New Letting - Major Problems

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    New Letting - Major Problems

    Hello everyone

    I am hoping that somebody on this forum can offer some advice. About two months ago we signed a 6 month tenancy agreement for a new house and have walked into an absolute nightmare. Here is the situation as it currently stands.

    I have deliberately used a pseudonym and anonymised the details.

    On arriving at our new house we found countless debt collection letters, opened and discard by the front door. Many of these letters were from debt collection agencies for the previous tenant but there were also letters from the mortgage lender showing substantial arrears on the owners mortgage account. This of course concerned us but we believed that the owner was having financial problems and that now he had tenants would be able to use the monthly rent to maintain his mortgage. How wrong we were...

    Recently, we had a knock at the door from a representative of the mortgage lender. He was holding a clipboard with paperwork entitled "Mortgage Arrears Visit" He did not realise that I had read this and I asked him what this visit was about. He lied and said, "I do not know, it is just a general check-up on the owner." A barefaced lie if ever I have heard one.

    Further to the mortgage problems we have learned that the owner has not protected our deposit with the DPS and we DO NOT have a signed tenancy agreement. We have spoken to the agents who organised the letting many times regarding not having a signed tenancy agreement and they seem to do nothing about it and care less. The owner obviously has major financial problems therefore we believe that he has spent our deposit and so have little chance of getting it back. I know we can take him to court for not protecting the deposit but if he has no money than we would have more chance of getting blood from a stone. Incidentally, the letting agency is a small business who seem to know the landlord personally, I wonder....

    We are now obviously concerned about the security of our tenure and would like to know where we stand legally. We cannot afford to lose our deposit and are worried that we will be evicted by the mortgage lender with very little notice. Can anybody offer any advice on where we stand? How much notice will the bank give before a repossession order is enforced? I know it is not ethical, but if we get our eviction notice, what would happen if we were to withhold the last month's rent in lieu of our deposit?

    I appreciate any help offered.

    Many Thanks

    You have a tenancy by the fact you are living there, were given the keys by an agent and have paid rent and deposit so be happy.

    If the property is to be repossessed this will take many months and not happen a short notice months and you will see letters arriving to that effect.

    You can bring a case for the deposit but since you could with hold rent I would not worry too much.

    The state of your landlord's private finances is not really your concern. Trouble might occur if you need repairs doing but you are in control of the rent.

    Freedom at the point of zero............


      Please don't think it's a nightmare - it's just not perfect.

      It's very very difficult for anyone to evict you within the 6 month part of your tenancy agreement - this is the Assured element of your tenancy.
      When you get close to the end of the 6 months, see if you can get another 6 months assured tenancy.
      Within this you are reasonable secure.

      The steps for a mortgage company to repossess a property take quite a while and you will be aware of what's going on.
      And it may not happen - it's a last resort for the bank.

      The lack of a signed tenancy agreement is a slight problem (because the security of the assured tenancy is partially dependent on some kind of agreement) , but if you have a copy that you've signed that was given to you that's very helpful.

      The deposit is a concern, and you are right to be worried about it.
      However, if the deposit is a month's rent, and you were to withhold it, natural justice would seem to be done.

      Just so you know, your withholding rent doesn't in any way disqualify you from seeking to recover your deposit (and a penalty for not protecting it) from the landlord.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


        It will depend what sort of mortgage your landlord has - normal homeowner "residential" or "Buy to Let".. see...

        STRONGLY suggest you 'phone the housing experts at Shelter on **free** helpline 0808 800 4444..and get their expert advice

        Until you see a letter from the court the possession process don't start worrying too much:

        Stupid landlord!

        Best wishes...
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          Sounds like the LL has been letting out on a residential mortgage aswell. Can't think why mortgage company letters would be going there and not where they live.
          "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

          What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.


            Originally posted by amandafrench View Post
            We cannot afford to lose our deposit and are worried that we will be evicted by the mortgage lender with very little notice.
            You do sound worried but, like others have said, you have little to worry about on these two fronts. Although the exact whereabouts of the deposit might be unknown (under the Landlord's bed?) currently... in the final analysis you will come out on top because the law is entirely on your side - no ifs or buts or maybes. So, at least on that front, you can rest a little easier... the Landlord has done something naughty here but the only person who will benefit is you, not the Landlord (as they might expect - one envisages them rubbing their hands together in glee in a darkened room) and now you are armed with the facts.


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