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Advice needed on end of nightmare tenancy


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Hi

I am coming to the end of a horrendous tenancy. Landlord has openly admitted to me on phone that they haven't kept up with maintenance I have requested, conservatory door can't be opened, I asked 3 times for it to be fixed. When I moved in eaves of house and the shed were full of her junk, she said she would remove and still hasn't, we had 2 carbon monoxide leaks which resulted in us having no central heating for 5 weeks this winter! She then decided we should move out while the work was done and gave me 2 days notice to find somewhere to stay! I am now moving out, lease expires next week but we have agreed to extend by a month as it took so long for her to get her act together and respond to mine and agents calls about the lease coming up for renewal. Landlord has ALL personal mail delivered to house,mobile phone, credit cards, bank, you name it. She also told me that if anyone asked that I am a family friend, which makes me think she does not have consent to let from her mortgage company. I have obtained the deeds from Land Registry site and her address is down as my own. I now have 4 different addresses for her. All her post comes to my address, there is another address on my lease, then she gave me a third address to forward her post to and now she tells me she lives an hour away! If I wasn't to take her to court I wouldn't have a clue where to post it to! As it is you can clearly see in her post this week that some company has sent her a court order for an unpaid bill of some sort. I'm starting to worry about baliffs turning up! I did take the property on through an agency. She has made at least 6 appointments to come and see me to discuss lease extensions or maintenance and has failed to turn up for any leaving me sitting there all afternoon, wasting MY weekend! Then she rearranges for the next day just assuming it's convenient for me. We are currently having viewings at the property. She is giving me 30 mins to 1 hour notice of them, if she is notifying me at all. Yesterday, Sunday afternoon at 4.30pm I got a knock from an agent and a family of 4! I tried to call my landlord and she didn't answer - or return my call. Probably because she knew I was mad!

I have contacted all 3 deposit schemes and my deposit isn't in any of them. When I confronted her she confirmed this to me and said she has it in a 60 day account. Currently she has verbally agreed to give me my deposit back early so I can put it down on another property. There was no signed inventory taken when we moved in. I was a bit naive there, but the property was filthy when we moved in and is certainly better now! She seemed very relaxed and friendly and after a break from renting for 3 years I was stupid enough to trust her.

However, yesterday was the last straw for me. She has absolutely no respect for us, is totally unreliable and untrustworthy.

I want to know if I am within my rights to retain the rent I would've paid next month in lieu of my deposit, considering she has not protected it, and has caused us so many problems. She had verbally agreed to contribute to my larger electricity bill when the central heating was defunct for 5 weeks, but has said nothing since - and her workmen used my 6 month old hoover to hoover up debris when replacing the boiler and broke it! Therefore, if anything she owes ME money. But I am prepared to let that go just so I can get out of there.

During the course of my tenancy, I got back together with my partner. We had been seperated for 6 years, I was living alone with the children. But he had an accident and nearly died. It brought us back together again, so I asked him to move back in with us. As soon as landlady came around to collect her post, I told her the situation and asked if it was ok for him to be staying there. She said it was and then made her comment about anyone asking if I was family or not. She has since insinuated that I may have lied and not been a single mum at all when I moved in! I have about 50 witnesses that can testify I was INDEED single when I moved in and I thought by asking her permission I was doing the right thing. I am worried that this is th eonly thing she could hold over me?

I don't want to make matters worse, but the fact is without my deposit back I can't move into another property. It's £1,150 which is equivilent to one months rent. you wouldn't believe how much sleep I have lost over worrying and stressing about this.

 

Any advice would be gratefully received, i'm at my wits end!

 

Many Thanks!

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What exactly is your query? It is not clear from the above post.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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There is little that the landlady could lawfully do if you did withhold your last month's rent.

 

You also say that:

 

Currently she has verbally agreed to give me my deposit back early so I can put it down on another property.

 

If that is the case, then accept her offer and tell her you need it now, so you won't be paying the rent.

 

You would probably lose the option to sue her for 3x the deposit by doing this, but it sounds like you might want to avoid the hassle of doing this at the moment.

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Ok thanks. I didn't think legally she would have much of a leg to stand on. If she wanted to be protected by the law, she should've protected my deposit!

 

At the moment she has verbally said she'll return it a week before I move out or there abouts, but I just have no reason to trust her and want to cover myself. She told me to make sure I kept on paying the rent to cover her mortgage.

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There is little that the landlady could lawfully do if you did withhold your last month's rent.

 

 

I have been trying to call her this evening to discuss this, but she is not returning my calls.

 

When you say there is little she can lawfully do, what could she 'lawfully' do if I withhold my rent?

I don't want to potentially cause more hassle for myself.

 

I have had landlords in the past who are perfectly happy with this arrangement, I just have a feeling that she will be trouble.

