Problems leaving a property

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  • Problems leaving a property

    My son rented a flat with a friend. The friend paid his own half, and my ex-wife paid my son's half. They are now leaving the property, and I have taken the keys back today. The LL told me I had to give a forwarding address, and that there was unpaid rent. This is for the friend's half, as my son's rent is up to date. I refused to give a forwarding address for my son, as I don't see why he (or I) should carry the can for someone else's unpaid rent. She said that's fine, she would serve a court order on my son!

    Can they do this?? How, if they have no address?

    The friend has not returned his keys.

    Also there are problems with the utility bills, the readings are estimated but the meters are not accessible to my son to check (being in a cellar, locked, and accessed via another flat). Should he pay bills he has no means of checking?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ebenezer View Post
    My son rented a flat with a friend. The friend paid his own half, and my ex-wife paid my son's half. They are now leaving the property, and I have taken the keys back today. The LL told me I had to give a forwarding address, and that there was unpaid rent. This is for the friend's half, as my son's rent is up to date. I refused to give a forwarding address for my son, as I don't see why he (or I) should carry the can for someone else's unpaid rent. She said that's fine, she would serve a court order on my son!

    Can they do this?? How, if they have no address?

    The friend has not returned his keys.

    Also there are problems with the utility bills, the readings are estimated but the meters are not accessible to my son to check (being in a cellar, locked, and accessed via another flat). Should he pay bills he has no means of checking?
    If there is one tenancy for two people, both are liable for all rent (ie not half each, even if that's how payments are made in practice). Your son is therefore still liable, so try and get the friend's half.
    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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    • #3
      Originally posted by ebenezer View Post
      Also there are problems with the utility bills, the readings are estimated but the meters are not accessible to my son to check (being in a cellar, locked, and accessed via another flat). Should he pay bills he has no means of checking?
      Jeffrey is right about the rent. Get after your son's 'friend' and either get him to face up to his responsibilities or shop his whereabouts to the landlord directly.

      Concerning the utility readings: your son and/or his friend are liable to any amount that is subsequently found on the meters. To avoid this situation, they should have notified the utility companies several weeks prior to the moving out date and told them that the companies would have to come and read the meters due to not having any access. Unfortunately, your son and his friend are at the mercy of the landlord with regards to the meter readings.

      One ray of hope though: the landlord doesn't stand to gain anything by letting his ex-tenants be over-charged for utilities. If he does let the readings go unchecked, the new tenants may end up receiving a low bill initially, but will end up paying more at the end. Perhaps this is what happened to your son and his friend? In which case, it's a simple matter of swings and roundabouts...

      Regards,
      Paul.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ebenezer View Post
        My son rented a flat with a friend. The friend paid his own half, and my ex-wife paid my son's half. They are now leaving the property, and I have taken the keys back today. The LL told me I had to give a forwarding address, and that there was unpaid rent. This is for the friend's half, as my son's rent is up to date. I refused to give a forwarding address for my son, as I don't see why he (or I) should carry the can for someone else's unpaid rent. She said that's fine, she would serve a court order on my son!

        Can they do this?? How, if they have no address?

        The friend has not returned his keys.

        Also there are problems with the utility bills, the readings are estimated but the meters are not accessible to my son to check (being in a cellar, locked, and accessed via another flat). Should he pay bills he has no means of checking?
        Dear Ebenezer

        It is VERY IMPORTANT to get your son's friend to hand his keys over AS A MATTER OF PRIORITY because a liability for the rent could continue until the keys are handed over!

        You might therefore find your son ending up with an even larger bill as each tenant will be jointly and severally liable!

        Kind Regards

        J
        Last edited by Joannepowell; 26-02-2007, 12:56 PM. Reason: typo

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Joannepowell View Post
          Dear Ebenezer



          You might therefore find your son ending up with an even larger bill as each tenant will be jointly and severally liable!



          J
          that's important.

          Comment


          • #6
            Does this arise from the ending of a fixed term tenancy? - if so the tenants would be entitled to leave without notice but this must be before the expiry date of the tenancy agreement.

            If the landlord has issued a formal notice requiring possession then the tenants can also leave without notice. If the landlord has not issued a formal notice of possession he cannot demand that the joint tenants leave.

            It is possible that the tenancy has now become a periodic one and the landlord is now entitled to receiving a formal one month's notice from the joint tenants. Rent will be due until the landlord has full possession.

            If you are able to provide more details others here may be able to help with those aspects.

            Was there an inventory and condition report endorsed by the tenants and the landlord at the start of the tenancy?

            I am anticipating here problems concerning the return of the deposit and claims for alleged damages to the property. If there is no agreed incoming inventory the landlord will be unlikely to be able to claim damages.

            It is obviously best that rather than merely handing over keys the tenant and landlord/agent meet at the property for a final inspection and agree/disagree any alleged defects If there are indeed damages it may be possible to agree to the landlord retaining part of the deposit towards such damages.

            Presumably there is in the AST agreement provision for the landlord to utilise the deposit against unpaid rent.

            Maybe you could arrange to meet 'the friend' at the flat when the handover takes place and your son and his friend get the meter readings agreed with the agent.
            Vic - wicked landlord
            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

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