Unsigned tenancy agreement, no check-in process

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  • buzzard1994
    replied
    Your landlord is trying it on - unfortunately without seeing the exact wording of the agreement it's hard to say what your rights are. Therefore you need to ask your student housing people, who will have seen many agreements, or post at least the most significant clauses here (how long is it)?. You could also approach lawyers. If a lawyer considers you have a good case for failure to protect a deposit they may take the case on a no win, no fee basis. They would need to see the exact wording of your agreement. Keep a record of when your landlord enters the flat and write to them requesting that they not do so without notice. It's possible you may have a right of action against them for entering without notice. The penalty for failure to protect a deposit is at least the return of deposit plus a fine of an equal amount and the fine can be up to 3 times the deposit.

    You've paid 6 months up front so you'd really have a fight on your hands to get it back, unless you can persuade the landlord she wants to be rid of you. Suing for return of deposit plus penalty might make her decide she wants you to leave.

    Do check any insurance policies you have as they sometimes include legal advice lines, although in all probability the "advice" will be of poor quality. If any of your parents are guarantors do they have legal insurance? Do check your local councils website to see what is required of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) in your area.

    I hope you photographed that mattress.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    Please note that I am not qualified to give legal advice, and this is a difficult and complex set of issues.

    The basic problem is that there is definitely some kind of agreement, but there are elements of it that aren't right, and it's hard to be sure what a court might decide (if it came to that).
    The landlord is going to have their own view and that's a practical issue on its own.

    If you have all signed a single "joint and several" agreement, you are all tied to the agreement until the end of the fixed term at least.
    So one of you can't just end their involvement in the agreement, they remain liable for the rent and everything else.

    If you do decide that the situation is unacceptable, you would all have to act to try and recover the rent paid in advance.
    And you might not succeed, regardless of the agreement and other things that are wrong, you do have possession and rent is undoubtedly due.
    It's not 100% that the number of issues would frustrate the contract entirely.

    The property is an HMO, and that might be a fruitful thing to investigate.
    If the property isn't set up as an HMO (or subject to licensing or prohibited altogether), your landlord might decide that ending the tenancy is the better option than dealing with that.
    Most flats designed for a single family occupation won't be suitable for an HMO without substantial modification (and may not be allowed by the head lease).

    Check with your local authority website to see if an HMO with three occupants requires licensing in your area, or requires planning permission.

    Check to see if the doors are fire safe and whether there are wired in fire alarms in the bedrooms and the kitchen.
    Any locks should be able to be opened from inside without a key.
    These last things aren't always be required, but they're typically required in an HMO.

    The issue with the deposit is less than black and white, but you could sensibly presume that it should be and that the landlord has broken the Housing Act 2004 by not protecting it.
    Have a look at the Shelter web site for information about what to do about it.
    Again, the three of you will need to act together.

    The issue with the landlord coming in is made more complex by the terrible agreement.
    If the three of you are really renting the whole property together, there are no common areas, so the landlord can't enter the property without your agreement.
    If you are renting a room each and there are common areas, you have entirely the wrong type of agreement, and shouldn't be joint tenants.

    My inference is that your landlord knows what they're doing and, while they're breaking lots of regulations and using dodgy documents, they're doing so deliberately.
    They know exactly what they're doing because everything they're doing "wrong" benefits them.

    I would definitely talk to your university's accommodation team.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ldnz1
    replied
    jpkeates,

    First of all, thank you so much for your advice/insights so far. One of us wants to get out of the flat and the other two are amivalent on the situation and just want to make the best out of it. We have also paid 6 months of rent in advance and I don't feel like it is likely the landlord will peacefully agree to give us the money back and let us out of our contract as she is very difficult to deal with. Can't imagine lawyer fees will be cheap either

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    I think the issue is now, what is the desired outcome?

    You have a tenancy agreement that is a mess and is not appropriate for your situation.
    Your deposit doesn't seem to have been protected, which it should have been.
    You are living in an HMO which I imagine isn't properly set up to be one (do you have a wired alarm system with alarms in each bedroom and fire safe doors?).

    But what do you want to happen?

    Leave a comment:


  • leaseholder64
    replied
    In that case, you only have one room between you. I can't believe that is legal

    The landlord has messed up the agreement, which probably means you need an expert to work out your exact position.

