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View Full Version : L's Agent is trying to sue T's guarantors- can't be right



Shelly24
22-01-2009, 12:54 PM
hi all,

another post in this VERY long story!

Basically i had many problems in the old flat i used to rent. I asked numerous times for repairs to be made and was ignored. The last 2 months rent i used to secure alternative accomodation and moved out. Agent is pursuing me for the £780 (last 2 months rent) although I feel i should be let off as I lived in an unheated, mouse infected, leaky roofed property for 10 months andn early caught hyperthermia!

I have written to them now 3 times, the first of which said that I am not happy to pay the rent owing due to the problems in the flat, they then called me and said if you pay the rent we will repair the flat. I was not happy with this as I am aware they have to provide adequate heating and repair regardless of rent owed.
I then found alternative accomodation WITH HEATING! so moved out writing to them again detailing all the problems with the property and all the numerous housing laws they have broken and the breaches of contract and asked them to write off the £780.
I got no response from them whatsoever.
I handed the keys back to them as agreed and was told someone would be in touch. No-one has been and i have heard hide nor hair about my deposit which i know is not right.
I wrote to them again 2 days ago asking for the Landlords details as I wish to pursue them in the small claims court for 3x deposit plus moving costs and rent on an uninhabitable property. (i have pictures of the property).

SO THIS IS WHERE I AM AT...

Today my partners dad calls and says he has a summons to court (my partners mum and dad were guarantours). The letting agents without responding to ANY of my correspondance have gone straight to my guarantours with a court summons!!
I was on here 2 days ago as I wanted to sue them but was told my contract is with the Landlord not the Agents, so isnt this is case now? Are the letting agents allowed to take my guarantours to court? And how are they allowed to do this and not correspond to my letters or even take me to court??

They are so out of order in my opinion. Any help appreciated.

jeffrey
22-01-2009, 13:15 PM
Guarantors are liable to L if T defaults. Why are you surprised at L's action?

Shelly24
22-01-2009, 13:26 PM
its not the landlords name on the court papers, its the agents suing my guarantours. I would at least of assumed the Landlord would do it...

I am surprised as ive written 3 letters to the agents trying to resolve this and they have not called or written back yet they have sneakily gone and issued a summons to my guarantours.

I have issued Agents with a s1. of LTA asking for L's address so i can take them to court. If the agents sont write back with this info what do i do? as im aware its a criminal offense.

Also is the agent allowed to summons my guarantour without first asking me to pay the rent as they have not answered my letters atall. I have asked for it to written off, the last i would of expected was a letter back saying no, but this is a complete surprise. At least i would of known where we were at.

Sorrel
22-01-2009, 13:32 PM
its not the landlords name on the court papers, its the agents suing my guarantours. I would at least of assumed the Landlord would do it...

I am surprised as ive written 3 letters to the agents trying to resolve this and they have not called or written back yet they have sneakily gone and issued a summons to my guarantours.

I have issued Agents with a s1. of LTA asking for L's address so i can take them to court. If the agents sont write back with this info what do i do? as im aware its a criminal offense.

Also is the agent allowed to summons my guarantour without first asking me to pay the rent as they have not answered my letters atall. I have asked for it to written off, the last i would of expected was a letter back saying no, but this is a complete surprise. At least i would of known where we were at.


They can go after whoever they think is the more likely to pay the rent basically.

Shelly24
22-01-2009, 13:37 PM
but the agent can take the court? i thought the contract was with the landlord?

jta
22-01-2009, 14:28 PM
The contract is with the LL. The agents are acting on his behalf, they work for him, not you. You are entitled to know the LLs address, but it may well be in care of the agent, or his accountant, or similar. Why should the LL or agent not go after the rent owing? You signed the contract, stick to it.

jeffrey
22-01-2009, 14:32 PM
The contract is with the LL. The agents are acting on his behalf, they work for him, not you. You are entitled to know the LLs address, but it may well be in care of the agent, or his accountant, or similar. Why should the LL or agent not go after the rent owing? You signed the contract, stick to it.
All true; but the Agents themselves cannot sue either T or T's guarantors.

jta
22-01-2009, 14:35 PM
What if the Agent is acting on instructions from the LL Jeffrey?

jeffrey
22-01-2009, 14:38 PM
What if the Agent is acting on instructions from the LL Jeffrey?
Still no. A is not party to the AST.
I suppose that L might execute a Deed of Assignment, vesting in A the chose in action (the right to sue T or G), but that's implausible.

jta
22-01-2009, 14:39 PM
Fair 'nuff...

Bel
22-01-2009, 15:13 PM
I have always understood that if an agent is pursing a tenant through the courts say for possession of a property via s21 or s8, the court papers must be in the name of and signed by the LL or it is invalid.

hence I would think the same applies to this situation with guarantors

Bel
22-01-2009, 15:28 PM
I cant understand why the agent would go straight to the court process without even demanding the 2 months rent from the guarantors first. Unless they are trying shock tactics. What a mess.

