asking that it be the landlord -- who, under law, can be named as a defendant and who bears responsibility (certainly morally, perhaps legally) for the misdeeds of her appointed agent?
            Ultimately, the landlord is responsible for protecting the deposit, agent only acts on the landlord's behalf (which is why you should have claimed against the landlord originally).

            I don't know whether you can just swap defendants. It seems unlikely to me, as it would deprive the 'new' defendant of the opportunity to defend herself - it's possible she has evidence that the agent didn't know about, or would be able to defend her case more effectively than the agent could.

            BTW, is your tenancy still ongoing or has it ended?

            Comment


            • #7
              It is a lapsed AST i.e. it is periodic. I let it lapse because the agent said he would have to charge me 300 pounds to protect the deposit. I balked, refused to renew, and filed my claim.

              As for LL having better evidence etc -- I doubt it. The tenancy agreement was signed, the deposit was paid but not protected -- this is plainly documented.

              Comment


              • #8
                Court ruled in tenants favour on TDP case; tenancy now periodic; can LL raise rent?

                I recently won a TDP case against my estate agent. I understand that that means I can't be "section 21'd" as the deposit wasn't protected. (It still hasn't been, despite the court order; see my other post of today). But there is nothing to stop LL from effectively forcing me out by raising the rent to something extortionate, correct? I am now on a statutory periodic tenancy (I was not during the period relevent to the TDP case).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rent Assessment Panels: do they protect tenants against unreasonable rent increases?

                  I have been advised that if a my LL wishes to raise my rent, I have a right of appeal to a Rent Assessment Panel, which will determine the reasonableness of any proposed increase. I have also been told that such Panels consider what a "fari" rent is based on rents for similar dwellings in the area.

                  This would appear to prevent LL from effectively forcing me out by, say, suddenly doubling my rent, which is about par for my area (judging from other advertised rents). Is this conclusion correct?

                  Background: I was on a fixed-term AST, which became periodic after I refused to sign a new agreement as the estate agent had refused to protect my deposit. That fixed-term AST said nothing about rent reviews or changes. I understand that its basic terms still govern my periodic tenancy now (expect of course for the term).

                  I filed a claim in County Court, which ordered the deposit to be protected along with the 3x penalty. Agent has not complied with the judgment, so LL cannot section 21 me; but perhaps might try to force me out by charging an extortionate rent; hence my question.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    yes! If landlord serves you s13 rent increase then you need to reply to landlord informing him that you are referring matter to rent assesment panel, contact them, they will visit house and check out market value and then inform landlord what the fair rent should be.

                    You are protected from being asked to leave under S21 due to landlord not protecting your deposit so you should be ok.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      L can increase rent but only by:
                      a. terminating AST1 and offering AST2 at increased rent; or
                      b. using a procedure specified in the written AST; or
                      c. using s.13 of 1988 Act.
                      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
                        Three separate threads by same member have been merged here. Do not cause problems by starting continuation threads; use the same one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yai ling View Post
                          It is a lapsed AST i.e. it is periodic. I let it lapse because the agent said he would have to charge me 300 pounds to protect the deposit. I balked, refused to renew, and filed my claim.
                          'Lapsed' is misleading. No lease/tenancy can 'lapse'. By s.5(3) of the 1988 Act, fixed-term AST can continue as SPT; that seems to be the case here.
                          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
                            Agent defied Court Order re deposit; demands inspection

                            I am a tenant. I’d been under a 12 month AST. But in the summer of last year, when I was asked to sign a new 12 month AST, I asked the estate agency to protect my deposit, which they had not done. They refused unless I paid them several hundred pounds as an “admin fee”. That seemed bogus to me, so I refused to sign a new 12 month AST, and filed a claim in county court. The named defendant was the agency, not the landlord. The tenancy became a periodic tenancy, and still is.

                            I won the claim in court this autumn. The agency was ordered to protect my deposit, pay me 3X the deposit, and pay my court costs. But the agency never did.

                            Rather, around the time of the compliance deadline, the agency (we’ll call it Agency A) changed business identities. It had been “Agency A” [not an Ltd] but became “Agency B, Ltd”. Same premises, staff, director and phone number – so effectively the same outfit, but a new legal entity.

                            When I asked the director when he intended to comply, he refused to answer. I sought and won a 3rd party debt order, but by the time it was issued, there were no funds in Agency A’s account, so no joy.

                            Not long ago I received a letter from Agency B (a general form letter addressed to “Dear Tenant”) informing me that Agency A was no more, and that Agency B is taking over the affairs of Agency A.

                            But I’ve never signed anything designating Agency B as the agent; nor has the landlord informed me that Agency B is now the agent.

                            Yesterday Agency B informed me they want to come round and do an inspection. My understanding is that under my current periodic AST, I am bound by the same terms as those in the last 12 month AST agreement I signed; those terms permit inspections. But I’ve not seen anything binding me to those terms if the agent specified in the agreement (Agency A) no longer exists.

