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Interlaken
25-03-2010, 12:05 PM
Hi there,

I'm posting this on behalf of a young lad who works on the counter at my local branch of Tool Station who seems to be having a rough time. He needs a concise a simple approach to move on.

In April 2008 he signed an agreement to rent a house with 4 others. Free internet access and use of the kitchen were part of the package. The landlord, a dentist, went on holiday to Thailand, had some sort of road traffic accident and has let his brother take over the running of the rented out house.

Gradually the other 4 tenants left and now this lad wants to leave but the brother is insisting on 2 months notice, has stopped the free internet access and refuses to let him use the kitchen because he is the only tenant left and full amount is not coming to him.

The lad is on a very low income and cannot pay for the rent of the others (I'm not sure he should have to?) He told the brother on my instruction that he did not have to give 2 months notice but the guy refused to give the deposit back and it would seem that it is not protected! To add to the confusion tenant has lost his AST but is and has always been paying rent weekly and needs the depsosit to secure new accommodation. Any ideas please?

Interlaken

westminster
25-03-2010, 12:13 PM
In April 2008 he signed an agreement to rent a house with 4 others. Free internet access and use of the kitchen were part of the package.

Need to know more. Did the lad + 4 others all sign one contract, with five tenants named on the contract, or did each of them have a separate contract for a bedroom?

Also, what date did the fixed term expire? e.g. 15th April 2009.

Snorkerz
25-03-2010, 12:17 PM
Providing this lad has a receipt for his deposit, he should get himself down to either the citizens advice or the local council housing office ASAP.

The deposit should be protected, and so would be easily recoverable via the court system in full.

The non-availability of the kitchen could, in certain circumstances, be regarded as an attempt at illegal eviction - BIG penalties for landlords brother.

I think lad should stop paying rent*, and use the saved rent to help his search for a new, low deposit, place to move into ASAP.

I don't think he can be held to any notice if the facilities are being witheld, though the legal notice is only 1 month anyway.

He should then sue through http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk for his deposit - on the limited information you have given he has a very high chance of success.

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* not paying rent is not a legal thing to do UNLESS he has not been provided with an address in England/Wales on which to serve documents. I suspect LLs brother will not have thought to do this - in which case no rent is payable until the information is provided, when all unpaid rent becomes immediately payable. Even if it is not legal to stop paying the rent, I would be inclined to do so as LLB will not be able to get an eviction order until 3-4 months have passed - and eviction without such an order would be a criminal offence.

Interlaken
25-03-2010, 12:38 PM
Thanks Snorkerz and Westminster,

Some helpful ideas there. I don't think he knows what sort of AST he signed and I did suggest the CAB this morning - I think he finds that too complicated and he is afraid of the brother making his life more difficult.

I think it is easy for us to be told what to do but doing it for some people is a step too far - especially the witholding of rent. I will be in the store again tomorrow so will try to find out more or get him legal help.
Cheers,
Interlaken

jeffrey
25-03-2010, 12:41 PM
On the AST, showing five names of supposed tenants, in which ordinal position did this lad's name appear?

westminster
25-03-2010, 13:03 PM
I don't think he knows what sort of AST he signed
But he'll presumably be able to remember if he alone signed it, or he plus four others signed it.

As you're no doubt aware, this will make a big difference in terms of his liability for rent for the others. If he signed an individual contract then he obviously isn't liable. (And either way, assuming the fixed term has expired, and the tenancy is now periodic, T only has to give one month's notice, expiring at the end of a rental period).

It's the fact that you say the tenants had "use of the kitchen" which makes me think it could be an individual contract - otherwise, if it was a joint tenancy for the whole house, the use of the kitchen would be self-evident.