New Tenancy hell - advice needed

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    New Tenancy hell - advice needed

    Dear all,

    I'm new here, joined just now for the purpose of getting some urgent advice please.

    I'm a self-emoloyed tutor working from home due to both kids having many health problems. We had to move from our rented home of 8 years as landlord's son wanted to sell the property. We found another property through a letting agent and from the very first call I made, I was clear that I am a self-employed tutor working from home. We had two viewings, met the landlady before giving holding deposit and once again I was open and honest. Neither the landlady nor agents had any problems at that stage. We passed all references and then got send a draft TA which had a clause that said I couldn't operate a business or work from home. So I queried it and got couple of email assurances from the agents that landlady is happy for me to tutor from home. They also emailed me an amended TA for 36 months ( as we requested) which had the concerned clause about working from home removed. I emailed to query if I need land lady's written assurance or what authority they have to give me this from landlady and once again their written response was that landlady is happy with everything. We paid over 6k in deposit and first months rent and moved in on 23rd March. There were quite a few let downs like property was not cleaned, landlady's furniture was not removed etc but we have been very patient and compromising. Today I got a call from landlady saying a neighbour has complained that a parent parked in their bay. It's a pay and display road with no special resident bays so the client was not doing anything wrong. Landlady then went off on one saying she never agreed to me teaching from home (which is a lie as she visited last week after I moved in and gave me a notice board as a gift and also said I should use one of her cupboards as book shelf). I said I would like to have a meeting with her today so that I can show her the contract and emails etc. she agreed to come at 7:30 pm but never turned up. She now says she will come tomorrow. I said I would like agents present as well. She says she did not give agents permission to remove clause about teaching from home and has not signed agreement. Despite chasing agents, they have not given me a copy of the agreement signed by them or landlady. I have also not had deposit protection certificate.
    Part of me says we should move out as soon as we can as landlady is a nightmare, but both my kids are sick and it's going to be very hard to move once again.

    Sorry for such a long thread, please please would someone help on what my rights are and what I should say tomorrow in meeting. I pay full tax on self employed income by the way and do not claim a penny in benefits. My husband has a good job too and we are a quiet, honest and hardworking family.

    Thanks in advance.....

    #2
    I'm not really sure what your question is.

    You have moved in and it doesn't matter that the landlord hasn't signed the tenancy agreement. You have had emails saying it is fine to work from home.

    Your landlady has 30 days in which to protect your deposit.

    Comment


      #3
      Oh, well you've moved in now, so have a tenancy, whether signed or not.

      You can't be kicked out for at least six months. (Perhaps keep quiet about that.)

      If you really don't want to stay, ask landlord to compensate you for moving out if she wishes you to go.
      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for quick reply. There is 6 month break clause. Sorry if my message was not clear. I'm very stressed. My questions are:
        1. The TA we signed (emailed to us from agents and scanned back) does not have a clause that says I can't teach from home. Landlady is saying she didn't give agents permission to remove this clause therefore it's invalid. Is that so?

        2. Landlady says she'll report me to council, police, neighbourhood watch etc etc. Am I doing anything wrong by teaching from my residential premises?

        3. What part of legislation is it that says landlord does not need to sign agreement( sorry it's to quote tomorrow)

        4. Can she serve us S21 in month 4 of break clause even though I woundn't have breached any clause in tenancy? It's a 36 month agreement.

        Thanks in advance...

        Comment


          #5
          OK, chill out. You haven't done anything wrong.

          When land lady comes tomorrow be polite and explain what has happened.

          1 - the clause was removed, therefore you are covered.
          2 - the landlady is being silly - no-one will be interested.
          3 - you have been offered a tenancy, you signed your part, you was allowed to move in, your money was accepted.
          4 - I'm not sure about the break clause, you would need to give full details of the clause.

          Don't remind her that she hasn't protected your deposit. If she does start to get silly and she hasn't protected it after the 30 days, you can use it as a bartering tool later on if you need to.

          Even if landlady is allowed to enforce the break clause after 4 months, you wouldn't have to leave for a few months after that. If she really wanted you to go and you hadn't found anywhere, she would have to make an application to the court. Legally she can't do that until you have been in the property for 6 months. Even then, it would take another few months before you would have to leave.

          Try to relax a bit. Fingers crossed once you speak to her nicely she will see there has been a misunderstanding and she will understand your situation. if she has any gripe, it would be with the agent and not you.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks so much.

            The clause reads:

            Individually Negotiated Clauses

            Either party may serve notice at any time to terminate the tenancy by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other, the tenancy may not end until after 6 months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy. At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, once the notice referred to in this clause has been exercised it cannot be revoked under any circumstances.

            Any idea what this means for me? Thanks again.

            Comment


              #7
              As everyone else has said you have all your paperwork to fall back on.

              How well does the landlady know the neighbours? Sounds to me this has all kicked-off since the complaint which has for some reason rattled the landlady and caused her to back track, since I'm sure she did already know about and consented to your tutoring. I wonder what else was actually said to trigger this 'response'?

