PDA

View Full Version : Landlord's threats and harassment of tenant- what can I do?



homelessgirl
27-03-2009, 14:26 PM
Thanks in advance for any advice given on this matter! I appreciate your help.

Story in short (oops.....it ended long....sorry!):

Entered into AST on 21 January 2009 and paid full months rent and deposit in advance. One year with 6 month break clause. Was supposed to be from 15th Jan - but i was left homeless for a week due to agency not doing the checks they were supposed to do. Holding deposit was paid in November already. I was away on holiday and was supposed to move in upon my return on the 15th Jan. Agency said our request for a power shower (there was NO water pressure at all in the shower) will be seen to by the time we move in. They put it in writing on the "receipt" received when paying the holding deposit.

Upon moving in, we learnt that an electrical shower had been installed - still leaving the problem of no water pressure!! We were told our landlords name was "Alan". The agency refused to give us any further details. When signing the contracts (we were rushed as they closed at 18h00) - they had put a management companies details on there. We didn't check that, so our fault. Upon noticing it - i contacted the agency and requested the landlords details - upon which they said the management company will give it to us. We wanted it to discuss the issue with the shower. Upon calling the company - they told us his name was Alan. They refused to give us his surname. We said we need to discuss the shower matter and would appreciate if the "landlord" could get back to us. This never happened - no one contacted us. We were sent around in circles all the time. We also stated that we would like to meet our landlord at some stage when it's convenient for him. This was also not allowed for some reason.
In the meantime, the next month's rent became due. We had signed standing orders at the agency the day we signed the AST. For some reason unknown to us - the rent never went off. We were accused (by people from the management agency shouting and swearing at us!!) of stopping the orders. We gave proof that we signed what we had to and that the problem was not from our side. AFTER several abusive calls for the rent to be paid and been sworn at by members of the management agency, they accepted that this was not due to any fault of our own.

After insisting to meet the landlord to resolve these matters, some guy - claiming to be the director of the management agency -rocked up at our house - very aggressive in his approach to us. We sat him down and explained a few issues. We told him that we only asked for two things: 1. Who is our registered landlord and 2. Installation of the power shower we were promised. On several occasions we had to calm him down and insist that he speak to us in a respectable manner as we were treating him with respect.

He told us that "the registered owner is none of your business", "i hope your rent is not a case of you not having money to pay" and accused us of withholding the rent due to the shower matters. We told him it has nothing to do with that and that the fault was with their incompetent agency they use. He then said the company owns the property and that they are the registered owners. I did a search today and they are indeed NOT the registered owners as he claimed. I have printed it off from the land registry. We explained that if we knew we are renting from a company, we would not have entered into the agreement. Both my housemate and I are home owners and have good relationships with our tenants. We were simply seeking same. He offered for us to give two months' notice PRIOR to our break clause which would only be 21 July 2009. We told him we appreciate the offer and that based on his decision regarding the shower, we will then make our decision whether to stay or to go. He said he would think about the shower and let us know what he decided within two days - as i was leaving the country in two days time and my housemate and I wanted to discuss the matter prior to my departure. Needless to say we heard nothing from him untill two days ago - making it more than a week later. He informed us that they decided to not go ahead with the shower as "it will not be cost effective given the current situation." I returned from abroad yesterday and got the mail. My housemate and I have not had time to sit down and discuss the matter yet. Now my big problem - as yet another month's rent now became due in the week while i was abroad - we were called today by the management agency and threatened with death. His exact words were: "You better pay your f**n rent today or i will f***n smash both your heads in tonight you stupid c**nt. You useless piece of sh*t. Your sh*t will be out of that house tonight." This is not all, but it was enough. We did not respond - we simply put the phone down - as we have on several occasions asked them to stop swearing and yelling at us. To say the least I called the police and made a case of harrasment and abuse. Both my housemate and I have both months outstanding rent in cash to give to them - it is no problem. However - after all this - i truly don't feel to pay them anything. They breached contract on more than one occasion too by entering our house without our permission or knowledge. We returned to our property yesterday to find an item of clothing on the lounge floor not belonging to any one of us and it sure wasn't there when we left for work the morning. When we mentioned this to the agent today - he said "i don't give a f**k what happens there."
We decided we will vacate the property on the 10th May 2009 based on these threats. Considering them breaching contract, threatening us with death and eviction - should we pay them any rent or what? sorry for the lenghty letter, but there is so much going on!

