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View Full Version : L won't communicate (tenancy end): credibility in court?



Moving
11-04-2010, 20:57 PM
Hello, I have a fixed term contract (one year) ending on 31st May, sharing with others, the rent is over £25,000 and so I took some advice from someone that this is a 'bare contractual tenancy' not an 'assured shorthold tenancy' and my obligations to the landlord end on the 31st May. There is not even a 'statutory periodic term' after the fixed term, as the tenancy is not under the Housing Act - this is the advice I was given.

In any case we are all moving out on the 31st May.

I took advice to the effect that we don't even have to give notice, despite what the contract said (it specifies to give two months notice).

Despite this, to be polite I emailed and tried to call the landlord (who appeared to 'disappear' and didn't reply) to advise him that we are all moving out, and even sent him a letter recorded delivery over two months before the contract ended (not that there is an actual address on the contract, but a generic solicitor's address which I sent the letter to, which he doesn't appear to have received according to him.) I don't think it's his solicitors' address, he's avoided to give me a correct address from him from the beginning.

I then finally speak to the landlord who says he hasn't received the letter or emails and regardless, I am liable for a further two months rent until the 31st July! Something about a 'periodic' term starting automatically after the fixed term contract. (a 'three year' periodic term, no less!) There is nothing like that in the copy I have of the lease, unless he has an extra sheet somewhere that he hasn't given me - I dont remember signing anything stating there is a "three year periodic" term though. It clearly states that it is a one year fixed contract from the 31st May 2009. And why would I be liable for rent after the contract is ended anyway!

He threatened me and all sorts, really nasty, that if I don't pay a further two months rent he'll 'serve a notice' on me that I owe him money ('section 8'). Finally I just hung up on him!

I think I'm right here. What do I do - he threatened me - I don't want to speak to him ever again. Do I just tell him to serve any notices he wants and I'll communicate in writing from now on? There goes my reference, as well!

Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be welcome.

Moving
12-04-2010, 06:53 AM
Anyone? He says he is coming for a meeting - I am inclined to say I don't want a meeting and that he can put anything in writing and I'll call the police if he tries to call me about this again or turns up unannounced. Is this reasonable?

Charles19
12-04-2010, 08:51 AM
Anyone? He says he is coming for a meeting - I am inclined to say I don't want a meeting and that he can put anything in writing and I'll call the police if he tries to call me about this again or turns up unannounced. Is this reasonable?

I think you should have a meeting with a witness present ( can you get an independant one - say an estate agent?) And doers not have to be at premises - so you can walk away if needs be at any time if turns nasty. Be very prepared in advance what you wish to say and in a polite professional way. I believe the law is firmly on your side and I leave others to detail how you should structure the information to be given back to L at the meeting - I would think verbally and in writing confirming what was said by yourself.
Chas

Charles19
12-04-2010, 08:53 AM
Oh, and you dont mention a deposit? Was there one and is it being held correctly by the L in a proper approved scheme?
Chas

matthew_henson
12-04-2010, 12:44 PM
There are some key difference between a common law tenancy (yours) and an AST however there is one fundemental that is based on the 1987 landlord tenant act.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1987/pdf/ukpga_19870031_en.pdf

Section 47, 48 & 49 states a Landlord must by law provide his/her contact details in writing. If they don't in effect they can not ask for rent to be paid.

Unless the LL has provided a separate section 48 notice the address you have is given as the one provided in the contract. If there isn't an address provided in theory the tenancy is not even valid

You met your obligation by sending notice to the last known address (cover by section 49) you have and therefore is considered that notice is served especially as you have proof of sending.

p_cas
12-04-2010, 13:03 PM
Oh, and you dont mention a deposit? Was there one and is it being held correctly by the L in a proper approved scheme?
Chas

The OP says the tenancy isn't an AST, therefore no requirement to protect the deposit.

westminster
12-04-2010, 13:16 PM
He threatened me and all sorts, really nasty, that if I don't pay a further two months rent he'll 'serve a notice' on me that I owe him money ('section 8'). Finally I just hung up on him!

I think I'm right here. What do I do - he threatened me - I don't want to speak to him ever again. Do I just tell him to serve any notices he wants and I'll communicate in writing from now on? There goes my reference, as well!

Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be welcome.
I would write a scrupulously polite letter reiterating the contents of the above conversation (and quote any abusive remarks made by LL), and deny liability for any further rent beyond the end of the fixed term. For example,


Dear Landlord,

Further to our conversation on [date] in which you threatened me with legal action, and called me "[abusive remark]", I write to advise you that I/we deny liability for rent beyond the end of the fixed term on 31st May 2010. As you have already been advised, in a letter dated [date], and sent via recorded delivery to the address for serving notices specified in our contract, I/we will be vacating the property on 31st May 2010, this being the last day of the fixed term agreed in the contract.

