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Kentish Lass

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Everything posted by Kentish Lass

  1. I realise this will be seen as unusual, but as a Landlord I also believe that Tenants should only have to pay minimum agent's fees (e.g. referencing, check in) because the Landlord already pays the agents!!! The normal Landlord payment to the letting agent for a new letting is (at least) a month's rent - this should be quite enough to cover their costs and give a profit.
  2. The Land Registry document is probably the right one. The charge referred to is the charge against the property - when a mortgage is taken out, the mortgage company's interest is recorded as a charge against the property. This prevents the property from being sold without the mortgage company's charge being removed e.g. by paying off the mortgage. By the charge document, the solicitor may be looking for a copy of the actual mortgage document and I am not sure that would be available to you - this would show whether the mortgage document allowed for the property to be sublet by the owner. The land registry may have a copy in their records which you can get a copy of via their website - you will need the title number from the document you already have. If available, it costs about £8 I think. By the way, if you are not paying your rent to anyone, make sure you put it into a saving account so that you can pay it when required - which you will surely have to at some time.
  3. Contact your housing association. This notice is actually addressed to them, not to you. Ground rent is payable by a leaseholder to the freeholder. If you are living in a housing association property I would be very surprised if you were liable for ground rent - and if you were, it would say so in your tenancy agreement. It also talks about signing a document "admitting" you are liable for these payments - it all looks very dodgy to me. I have to say this looks remarkably like a [problem]. Talk to the housing association and then possibly contact the Police as it may be fraudulent.
  4. They are seriously ripping you off. You say you rented for 4.5 years - was your tenancy renewed during that period? If you signed a new AST after April 2007 they were legally required to protect your deposit in one of the 3 government-approved schemes. They may have had an inventory clerk do the check out, but without a proper check-in inventory - signed and agreed by you - they have wasted their time. Write to them firmly stating that their demands are ridiculous. You are expected to return the property in a similar condition to that at the beginning of the tenancy APART FROM FAIR WEAR AND TEAR - and after 4.5 years that is what you have done. Refute all their claims item by item - clearly and firmly and tell them you require the return of your deposit (less possibly a token amount) by a certain date or you will sue them through the small claims court. Of course, if you did sign an agreement after April 2007, you can also threaten to sue them for deposit + 3xdeposit for not protecting it.
  5. It might be worth you having someone (maybe a surveyor) round to assess the damage and it's possible cause. I don't think you should have to pay for this and anyway, it can probably be covered by insurance.
  6. Not sure why you have posted this twice. The property is in Scotland (where the landlord lives is irrelevant) and is therefore covered by Scottish law - and Scotland does not yet have deposit protection legislation in place, although I believe it is planned for the future.
  7. Deposit should have been protected - I assume it was - in which case ll/agent have to prove deductions are justified - was there a proper check-in and inventory done at the beginning of the tenancy (which your partner signed)? If not, damage cannot be proved. Don't forget when you move in, do notify the council and pay the extra council tax. You need to be squeaky clean!! By the way, I think Martin & Co are franchises. Regarding unresolved maintenance - put all in a letter and send. The washing machine problem may be a dodgy one. Does it say on the tenancy agreement that repairs of appliances are the responsibility of the Landlord? Also - if as you say it is "just something stuck in the pump" this would be seen as tenant's fault and tenant would be expected to pay. (Even washing machine warranties exclude this particular problem and owners are liable for charges in respect of dealing with it). The actual responsibility for reps and maint lies with the landlord. The agents may be having problems getting ll's agreement to necessary expenditure.
  8. Not sure how the different schemes work. TDS is fairly simple. I suggest you bone up on how the mydeposits works so you know where you stand. http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/tenant.htm You should also ask the agent for details of how you recover the deposit - this should have been provided to you within 14 days of the deposit being taken! Reading the link, it doesn't sound as if the LL/agent has complied with the regulations. You might like to make the agent aware that you know what SHOULD happen. Hopefully, you won't get into an argument, but since there is no check-in inventory signed by you, how can they prove any damage! And it is up to the landlord to prove damage.
