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settloe_99
23-03-2009, 16:23 PM
Hi

In the mid 90's I bought a house which was tenanted. The same tenants are still in the house now and have always paid a very low rent.

I have checked the with Rent Service as I originally thought the tenants could be Rent Act tenants. The Rent Service have advised me that they have never registered a fair rent on the property.

I want to increase the rent and as such have sent them the standard S13 notice assuming they are have an Assured Tenancy. The tenants are very reasonable and have sent me a letter back stating they moved into the property around 1987/1988 and as such they are Rent Act tenants but they have no proof of this.

Is it up to the tenant to prove they are Rent Act tenants or is it up to the landlord they not?

Thanks

jeffrey
23-03-2009, 17:31 PM
Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
a. the 1977 Act applies; and
b. the 1988 Act does not.

mind the gap
23-03-2009, 17:51 PM
Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
a. the 1977 Act applies; and
b. the 1988 Act does not.

Jeffrey, by 'state definite date' do you mean 'provide evidence of', or just 'assert', please?

jeffrey
23-03-2009, 18:05 PM
Jeffrey, by 'state definite date' do you mean 'provide evidence of', or just 'assert', please?
Provide at least reasonable evidence.
The onus of proof is usually on whoever is propounding a view. It's very much in T's interests to prove Rent Act status!

mind the gap
23-03-2009, 18:09 PM
Provide at least reasonable evidence.
The onus of proof is usually on whoever is propounding a view. It's very much in T's interests to prove Rent Act status!


Are both T and L not propounding a view in this case, though?
L wants to raise rent so needs to prove Ts are post Rent Act tenants...Ts (presumably) don't want rent raised, so need to prove they are rent Act tenants?

settloe_99
23-03-2009, 18:10 PM
Can T state definite date on which their first tenancy started? If this was before Jan. 1989 (as seems probable):
a. the 1977 Act applies; and
b. the 1988 Act does not.

No the tenant can't state a definite date when they moved into the property they just think it was around 1987.

Do we just have to take their word for this or is it up to them to prove when they originally moved into the property?

Thanks

montana
23-03-2009, 19:12 PM
Utility bills will be enough proof for T. Not many keep old bills for that long, but, Gas and Electric providers do.

kikuyu
23-03-2009, 20:13 PM
Utility bills will be enough proof for T. Not many keep old bills for that long, but, Gas and Electric providers do.

Add to this list the Council Tax (or was it the dreaded POLL TAX at the time) If that is not to hand, how about checking the electrol roll? Or the driving licence,letters from tenants' employers, personal insurances, old passports, dead or birth certificates, children's school reports. The list is endless.

Incidentally, if you bought the house with the property being tenanted, what the heck was your solicitor doing? Did he/she not make any enquires about the status of the tenants at the time?

You cannot be that naive and surely must have known what you were acquiring and paid the purchase price accordingly? Did you get a mortgage to purchase the house and was a valuational carried out on behalf of the lenders? What does that state about the status of the tenants at the time?

There are 101 ways of establishing the status of the tenants but I can only give you but a few. Get your thinking cap on and you will find the rest.

Good hunting.

P.S As your tenants are aware that you desire to put their rent up there is nothing stopping them making an application of registration of fait rent to the Rent Office. Then the onus will be on them to prove the date of commencement of their tenancy. If the RO thinks he/she does not have enough information to go on then they do not have the jurisdiction to set a fair rent and you /the tenants may have to apply to the Court for a ruling.

Anyway, why have you waited over 15-19 years to try and increase their rent?
Did you not think in the interveing period that the rent was low?

I think that there is more to this then you are letting on.

mind the gap
23-03-2009, 20:41 PM
Add to this list the Council Tax (or was it the dreaded POLL TAX at the time) If that is not to hand, how about checking the electrol roll? Or the driving licence,letters from tenants' employers, personal insurances, old passports, dead or birth certificates, children's school reports. The list is endless.
That would be the electoral roll, I take it? And death certificates? I cannot see how children's school reports would prove anything other than the fact that they went to a particular school at the time and that they were fantastic at woodwork, or whatever. Reports do not normally bear the parents' address.


Incidentally, if you bought the house with the property being tenanted, what the heck was your solicitor doing? Did he/she not make any enquires about the status of the tenants at the time?

You cannot be that naive and surely must have known what you were acquiring and paid the purchase price accordingly? Did you get a mortgage to purchase the house and was a valuational carried out on behalf of the lenders? What does that state about the status of the tenants at the time?

There are 101 ways of establishing the status of the tenants but I can only give you but a few. Get your thinking cap on and you will find the rest.

Anyway, why have you waited over 15-19 years to try and increase their rent?
Did you not think in the interveing period that the rent was low?

I think that there is more to this then you are letting on. kikuyu, I know you are trying to be helpful, and some of your suggestions are sensible, but the tone of your answer comes across as really bossy and critical here. OP asked a reasonable question and we are trying to give him a useful answer. Much of the stuff you have commented on is really none of our business, is it?

kikuyu
23-03-2009, 22:59 PM
Sorry, Mind the gap. I did not mean to give any offence to anyone least of all to the OP. My apologies to you too OP.

