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  1. Steve, it's entirely confusing. Even Housing Advice were nonplussed for a time. And I was very ill last year, so mentally it's been like trying to wade through treacle. It's not been made any less complicated by the fact that the LA pays my Housing Benefit four-weekly in arrears, but the contract period is monthly, nor that the LA pays the equivalent of £650 per month and I pay the balance of £25 per month. The screen prints of which I have a copy show that the rent has been paid in full to the previous landlords from the inception of the AST, with a final payment to mid-November last year, when the flat was sold. Although I was aware that a sale was going to take place I didn't know the date, and the old AST was never determined. However in November I signed a new AST with the new landlords, and at that time the deposit money had been accounted for in the sale, and there was - and is - a sum of £675 which the old landlord retains. He has told me that 'of course' that money is the rent in advance, but in fact he has been paid in full by the LA. So whether it is the new landlords or I who is entitled to the return of that rental, one thing I *am* sure of, and that is that this money is not his. Deliberately or not, he is assuming that he was still relying on my advance rental for the last month and this is not the case, since he has been paid by the LA. Whether or not the new landlords are naive is not for me to judge. They own several properties which they have bought as a retirement fund, and are not professional renters. For interest this is an excerpt from a letter I had from the wife last year: "We have now received a reply from our Solicitors, copy attached for information. It would appear that Mr and Mrs XX do not agree with your deposit figure. (The Solicitors) have further advised that this is an issue between you and Mr and Mrs XX and does not involve us as the new landlords." They have been given that proportion of the November rent due to them following the completion of the sale last November, paid to them by the LA. And yes, they are perfectly aware that they are being paid in arrears. They don't have a problem with that, and neither does Housing Advice at the LA. I am sorry this is complicated. Basically the problem revolves around the supposition that the old landlords have made, which is that that part of the initial deposit I gave them was for rent in advance. But as I hope I have shown, they have in fact been paid twice for the last month of my tenancy with them.
  2. The LA Housing Advice people said that what you suggest in your third paragraph is what should have happened. However, as you also say, I was not party to the agreement and was not aware of this provision. The new landlords are quite happy to get their money in arrears from the LA, especially as I have been resident here for more than three years and they are getting paid four-weekly in arrears. They are quite happy to have the equivalent of one month's rent as a deposit, and they have duly paid this into a TDS. So I don't see how this money is not mine, since effectively I paid the old landlord two months and the new ones want only one. I appreciate and thank you for your help, and I do need to get this cleared up. Obviously I do not want to go to court with a false claim. The Housing Advice people told me that they discussed this matter comprehensively among themselves, and there was a unanimous accord that this money should be returned to me.
  3. I signed an AST on 3/7/04 and provided the landlord with a cheque for £1350, made up of £675 for one month's rent deposit in advance and £675 as a security deposit. I have a receipt confirming the amounts and their purpose. He sold the property in mid-November last year, and the new landlords were allocated the £675 security deposit, which they have dealt with in the correct manner. However the former landlord insists that since the other £675 paid to him represented rent in advance he will not repay it to me. I have spoken to the new landlords, who are very pleasant people, and they have consulted with their solicitors and advise that this is a problem between myself and the previous owner. I rang him to ask when he would be repaying this deposit, and he categorically insists that he will not repay this money. I have had a meeting with the LA Housing Advice department, and they have (a) confirmed that they paid him in full between the start and finish dates of the tenancy and (b) have supplied me with screen prints to confirm the payments made. Copies of these were sent to him via recorded delivery more than ten days ago, asking again for the return of this deposit. However he has so far ignored my requests, and indeed was openly hostile and sarcastic during our last conversation. It would seem that I am going to have to sue him for these monies, and so far as I can see he doesn't have a leg to stand on. However I cannot afford the cost of doing this. Although I am in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee I have been advised (by a non-professional) that I will still have to stump up the cost of court action, and that I will be unable to recover costs if/when I am successful. If anyone has any suggestions that will help I shall be most grateful. Thanks in advance.
  4. The saga continues. The landlord spent most of February in Spain, and turned up unannounced yesterday. I told him that he was supposed to give 24 hours notice, but I didn't see any point in denying him entrance. He does at least seem to have done a very minimum re-reading of the AST we signed, and acknowledges that he must give me two months notice. However the notion that this notice must be served first class, and that he must have proof of posting, is not something he's prepared to accept, and furthermore the fact that the date of determination must be the day of the month before the date of the the AST is equally without merit for him. He rang me yesterday afternoon to say he had good news, he'd talked with the Housing Advice people, and they would be only too happy to help me. Now, I would have to say that the Housing people for this borough are certainly helpful people, and the big reason for this is that they run things themselves. I lived in LB Westminster before, who subcontracted stuff to Capita, and as with everything else Capita get their greasy little mitts on it was a disaster from start to finish. What does concern me is that he said he'd told them his name, my address and my name. Are they supposed to be given that information by a person who is not the tenant?
  5. I think the 'repeat' in repeat prescription just means, these days, that you don't have to see the GP every month and go through all the BS of being diagnosed etc. My situation is subject to a periodic review, but as I have three incurable condititions they don't seem to worry too much about the review. I am diabetic, which means I have a thorough check-up every six months. Bookworm has to be absolutely correct. One of my drugs is dihydrocodeine tartrate, and I get 84 a month, which is far more than needed for a lethal overdose. What would happen if I got 6*84 tablets and took them all? I think any reasonable person would agree that there would be a major s**tstorm directed at the practice. I agree with your basic point, that you *are* having to be re-diagnosed all the time. Maybe you should discuss this with your GP? Incidentally the 48 hours notice is normal these days. I'd also like to suggest that using the phone is a lot cheaper than driving around the countryside.