Shelley; even though this attempt by the agency is likely to fail, you should get legal advice. If you have limited means try your nearest Law Centre, or see if you can get help on no win no fee basis.

And keep us posted.

If they do not give landlords name and address, suggest you contact the police.

Paul Gibbs
22-01-2009, 16:09 PM
It sounds to me that the agents have got it wrong. If you raise a defence that you owe the agent nothing - then as soon as the agent notices the error they will apply to amend the claim by substituting LL's name for theirs.

your options are limited - can you challenge the guarantee? is it valid? see other threads on this.

if you are bang to rights on the agreement then only real argument is failure to follow the spirit of the protocol before jumping into proceedings and as a result LL should not get an order for costs - not the easiest of arguments though.

Shelly24
22-01-2009, 18:14 PM
Well thank you for confirming something. I actually work for the police myself and this sort of thing would be passed off as a civil matter.

jba- as far as you saying 'you signed the contract - stick to it'. I would just like to say that your advice was not helpful in the slightest. You have not been involved in the previous threads i have posted here about the terrible conditons i was living in so please refrain from posting hard nosed replies.


The reason I witheld the last 2 months rent was because I was paying full whack to rent a place with a hole in the roof whic leaked through the ceiling on rainy days, no heating, windows which did not even shut properly let alone lock and a huge mouse infestation. These things were not apparent when i first signed up for the property and it has been very very stressful to try and get anything done about it.
I paid my rent for 8 months and from very early on told the Agents about the problems, nothing was done after 4 phone calls so i decided to withold rent. I actually moved out of the flat to live with a friend I was so cold, when you are sat in bed and can see your breathe its a serious matter. If i were a pensioner im sure i would be very ill.
I told the agents i was happy to stay if the work is done, i would then pay my rent, they said no, you pay the rent THEN we will fix the flat. I cam on here any many people told me that isnt on so i stood my ground and ended up having to move out and find a different flat.
I have never been rude or abrubt with them, ive written 3 letters and go 0 replies.
I am very annoyed they went direct to my guarantours without writing to me to try and resolve my complaints.

In a nutshell then... the agents cannot sue my guarantour? There is no mention of a landlords name on there whatsoever.
Did the agents not have a protocol to follow in reference to writing to me first? There was no written bill for rent or anything. I asked for a complaint to be looked into and it was ignored.
Do i carry on with my own court proceedings against the LL now for my deposit or do I just counterclaim this court claim? This one is in the name of the Agents so should I just carry on with my claim as that is suing the LL.

I do feel I should be let off the 2 months rent because of the dreadful conditions and the lack of repair and failure to provide basic needs such as heating. I do not feel I am being unreasonable.

Bel
22-01-2009, 20:10 PM
I do feel I should be let off the 2 months rent because of the dreadful conditions and the lack of repair and failure to provide basic needs such as heating. I do not feel I am being unreasonable.

If the LL has underperformed and not given you quiet enjoyment then you would be entitled to negotiate compensation at a rate appropriate for your loss. Also there may be the issue of notification of the deposit not being correct. All this is complicated by you also being accountable to your guarantors. As I see it you have 3 options, of which you can pick or mix:

1) Go with the flow regarding the court summons and see where it takes you, and once they have discovered they got it wrong, wait and see if they try again. Hopefully it may go away.

2) Write a letter before legal action asking for compensation and on what basis you arrive at that sum, threatening that if they do not accept this in writing by x date you will add the cost of your legal fees to any future settlement

3) Get legal advice

Preston
22-01-2009, 20:29 PM
In a nutshell then... the agents cannot sue my guarantour? There is no mention of a landlords name on there whatsoever.

Hi

Its your landlord who can sue, so the papers should clearly idnentify who this is. Just a small thought, you mentioned that the agents have never told you who the landlord is .... it couldn't be them could it?

Anyway, you mentioned deposits earlier. Did they not protect it properly?

Preston

Shelly24
23-01-2009, 14:13 PM
Hi

Its your landlord who can sue, so the papers should clearly idnentify who this is. Just a small thought, you mentioned that the agents have never told you who the landlord is .... it couldn't be them could it?

Anyway, you mentioned deposits earlier. Did they not protect it properly?

Preston

im not sure if it was protected or not because ive asked 3 times now for details of the scheme its being held under but they never reply to me. I have not received any literature on my deposit whatsoever, nothing about deductions, return of it or anything and i officially left the flat on 27th December!

The landlord has a name, its on my contract it says Mrs H. ____ but there is no adress filled in and on the court forms it says ______ letting agents NOT the landlords name.

I am going to get legal advice on monday. I have written to them 3 times now, the last time said that I am requesting the Landlords address under section 1 of LTA 1985 and told them they have 21 days to give it to me as I wish to pursue the LL in court for deposit x 3, moving costs and compensation for inadequate conditions. They have so far ignored this letter and it was handed in in person on monday.