Strange Landlord activity

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    Strange Landlord activity

    Hello, have been directed here by a friend and hope you can all give me some guidance.

    I rent a 2 bed house near Romford, England.
    Unfurnished.
    Was AST.
    Elderly Landlord does not live in the property.


    We (my wife and son) moved in on 1st June 2015, paid a deposit to an agency and were told they were not managing the property and to pay rent direct to the Landlord.
    There was no inventory, no Gas safety cert but we were told "Landlord will send that on to you". It never was and a new Gas check has not been done or mentioned.

    The electric cooker provided and hard wired in was broken (we didn't test it when viewing). We asked for it to be fixed or removed and keep being told it will be soon. This has continued for 16 months.

    After the 6 months we were asked if we would like to renew, we said yes for another 6 months but can the cooker be replaced or removed.

    No agreement was brought to us to sign so after a month I wrote to the Landlord and asked if they could arrange a new agreement and please remove or repair the cooker. We had been cooking all meals with a microwave all this time and Landlord was aware.

    The Landlord again replied that the parts were on order and would be fixed soon.

    I waited a further month to give them time (he is old) and then wrote again to say that we simply can not live without a means to cook (especially in Winter) and could they please repair the cooker.

    They responded a few weeks later with a Section 21 asking us to leave by the end of June 2016 and said they were selling up.

    It was then I discovered that our deposit has not been protected at any of the three services. It is however mentioned on the agreement and apparently protected by DPS who say when I telephoned them it has never been there. I said nothing but knew the S21 was invalid.

    I asked for an extra 2 months as I had to go and work away and my wife couldn't cope with moving by herself. The Landlord didn't reply so I contacted the agent and they said the Landlord was in agreement.

    We were then emailed by the Landlord on the last week of August asking us if he could show new tenants round the property if we were still wanting to move out. ????? I said I thought you were selling and he said not any more. So we agreed to stay and asked again for the cooker to be removed or fixed.

    Two weeks later we were contacted by the agent asking when they could bring BUYERS round that the Landlord had again decided to sell.

    Fed up we have packed most of our belongings and are house hunting, I have informed the Landlord who says he is not happy and will refuse to give any reference for us.

    I really dont know what to do as without a reference we wont pass any checks by the agents. I have no idea what implications not having a gas certificate (apart from safety) have on the agreement and also what do I do about our deposit as we wont be getting it back clearly!

    It's almost as if the landlord is refusing to give us a reference in order to keep us in the house paying rent and hoping whomever buys the property will deal with us? If he is indeed selling this time, he keeps changing his mind and it is causing my wife incredible stress.

    many thanks.

    Dave

    #2
    Hello,

    I've also been told (not sure on reliability)

    That when the landlord agreed to us staying longer than our S21 that constitutes a new agreement so deposits should have been re-protected... they haven't been.

    Is my friend right in saying therefore I am entitled to sue for 6 times the deposit? (I dont plan to sue at all I have to say)

    Comment


      #3
      Either you or your wife make an appointment to see the 'private housing officer' at your local council and show them your post.
      S21 is invalid, never was valid - landlord cannot remove you. You have a periodic tenancy.

      You can change the locks and refuse to allow viewings all quite legally.

      You can sue for 3 X the deposit but you will have to bring the case yourself or try to get non existent legal aid. Try contacting Shelter - they should be able to help. The threat of you bringing a case should prompt landlord to pay you to go - think on that one.



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

      Comment


        #4
        If the deposit wasn't protected the s21 notice isn't valid.
        The only way that the landlord can serve a valid s21 notice is to return your deposit in full.

        The same issue will apply to anyone buying the property from the landlord.

        You can refuse access for viewings.
        Your tenancy agreement may oblige you to make time available for viewings, but the landlord will find it very difficult to enforce that (they'd basically have to go to court to get a court order to force you to agree*

        The lack of reference is a bit of a red herring.
        Many landlords and tenants fall out, and if you are upfront when making an application that your landlord was an idiot who refused to fix the cooked which was broken when you moved in and relations have completely failed, most people would overlook the absence of a reference (personally I ignore them completely).


        *For the avoidance of doubt, if your tenancy agreement says you will allow viewings and you refuse, the landlord could sue you for any loss arising from your non-performance. I have never hears of that happening, but it is a possibility.
        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).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
          Either you or your wife make an appointment to see the 'private housing officer' at your local council and show them your post.
          S21 is invalid, never was valid - landlord cannot remove you. You have a periodic tenancy.

          You can change the locks and refuse to allow viewings all quite legally.

          You can sue for 3 X the deposit but you will have to bring the case yourself or try to get non existent legal aid. Try contacting Shelter - they should be able to help. The threat of you bringing a case should prompt landlord to pay you to go - think on that one.
          Hello,

          Thank you. What purpose would meeting with the PHO serve?

          can I use small claims to sue? If not then I doubt we could afford to.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DavidGrimes View Post
            can I use small claims to sue? If not then I doubt we could afford to.
            There's a section of the shelter website which details what to do.