Telometer
27-03-2009, 14:47 PM
https://www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/main.nsf/web+full+list/4fbbedab038bd81180256fce00389cec?opendocument

You need to record evidence, and get independent witnesses. Keep a diary. With luck your landlord will have to pay you a lot of money.

Your local council will have a tenancy relations officer who will be able to help you.

jta
27-03-2009, 14:51 PM
I hope the Police are taking your complaint seriously.

It is a criminal offence for the LA to withhold the name and address of your LL.

Since you have not paid the rent, for whatever reason, you have put yourself in danger of being served with a s8 g8,10,11.
If you simply move out on 10th May they will be able to chase you for the rent payable up to the end of the tenancy, unless they agree a surrender from you.

I suggest recording any more calls you get from them.

homelessgirl
27-03-2009, 14:58 PM
Thank you for the responses. So you are saying that regardless of being threatened with death and them breaching contract numerous times by entering our premises without notifying us , we are still liable to keep our end of the deal by paying our rent?

Poppy
27-03-2009, 15:09 PM
Two wrongs don't make a right.

Suggest you pay your rent, then no one can make a claim against you. Please do not add to your troubles.

homelessgirl
27-03-2009, 15:14 PM
Thanks Poppy. They do however have a £1560 deposit of ours that we are prepared to loose to them (for the arrears rent), as given the current situation with them we will have endless problems getting our deposit back anyway. They breached contract and we are now forced to find other accomodation resulting in yet another big expense of nearly £4000 for deposits and rent upfront. The house is being given back to them in perfect condition, so there will be no money necessary to cover damages or anything like that. Only rent. We are prepared to pay part of the rent up untill we move, but not all so that we don't have to hassle with the deposit. They have caused us enough inconvenience and hassles.

jta
27-03-2009, 15:26 PM
Thanks Poppy. They do however have a £1560 deposit of ours that we are prepared to loose to them (for the arrears rent), as given the current situation with them we will have endless problems getting our deposit back anyway. They breached contract and we are now forced to find other accomodation resulting in yet another big expense of nearly £4000 for deposits and rent upfront. The house is being given back to them in perfect condition, so there will be no money necessary to cover damages or anything like that. Only rent. We are prepared to pay part of the rent up untill we move, but not all so that we don't have to hassle with the deposit. They have caused us enough inconvenience and hassles.

There's no reason that you should lose the deposit. Has the money been put into a deposit protection scheme? If not then you can sue for 3x the amount.
You must chase the police to take you seriously, it may well be that it is just one stupid employee that is causing you trouble, if he get's his collar felt, it will serve him right.
Pay the rent, you want to hold the high moral ground.

montana
27-03-2009, 15:43 PM
If the Police do their job correctly, they should at minimum "arrest" the guy if he telephones you again, and, put him in the cells for a few hours before given him a stern warning based on your and your Husbands evidence.
Fingers crossed he might blabber off something down the police station and even be charged.

Ericthelobster
27-03-2009, 15:45 PM
Both my housemate and I have both months outstanding rent in cash to give to them - it is no problem.I strongly suggest you don't pay them in cash; or if you absolutely must, make sure you get a proper receipt. With this mob you clearly need to cover yourself against possible future accusations that you haven't paid; with a standing order or cheque payment, you've got proof/audit trail.

mind the gap
27-03-2009, 22:21 PM
homelessgirl, are you saying you still do not know who your landlord is or what his UK address is?

