PDA

View Full Version : Can a landlord legally make a tennant have two tenancy agreements?



70% of take home on rent
20-04-2006, 21:06 PM
Hi all

I have just spoken to a friend of mine who is very upset.

She is a 22 year old single mother of 4 (her husband left her). Her landlord would only let her move in if she signed a 2 year tenancy agreement for Housing Benefit purposes stating the rent was £520.00 per month. He also insisted she signed another "proper" tenancy agreementfor £625.00 per month. She has very bad learning difficulties and I think she has been taken for a ride.

My questions are

What TAG is legally binding?

Has the landlord broken the law?

What advice can I give her?

Thank you in advance,

Jim

Energise
20-04-2006, 21:32 PM
She is a 22 year old single mother of 4 (her husband left her). Her landlord would only let her move in if she signed a 2 year tenancy agreement for Housing Benefit purposes stating the rent was £520.00 per month. He also insisted she signed another "proper" tenancy agreementfor £625.00 per month.



What TAG is legally binding?
Usually it would be the first one signed.

Has the landlord broken the law?
Well there must be some kind of fiddle going on.

She has very bad learning difficulties and I think she has been taken for a ride.
Depending on the extent of this possibly neither are valid.

What advice can I give her?

Because she has very bad learning difficulties a visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau should be the first step, does she have a social worker?

MrWoof
20-04-2006, 21:52 PM
Definitely some kind of fiddle going on. For HB purposes if a high rent is set, the tenant will get maximum benefit and can result in the LL getting a higher rent than he would otherwise. No offence intended but are you using 'learning difficulties' as a euphemism for low intelligence? If so, is any contract valid, it may be that she is not competent to sign an agreement and therefore cannot be held to anything.

70% of take home on rent
20-04-2006, 22:34 PM
No offence intended but are you using 'learning difficulties' as a euphemism for low intelligence? If so, is any contract valid, it may be that she is not competent to sign an agreement and therefore cannot be held to anything.

Yes. She has Dyslexia and a lack of common sense but possibly not actual learning difficulties.

MrWoof
20-04-2006, 22:40 PM
Dyslexia is common and definitely not a sign of low intelligence. As for a lack of common sense, if I had any, I don't think I would have got into the letting business in the first place. :)

Tassotti
21-04-2006, 10:30 AM
As a Housing Benefit Officer, isn't it your job to know if this is legal or not?

Paul_f
21-04-2006, 10:58 AM
Firstly only one tenancy agreement can be effective, and will be the first signed. The second one will be of no effect.

It doesn't mean to say that all covenants are enforceable as it must follow the unfair contract terms guidelines. Also if the tenant is dyslexic then the landlord should ensure that she understood what she was signing otherwise he won't be able to enforce certain covenants. It's really too complicated to go into here.

Oh! and Tassotti, since when were you admitted to the bar?

caroline7758
21-04-2006, 11:29 AM
I don't see what the landlord hopes to gain. HB will only pay what the rent office decides is reasonable based on the claimant's needs (not her income)and the local reference rent anyway, so why not just get her to sign one TA at £625 and see how much HB will pay. If your friend can't afford the top-up anyway, why would he take her on as a tenant?

70% of take home on rent
21-04-2006, 20:56 PM
As a Housing Benefit Officer, isn't it your job to know if this is legal or not?

I'm afraid not. Its my job when processing a claim to make sure that there is a liabilty to pay rent.

Thank you once again everyone for your help. It really is apreciated.

Tweedle Dum
21-04-2006, 22:18 PM
Too what extent would a landlord need to check a tenants competence to sign an AST? Do you think we should be asking tenants multiple choice questions about the AST just to make sure they can read properly?

Energise
21-04-2006, 23:26 PM
Too what extent would a landlord need to check a tenants competence to sign an AST? Do you think we should be asking tenants multiple choice questions about the AST just to make sure they can read properly?

No we need to ask our selves multiple choice questions to make sure we can make a reasonable judgement.

Tweedle Dum
22-04-2006, 09:12 AM
And how do you suggest we test our prospective tenants for dyslexia? A "new" illness that even experts have only just started to diagnose. And a lack of common sense is not a learning disorder.

MrWoof
22-04-2006, 13:28 PM
Too what extent would a landlord need to check a tenants competence to sign an AST? Do you think we should be asking tenants multiple choice questions about the AST just to make sure they can read properly?Personally, I won't let to a prospect who does not have English as their first language. Not prejudice, simply experience of people who are quite fluent until it suits their purposes to suddenly not speak the language.