  9. Next time you share - make sure that everyone pays theirs!!! You have been too generous. This person is no longer your friend (money always breaks up friendships...) so - sit down with a calculator and work out exactly what he owes you. Itemise everything - his share of the rent, bills etc. less what he has paid - and make sure it is as accurate as you can possibly be - backing it up with copy bills if possible. Then send this to him with a letter before action. I suggest you do a moneyclaim online but don't send it off yet - just print it out and enclose it with your letter. All you need to say is that enclosed are details of his liabilities in relation to his share of the flat and that unless you receive the money in cleared funds within say 10 or 14 days you will issue a claim in the small claims court. You post this at a post office, getting a certificate of posting from the counter. You then post a copy of same either from the same post office the next day, or from another post office - once again getting a certificate of posting. A court is very unlikely to believe that two such letters might "go astray"! A letter sent Recorded or registered post can be refused by the potential recipient. If you don't get the money - send off the moneyclaim online.
  10. Ok - no check in inventory - SIGNED BY YOU - therefore landlord cannot cannot prove that the condition at the end of the tenancy is any different from the condition at the start. Secondly, if he WERE able to prove damage, he cannot charge for a new carpet -only a proportion of the cost commensurate with the damage claimed. Since the deposit is with the DPS you claim the deposit - he then has to object - and prove the damage with the check-in and check-out inventory which should both be signed by you - and without these he can prove nothing. The mechanics of the DPS are not perfect - favourite for you if he tries to deduct stuff is to go to arbitration but some landlords are realising that they can delay things indefinitely by doing nothing! He doesn't get the money, but then neither do you. Just have to see how things work out. By the way - is it only you that has moved out or have all your fellow tenants moved out too?
  11. Most estate agents bind you in to a specific term and notice period to terminate the contract. They usually also bind you to pay their fee if you sell within six months of that date to someone they have originally introduced. I think you will find that if you sell to someone else whilst the contract is still in force, you still have to pay their fee. As Aequitas says - you need to read your contract. Also, someone might come along and offer you more - but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush - if you have a sale going through you might pull out and then the second buyer change their mind and you are back at square one with no buyer at all!!
  12. Letting agencies do not own properties - they are simply agents letting properties on behalf of private landlords so if you go to a letting agency - you will be renting through a private landlord! However, if you can go direct to a landlord it will be cheaper!! Your credit rating may well be a serious problem for you - do your parents own their home? would they be prepared to stand guarantor for you? this might help you. You will need to prove your income, and a lot more besides to rent a place. You will also need to find at least two and a half month's rent up front, plus any agency fees. Although you say you are paying off your debts - it sounds as if these debts are not being paid in full. Landlords are not charities and may well be nervous of letting to someone they think might default on the rent. It is hard when you are overcoming your problems, but I would not be helping by lying to you!
  13. It sounds as if the property is not fit for habitation and as such I think deducting £250 is a bit excessive. I would be tempted to say no. If you google scottish tenancy law, there are some very informative websites but I am not sure that your specific situation would be covered. In England and Wales, most councils have someone who helps private tenants - and there is also the Environmental Health department - you should see if your local council has these services. Considering the conditions you describe, I suspect the environmental health would be prepared to get in volved - and of course, it is quite possible that if you mention contacting them to the agent, their £250 demand might dwindle......
  14. I am assuming that your rent is not in excess of £25,000 per annum. The idea that the agent thinks you should "take this letter as one month's notice" is absolute nonsense. By law, you must be given at least two months notice in any case. Have you spoken to the agents about your situation? or are they not easy to deal with (despite not knowing the law....)?? You may be able to negotiate a deal with them to sign a 6 month AST to then roll over to a periodic tenancy thereafter - that would give the LL six months stability and should just about fit in with your timetable. You are entitled to know your landlord's name and address and if you write to the agent they must provide it - you could then perhaps contact the LL directly if you feel you are not getting anywhere with the agent.