Apart from the dreaded spelling mistakes, I was trying to be helpful and explore as many avenues as possible to get to the bottom of problem.

Regarding questions on finding out if OP took out a mortgage etc. it was merely to alert him where else to look.

As far as schools are concerned I realise that school reports do not carry one's address but is another way to prove that the children went to the local school, especially if the tenants moved from outside the area.

Anyway, I will moderate my tune and hope not to be seen as being bossy or authoritarian in the future.

settloe_99
24-03-2009, 08:43 AM
Thanks for all your replies everyone.

In reply to kikuyu's questions:

The solicitor who acted in the purchase has long been out of business and I have to admit when I bought the property I didn't know quite what I know now.

With regards to the purchase price the property was a steal at the time and to be honest that was all I was interested in. The house was bought with cash so there is no mortgage.

Yes I've known that the rent has been low for a long time however I've been busy managing the rest of my portfolio and as the tenants have been very good payers and pretty much never bother me with regards to repairs I have put it to the bottom of my pile of things to do.

Thanks for all your suggestions though. I think I'll suggest to the tenants they provide me with some of the information you have listed.

settloe_99
24-03-2009, 10:15 AM
I've spoken to the tenants today and they tell me that when they moved in they paid the council tax and utility bills to the then landlord and he paid all the bills so they can't get any confirmation of these.

I asked them if they would consent to me running a credit check on them so I can have a look at the electoral roll at the property and they said that was fine. I've run this and it turns out that one of the tenants is listed on there from 1990 and the other from 1998?

If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?

Thanks

justaboutsane
24-03-2009, 10:22 AM
The tenants don;t know when they moved in?? Bull.... I may not know the exact date of when I moved somewhere (I have moved often!) BUT I do know the rough month and year! They are trying to pull a fast one!

settloe_99
24-03-2009, 10:34 AM
Thanks justaboutsane.

I should probably rephrase that. The tenants THINK they moved in the year before Hillsborough which would mean they moved in in 1988 however they have no proof of this.

Can anyone else help with my other question of "If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?"

Thanks

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 11:17 AM
Thanks justaboutsane.

I should probably rephrase that. The tenants THINK they moved in the year before Hillsborough which would mean they moved in in 1988 however they have no proof of this.

Can anyone else help with my other question of "If the tenants can't provide any concrete evidence can I increase the rent using S13 as I have done?"
You can use s.13 IF (but only if) it's a Housing Act 1988 periodic AST. That section is part of that Act, of course.
You cannot use s.13 if it's a Rent Act 1977 tenancy (although there is an alternative rent increase procedure thereunder).

kikuyu
24-03-2009, 11:48 AM
I too think that the tenants are trying to pull a fast one here. But at least you have something to go on if you think they maoved in in 1988. So this date is prior to 15th January 1989 in which case the tenancy would fall under the 1977 Act-i.e. a regulated tenancy. If that is correct then you apply to The Rent Office (the old Rent Officer) for the area in which the property is located. You require forms RR1 which you may be able to download from heir site.

If you need any help with this please let me know.

Good luck

Kikuyu

settloe_99
24-03-2009, 11:52 AM
So by the sounds of it then I am going to take the tenants word for it that they are Rent Act Tenants??

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 12:08 PM
So by the sounds of it then I am going to take the tenants word for it that they are Rent Act Tenants??
Well, at least start out that way. If it transpires that the 1988 Act applies, you can then serve s.13 Notice.

mind the gap
24-03-2009, 12:12 PM
So by the sounds of it then I am going to take the tenants word for it that they are Rent Act Tenants??

I don't see why you should feel obliged to do that. If they cannot produce a single piece of objective evidence - not even a postmarked envelope addressed to them at the property from before 1988, then I think that is fishy and I think you should put the rent up as proposed assuming they are not Rent Act tenants.

If they then produce something concrete which proves they are RA, ten fair enough.

Their medical records should also show their changes of addresses throughout their lives - so they could authorise their GP to release that info.

settloe_99
24-03-2009, 12:20 PM
I have asked them about the GP but they say they moved to the property from Scotland and didn't register with their GP here until the early 90's.

I'm think going to assume they are HA 1988 tenants unless they provide me with something to prove otherwise.

mind the gap
24-03-2009, 12:26 PM
I have asked them about the GP but they say they moved to the property from Scotland and didn't register with their GP here until the early 90's.

I'm think going to assume they are HA 1988 tenants unless they provide me with something to prove otherwise.

I think it is very unlikely that they went for at least three years without anyone in the household registering with, or even seeing a doctor, whether a GP or in a hospital outpatients dept. Before you are seen by any health professional, unless it's a life and death emergency, they always get a record of your address.

Curiouser and curiouser. I agree with justaboutsane...it is would appear that they have worked out it is not in their interests to prove when they arrived!

kikuyu
24-03-2009, 12:29 PM
I have asked them about the GP but they say they moved to the property from Scotland and didn't register with their GP here until the early 90's.