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She could sue for damages if there are any. Thats pretty much it. If the deposit is not protected, then she would be foolish to do so. In addition, if she has no forwarding address, she would struggle in any event.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Ok, excellent.

There is also no signed inventory. I will also take photos when I move out. Although I can assure you this property has been maintained well by us and is much cleaner than when we moved in!

Your help is much appreciated. x

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Well I have just had a very unsuccessful conversation with the landlady.

 

She took huge offence at my suggestion to withold my last months rent. Infact she went mental.

She insisted I pay the rent as normal, I told her I did not feel I could rely on her to pay my deposit back early as promised. I informed her that as my deposit is not covered she legally does not have a leg to stand on and that I had sought legal advice and should take her to court for not protecting my deposit. She was incredibly insistent that I pay the rent and again asked me if I'd stay on if she completed the works on the house. She said that she knew she was terrible at time keeping etc... I said it was no excuse and it was making my life a misery. She was very hostile and angry, but then calmed down. I tried very hard to get a firm date for return of my deposit she said she wanted to come see me so I asked why and she said to discuss all of this and we may not have found somewhere else to live etc... She then said she would return my deposit to the estate agent again I pushed for a date, she said 19th/20th March. She then got very tearful and upset and said she would speak to me later. It was VERY clear she does not have the funds any more as far as I'm concerned.

So now I am left wondering what on earth to do.

I feel like a nervous wreck.

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Agreed.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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There have been a few developments the past few days. As much as I want to desperately move, I am not in much of a position to as we are looking for a property in a very specific area, as my parents help take my son to school and I need to walk him to their house every morning, so I'm looking to stay very close to them. At the moment I'm on the same road. Nothing has come up in this area at all with the right dates or furnished. My partner has been sick for 6 months and is just starting a new job on 12th March, so we really need to wait for him to start earning money. So my parents suggested I would be in a much better position financially to move if I just waitied a few months. So after my row with the landlady I spoke to her again and relcutantly told her we would stay on for a few more months if she wanted. She has agreed. I'm really not happy about it but I feel like I have no choice at the moment as I can't find anywhere else to move to, I don't even have the extra money to hire a van for moving as money is so tight.

We had another conversation today, me and the landlady and she made some comments about the property saying there were permanent creases on the leather dining chairs from the table leaning against it, I went out and had a look while she was on the phone and said, its not leaning against them and there's no marks. She then said when the guys were in to do the boiler they noticed some food in the drain so could I make sure no food went down there. I said, no problem, that the drain was overflowing when I moved in so we had to pour a bottle of caustic soda down it to unblock it. She then said the back door sticks that it must be being used alot as my other half is going outside to smoke. I said well it is a door - it does get used alot! ffs.....

I just know she is going to be a nightmare when I do move out. So I feel I need to get myself prepared for this.

I have told my parents that what I would like to do ideally, is sue her for not protecting my deposit, at the end of my lease. We would use the next few months to save up the money to cover a new deposit so I'm not reliant on getting the old one back. If I retain my last months rent I will not be able to prosecute this woman and she rightly deserves. She has put us through so much stress that I really feel now, this is my only avenue.

I was given an inventory when I moved in, but I never signed it and sent it back. I just had a look at it and I can see it was completely out if date! The way it says the bathroom looked, is not how it looked when I moved in, as the suite was replaced, including an under sink cupboard. there is now no carpet where the cupboard was etc... also mentions a rug in the living room that wasn't there. Anyhow, I didn't sign it and send it back - is it still enforceable?

I am going to make sure I take photos of the place to show how I have been keeping it etc...

I have found a deposit letter from estate agents, showing my holding deposit, then a breakdown of rest of deposit due, month in advance, one month deposit, admin fee, less holding deposit, then balance due. I then checked my bank statements and found I transferred the balance due to the estate agent. So I have ordered a copy of this page of my statement from the bank. Is this enough proof of payment of the deposit?

But I am now so annoyed at her sarcy insinuations on the phone earlier that I am thinking I should've just moved on 3rd April as we initially agreed. Ive not signed a new agreement or anything am I commited to stay those 3 months? I'm thinknig I can jsut give a months notice at any time and leave?

I am hoping my parents will let us stay with them for a month while I save one months deposit as I won't pay rent, then I can also prosecute her.

So really, I need to know if I have a case to prosecute her. Will the inventory I didn't sign still be valid? Is my deposit evidence enough?

I was wondering if I could maybe track down the previous tenant to see if she had any problems as the landlord intimated to me once there had been issues. But I'm thinking it could maybe help me if she can witness that certain household issues existed before my arrival.

Any advice as always gratefully received. I just don't know if i'm coming or going with all of this - or what to do for the best.

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