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Some commercial advice urgently needed

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Hi There, hope someone can give me a helping hand with this query?

 

I moved into an office in April 2009, the landlord (Local authority) didnt give me a rental agreement at the time, but the terms of the advert said the offices were to let on a flexible basis, charges were dependant upon size etc with an easy in easy out clause.

 

Eventually, in june/July they sent me a licence agreement to sign, it quoted the rent as £350 per month. I signed this and sent it back. I did not receive any invoices for rental charges.

 

I have now received a letter saying that as I havent signed the agreeement and not paid any rental I have to leave the office by 11/12 or they will remove my goods and they accept no liability for any loss or damage etc.

 

I emailed them and said A) agreement was sent to you B) no rent ever been demanded.

 

They responded by saying that they had never received the signed agreement from me and here is a backdated demanded for rental charges to the 1st April 2009. They have also sent me a new licence agreement to sign backdated to the 1st April with an instruction to Sign/pay in 7 days.

 

My question is this - under what terms have I been occupying the office if I have not signed an agreement? Are they able to demand a backdated rental fee? If I were unable to move out by the 11th would they be able to clear my office of its content without any liability?

 

I have not decided whether to keep the office at this stage as due to an ongoing illness I have not really been able to use it in many months but had hoped to be able to relaunch myself in the new year. However, I am concerned that my belongings may be destroyed if I am unable to arrange removals before the 11th. The agreement that they have sent me now needs to be signed by two company directors whereas the original one only needed one signature. Not sure if there is any implication to this change?

 

Any advice/info greatly received.

 

Many thanks

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So, you moved in with a key given by the LA and no contract was signed then or payment made/offered/demanded. You were made aware verbally of the rent though, to which you agreed and thus a verbal contract is created.

 

You could possibly argue that you have been squatting, but only up until you signed the lease in June. So in any event you would have to pay the rent from then. I suspect a judge would agree that there is a contract in place (verbal) and as such you would be liable for the rent.

 

I find it hard to understand what you thought would happen if you move in and don't pay rent.

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Thanks for your quick response.

 

I didnt sign a contract in June. They have sent it to me now to sign, which is why I said im not sure if i want to carry on in occupation. I have no problem with paying the rent that isnt the issue.

 

I want to know what type of agreement I have with the landlords. Is it a verbal licence or lease?

 

and would they have a legal obligation to protect my goods after the 11/12.

 

and is it permissable to request backdated rent?

 

I just want to know what the legal position is thats all. Not trying to get out of paying for the rent.

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