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      OT APPROVED, 365MC637, FAROOQ, EVRi, 12.07.23 (BRENT) - J v4.pdf
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Letting Agent in liquidation, and LL is aggressively seeking rent already paid


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Hi,

 

Not 100% sure of my rights/obligations here, so any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

The LA which my LL used to manage the property on an AST which had fallen into periodic tenancy vanished without trace at the end of February. At the start of March, I recieved a telephone call from the LL informing me that no further payments were to be made to the LA, and that she had not received the rent payment for February. The LL confirmed that she had spoken to the LA before they 'vanished' and that they infoermed her they had recieved the rent, and would pay into heer account. According to the LL this did not happen and she was unable to contact them again.

 

The LL insisted upon a new AST being signed - I did not see the purpose of this, and was loath to do so as my LL has a r3eputation for being 'difficult', but LL stated she would serve notice if I did not sign, and as I did not have a security deposit or moving costs for a new property, I felt I had no choice but to sign.

 

As soon as the new AST was signed, my LL became the LL from hell. She began making demands for receipts for rental payments going back to December 2010, insisted upon late fee charges being paid for December, January and February payments (the rent since August 2009 has been paid either on time or up to 14 days late on occasion, without any notice of any issues regarding this), threatening court action for rent arrears if receipts were not produced etc. Whilst I understood her frustration with the LA, and would have been happy to work with her to get any paperwork that would help her in her claim against the LA, I was shocked and immediately defensive to this seemingly unfair and overly aggressive stance.

 

In subsequent correspondence, the LL has stated that the LA are in administration and made continuous reference to this matter also being a 'criminal matter'. Upon searching rigorously, I managed to locate the majority of my receipts bar one for the amount of £160.00 (I have a dreadful feeling it was located in one of my books which I have since sold in a car boot sale...). LL has stated that according to the Official Receivers there is no record of £160.00 being paid, which I know to be untrue. Several letters later and she is now instructing me that if the £160.00 'arrears' and the 'outstanding late fees' are not paid within 7 days, she will make a claim at County Court. She has also issued a letter titled 'notice of legal proceedings' in which she states that her solicitor is 'looking into a claim for misrepresentation'. A couple of internet searching hours later, and I have my response to that particular letter.

 

I asked the LL to provide details of the Official Receivers several times, as i suspected that the LA were not in adminstration, but had just vanished, and she was attempting to recover whatever losses she had by making demands for payments I could not provide receipts for. Luckily I found the majority, but this last £160.00 is proving difficult! She has made continuous references to the 'Official Receivers' and the contact she has had with them, but upon pushing her for the fourth time for the name of such, her response was as follows: 'In response to your queries regarding the Official Receivers for (LA) I have asked permission to pass their details onto you. As you are not a creditor they have specifically asked me not to do so at this time'. This actually made me laugh, as such information is a matter of public record, and this proved to me that she has not in fact had any contact with a receiver of any kind.

 

I have paid for reports on companies house today, and they confirm that the LA is in liquidation, not administration. The reports were also only filed on 14.04.11, with the 'wind down' meeting having taken place on 31.03.11. As such, the claims my LL has made about speaking to Official Receivers before the company was even in liquidation are clearly lies. I obviously also now have the liquidators details :-)

 

What I would like help with is where I stand on the matter of the missing receipt for £160.00? Does my LL have the right to so aggressively chase for this, even though I have already paid it? Also, does she have the right to begin back-dating late fees when there was no issue raised in the past regarding late payments?

 

Any help is greatly appreciated, I have had to become a rental expert in the last few months, what with the numerous claims about legal and criminal proceedings, as well as several repair issues (a leaking roof is 'non-urgent' according to the LL and the black mould spreading under my bedroom windows, up the wall, and around the back of the wardrobe is 'not harmful and should be cleaned off the wall with a mild detergent'; this advice comes without any testing of the mould, and without her even seeing it!). I have managed to find my own answers on most of the curveballs my LL has thrown at me, but I'm a little stuck on this one!

 

Many thanks in anticipation

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It will e helpful to show evidence of the payment - either by a receipt or by bank records and they are entitled to try and get a copy. However, just because you can't produce the receipt, doesn't mean that you lose the case.

If she takes you to court then it is up to you to persuade the judge that what you are saying is true.

 

As for money which it is clear you have paid and she has not received, that is between her and the LA.

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I would hope that the facts of the case (LL insisting on all receipts and claiming that the non-existence of one receipt proves a failure to pay) would suggest to the judge that on balance of probabilities it is not owed.

 

Personally I would resist claims for late payment fees. Are these claims based on the fact that she knows the payments are late because the date on the receipts you have provided is late?

 

Personally I would also severely limit my correspondence with LL to the absolute bare minimum of "I have paid all due fees which you will be aware of if you analyse LA records", as she may twist evidence you provide to be against you (as she appears to have done previously with the missing £160).

 

Might be worth checking the term of the contract about late payment fees.

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My advice is applicable only if the rented premises are entirely within England and Wales, and only if you were granted a shorthold tenancy (under which you [and your spouse/partner/children if any] had exclusive use of at least a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom, none of which were shared with another tenant nor with the landlord) and you were over 18 years of age when the tenancy was granted.

 

 

The terms agreed between landlord and tenant are those which are set out in the written tenancy agreement, and the tenant is only liable at law to pay those items specified in the agreement. The tenant is not liable for any charges not provided for in the agreement.

 

If you paid a deposit, please read the FAQs about the tenancy deposit scheme, under which you might be entitled to sue for compensation if you have a shorthold tenancy -

 

- Tenancy Deposit Scheme

 

- Tenancy Deposit Protection - First High Court Decision

 

- TDS eligibility, implication of breach and legal questions answered

 

 

Read this FAQ - Disrepairs in privately rented accommodation

 

Beware of agreeing to pay for any items which are the landlord's responsibility to pay for. A shorthold tenant can be evicted from the premises by simply being given 2 months notice, in writing, taking effect after the fixed term ends. No reason has to be given. Where a dispute arises, concerning any matter, the landlord can simply end the tenancy in that way. So it never makes sense to pay for improvements to the premises.

 

Read this FAQ for details of what criminal offences the landlord commits by harassing an occupier of residential premises with intent to bring about an eviction, and what compensation the occupier can sue for: Shorthold Tenancy - posession, eviction and notice

Edited by Ed999
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