  15. I am afraid it is in the small print in the first clause you have posted: "shall refund to the landlord by way of a credit" this is exactly what they have done. I must say - I would never let to a tenant for the first time for more than 6 months initially - I would certainly not pay any agency 18 months up front - in fact I would not pay agency fees upfront in this manner at all. They are such sharks and the bigger they are the sharper the teeth. They should deduct their percentage from the monthly rental. Wouldn't it be great if letting agents were regulated!!!
  16. I can't actually comment on the 3 deposit schemes - my agent deals with the deposit using the agents' scheme. However, the link shows how meticulous LL's need to be about inventories. Better to use an independent inventory clerk for check-in and check-out - and always remember that the deposit schemes always seem to favour the tenant!! Another point from the link is the response given - "I'm very sorry to inform you that everything goes pear-shaped in your first sentence. The Housing Acts 1988 and 1996 are quite clear that the minimum term for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is SIX months. There is no such thing as a five-month AST." This is rubbish. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy can be of any length agreed between the parties - the catch is that regardless of the length of the agreed tenancy, LL cannot issue a s.21 notice to regain possession less than 6 months from the start date of the tenancy. E.g., I was asked to let my flat (which was for sale) to someone for 3 months while they were looking for somewhere to purchase - they said they would be happy to show people around etc. and the extra cash would have been handy - but I declined. If this person had decided they needed to stay longer - and I had a purchaser for the flat - I would not have been able to regain possession in less than 6 months - a buyer is not likely to hang around for that..... Oh - and Webranger - at least you are getting your money!! Well done.
  17. Each flat is self-contained. No communal areas (such as kitchen or bathroom) are shared. It is an AST - and it should have said as much - does she have a copy? It should also contain a clause saying where the deposit was protected. The fact that his grandmother lives in one of the other flats is totally irrelevant. If LL tries to say this means it is not an AST, he is trying it on and has no idea about tenancy law. My suggestion is that your friend writes to LL stating that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy and as such, the deposit should have been protected in one of the government-approved schemes. State that unless the full balance of the deposit is returned within 7 days, she will pursue LL for the balance of the deposit, plus the 3xdeposit penalty for non-compliance with the deposit protection legislation. The main point here is that LL MUST BELIEVE YOU WILL DO THIS.You must convince him you are not bluffing - and you should be aware that if you do go down this route it may be expensive if you lose.
  18. Which schemes was your deposit protected with? Normally money is not released until agreement is reached by both parties. Write to the LL (copied to agent) saying you dispute these extra charges which were not agreed and that unless you receive this money within 7 days, you will be pursuing their return via the small claims court. And always remember - the agent works for the landlord. The agent is NOT your friend.....
  19. I can't immediately find the relevant bit in one of the housing acts (and anyone who has waded through these will understand) but I have found this: Sorry - can't work out how to reduce the font here - don't like the new format on this CAG site - it is very difficult to work with. Page 2 Landlord-Law Article - January 2009 www.landlordlaw.co.uk The three Golden Rules The no profit rule The first of these is that landlords are not permitted to profit from a claim. So for example, he cannot claim for the complete cost replacement of a lounge carpet if the original is aged and the damage is only in one small area. Likewise, he cannot claim replacement if the damage can be rectified by applying a more cost-effective method, such as professional cleaning. Entire replacement cost not allowable The next rule is that he cannot claim the entire replacement cost, if the item damaged is not brand new. We can all appreciate that when buying a new car, its value depreciates the moment it is driven off the showroom forecourt. In the same way, it is unreasonable to charge a tenant for the full cost of a new dinner service, if only one plate has been damaged and the service itself has been sitting in the kitchen cupboard for five years. Depreciation is a matter I will come to in more depth in a moment. Evidence required to validate claim The third rule is that there must be evidence of the item having existed in the first place – and further evidence of the fair cost of any replacement or reinstatement. The documents usually required by the TDS include a comprehensively drafted inventory, signed by all parties and which clearly identifies the item itself and the condition it was in when supplied; and invoices or professional estimates of the likely cost to repair, reinstate or replace. I think the important thing here is the third item - it is up to the LL to prove that deductions should be made from the deposit and the small claims court will want to see this proof - which of course he does not have.