Yours etc.

Keep a copy and send it to the address for serving notices in your tenancy agreement, and get proof of posting.

I would then move out at the end of the tenancy, and assuming he tries to withhold your deposit, issue a county court claim for return of the deposit.

With this in mind, and as you don't mention that there is an agent involved who is acting as deposit stakeholder, you need to get a residential address for the landlord in order to make it simpler to pursue and enforce a claim.

First, try checking the Land Registry online. It may have an alternative address for the landlord, if he bought the property as an investment and didn't previously live there.

Failing this, call the solicitors in the notice address to ask if they act for the LL; if yes, write to them citing s.1(1) Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, which requires the LL's "agent" to supply, within 21 days, the LL's name and address. It's possibly stretching the definition of "agent" but it's worth a shot. (N.B. if LL is a company, then just look them up on the Companies House website).

jeffrey
12-04-2010, 13:16 PM
Unless the LL has provided a separate section 48 notice the address you have is given as the one provided in the contract. If there isn't an address provided in theory the tenancy is not even valid.
That's wrong. The Letting is valid. It's just that L cannot treat any rent as due unless and until he complies with s.48.

Lawcruncher
12-04-2010, 13:26 PM
Assuming it is the case that the agreement only grants a fixed term and not a fixed term to be followed by a periodic tenancy, then the tenancy ends on the last day of the fixed term. It would only continue as periodic if you paid and the landlord accepted rent for any period after the last day of the fixed term. Any requirement to serve notice to end a fixed term is a logical nonsense since it only confirms what must happen and what the parties know will happen.

westminster
12-04-2010, 13:29 PM
Anyone? He says he is coming for a meeting - I am inclined to say I don't want a meeting and that he can put anything in writing and I'll call the police if he tries to call me about this again or turns up unannounced. Is this reasonable?
It's not reasonable to call the police unless the LL has either made physical threats, or enters the property without your consent (if he has keys), or turns up unannounced and starts banging on the door and making a commotion etc (you've no obligation to let him in). It's reasonable to refuse to have a meeting if there is nothing to discuss, and it's reasonable to ask that he writes to you instead.

Perhaps add something to the letter saying that you trust you have made your position clear and if LL has anything else he wishes to discuss please can he put it in writing. If you're in email contact with the LL, make a PDF of the letter and email it as well as post it so he gets it sooner (I say make a PDF because emails can be altered, and the LL sounds untrustworthy).

jeffrey
12-04-2010, 13:31 PM
Assuming it is the case that the agreement only grants a fixed term and not a fixed term to be followed by a periodic tenancy, then the tenancy ends on the last day of the fixed term. It would only continue as periodic if you paid and the landlord accepted rent for any period after the last day of the fixed term. Any requirement to serve notice to end a fixed term is a logical nonsense since it only confirms what must happen and what the parties know will happen.
I agree. Moreover, it can only be statutorily continued if it's still an AST/SAT (i.e. T still resides there as only/main home: s.1).

Moving
12-04-2010, 17:22 PM
Thanks a lot. Is it possible that I have signed an extra sheet somewhere stating there is an automatic periodic tenancy to start after the fixed term? This is certainly not included in my copy of the contract...would such a thing even be valid? It looks like a straight forward fixed term one year contract so can the landlady 'create' a periodic term by adding such a thing?

Seriously need to cover all my bases, he's called twice today. Contract specifies there is no deposit but rent in advance, now also a source of contention but this is what it says. Grateful for your help...

westminster
12-04-2010, 17:59 PM
Thanks a lot. Is it possible that I have signed an extra sheet somewhere stating there is an automatic periodic tenancy to start after the fixed term? This is certainly not included in my copy of the contract...would such a thing even be valid? It looks like a straight forward fixed term one year contract so can the landlady 'create' a periodic term by adding such a thing?
The tenancy contract presumably has numbered pages and ends with a page or two of signatures, yes? The LL cannot tack on an additional page, unsigned by you (well, if he did, it wouldn't be a valid part of the contract). In any case, you've given notice to end the contract at the end of fixed term - end of story.


Seriously need to cover all my bases, he's called twice today. Contract specifies there is no deposit but rent in advance, now also a source of contention but this is what it says. Grateful for your help...
What exactly does it say about rent in advance - can you quote the precise wording? Because if it's the case that you'll have paid the full rent for the year, say, two months before the end of the contract, you obviously don't have to pay any further rent.

