is there a fixed contract in place?

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  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    sorry to bring this up again

    we've raised a dispute with TDS as the agent have refused to complete a check out process until a new tenant applies, obviously we are waiting on the outcome of that

    when raising the dispute we noticed the agent had signed into the TDS website on the date we served notice[!] and made changes to the term on the certificate. so from June 15 when the original tenancy expired to october 15 when we served notice, there was no deposit protection... and when we served notice and they realised they had made a mistake, they rushed onto the system and changed the date to June 2016?

    This just all seems ridiculous. These guys have been playing the system throughout. We'll see what happens...

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  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    Yes - don't be passive.
    Do everything to disturb the other side that you can.

    They're usually a bunch of robots with no sense of consequence anyway.
    thank you - no need for harsh replies!
    we have raised the dispute with TDS today , will also write to ARLA - regardless of the dispute outcome the agent are still acting outside of their code of practise. the whole thing has been a disaster.

    our feeling is that theres either a written AST or there isn't, and where there is a written AST it should be signed. we agreed to pay the landlord the extra rent he asked for because we didnt want to lose the house, but to say we agreed to the rest of the terms when we wrote to the agent saying we didnt is just unreasonable and unfair.

    watch this space!

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
    Are you being serious?
    Yes - don't be passive.
    Do everything to disturb the other side that you can.

    They're usually a bunch of robots with no sense of consequence anyway.

    Leave a comment:


  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    initially they wrote to us saying as a gesture of goodwill they would readvertise the house to try and get another tenant quickly. we simply responded to say we didnt believe we were in a fixed agreement. then they came back asking us if we wanted them to advertise it ... we haven't instructed them to, they just went ahead and did it of their own accord.

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  • AndrewDod
    replied
    That is correct,
    and that is the "if".
    Did they ask your permission to re-advertise it? If they are asserting there is an ongoing tenancy, then they probably should have.

    Leave a comment:


  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    it isnt let yet but they readvertised the house a month ago. if a court said the agreement wasnt valid surely we wouldnt be held responsible to pay any of those things, because we gave the right notice?

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  • AndrewDod
    replied
    I think the problem you face if this comes to court is that it will be very unbalanced -- you will be claiming your deposit, and they will counterclaim for a year of rent, utilities, council tax, and higher insurance (perhaps with some mitigation). Even if the odds are in favour of the judge agreeing that there is no new agreement (depends on the actual correspondence) - you do the math. It would be good to know if they have let the property to someone else since you left, since this would dramatically alter the odds.

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  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    You might also find out which redress scheme the agent belongs to.
    They will have a code of conduct.
    Spend some time comparing the agent's behaviour with the code of conduct.

    Make a formal written complaint to the agent about their claims that you have signed a new AST when you patently haven't and then failing to provide a copy of it.
    Add anything else you can think of and see how they respond.
    Are you being serious?

    Leave a comment:


  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    thanks. the agent are a member of ARLA - we followed their internal complaints process to no avail. We asked for the details of the redress scheme but they told us to go to the ombudsman and didn't acknowledge ARLA. there are several things they haven't done in relation to the ARLA code of conduct - main ones being: putting in new fee clauses and not telling us, not confirming what was happening with our deposit at the renewal/statutory point, ignore the queries we sent them about the agreement

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    You might also find out which redress scheme the agent belongs to.
    They will have a code of conduct.
    Spend some time comparing the agent's behaviour with the code of conduct.

    Make a formal written complaint to the agent about their claims that you have signed a new AST when you patently haven't and then failing to provide a copy of it.
    Add anything else you can think of and see how they respond.

    Leave a comment:


  • sarahmichelle
    replied
    AndrewDod,

    what is a PGP signature confirmation system please?

    What we've been told by others is that there are indeed risks on both sides and we appreciate that. its a concern to hear that Shelter have been giving out bad advice.

    Quick note to the person who said we'd taken the agent/landlord for a ride - I don't think thats the case. we didn't touch the first agreement at all, but when an agent starts hassling you in writing and for money you feel that you're in a vulnerable position and that you've got to do something. obviously we didn't want them to just serve notice, because we needed somewhere to live, but we didn't want to sign up to an agreement that they'd snuck thousands of pounds worth of fees into without telling us, and quite a few of the details within it were wrong anyway. We just felt uneasy about the whole thing. We're not malicious professionals, we're just normal folk!

    we used the electronic system originally in 2014 so as far as we were concerned, we knew what was required to complete the process and to generate the contract. for the 2015 renewal we were sent 3 separate contracts over 2 months and we didn't complete the online process for any of them. We knew how the system worked from when we used it before, so assumed that 'not completing the online process = no contract generated'.

    the agent are obviously trying to tell us we've assumed wrong, in fact they're telling us that its signed[!] but thats just not right.

    in one sense yes we agreed to pay the landlord more rent, but the agent set the precedent for the process of renewing the contract. surely we can't be penalised for using the process they gave us to follow? I expect we just wait to see if they pursue and then deal with in court if required.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    I think I agree with that.

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  • AndrewDod
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    I (respectfully) don't agree that there is a new AST in place - although the rent payment weakens the case a little.
    ....

    But the notice is after the new period had started and after the higher rate of rent had already been paid. So yes it is clear evidence that the tenant at that point did not want a new contract. But the notice is not at all (I think) relevant one way or the other as to whether there was a contract.

    Whether there is a contract can only be decided in court and will depend on the exact context and wording of all of the correspondence, and the timing of the various queries and so on. Had there been no higher rent paid I would have thought it would be an easy win for the OP - but with the higher payment they are taking a risk in driving this into court. That risk may not be large - I really don't know and I don't think anyone else here can.

    The OP herself says "the agent uses an electronic system and sends contracts for review and signature by email" -- the OP is therefore accepting that this agent might not operate via paper contracts, and the correspondence presumably reflects that (I personally would not use an agent that operates in this manner -- but that is a different problem). The agent will have complete control over what they say the tenant did or did not enter onto their own online system --and so their greatest proof remains the payment of rent. The tenant can no more prove that they failed to complete the online AST than the agent can claim they did unless there is some sort of PGP type signature confirmation system.

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  • jjlandlord
    replied
    It would have been so easy to just reply in writing that you didn't want to renew instead of taking them for a ride...

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    I (respectfully) don't agree that there is a new AST in place - although the rent payment weakens the case a little.

    There is clear evidence that the tenant(s), or at least one of them has begun the process of reviewing it and stopped short of signing - the evidence is supplied by the agents themselves.
    The queries sent to the agent are further (and good) evidence that the contract isn't agreed.
    The existence of the written contract is further evidence that the agent doesn't consider a verbal agreement to be in place or sufficient.

    The notice is unambiguous and is consistent with the tenant having not agreed a new contract.

    Now the tenant has moved out, I'd (obviously) pay no further rent, ask for the deposit back and (assuming the agent won't return it), ask for ADR (and if its refused) sue the landlord for the return of the deposit via money claim online.
    The landlord may counter claim, but I'd expect a court to favour the tenant's view unless the agent can come up with an actual agreement,

    Leave a comment:

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