  20. There is no obligation for you to give the name of the tenants living at the address. If you have said in the AST that you are responsible for the bills - then you are. You just register with the council as the owner of the property and pay the council tax. How do you intend to ensure that you get the cash from the tenants- or are you including the bills in the rent? As a landlord, I have to say I think you have made a mistake here. Your tenants should be responsible for all bills - the contract is then between the utility (or the council, for council tax) and the tenant - and is nothing to do with you. You will see threads where the electricity or gas company etc. try to get the landlord to pay for bills left unpaid by tenants - but this a try-on - the contract is between the utility and the tenant, and as such is nothing to do with the landlord. Your tenants now have no incentive to be careful with their use of gas, electricity, water etc. Many people still think that a property is credit checked - this is not the case - it is the person who is credit checked so the idea that a property can be "black-listed" is totally out of date.
  21. Don't let this idiot of a landlord bully you. He doesn't have a leg to stand on. I think you might benefit from a visit to CAB or Shelter. Shelter have people who have vast experience in these matters and may be able to arrange legal advice. Firstly, LL cannot claim for new toilet, new kitchen - this is betterment and is not permitted. Since there was no inventory at the beginning, LL cannot prove damage has been done. He will be laughed out of court. You say you were in the property for 6 years, but don't mention whether you have signed a new tenancy agreement since April 2007. If so, your deposit should have been protected in one of the 3 government-approved schemes. To be honest, I would simply go ahead with your claim. The fact that he is prepared to "drop his case if you drop yours" proves he knows he is on dodgy ground. http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/faqtenant.htm Secondly, draft a letter to the local office of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) - you should be able to find their address easily. Don't write chapter and verse - just tell them that you have recently vacated a property after living there for 6 years and that you have just discovered that gas safety checks and appliance servicing should have been carried out on the gas appliances in the property. Tell them no gas safety checks have been carried out during your tenancy and that you have never been provided with the gas safety check certificate to which you were entitled. You could mention that you believe the boiler "may be dangerous" and that since he has other properties, you are concerned that he may be similarly neglecting his duty of care in his other properties in the way he has neglected yours and putting his tenant's lives in danger. It is tempting to say send the LL a copy of this and say unless he returns your deposit in 7 days you will post it - but that could be seen as blackmail. I would go ahead with your claim. Try to be concise and factual - make short notes to take with you to small claims - don't get into a slanging match or be too emotional about it. I do not believe LL will actually sue you for £4K - and his lawyer friend obviously knows nothing about tenancy law. Once it is all over, send the letter to the HSE - they take gas safety VERY seriously and he could be fined a substantial sum (£3K I think) and/or jailed!!
  22. Landlord "defence" against not protecting deposit. - Page 2 - LandlordZONE Forums this tenant had every reason to believe that her case was valid and she would win - she did not - to the outrage of any normal-thinking person. I think this case makes an absolute mockery of the law and the judge should be admonished. Don't know how one goes about appealing such a ruling though. The classic bit you might miss is the bit where the judge says that if T had paid by cheque, L would have kept cheque and given it back at end of tenancy - therefore not needing to protect it! Absolutely unbelievable! A travesty of justice.
  23. Be very careful about going for the 3xdeposit - it cannot be claimed through small claims and can be an expensive business - especially if you lose as you can also be liable for the LL's costs. I would only consider going this route if LL refuses to return it. If he protects it, well and good, at least you know you have a chance of getting it back!
  24. The deposit protection legislation is the most appalling piece of drafting and whichever first year trainee did it should be shot!! And why doesn't Danielr pay by standing order. Saves having to even think about it!!
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