              Only other else I can think of is -I'm fairly sure you need insurance in place to tutor from home.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks. The day we moved in we learnt from a police visit that the previous tenants had used properly to grow cannabis. We were told originally that property was sub-let and thrashed by previous tenants but not told about drugs. Perhaps that's why neighbour was worried.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Yes, makes more sense now-not at all surprised to hear this. Landlady was most probably inundated with complaints about former tenants and for all we know others before that. At any rate that neighbour sounds a bit of a pain so I'd be cultivating a 'good relationship' with him/her if you intend staying on, that is!!

                  Good luck tomorrow, I'm sure you'll be fine!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Let me put my 2p worth in about the break clause.

                    Contracts usually have to be equitable (there are some exceptions) so a clause that is available to the landlord is available to you too.

                    If the landlord were to serve notice on you at month 4 - the tenancy would indeed end at the end of month six, as though it had only ever been a 6 month term, it's original length is irrelevant. HOWEVER section 5 of the 1988 Housing Act would give you a replacement tenancy on a month to month basis, usually referred to as a "Statutory Periodic Tenancy". Now the landlord can, if they want to, apply to the court for a possession order and possession is definite, so long as the landlord has complied with various obligations, including deposit protection. Such a claim is going to cost £280 in court fees AND the landlord is likely to be left with a property that is vacant for a fortnight or so - costing her much more in lost rent. Add to that, they may get a set of replacement tenants similar to your predecessors. The landlord obviously doesn't want to change tenants again (or they wouldn't have agreed 36 months), What you are doing is not causing any problems, so I am sure that once the landlord starts thinking straight, they will realise that evicting you makes no sense at all.

                    Now a question to the legally knowledgeable - because it's late - at what stage does a tenancy agreement have to be in writing - is it "over" 36 months? - Don't worry Myra, whatever the answer, it won't affect your situation.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A verbal (unwritten) Tenancy Contract is valid for a fixed term of 3 years or less. (or it was last week). If there is an unsigned, written Contract existing, that can be used as evidence of intended T&Cs for the verbal contract.
                      I can envisge LL may have questions from her property Insurer as to whether T is resdential or commercial, similarly from Council over C Tax vs Business Rates.

                      OP what subject do you tutor, piano?, how many students visit per day/week?
                      I would leave questions about deposit protection until much later,yoiu have approx 6yr + 30 days from payment of deposit to decide.
                      From today (6th) LL can serve 60 day s21 at end of month 4, to expire not before end of month 6,after which she can seek Court repo.
                      As for neighbour parking complaint Council?Police will not be interested provided no parking restrictions are in place or neighbour's drive is not obstructed.

                      Too many occupiers mistakenly believe they 'own' the stretch of road outside their home, even if it is a' resident only' bay & they have purchaed a resident permit for a particular zone, the only exception is a disabled bay, provided at occupier's request.

                      If you wish to remain for 36 months or longer, I suggest you understand LLs concerns and address them amicably later today.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Myra03 View Post
                        I said I would like to have a meeting with her today so that I can show her the contract and emails etc. she agreed to come at 7:30 pm but never turned up. She now says she will come tomorrow. I said I would like agents present as well. She says she did not give agents permission to remove clause about teaching from home and has not signed agreement.
                        I had a conversation with a Solicitor once, recently, who told me that there does not need to be a positive clause, a clause saying you can do something, for you to be covered. If there is a negative clause saying you can't do something then that's very clear, but you do not need a positive clause saying the opposite for you to be able to do something, it's fine if that negative clause is removed.

                        For example, a clause in a Lease or AST saying - "You cannot let out the property." - is quite clear, but if that clause is removed then you are golden to let out the property, you do not need another clause specifically saying - "You can let out the property." - this might be obvious and common sense to most folk, but I had asked the question of my Solicitor just to be sure.

                        You not having the AST signed by Landlord and / or Agent would be frustrating to me in this situation, but I don't think it matters a great deal to you. You have a copy of the AST and you obviously didn't make it up yourself so you must have gotten it from the Agent - and, the thing is, the Agent works for the Landlord - in your eyes they are one and the same person, the Agent acts in the Landlord's stead and if there's a communication issue that exists between them then it's really nothing to do with you... don't forget that. Also don't forget that the Agent works for the Landlord and has [should have] the Landlord's interests in their mind, not yours, so don't be surprised if lies and back-covering starts to happen now. You also have written evidence of everything you have told us, so try to relax on that front.

                        If the meeting happens, remain factual, remain calm (try to find out if there's a pragmatic resolution to the parking gripe - a gripe someone else has, obviously) and do not get stressed-out... see how the meeting goes and then report back to us, again with facts... I am sure people on here will help, there is no point in making an enemy of your Landlord and having a combative relationship at this early stage so lets hope they can be more reasonable than they are coming across as now... I think (hope) you just have to present that you are doing everything in good faith and you have sought clarity whenever you thought it was needed... obtaining that clarity to your satisfaction from the Landlord's Agent.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I wonder if it's a terraced house, and neighbour is fed up with hearing the same tune being played badly twenty times a day?
                          To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks all. I tutor English and Maths to 8-10 year olds. I will keep you all informed after the meeting. You guys are great, I wasn't expecting so much advice late last night.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              One point that I think you need to be clear on so that you can express it calmly and firmly to the LL is that the agent is HER agent and as such they are legally the same person, so the agent agreeing to remove the clause is exactly the same as her agreeing. Whether she gave them permission to do so is irrelevant to you and your contract (it might be relevant to her relationship with the agent but nothing to do with you)

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