Surely you are legally allowed to withold rent until you are given this information?

cello
28-03-2009, 10:55 AM
My advice to you would be to have another witness there the next time this idiot calls. Maybe your father or another male the bigger the better......not that I am suggesting any menacing/intimidation from your side but just so they understand they are not dealing with someone that is an easy pushover - not suggesting that you are but the idiot sounds like he may well be more respectful if he is dealing with someone larger and stronger then himself!

There are people out there who believe they are above the law and unfortunatley this idiot sounds like he fits into this group. If you / colleague fear his threats are in any way serious then I would consider moving out or seek police internetion. The latter may only serve to inflame matters as idiots like this often associate with other idiots like themsleves and unlike normal people dont anticipate the consequences of their actions.

theartfullodger
28-03-2009, 12:10 PM
Assuming you are in England & Wales you MUST have been given LL name & an address for him to serve notices..
(notices from you to him).

Because...==="
My understanding is that
a) If you weren't given an address in E&W to serve notices you can't be forced to pay rent (!)
b) Address must be in England & Wales.. (I am aware of the issue as I live in Scotland - not England & Wales - but rent a house in England. Each year my Letting Agent puts my Scottish Address on the new tenancy for the one house I have in Englerland: I then point out it is probably in Agent's interest & mine if we use the Agents' office address. Of course I tell the tenants were I live, email IS & 'phone (in case they are unhappy with the Agent..._ but “serving notices” is a different matter.

I believe this is all to do with " section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987; namely, not giving an address in England and Wales for the service of documents on the Landlord "

See also
http://www.lettings-landlords.co.uk/info/sec_47_48.html

"===

I'd also want to check that this alledged new Landlord really is the owner.

Think a trip to CaB for advice may be a good idea...
http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/


So, I suggest "alan" (sounds very unpleasant..) is advised to go read "" section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987; namely, not giving an address in England and Wales for the service of documents on the Landlord ". "

It may be, of course, that the agent/LL are trying to cover up something dodgy - eg does the LL have permission to rent the property out?? (Arrghh)

Cheers!

Artful

montana
28-03-2009, 13:33 PM
its quite simple if you have made a complaint of harrasment to Police stating to them what you've told us. The Police telephone him and warn him over the phone that he will be arrested if he telephones you or approaches you again.
Simply going to the police station and showing your phone details to them that he has called you again on the phone after he's been warned not to, will result in him being arrested by police and taken to the Station for further investigations.
You cannot and shouldnt have any phone contact, or contact in person, with someone who has threatened you with violence, whether he is your LL or the king of mongolia.

homelessgirl
30-03-2009, 06:14 AM
Thanks to each and everyone of you for your advise so far.

MIND THE GAP - Yes, we eventually now know who our LL is, 'cause i did a search at the Landregister on Friday and found the owner to be a lady. The letting agent told us the LL's name is Alan. They refused further details. Then when we signed the AST - they put the LL's details up as a management agency! Upon asking the management agency who the registered owner of our property was - they first said it has nothing to do with us - and then they said it was in the name of the Management Agency. So we found out for ourselves by doing the search that it indeed was someone else. On our AST it stated that rental payments must go to this ladies account - that's why i became suspicious that they were not being honest. I insisted to know who i was paying, but they wouldn't give us any information.

We (my housemate and I) made complaints to our local police. I also wrote a letter to them stating various facts relating to problems we have had with this management company since we moved into the property. I also informed them about the complaint made to the police. I further insisted that no one contact us by telephone any further - they have to put everything in writing to us. I also said that given the current circumstances and the death threats made against us rental payments may or may not be made depending on legal advice we are currently seeking. We furthermore also gave notice to vacate the property on the 10th May 2009 seeing that he offered for us to move out prior to our break clause.

So far we have not had any response / problems.

Poppy
30-03-2009, 09:15 AM
Are you seeking and paying for legal advice?

When your landlord complies with the law (ie you are given their name and E&W address), all rent due will become payable. Please do not make the mistake of thinking you do not owe this rent.