            In theory, the small claims court shouldn't process your claim, but in fact, they do in most cases.
            The shelter process is a good guide and includes template letters to send to your landlord.

            Whether you can sue for the second non-protection (when the new periodic tenancy began) depends on exactly when the tenancy began (and I suspect it isn't going to be possible).
            That said, it's worthwhile making the claim - your most likely outcome is the landlord being advised to do a deal to settle.

            They're going to be dismayed to find out that the s21 notice isn't valid - and when you tell them that is up to you.
            If you want the maximum time, don't tell them.
            When they try and proceed with a repossession, they'll find out, have to return the deposit and then have to serve a new notice - two more months.
            If the deposit is more useful to you now, tell them now, and wait for them to figure out what to do - the biggest issue is likely to be the landlord not knowing what to do.

            If you want to be a complete pain, write to your landlord concerning the cooker.
            Ask for a reply within 14 days outlining what they plan to do to resolve the situation.
            If they don't reply satisfactorily, go to your council tenancy relations officer and ask for assistance in preventing a retaliatory eviction.
            Because the s21 notice already issued is useless and a new one will be required, if the council support you, the landlord won't be able to serve a new notice for at least 6 months.
            However, this is a farly new process, and it may work as well as outlined.
            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).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              If the deposit wasn't protected the s21 notice isn't valid.
              The only way that the landlord can serve a valid s21 notice is to return your deposit in full.

              The same issue will apply to anyone buying the property from the landlord.
              The Landlord and the Agent who are showing buyers round (same one that took my deposit, different department) have no idea that I know the deposit wasn't protected.

              Not sure when I should reveal this to them?

              EDIT: Sorry just seen you posted.. will read

              Comment


                #8
                The s21 expired end of June, it was an email agreement that we could stay until end of August, then an SMS to say we were staying here at the end of August.

                No paperwork has been done to that effect though and no deposit returned or protected.

                I guess showing a print out of our bank to an agent will be enough of a 'reference' to show we pay the rent. Hopefully they wont need a ref if we explain that our LL is objectionable.

                So, I think my issues have been solved somewhat by you, thank you..

                1) I can sue for the original deposit x 3
                2) I can explain LL to agent and show proof of payment


                Should I ask for the Gas safety to be done ASAP and a copy of the one that should have been done before we moved in? If yes whom do I ask, the agent that doesn't manage us or LL?

                I'm worried now the weather has changed that the boiler may be faulty.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You demand the landlord arrange a gas safety certificate.
                  If they won't do that (or fix the cooker) there is a protocol on the shelter website to get the work done and deduct the cost from the rent.
                  But it needs to be followed exactly.

                  From this point, communicate with the landlord in writing (paper, envelope and stamp).
                  Keep a copy and use a post office where you can get a free proof of posting.

                  A s21 notice (even a valid one) is - oddly - not something you have to adhere to.
                  It doesn't end the tenancy and you are perfectly entitled to simply ignore it.

                  If the landlord wants to repossess, they will have to go to court to progress the notice.
                  If they're successful, you will be responsible for the cost of that court case (£300 plus).
                  In this case, the won't be successful, but at some point, that's what they'll have to do - and they'll be successful eventually.

                  Don't inadvertently give notice yourself by agreeing to stay until a specific date, for example.

                  You can sue the landlord for the deposit issue after the tenancy - you have 6 years from when it should have been protected.
                  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).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    'phone Shelter 0808 800 4444 for confirmation all the above is correct (it is by the way).

                    You have an ignorant clown as a landlord, sadly it will likely take time & various problems before he realises his errors.

                    Eventually even the most ignorant landlord will evict with s21.

                    If landlord or agent for anything silly or harassing, call police. You may need to "remind" them harassment or illegal eviction are both criminal offences that landlords can & have gone to jail for.
                    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...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you. I feel a lot better now.

                      I will write a letter now asking for the gas certificate from last year and when this years (due June) will be done as we need to use the boiler for heating.

                      One more thing, question for a friend sitting with me who is also looking to move.

                      Does Working Tax credit / Child tax credit count as 'income' when applying for a new home to rent?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I lied... there is one more thing.

                        What if LL suddenly protects the deposit....?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It will be too little, too late. It should have been done within 28 days of you paying it!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Stef Cooke View Post
                            It will be too little, too late. It should have been done within 28 days of you paying it!
                            Which was May 2015!

                            Thank you :-)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by DavidGrimes View Post
                              I lied... there is one more thing.

                              What if LL suddenly protects the deposit....?
                              S21 still invalid until returned, then fresh s21 required:

                              Judge at hearing for 3xdeposit might take a slightly lenient view due to return but...
                              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...

                              Comment

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