  6. I guess I'm lucky because I can request repeat prescriptions via the internet. I have about a dozen different items including some very heavy-duty painkillers, and I have never had any problems with repeats. Now that GP practices have become so well remunerated maybe this will become more widespread.
  7. It's never enough. Did Imelda Marcos ever have enough shoes? All this nonsense, particularly from the utilities, has become intolerable since they were sold off. Now they're all in a battle to increase returns to shareholders, forgetting that without a customer base they will have no revenue. The financial regulators seem at last to be growing a spine, and doing the job for which they were set up, so now hopefully the utility regulators (Oftwat and their ilk) will take heed. I wish I had a nice coat.
  8. I rang BG this morning. Had a pleasant conversation with a CSR who trotted off to find some reason for this £40 charge. Came back a few minutes later saying that the system couldn't tell them why the charge had been levied, his boss didn't know and neither did he, so they were cancelling the charge with immediate effect. Bizarre. I can only imagine that the increased pressure from more knowledgeable consumers is making them think twice about casually ripping people off, so a big thank you to CAG for the part you have undoubtedly played in this.
  9. MrShed: Thank you for your further advice. In his letter the landlord hasn't, as such, given me notice to quit. He confirms our telephone conversation and says that "I am informing you that we are selling the above flat when it becomes vacant". In the next paragraph he says "If possible we would like the flat to be vacated by 28 February 2007". He also adds that if there is a problem with this we can discuss things with s view to extending this date. I don't want to drag things out any longer than I have to. I have been unable to look for alternative accommodation for the past week because of a further outbreak of a disease I have, and moving itself is going to be a nightmare, but those are my problems. The landlord and his wife are decent people and naturally I accept that they have a perfect right to dispose of their property as they see fit. Four years ago I was conned out of property worth in excess of £350k, but I hae always played straight with other people. The landlord doesn't yet know about these complications. Do you think I should tell him? It would certainly provide an incentive for him to help. Mr Nightmare: Thanks for your advice. The problem with your suggestion is that the rent (or £650 out of £675pcm) is paid by the Council as Housing Benefit. Local letting agents have a very poor opinion of people on HB, and the three to whom I have so far spoken are unimpressed by the fact that I am 60 - i.e. a bit past the age where people have all-night parties and do moonlight flits.
  10. Makes you wonder how many people they manage to con with this nonsense. It must work to an extent because they keep doing it.
  11. Last year I had a lot of problems which meant that my BG quarterly bills were not paid on time. However I managed to catch up last September, only to receive a bill to which £40 had been added as some kind of penalty. I wrote to them on 10 October enclosing the final payment for gas, and told them that I had no intention of paying this mysterious £40 on the grounds that it was illegal and didn't relate to anything of which I was aware. I am at home all day and would notice if someone from BG was banging on my door. Needless to say I received no reply. Last week I received a bill for £114 for the last quarter's gas, plus this £40. I paid the £114, but then on Friday I had a letter from them claiming that if I didn't pay the £40 they would disconnect. They claim that this £40 is for gas supplied, which of course is untrue, and their recent announcement of a £5 penalty for late payment, however unfair it may be, bears more relation to reality than this mystical £40. I am intending to write to them and tell them to get stuffed, in the nicest possible way, but there is a complication. I am due to quit these premises within the next few weeks, and if this isn't sorted out before then they will merely charge the landlord and he will, of course, pay the bill. He is not going to want to become involved in an argument about semantics, particularly as he plans to sell this flat as soon as I leave. If anyone can offer any advice I shall be most grateful.
  12. Thank you for the confirmation. I am quite sure that the landlord thought that when the AST expired so did any obligations on his part as to notice etc, so the news is going to come as something of a shock.
  13. I signed an AST agreement for a furnished flat to run for one year from 3 July 2004. My rent is paid by HB since at that time I was on Income Support - I am now on Pension Credit plus lower rate DLA. When the lease expired I asked the landlord for a renewal, but he said they didn't do that, and it would just continue automatically. I have to say I was surprised that the Council continued to pay HB in the absence of any agreement. He rang me on 24 January to tell me that he was selling up (he has one other flat plus his own property) and moving to Spain. On 26 January I received a handwritten notice to quit, dated 23 January but sent second class with no proof of delivery. He says he would like me to leave by 23 February, but it is my understanding that he has to serve me a s21 notice giving me two months, which at this stage would be no later than 2 May. Am I correct in these assumptions? We have had a pleasant relationship since I moved in, and he has never had occasion to be displeased with any aspect of my tenancy. I don't want to become awkward, because obviously it could affect any reference for which he will be asked. However I do have problems because of my illness and the fact that just about all private landlords and letting agents in this area are dead-set against people whose rent is paid by HB. Any advice will be most welcome, and thank you in advance.
  14. I've been with Bulldog for over 30 months, and they only accept payment by DD from a bank account or via debit card. Having said that, their customer service will accept credit card payments. Their service, in my experience, has been pretty good, but their customer service is a nightmare. They have two call centres in the NE of the country and what seems to be the largest one is in Malta - those people are hopeless beyond belief.
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