Some LLs use the 'rent in advance' thing to try to avoid deposit protection, but as this isn't an AST I can't think why the LL wouldn't simply take a deposit. I wonder whether he doesn't realize that deposit protection isn't required, and is nevertheless trying to avoid it; he may not understand the difference between an AST and a contractual tenancy.

Seriously, don't let this landlord intimidate you. Be polite but assertive. If he gets very unpleasant or simply won't leave you alone, then do go to the police and report the threats or harassment; they may have a word with him, so it may make him think twice before harassing you further. Other options include going to a CAB, a community law centre, or a solicitor, and get them to write to the landlord telling him to back off.

Remember, the absolute worst that could happen is that the LL issues a claim against you for two months rent and you have to pay it - but I honestly think it is extremely unlikely he is in any way entitled to further rent after you move out.

matthew_henson
12-04-2010, 18:07 PM
Thanks a lot. Is it possible that I have signed an extra sheet somewhere stating there is an automatic periodic tenancy to start after the fixed term? This is certainly not included in my copy of the contract...would such a thing even be valid? It looks like a straight forward fixed term one year contract so can the landlady 'create' a periodic term by adding such a thing?

Seriously need to cover all my bases, he's called twice today. Contract specifies there is no deposit but rent in advance, now also a source of contention but this is what it says. Grateful for your help...

A fixed term contract automatically reverts to a periodic tenancy if you pay the rent the day after you fixed term ends and the LL accepts it, no signed agreement is required for this to happen.

How much rent did you pay in advance? if more than a month (say 1 extra month then clearly you have paid for you last month and no rent due) a deposit usually has it's own clause in the tenancy agreement and is refered to as a deposit, a rent advance is exactly that, a rent advance.

You are entitled to move out on the 31st May, you gave adequate notice (even though you did not need to) using the only address you were given and therefore under section 49 of the 1987 LTA you have served notice to the correct address. LL has no recourse.

Suggest you now tell the LL that he is harrassing you and that any further discussion must be done in writing. If he breachs this you will involve the police. You can also pay BT (or who ever you use) for the "right to refuse service" and block his number when he calls.

matthew_henson
12-04-2010, 18:58 PM
Good idea!

It is very effective and work even when the number is withheld, the process is simple.

I had a serious nutter (genuinely round the twist) LL a few years ago who was just a nightmare, even threatened to kill my one year old daughter. I can feel for the OP because when you are in the middle of situation where you are being harrassed it is really quite frightening.

It is she I have to thank for being here, it is amazing what you can learn when you need to especially when you have a national estate agent like Knight Frank playing hard ball as well

Moving
12-04-2010, 19:42 PM
Thanks everyone.

The monthly rent is huge, so 2 months rent would wipe out all my savings, which I'd like to avoid if at all possible.

My one and only worry is that there is something I unwittingly signed somewhere which states that the fixed term does in fact not end on the actual date it says it will - and that the landlord has (now?) added something extra about an 'enforced' periodic tenancy after the fixed term.

I don't remember everything I signed, but it's not in my copy of the agreement...

There is a sheet in the contract which I did sign which states that we can give notice 2 months before the end of the fixed term contract. That is clear - even though I understand the notice is not even legally enforcable. So that would imply that we can do exactly that.

I think I'll stop worrying about this now, and I appreciate everyone's help very much. It is very worrying the whole thing.

Moving
12-04-2010, 19:46 PM
And yes, it says, the 'six weeks rent paid in advance is NOT A DEPOSIT' but will be used during the notice period as rent in advance'

So I'm not paying any rent for the last six weeks either

Again, thanks very much.

Moving
13-04-2010, 18:34 PM
He has emailed me stating there is a clause that we signed until July, he'll give it to me + s. 8 and I'll be liable for rent plus interest? He's also stating that the address was given on the contract and he hasn't received notice, but this is not the case - I have a copy without the address?

I have no such clause in my copy of the 1 year fixed agreement. What do I do? It IS perhaps possible that I have signed something which she hasn't given me as yet...but as I stated above, I did give notice to leave upon the expiry of the fixed term. It seems there are two separate and different contracts in that case??

One with an extra July clause, and with the address, and one that I have without the address and clause.

He also states the address to serve notices IS on the contract - I can only conlude she has a different copy herself.

Please help.

matthew_henson
13-04-2010, 18:53 PM
He has emailed me stating there is a clause that we signed until July, he'll give it to me + s. 8 and I'll be liable for rent plus interest? He's also stating that the address was given on the contract and he hasn't received notice, but this is not the case - I have a copy without the address?

