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Need advice regarding private landlord

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Have been renting a 2 bedroomed house for just over 2 years now.

 

We fell behind slightly with the rent & made an agreement with the letting agency regarding repayments at £100 per month plus the £350 per month rent.

 

The house is due to be demolished & a servayor & been to value the house & make the landlord an offer. We will be rehoused with the local council, which is what we want.

 

A few months back the boiler broke & left us with no hot water or heating of any kind (we have no fire), we have 2 children, a 6 year old girl & a 1 year old boy, their room is freezing.

 

All the house is damp & mouldy, we've had to move the kids away to the other side of their bedroom as the damp was moving onto the bed & cott.

 

In our room the damp is so bad it's leaking down the walls. I left a new book in the room overnight & the pages curled up.

 

Today we received a letter, a section 8 notice stating we are to be evicted for non payment of rent since february! We saw the agent & they said it's wrong and we've been paying £450 a month since june, and we have all our receipts to prove it.

 

The total the landlord claims we owe is £2329.13

 

The total we calculate we've payed (and have proof) is £2270

 

So the difference is only £59.

 

I think he's trying to kick us out so we don't get the council house.

 

Any thoughts on this? What can we do?

 

Thanks

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Based on reading the advice on many other threads here on this forum I would think that your first step would be to take the notice, the receipts and anything else you have to the council. They should be able to advise you from there.

 

Also, don't ignore the court date. Make sure when it goes to court to take and present all your evidence. You have to be two months or more behind on rent before your LL can evict you under section 8. If you can prove that you made arangements to pay up, have been doing so, are still doing so, and the amount that you owe is under two months then he will have no ground to stand on and will be denied the right to evict using a section 8 at this time.

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Defend the claim. You have a formal arrangement with the estate agents, who are presumably his agent. In a nutshell, in order to evict you the LL would claim you owe 2 months complete arrears. you don't. you are in fact about 1 week in arrears! Case would be thrown out.

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Even though you have been given notice the landlord can't evict you unless they have permission from the Court. To serve a section 8 notice the tenant has to be in 2 months arrears as this is not the case the notice is not valid. If it does go to Court you will be able to file a defence and go to the hearing so you will be able to show your receipts as evidence.

 

Who were you paying the money to the agency or the landlord directly? If the agency agree that you don't owe that amount then what are they doing?

 

Can you contact the landlord directly phone, email or letter? If so speak to them about it and provide copies of you receipts. If you have been paying the agency you may find that the money has not gone to the landlord for some reason.

 

You should also speak to your Council. Talk to the officers involved in rehousing you. Also Councils have officers that give advice on private tenancies, eviciton and homelessness. Tell them about the problem and also about the repair problems. They may be able to move you to somewhere else sooner.

 

I don't think it's about you getting a Council house as that would not make any difference to them. However, your landlord should be providing heating and hot water, etc but obviously does not want to buy a new boiler or carry out any other repairs if the house if going to be demolished. I think this is likely to be the reason why the landlord wants you out.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

The Estate agent doesn't know what's going on either, and in October we renewed our 6 month lease, or at least the estate agent did.

 

We've been advised to visit the local community legal advice centre, which we are going to do tomorrow.

 

Also it's worth mentioning the solicitor who sent us the Section 8 also sent us a letter to the landlord by mistake too, which says:

 

"I enclose two copies of the section 8 notice served on the above by post today.

 

Please note that the notice MUST be served on the tenant. Unless there is an admission of receipt, it may not prove sufficient to show that service was effective if sent only by post. At common law IT IS A NECESSITY to prove personal service on the tenant(s)

 

I will revert for instructions after 24th December 2009. In the interim i enclose invoice in respect my charges for your kind attention."

 

Any ideas what all that means?

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The more i look at this, the more i think the agency is fraudulent.

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The solicitor is incompetant. He has sent you a bill that belongs to the landlord? That is personal financial details that should not be disclosed to you. KEEP THE LETTER!

 

The receipt he refers to is proof of service on you of the notice. Not required unless you claim not to have received it - a common trick.

 

Ok, your dilema. You have receipts for all monies paid which is a very good thing in this case. As a guess, the money has not been passed on to the landlord. When you took out the tenancy, what were the payment arrangements? Pay the landlord or pay the agency?

 

You have been served notice and that is a legal document, so you must act upon it. I will advise further depending on your answer as to who you have your lease with, ie between you and the landlord or between you and the agent, and who you originbally paid your rent to (landlord or agent).

  • Haha 1

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Hi,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

The lease is with the agent & we always paid the rent to the agent. Never met the landlord.

 

Hope that helps.

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It would be a good idea to write to the landlord and their Solicitor saying that you have received the notice but are confused as you have been paying the rent to the agency on a regular basis include copies of your receipts. Keep a copy of the letters and have them sent recorded delivery if you can.

 

The agent may not know why the landlord has served a notice but they should be getting in touch with him to query this. Your posts suggest that they are doing nothing and this makes me think either that they have either deliberately not paid the landlord or have made some sort of mistake leading to the landlord not being paid.

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If your lease is between you and the agent (not the landlords name) then you have no case to answer and it would be thrown out of court.