I'm think going to assume they are HA 1988 tenants unless they provide me with something to prove otherwise.

In that case you have little to lose and should go ahead with the application under the 1988 Act. Let them prove that they were at the property before 15/01/1989.

Other ways for the tenants to prove that they were in the property during 1988:

1. Any savings accounts.

2. If they took out any insurance policies.

3. Purchase of any valuable item/s.

etc.etc.

islandgirl
24-03-2009, 12:43 PM
I agree. Put the onus on the tenant to prove when they arrived.

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 12:47 PM
I agree. Put the onus on the tenant to prove when they arrived.
This is not too logical. T needs initially to prove nothing. Only when L opts to begin one or other procedure will T have:
a. to agree that it is correct as applicable to the Act by which T's status is governed; or
b. to deny that it is correct and to claim that T's status is governed by the other Act.

islandgirl
24-03-2009, 12:51 PM
It was logical in my poor confused mind Jeffrey - serve the notice under the act you believe to be correct and see what they say to countermand it (if they can). Is there a problem with so doing? If not why not give it a go?

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 13:07 PM
It was logical in my poor confused mind Jeffrey - serve the notice under the act you believe to be correct and see what they say to countermand it (if they can). Is there a problem with so doing? If not why not give it a go?
Er, that's almost exactly what my last post suggested!

Paul Gibbs
24-03-2009, 13:39 PM
Er, that's almost exactly what my last post suggested!

although that contradicts your post no18 :P

islandgirl
24-03-2009, 13:41 PM
So I can be logical - yipee!

jta
24-03-2009, 14:50 PM
I have checked the with Rent Service as I originally thought the tenants could be Rent Act tenants. The Rent Service have advised me that they have never registered a fair rent on the property.


It seems to me that if the Rent Service has never had it on their books it's most likely to be post HA 1988.
They're trying to take you for a mug.

jeffrey
24-03-2009, 14:57 PM
It seems to me that if the Rent Service has never had it on their books it's most likely to be post HA 1988.
A non-sequitur, there; it might equally be that L never previously registered a rent or a rent increase. Don't jump to conclusions.

jta
24-03-2009, 15:03 PM
No Jeffrey, Sorry Jeffrey. (scuffing toes in dust)

mind the gap
24-03-2009, 15:08 PM
No Jeffrey, Sorry Jeffrey. (scuffing toes in dust)

Well I've had to eat the stuff (dust) on your 'Irritations' thread, because I got a bit carried away with my punctuation and Mr Pedantic had a go at me, so just be glad you got off with 'mild sternness'!

Paul Gibbs
24-03-2009, 15:33 PM
Haha I didnt realise LLZ had a 'naughty spot' - I am not suggesting Jeffrey is supernanny!

kikuyu
24-03-2009, 17:17 PM
It seems to me that if the Rent Service has never had it on their books it's most likely to be post HA 1988.
They're trying to take you for a mug.

Not necessarily so. It is not unknown for a first registration to be carried out 19-30+ (think of 1989) years after the tenancy first commenced. These things rear their ugly heads when parents die and the properties are inherited by the off-springs. Old loyalties go out of the window, young Johnny wants to get rich quick. Can he gets the old folks out of the property pronto and flog the place? No.

Then how about increasing the rent to open market rents etc? Surely it is an AST.
Tenants get wise, courtsey of CAB, local authority, threads on LZ and make an application for fair rent registration.

Johnny is horrified, curses everything under the sun, how he is subsidising the well -off tenants, where can one rent 8 rooms for rent less than that for a room and so forth.

Sorry got carried away but the answer is yes the registration can still fall under the '77 Act.

jta
24-03-2009, 19:13 PM
Not necessarily so. It is not unknown for a first registration to be carried out 19-30+ (think of 1989) years after the tenancy first commenced. These things rear their ugly heads when parents die and the properties are inherited by the off-springs. Old loyalties go out of the window, young Johnny wants to get rich quick. Can he gets the old folks out of the property pronto and flog the place? No.

Then how about increasing the rent to open market rents etc? Surely it is an AST.
Tenants get wise, courtsey of CAB, local authority, threads on LZ and make an application for fair rent registration.

Johnny is horrified, curses everything under the sun, how he is subsidising the well -off tenants, where can one rent 8 rooms for rent less than that for a room and so forth.

Sorry got carried away but the answer is yes the registration can still fall under the '77 Act.

Hmmm! Well, Jeffrey told me not to jump to conclusions, which is fine, however, if this was a regulated tenancy, and the LL has never once been in touch with the Rent Service regarding a rent increase, particularly the LL before OP bought the property, then I would be surprised. I know that tenancies can be overlooked for a long period, but it's stretching the bounds of imagination that the LL would have been happy to be getting a ten year old rate for the property. In 1987 he would probably have only got around 80GBP per month for the place.
I still have a 1977 Rent Act tenant myself, the cantankerous old git will not let me past the front door, I even offered to refurbish the whole place and got told to sod off. I'm thinking of offering the bathroom fittings to the British Museum when he finally pops his clogs, providing I outlive him of course.