                            It seems to me a bit rich that Agency B thinks it gets the rights from my agreement with the landlord and Agency A -- e.g. right of entry and inspection -- without the obligations -- i.e. to protect my deposit and comply with a court order.

                            In fact I have seen nothing from Agency B even acknowledging that the existence of the deposit paid to Agency A; it seems Agency B assumes I will resign myself to it just vanishing along with Agency A.

                            Would I be on sound legal ground to write to the landlord to inform him

                            -- that until I receive written notification from him designating Agency B as the agent, and until I sign a new agreement with both him and Agency B to that effect, I’m under no obligation to comply with their demand to enter and inspect?

                            -- perhaps additionally, that I will only sign an agreement with Agency B if the agreement explicitly acknowledges that 1) Agency B is now responsible for my deposit paid some years ago (“after all, dear Landlord, I can’t accept that it has merely vanished” etc etc), and 2) Agency B must comply with all relevant legislation relating to deposits in general, and with the court order against Agency A regarding my deposit in particular?

                            Would this be a smart thing to do, or could it backfire somehow?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Your agreement is with the landlord not the agency - the agency acts for the landlord not you so your tenancy agreements still stands. You might want to seek the landlords authority though that he agrees for Agency B to act on his behalf before letting them in for an inspection, but i expect he has agreed to continue with them. The company i work for made some similar changes a few years ago and it makes zero difference in terms of day to day business.

                              With regards to the bond deposit, i am surprised that Agency A was ordered to protect it and not the landlord (who would in tern counter claim agains the agency) as it is ultimately the landlord who is responsible for this. It does not matter if agency A's account is empty, the bond is still the landlords responsibility (lucky him)

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              • Claiming for protected deposit
                                mandm
                                This is an interesting one, got me into a spin.
                                Tenants signed AST but decided to leave after 6 months and 3 days (problem with moving) using the break clause in the AST. I protected the deposit using DPS (Insured) and returned the deposit minus deductions when the moved out.
                                I served the...
                                21-07-2017, 08:00 AM
                              • Reply to Claiming for protected deposit
                                MrShed
                                JK - there are *some* upsides of taking a deposit. The main two for me:
                                1) Regardless of what it can feel like on here, the majority of tenants do not know they can play the system in this way.
                                2) There is something to be said for the mindset of a tenant who has something "invested"...
                                21-07-2017, 08:19 AM
                              • Discussion - GDPR and implications on landlords
                                MrShed
                                I've just posted something on GDPR and then wondered whether it had been discussed on here before - a quick search implies its never been mentioned.

                                I thought I would raise a topic to discuss it and the implications on landlords.In effect this is a replacement of the Data Protection Act...
                                20-07-2017, 15:01 PM
                              • Reply to Discussion - GDPR and implications on landlords
                                jpkeates
                                The ICO should be fining landlords for not registering as data processors - they're not.

                                The maximum amount of personal data held by landlords and agents arises out of tenant referencing, and, if that were to be destroyed after a couple of months, most landlords would arguably be pretty...
                                21-07-2017, 08:16 AM
                              • Reply to Claiming for protected deposit
                                JK0
                                I'm afraid this rant won't help you much o/p, but:

                                STILL!? Still landlords are giving tenants a way to wheedle thousands out of them for no good reason?

                                I have come to the conclusion this whole deposit protection nonsense is a government sponsored scam. There is barely any...
                                21-07-2017, 08:12 AM
                              • Reply to Claiming for protected deposit
                                jpkeates
                                They are probably claiming that you didn't protect the deposit and give them the Prescribed Information document, both of which you are required to do within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.

                                If you didn't do both things to the appropriate deadline, you didn't protect the deposit correctly....
                                21-07-2017, 08:09 AM
                              • Reply to Discussion - GDPR and implications on landlords
                                jjlandlord
                                Source: http://news.pwc.ch/31824/gdpr-key-ch...-eu-companies/

                                That being said, I don't think it will have much impact on landlords:



                                I don't think that'll be the case. References are legitimate and widespread.



                                ...
                                21-07-2017, 07:51 AM
                              • Help. Scam/ fraud letting
                                Hayleydenice93
                                Hiya

                                i need some advise on my situation in regards to this flat offered to me and my partner. We viewed a flat which was in an old office block which had been converted into service apartments and then refurbished into flats.

                                The agency we viewed the flats through did not want...
                                20-07-2017, 20:59 PM
                              • Reply to Help. Scam/ fraud letting
                                theartfullodger
                                You do not have to own a place to be the Landlord. Suspect they rent from owner (their Landlord), they then rent (as your Landlord) to you.

                                Doubt there's any chance of getting proper tenancy from them. You could sign licence, move in, then try and get rights as an AST Tenant (eg sue for...
                                21-07-2017, 07:46 AM
                              • Claiming for Non protected deposit
                                charliesugar
                                This is posted on behalf of my cleaner who approached me for help after her last landlord failed to reply to her repeated requests for return of her deposit.
                                She rented a room in a shared house in London, AST, weekly rent all paid on time. Notice given and accepted, room left neat and clean....
                                27-06-2017, 13:18 PM
                              Working...
                              X