I have no such clause in my copy of the 1 year fixed agreement. What do I do? It IS perhaps possible that I have signed something which she hasn't given me as yet...but as I stated above, I did give notice to leave upon the expiry of the fixed term. It seems there are two separate and different contracts in that case??

One with an extra July clause, and with the address, and one that I have without the address and clause.

He also states the address to serve notices IS on the contract - I can only conlude she has a different copy herself.

Please help.

She cannot add clauses that override statatory law, if the term is 12 months the term is 12 months, the statatory notice period of T 1 months L 2 months only kicks in when the tenancy becomes periodic. Even if the clause existed it would not be enforceable.

Does your copy have her signature, if it does it is binding, simple as that.

What is the S8 for? and on what grounds, you are leaving as your lawfully allowed to do so on the 31st May, either way no action can take place in a month.

Seriously they do not have a leg to stand on, keep copies of everything but it strikes me even if they attempt to take anything to court the judge will not return in their favour

Moving
13-04-2010, 19:48 PM
Yes, it does have the landlord's signature on the page it says it is a one year fixed term contract from that date.

She's talking about an extra clause taking it to July which I haven't seen.

westminster
13-04-2010, 22:14 PM
She's talking about an extra clause taking it to July which I haven't seen.
If you haven't seen it or signed it, its not part of your contract. LL is playing mind games and you should just ignore it. Please trust the advice you've been given on this forum.

If you don't believe us, then go and see a solicitor, or a community law centre etc.

Moving
13-04-2010, 22:42 PM
Thanks a lot. Of course I trust the advice I've been given here. It's just that I don't remember everything I signed - I may have signed something he hasn't given me. He never gave me one of the original copies - just a photocopy of one of the originals. If that makes sense.

I'm just neurotic and his tactics don't help.

(I'm dealing with a landlord and his daughter - hence the s/he confusion)

Thanks everyone again, I do appreciate it very much.

matthew_henson
14-04-2010, 06:52 AM
Just one last thing, despite he/her being horrid please make sure you leave the property clean (including the oven/fridge etc. and renting a carpet cleaner)

That ensures you have met all your duties and she/he will have nothing they can try and use against you.

Always Problems
14-04-2010, 07:23 AM
The problem you have with your "Landlord from Hell" is that they are probably very good at what they are doing insomuch that they have had loads of experience in extracting additional rent past the expiration of the lease from previous tenants.
When you say that he "threatened you with all sorts" and you put the phone down.
What I would do is go to "Maplin" and buy a "Telephone Conversation Recorder" and ring him again and see if you can get him to repeat his threats.
Now I know that people will say that you are not allowed to record telephone conversations, But you are allowed to record your own. Anyway I would get on record what your landlord threatens you with, and if it turns nasty, you have evidence.

Moving
14-04-2010, 08:06 AM
I'm going to a lawyer just in case. I just want this to stop! Maybe they can email them a letter.

I have prior emails from landlord acknowledging other people in the house who are not on the lease (he only puts 2 on there). Now he's turned around to say he's suddenly seen unknown people at the house and am I subletting illegally? And can all of them please leave.

I think it doesn't matter though. He's just throwing this in now as well and it won't help his credibility given my earlier saved email chains about other people in the house. (he hasn't accepted rent directly from them - but acknowledged them)

Thanks again.

Moving
14-04-2010, 16:36 PM
Hello

I've been having some issues with my landlord who is trying to get me to stay on beyond my fixed term, but things are it seems not as crystal clear as I first thought.

I have some evidence that he is lying. For example, he's now alleged that I am illegally subletting rooms, (agreement does state no subletting allowed) when in fact he is very well aware of all the people in the house. It was at his request only some of the people were put on the lease. I have emails where he acknowledges at least some of the now suddenly 'unknown' people and he continued to accept rent, not from them though.

I believe he is bluffing but, I was wondering whether if he does take me to court for rent he is stating I owe - would his credibility come into play? If I have witnesses and emails to show he is a liar - would this help me with his other assertions despite any alterations/additions he may now have made to the original agreement (I only have a copy not the original agreement he's got both originals)? I have evidence I have tried to act in accordance with the copy I have.

Thoughts?

mind the gap
14-04-2010, 16:40 PM
Either the people living in the property with you are tenants with their names on the joint tenancy agreement with your name (or on individually-issued ASTs of their own), or they are not. What do you mean by their names being 'on the lease? Please explain.

If they are not, then they may well be subtenants. If they pay rent but not directly to the landlord, then they are probably your subtenants. If there is a clause banning subletting but you have emails from the LL showing his approval of the subtenants I would have thought he would struggle to sue you for breach of contract in this matter.