    I think he wants to have the cake and eat it.

    He's trying to do a room only arrangement and also get the ability to go after everyone for unpaid rent, and I don't see how he can do that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ldnz1
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    Did you sign one agreement as joint and several tenants?
    What does the agreement say that you rent?
    we signed one agreement, with all 3 namnes listed. Agreement includes "Jointly and Severally Liable". The agreement states that it is an agreement to rent a room, but there are no rooms specified to each tenant.

    we have one singular deposit which is shared between us.

    Leave a comment:


  • leaseholder64
    replied
    This is an HMO.

    Is there a single, joint tenancy agreement (and therefore a single shared deposit)?

    If so, does that agreement reserve particular bedrooms to particular people?

    If the first is not true, the landlord definitely has a right to enter the flat at all times.

    I'm not sure about the second, but it would be a case of having the cake and eating it.

    https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/20...joint-tenants/ discusses some of this.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    Did you sign one agreement as joint and several tenants?
    What does the agreement say that you rent?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ldnz1
    replied
    Hi! just an update. My landlord has now signed the agreement online. Unfortunately, we're even more confused on what to do now. My flatmate has moved in and requested the landlord to give us 24h notice before entering our flat. We were met with a response along the lines of "the kitchen, bathroom and hallway is communal area and shared with the landlord". ??? she does not have a bedroom in this flat as its a 3 bedroom flat, we are 3 tenants and the flat would be far too small for her to be living here. She lives in a seperate flat within the building. Say we live on flat 10, she lives in flat 39.

    This weird landlord situation is even more frustrating as we feel like we have signed a deal with a slumlord. My flatmate lifted the bedding in her room to find a nasty old matress with a hole in the fabric and what I hope is coffee stains throughout. We're at a lost of what to do.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    The statement "[t}his agreement does not create a tenancy" is false and would have to be set aside.
    So the tenancy agreement would no longer contain that statement and would be an AST.
    I think the point has to be that the agreement contains the statement. It is what the statement says that is important.

    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    If the tenancy agreement contained a provision that it was a giraffe, the court would do the same.
    That would not be a statement to the effect that the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
    The point is that if the agreement contains a statement such as: "This agreement does not create a tenancy", then the agreement contains a provision to the effect that the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy. If you say there is no tenancy then that has to include any sort of a tenancy including an AST.
    Assuming we're now at law, because otherwise it doesn't really matter...

    The statement "[t}his agreement does not create a tenancy" is false and would have to be set aside.
    So the tenancy agreement would no longer contain that statement and would be an AST.

    If the tenancy agreement contained a provision that it was a giraffe, the court would do the same.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    The point is that if the agreement contains a statement such as: "This agreement does not create a tenancy", then the agreement contains a provision to the effect that the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy. If you say there is no tenancy then that has to include any sort of a tenancy including an AST.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    If the tenancy was created post 1996 Housing Act, none of those provisions being part of the tenancy agreement stop it being an AST if the tenant is a human being or one of the joint human tenants lives there unless the landlord is actually in residence (in which case 5 would be valid and 1, 2, 4 could be valid).

    They'd simply have no effect otherwise.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
    I made a mistake on the default position for ASTs. For it not be an AT, the agreement must explicitly say that it is not an AST. Simply saying that is is some other type of agreement is unlikely to result in its not being an AST.
    A tricky one. The precise wording is: An assured tenancy which contains a provision to the effect that the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy. That contrasts with the wording aplicable to a notice served before the tenancy is entered into: states that the assured tenancy to which it relates is not to be an assured shorthold tenancy. The notice wording makes it clear that the words "assured shorthold tenancy" need to appear. In the case of a clause included in an agreement the key words are "to the effect that". Which of the following are a provision to the effect that the tenancy is not an assured shorthold tenancy?

    ·This agrement does not create a tenancy
    ·This agreemnt does not create an assured tenancy
    ·This agreement creates a tenancy to which Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 applies
    ·This agreement creates a licence
    ·This agreement is for a holiday letting
    ·The landlord resides in the property

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  • leaseholder64
    replied
    I made a mistake on the default position for ASTs. For it not be an AT, the agreement must explicitly say that it is not an AST. Simply saying that is is some other type of agreement is unlikely to result in its not being an AST.

    Leave a comment:

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