 

If your lease is between you and the landlord but teh payments are made through his agent (the letting agency) you still have no case to answer as you have indeed paid, all but £59.

 

So. The situation is that you need to defend the notice. Write to the solicitor and send a copy to the agents and the landlord seperately too. Make it a short and polite letter. Raise facts only. So, you do not owe the money claimed as rent has been paid every month and enclose copies of the receipts. Mention that you will defend this claim in court. Ask for a written response within 7 days.

 

Send by recorded delivery. Keep the proofs of posting.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

We got some advice today & a Solicitor is going to contact us regarding it.

 

Meanwhile the letting agent are lying about various conversations we had with then & claim we didn't have them, also they were VERY flustered on the phone.

 

I'll keep you posted how things progress.

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It seems the lardlord has not been getting the rent from the agent since the agent said they couldn't cash our housing benefit cheques & insisted we pay cash.

 

Does this sound dodgy or what?

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It seems the lardlord has not been getting the rent from the agent since the agent said they couldn't cash our housing benefit cheques & insisted we pay cash.

 

Does this sound dodgy or what?

 

Yes, seems so.

 

Couldn't cash cheques? Recall there was a change in how benefits were paid in recent years, but I'd still be calling the Housing Benefit Department to check this all the same and let them know of your concerns.

 

If all above board, fine, but doesn't sound that way at the moment.

 

Not unheard of for Agents to disappear with Landlord / Tenant rents / deposits too. Know this of this first hand.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Forgot to mention that we have a guarantor, my partners mum, who hasn't been contacted at all regarding our alledged arrears.

 

The guarantor asked for paperwork for the arrears, the letting agency said they'd email her first thing today with the details and didn't, when she phoned them up to ask where they were, they told her to ring back, and now are not answering their phone!

 

Still awaiting for contact from a solicitor. Hope it's soon, this is driving us crazy. :o(

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I STRONGLY suspect fraud here. Contact the police, get through to CID and report it as obtaining monies by deception. It seems very much like the agency have kept the monies and that is not directly your concern as you have paid the appointed collector/egent of the landlord. But, before they close shop and do a runner, you need some formal investigation. You have paid and it hasn't been passed on. Now they are blanking you is the time to act.

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It sounds like the agent has gone belly-up, taking the landlord's money with him. I've no idea what's going to happen next but remember one thing: The agent is the landlord's agent. If they have done a runner with the rent that you paid that's the landlord's problem not yours. You've paid your rent the way that the landlord wanted you to, to his agent and, as others have already pointed out, this makes the section 8 invalid.

 

I would talk to the landlord as a matter of urgency if I were you, if only for his sake (he's the victim here remember)

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You really think we should contact the police before speaking to the solicitor?

 

Also the rent is due today, but we've kept on to it until we know what to do.

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It sounds like the agent has gone belly-up, taking the landlord's money with him. I've no idea what's going to happen next but remember one thing: The agent is the landlord's agent. If they have done a runner with the rent that you paid that's the landlord's problem not yours. You've paid your rent the way that the landlord wanted you to, to his agent and, as others have already pointed out, this makes the section 8 invalid.

 

I would talk to the landlord as a matter of urgency if I were you, if only for his sake (he's the victim here remember)

 

Never saw this reply before i replied.

 

We are still waiting on the solicitor, i'm still worried that we can make matters worse if we don't wait. I'm confused & somehow think maybe we could be at fault but i don't see how.

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How can you make matters worse? What part of the country are you in?

 

I have no idea, but that's how i feel. I'm in Yorkshire.

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I know it's easy to feel that way but please realise you have nothing to worry about. Can you get to the agent's office? I was just thinking that maybe if you went and it was empty, that, and the not returning the phone calls might convince you that they've gone out of business. BTW, if this is the case, then its going to hit the fan at some point anyway. (That's why I said to you to remember that its the landlord's problem not yours).

 

You are protected and safe but you must go to court with the receipts for the rent when the section 8 hearing is heard. When is it by the way?

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If you haven't done so already pick up the telephone to the Local Authority (as they'll close shortly) and then the Police too as others have said here.

 

Your posts come across as someone who is genuinely confused and upset by all of this and those that you speak with now should pick up upon this too.

 

As others have said here can't really see yet how you're going to make matters worse and you need to protect yourself against the papers that have been served on you too.

 

Keep it factual, simple and polite (avoid slanderous comments!) and above all if you've been hit by this you may find others have been too :( and they may not have the feedback / support that's being offered to you.

 

Fingers crossed for you and good luck too.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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If your lease is between you and the agent (not the landlords name) then you have no case to answer and it would be thrown out of court.

 

Sorry this is wrong - even if the LA signed the AST, LA is only signing as LL's representative. Tenant's contract is always with the Landlord (i.e. owner of the property).


Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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No, it isn't. I had this exact situation years ago when the agent drew up the tenancy with their name on instead of the landlord. It meant that the landlord could not evict us, whih he wanted to to sell. It went to court and was thrown out as there was no tenancy between me and the landlord.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

The agent is not closed yet, they have a place here & in Nottingham, they've said to our guarantor they'd sort it out & get back to them yesterday but didn't.

 

The solicitor just phoned & can't see us til 21st December, so it's looking like we have to go elsewhere, maybe the CAB?

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