How many people are living in the property and how many did the LL think are living there?

To be honest, none of this has any direct relevance to court action he may be taking to recover rent you owe him,( or even to evict you for non-payment, if he decides to do that. If his case is accurately presented and you owe at least two months' worth of rent, then he will be granted a possession order irrespective of how many lies you think he has told about your subletting or not). You would still end up with a CCJ against your name, which can have serious consequences for your credit rating and your ability to find a new place to live when he does ask you to leave, or you decide to.

Why don't you just pay the rent you owe?

Moving
14-04-2010, 16:52 PM
My position is I do not owe him any further rent. He is trying to make me pay two months further rent beyond the end of my fixed term contractual agreement (not AST). I gave notice to leave upon expiry which he disputes. I know you are not required to at end of fixed term. I did anyway, he disputes the address.

Anyway, I believe he is asserting there is an additional clause taking the term to a longer period, which is not on my copy of the lease.

He may try to alter the original agreement I think. I only have a copy. He has both orignals.

They do not have separate agreements, LL issues one tenancy, only allows a maximum of 4 on it, is aware there are others. Avoiding HMO licence possibly?

matthew_henson
14-04-2010, 17:12 PM
Why don't you just pay the rent you owe?

MTG see other thread, T leaving when fixed ends having being polite enough give notice to address provided

L claiming two months notice required and now trying to scare OP in to complying.

Was it not the OFT who decided that subletting was OK even if it wasn't either way L is wrong and could probably only use sublet issues as S8 G12 (off the top of my head) if they wanted rid. Also total sum in question is quite small so small claims and so L would have to prove actual loss as result of T subletting to gain anything financially

Moving
14-04-2010, 17:18 PM
I'm not worried about eviction, or alleged breach of contract on that basis (subletting).

I'm worried he'll change the original agreement - he could add, to be followed by xx period, after the one year. I only have a copy.

He is alleging the agreement states something else than the copy I have. Seems it would end up being his word against mine in such a case.

matthew_henson
14-04-2010, 17:24 PM
I'm not worried about eviction, or alleged breach of contract on that basis (subletting).

I'm worried he'll change the original agreement - he could add, to be followed by xx period, after the one year. I only have a copy.

He is alleging the agreement states something else than the copy I have. Seems it would end up being his word against mine in such a case.

We should be on the merged thread but as stated before you can not add terms and conditions that overide statute (laws) the term is the term, if the terms was 1 year and 2 months the contract would say 1 year and two months. Your copy is fine, it is what you were given and anybody foolish enough to try and change a contract and present that to a judge would be shot down in a shower of flames.

You have absolutely nothing to worry about regards leaving at the end of the fixed term that is what the agreement says, that is what the law says

Moving
14-04-2010, 17:41 PM
Thanks. I do think it's mostly bluffing and intimidation. But people tell me different things.

I think I'll just have to wait and see if he produces the 'extra clause' he is emailing me about. I know what everyone has told me but he is confident the agreement states something else than what I am saying, including a different address for notices and an additional term. I can only conclude he is altering / adding to the original agreement.

westminster
14-04-2010, 17:46 PM
Hello

I've been having some issues with my landlord who is trying to get me to stay on beyond my fixed term, but things are it seems not as crystal clear as I first thought.

I have some evidence that he is lying. For example, he's now alleged that I am illegally subletting rooms, (agreement does state no subletting allowed) when in fact he is very well aware of all the people in the house. It was at his request only some of the people were put on the lease. I have emails where he acknowledges at least some of the now suddenly 'unknown' people and he continued to accept rent, not from them though.

I believe he is bluffing but, I was wondering whether if he does take me to court for rent he is stating I owe - would his credibility come into play? If I have witnesses and emails to show he is a liar - would this help me with his other assertions despite any alterations/additions he may now have made to the original agreement (I only have a copy not the original agreement he's got both originals)? I have evidence I have tried to act in accordance with the copy I have.

Thoughts?

It is not 'illegal' to sublet, and it's not certain you even are subletting if the other occupiers are lodgers or guests.

Regardless of the answer, it has zero bearing on the issue of whether you are liable for further rent or not (and, as you've been repeatedly advised, it's extremely unlikely that you are liable).

In addition, even if you have breached the subletting provision, the landlord has suffered no financial loss as a result, therefore he has no cause of action (I mean, if he tries to claim 'damages').

Please, please stop listening to the rubbish being spouted by the landlord, and stop worrying about it!

In the unlikely event that he issues a claim against you after you leave, you have nothing to fear. Judges are very accustomed to people lying in court; they will see through the landlord if he tries to lie about anything or falsify documents.